This day was steel grey; clouds chased the rain as it fell. He was in a space that could be described as somewhere to carry on his search. Sometimes he thought that the end to his quest was near, sometimes he thought it to be so very far away.
He was in search for the earth's power places, special places where rules of mankind don't seem to apply, places where great magic happens to those in tune with the natural elements. He had journeyed far, crossing highlands of granite moors and lofty peaks, guided along ancient roads by calling birds of prey as they circled effortlessly in the skies above. Sometimes days were clear and bright, on others clouds menaced the skyline in an attempt to drive all away, save the true in heart. He had left in spring, yet now seemed to be winter, some days he travelled far, others only a few leagues, or even not at all. On the later he would sit in quiet contemplation, in tune with the nature of the surrounds, sensing and feeling the vibrations.
He particularly loved the granite outcrops; here was a stone, once buried deep at a mountains core, formed from the earth's molten centre, lovingly and gently cooled by the earth as it made its way to the surface, halted when all manner of fine crystals had formed, all reflecting the beauty of her. To him this was her rock, now exposed as the elements danced around in adoration, fashioning shapes to express nature's play.
He sat upon a moss covered stone, heathers clung to the granite moor, and ancient bridleways criss-crossed this wide and open expanse. His mind's eye added long gone travellers and mystics to the scene. All seemed to have that dream look about them, as if forever preoccupied with notions buried deep within their very beings. To others this look may be gaunt and troubled, yet he understood as they made their way, how the quest consumes all, that they live in aching wistfulness, in search of that beauty which like the sun outshines all other light. His resolve was to move on the next day, to follow a seduction that drew him on, lost in a world where dream was of no difference to reality.
That night he slept out under the stars. His bed was a patch of soft grass and heather; he made a pillow stuffed with green ferns, his cloak for a blanket. As he lay there the sky was dark blue and clear, stars, constellations adorned the heavens like gems. Occasionally the visual silence was punctuated by a shooting star as it sped from heaven to earth in its final blazing glory. He held her close in his heart as he fell into sleep. She haunted his dreams, appearing translucent, garbed in pure white silks, coloured as if all the rainbows had merged into this one colour. She was a Donella, a dark-haired elfin girl, yet at the same time seemed so fair, coral pearls adorned her mane, braided with mercury-silver threads; vibrations in both light and sound swept and swirled about her; in a magic play of her true nature.
She was always his first waking thought, on this new morning that was brisk and clear, frosted by night's iced blanket. He took a moment to gather thoughts and travelling wares. He would eat when he could, for now he took again to his path that he marched with love's anticipation. Taking in the moorland vista, climbing higher towards peaks that stood like sentinels against the morning's ultramarine sky. Small clouds grew from the sides of the peaks, like billowing exhausts of steam, as if ancient volcanoes were about to burst and issue. His progress was good, he would stop for berries and other such fare as could be found, each gambolling stream was a welcome point to quench his thirst. The land was strange to him, the streams had a new vibrancy, the usual cold steel blue, bedecked with ripplets of white spray, was giving way to cobalt blue infused with dark turquoise. Was it the mosses and heathers reflected in the merry burns and rivulets? This way was becoming more ancient, none had passed this way for countless ages, this gave a purity to the land that resonated deeply for him. Only birdsong, a far off yelp or whinny punctuated the sound of air swishing about the earths' folds and brooks that chattered and gurgled like newborn children.
A little ahead was a large boulder, it looked welcoming and he intended to take some rest there. Yet as he neared he saw a mound lying just off the road, as if a body had fallen, where earth, grass, mosses and lichens had grown and cloaked it. There was a great sorrow about this place. He sat on the boulder; suddenly a heart wrenching sadness came over him, so great that tears welled up and ran like small streams down his cheeks, he could not talk, even to himself. Tears dripped and dripped, splashing like rain to the ground. The world to him, at that moment, through those watery eyes was a place of broken hearts. What had happened at this spot, what tragedy? He walked to the mound; his tears splashed to the soft turf and soaked in. His mind's attention was caught by an ancient rhyme that was whispering on the breeze.
After countless days here ends my quest,
Fair queen my heart and soul you've blessed,
But no more can I carry this love's load,
Earth, your elements, takes me in your fold.
He knew that for one the quest had ended, that wayfarer had simply lain down to be as close to her as could be, but had not finally made love's complete and utter union. This raised his compassion, to have tasted such a love for himself, the thought that this other was so near, yet so agonisingly desperate. He knelt so that he could lay an arm, like comforting a fallen comrade; he begged his spirit to come with him, that together they could finally realize the ultimate love.
Slowly he rose, and backed onto the path, in grief for this lost one. A chill passed through his heart, like a hurt so painful, that the love lost must have been so great. He was never the same again; a new sadness was added to his being.
There was enough of the day to tread the meandering trail as it climbed aloft on the first peak, Carn Uaine, simply the Blue Peak, so called because of the light given of by the blue quartz that speckled its cliffs. Eagles circled, silent in their keen watch, gracing the sky like living spirits. He cried out they take this new burden, this new hurt, to release the spirit who was trapped in such sorrow.
He made a shelter for the night; he sat in, wrapped by his great cloak, keeping the night's clawing cold at bay. His meditation was melancholy, evening's first stars began to glint, a full moon was rising, and he knew this lofty perch would be freezing cold. At length he prepared for sleep, wrapped in his cloak, grasses stuffed into a pillow. In sleep his dreams were different, she came to him, and this time there was an air of sadness about her, her pure white translucence was tinged by an electric blue hue. He sensed the wateriness of tears; her love had also been touched, her tenderness was ever aware of the sorrows of men. How could she be full of such great compassion, always to grieve at others suffering and always to rejoice in their happiness?
Her body was ethereal in its soft blue translucence, again enabling her to enter his very core; touching him more deeply; he understood that she also bore great pain. His quest was changed from that day; it was not simply the search for romantic love and exaltation. No he now strove to experience the dark-side; the only way that love can be complete; in pain grows a greater love; this pain is a hurdle that many will not cross or even try. As his dreaming sensed her, the first light started to flicker from behind purpled morning clouds. The red sun was being born again, turning to molten orange as it journeyed up into the dawning day's sky. He awoke, yet his dream was still there, she was inside him, inside him in a new way. Rousing himself still further he sat up against a rock, his cloak stiff with frost. This new world was more dreamlike than before, yet with a reality so profound and grounded, he began to suspect what he once thought to be real was in fact a dream.
He raised himself fully, stamping about to warm himself, sweeping and beating his arms about his body to pound out the cold from him. He set off again, towards a pass that lay before him, Lairig Damh, the Ox Pass. He trudged the remnants of an old long forgotten path; he noticed every now and there were rocks with strange carvings, all manor of hieroglyphics and ancient mystical writings; like a route map pointing to a place he did not know. This eased him; he knew that others had passed this way in long gone and distant times. He thought they could not have been in great numbers for this was truly a wild and remote place, he was not sure if he was even there at all. Was he walking a dream, so great that he was completely consumed, unable to distinguish between real and un-real, whatever they had now become?