Driftwords - Groundswell

July 30th, 2008

I run uphill, my long skirts catching under my feet and between my legs. The dense grass comes to my ankles – just high enough that each stride requires sinking a foot into the unknown. I try not to wonder what might be hidden by the smooth swells of grass: stones, small but fickle in their placement, or more sinister, lingering evidence of the battles that have raged in this place. The incline is gentle, but persistent; I feel my breath tighten my lungs as I race towards the edge of the cliff. It’s far off yet, but I feel it in the pull of the blue sky as it settles, a little too sharply, along the horizon. The animals arrive silently. Some species I know; some I’ve only heard of in stories. All are all motionless – carved from stone – and half-buried in the earth. They’re frozen in mid-stride, in mid-stampede, running the opposite direction. Downhill, away from the cliff, back towards where I’ve come from. The first animals I encounter are buried the deepest – I can barely see the tops of heads protruding from the grass, or the strangeness of a softly curved ear rendered in stone. As I move on, they’re less entrenched. Necks, then trunks, then bodies are exposed. Legs, feet, paws and hooves; and then I’m running through them and they’re all around me; dogs at my knees, zebras at my shoulders, elephants blocking the sun. I’m the only one going this way. I’m the only one that still has flesh that warms and blood that circulates. The hill undulates like a wave far out to sea; gentle curves belying monstrous strength. I wonder if this land used to be a sea; if one great wave transformed them all from creatures to rocks, then transformed itself from water to earth. The animals seem to zip past, but I see flies landing on their wide, stone eyes.

Entry Filed under: Driftwords