Friday, April 25, 2008

Stanley Pelter: GLEN CATACOL

a mile ....... of hot summits ....... more hills roast
Long into the trail. It meanders; follows rises, drops with dips, turns with the sweeping bends of a swollen, sometimes flooding, rock-pitted river. Underfoot the path is less than a shoe width. Lower down, sandstone is wider, grittier. Shapes of summer heat form much of its length. Stagnant water claims some hollows. Streams from Madadh Lounie, from Creag na h-lolaire, zigzag down. Close-by, land is transformed into bog. Moths, grass snakes, frogs, remnants of wild flowers, camouflage in swathes of earth browns. Spurts of dragonflies crisscross the path. Course marram grass, heathers, head high ferns, thistles thrive. Sound of a ground cuckoo feed into the river. Where giant plates of layered granite spread, churning roars pull free of froth foam. Redirect. Other sections feed soft feet to a precipice edge.

sudden sharp pain ... subterranean swells rise ... as resolve collapses

To look down is to wobble each wet footstep. Adrenalin surges into addictive moves forward. Y split river becomes indecision.
water divide ....... stare at a parting ....... of ways
Tin colour, crag clad sky. Begin to cross. Turn back. Wearing sandals, with no map or compass, the path lost in a wilderness of ferns, this is a new scale, a new fear fix.
Dressed to contour this vast, irregular circle, an archetypal hiker approaches. From distance indeterminate, closer the appearance is hermaphroditic. Even closer, more ethereal, there is yet another seamless modification to that of an alter ego, Translucent, floating, her now supremely feminine shape, covered in white, rippling materials like she is one of Botticelli’s ‘Three Graces’, glides through me. Turning, I feel touches of the lightest of winds before, near to transparent, she fades into disappearance.
Unknown miles yet to travel over Gleann Easan Biorach before we are able to subside into the calm mantra safety net of a semi-Shangri-la Loch Ranza. Only then decide to catch the bus.

near a crest .... crossover point at which .... one becomes two

by Stanley Pelter
Claypole, Lincolnshire, England
first published in insideoutside (2008)

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