As we climb uphill unto the heavens, clouds envelop us, dressing us in ethereal white. My window has blurred, we are passing through clouds that cling to mountains like bees attaching themselves to hives. Each orifice is filled with these balls of cotton, prepared to attack from the inside and out. Soil washed down from the mountains spread out as fans at the foot while fresh streams flow over the fine soil creating waves and zigzags.
In these intense valleys, life thrives in small hamlets. Homes rise out of the earth, made from it too! Stones taken from boulders that roll down hills, wood from trees that grow around river banks, hay from the dried alpha-alpha, and souls who have borne hardships of this stubborn terrain for generations.
I’m eager to meet Yeats, and tell him how beautiful apple blossoms are; tell Heaney how the locals toil in the cold to reap fruits and vegetables; tell Owen there are more like him who fight but cannot understand why.
We head further and further into the clouds. Pines give way to shunted shrubs and thorny bushes. Horses, wild and domesticated graze on the slopes. Fillies neigh on realising their foals have strayed out of sight, watched closely by shepherds as young as six who go about herding their lot each day. Large billy goats with their hilarious beards chug forward, goaded by wee boys, and followed by their mates and many cubs. The sheep, as confused as ever run hither thither trying to keep up with the rest while the lone sheep dog, smaller than most of the herd, barks out orders.
I close my eyes to soak in these images. These memories sit idly now, tightly woven with many other in my mind. They spring for attention whenever I beckon them, always eager to be the best of the lot.