I am travelling gently along on the breeze. With my companions I form a mist which wreathes around the contours of the fell. I sink lower as we coalesce to form larger groups – they call this a ‘Scotch Mist’ I think. Here looms a gorse bush and we are left behind, embracing one of the young, tender spikes. As the rest are carried away from us we feel the enemy, heat, and the sun reflects himself in the globules we display, so we shrink and disperse, once more drawn up into the air as molecules which the human eye cannot see.
The wind is stronger now and we are whirled up and up to the heights where the bond which unites us is strong and cold. Sleet, hail, snow, the larger softer flakes are what our groupings form. Running before the gale we blanket the slopes, piling up against the obstacles until we are free to ride over them. I relax into one of the drifts and let the storm go where it will. We snuggle together. Others on top weigh us down. We take our frozen form and rest.
Some months later we feel again the joy of liquidity. Our enemy, heat, awakes us and we run from him together. Some dive into the earth, down the grass roots and the bracken stems, some yield once more to the release into our molecular state. But I and others race downhill together following the line of least resistance, until we fall suddenly into a tumbling beck and with renewed vigour plunge down the slope, tearing at the banks and boulders in our path. Then the land levels out and our course becomes more meandering. We leave the mountain behind us as we seek the sea.
Dorothy Chalk, 1933-2017
from the Mungrisdale Writers’ Collection
Voices of the Mountain