mUD MOUNTAIN BLOG
Back in 2011, I found myself camping alone on a remote
Turkish hill. There was no power or water on the land.
It was the start of an adventure that profoundly changed
my beliefs about what is enjoyable, or possible...
I was wakened by a screech so violent, I thought the earth had split in two. As I dragged my fingers across my bleary eyes, I realised it wasn’t an explosion, but the crashing of a massive rock. The ground was shuddering. The house was vibrating. Fear filed out of its network of submerged tunnels and formed a solid army of dread.
There was another crash, and a terrible crack. Beyond that I could hear the gruff roar of an engine. And I knew in that instant it was over.
In fact, I’d known this was coming. Dudu had informed me of the plan a couple of weeks earlier. But I hadn’t expected it to be like this.
“Oof the pomegranates are such a pain. Need too much water, they do, and we don’t have enough rain,” Dudu had said when I popped round for some lemons one day. “So they’ve decided to split the land up into three.” She was talking about her children.
“And...?” I had moved my stool a little closer to her, wondering what was in store.
“My daughter’s gonna take the part by your land. They’re sticking a cabin on it, and making an olive grove. Digger’s coming in a couple of weeks to clear it.”
I’d heaved a sigh of relief that day. Because since I’ve been here, there has been talk of a road being carved between me and Dudu. This new plan would put pay to the road forever. And an olive grove is about as good as it gets. Olives can be grown organically, need little water and create beautiful evergreen orchards. Even the building concept possessed angles of optimism. A small log cabin perched on the far corner of the land.
Yet two weeks later, I was standing at the fence between mine and Dudu’s land, tears rolling down my cheeks, knowing it was over.
Whenever I hear the grinding tread of an excavator, or the teeth-jarring scrape of its bucket on rock, my skin turns to glass. Because mass destruction is occurring. Habitats are being wrecked. Ecosystems are being wiped out. In seconds, ancient trees are ripped asunder (and unless you are dead yourself, you hear the life torn viscerally out of them). It doesn’t sound much different to a bomb going off in a shopping mall. And if you’re a hedgehog, or a snail, or a sleeping dormouse, no doubt it isn’t any different at all.
Not that I’m in any position to preach a sermon. I also had my land bulldozed ten years ago, before I changed. Before the land changed me. I’m not even completely against dozers. Like everything, if they are used sparingly and thoughtfully, they can be excellent tools, for digging a pool say, or creating a flat space for a house. It’s the loveless, uninspired, destroy-everything-within-the-fence-without-even-getting-to-know-what’s-there approach that sends my hair darting out on end.
It took three days for the excavator to complete its dirty deed next door. In truth, as land mauls go, this was gentle. They left the majority of the mature trees standing; the olives, almond trees and a carob. But as that mechanical claw beat the branches from pines and turned the land inside out, it sank in. This was no longer my private world. No longer my secret garden. Someone was moving in next door. I realised the wisdom carob had spoken a premonitory truth back in November. It was time to let go. I could feel the hand of life on my shoulder, gently pushing me on.
This year was the turning point for my valley. Since February a grand total of four plots have been bulldozed in my area alone. None of them are visible, but all of them are within a kilometre of my land. People are coming. It’s getting busier. Though this may not necessarily be the bleak cliché it appears. We’re not talking multi-storey concrete monstrosities. Dudu’s children, for example, are building with a dream in their hearts. To escape the city. To grow their own food. To live more peacefully. This may be the feathery tip of a new wing beating out a more minimalist path across Turkey’s socio-cultural sky. And I’m all for it.
But on a personal level the dozers woke me up. I love, nay need, my privacy. There are times when I don’t want to see a human face for a week or more. I yearn to lose myself in the forest and hear her quiet message. Hear her twitterings, her scamperings, the whisper of her trees. And through them hear myself.
I grieved for three days after the bulldozing. I wondered if I’d get used to the change, whether I should accept it and adapt to it. Perhaps in time I’d warm to it? One day may be I’d be grateful for the company? Eventually however, my mind, forced as it was out of its comfort zone, dared to face the alternative.
Not once in the five years I’ve been here have I ever considered letting this space go. I have imagined growing old here. Dying here. This land and I have grown together after all. It’s both my child and my mother. But when I finally allowed myself to wander the alien territory beyond my home, my eyes opened wide. Wading across the boundary of my rigid future plans and possessive clingings, I stepped into a field of possibility. And as I roamed a little more extensively within it, I realised it wasn’t just a field, but a vast and rambling continent, a wilderness of new adventures waiting to be explored.
The longer I spent in my imagined terra incognita, the more alive I felt. Ideas sprang forth. Visions burst into being. And soon, I realised, new life was flowing. In my veins. In my land’s veins. And in the veins of the world.
To be continued...
(Many thanks for following me on this journey, which isn’t coming to an end, but is drastically changing course. That road is still being charted in my heart and mind, so hang in there with me. I’ve no idea what the next instalment is, but I can say wholeheartedly while sadness is there, it is outshone by the anticipation of new adventure, new creations and new beginnings).
It was May, and the evenings were still cool. My silky blue dome was almost invisible, concealed within a circle of tall grass and thistles. It was my third night in the tent. Alone. In the dark. It was a darkness unlit by neon or streetlights, a pitch deep enough to devour entire mountains.
I woke up with a start, frozen in my sleeping bag. Something was slithering along the side of the canvas. Or was it scampering? It was hard to tell. I lie there unmoving, hardly daring to blink as I listened to the sinister rustling. I thought about the bag of sulphur I had forgotten to sprinkle along the circumference of my tent to ward off such unwanted guests. Balloons of fear began to swell inside me. The indigenous animals of Turkey's south coast include the Ottoman viper and scorpions.
I tentatively slid my hand out to search for my torch. The noise continued. My imagination hurtled down a hundred critter-filled alleys, tunnels brimming with poisonous reptiles, spiders the size of rats and other beasts of unknown ferocity just itching to chew holes in the groundsheet and eat me alive, or…or simply look ugly.
After what seemed like minutes of agonizing fumbling I finally located my flashlight. I flicked it on. The squirming stopped. Hell! The beast was stalking me.
After fear, the next pit-stop on survival’s race track is aggression. By now I was wide awake, sitting bolt upright with more than a sensible amount of adrenalin careering through my system. I decided I’d rather be the hunter than the hunted.
As slowly and quietly as I could I unzipped the mosquito net door, dementedly flashing the torch this way and that like a cop in a bad movie. Still no noise. Whatever it was, was hiding. So out I crept. I stood up and turned around, running the beam frantically over the canvas. And then I saw it. The perpetrator of my insomnia. The heinous creature of my nightmares: A lizard, tiny, web-footed, verging on charming. The small reptile peered up at me petrified, beady eyes popping. I exhaled, feeling idiotic. Lizard and I stared at each other for a moment or two before I lowered the torch and crouched back into the tent. As I lie back down on my sleeping bag, I mused how despite not having owned a television for the last fifteen years I had nonetheless become yet another victim of Hollywood’s relentless fear-mongering.
Now I think about it, there is an entire industry founded on generating fear of wildlife. Horror films have been quick to cash in on the myriad of unusual fauna in the world. Anaconda, The Birds, and Jaws are but a few of the animal-based movies that spring to mind. Pretty much any creature that has the misfortune to crawl, slide or not possess fur is subject to a bizarre and completely fictitious kind of demonisation. The result is, when we’re left to our own devices out in the wild, especially at night, those monster movie images take on a life of their own.
The morning after ‘lizard night’, I stepped out of my tent and stumbled into my make-shift ‘kitchen’. In truth it was more of a food area, with a ramshackle washing up stand cobbled together from broken sticks. (Oh the many rewards of Girl Guides). But I was struck by something else. I realised as I looked about that there were no crumbs anywhere, no left-overs to clean up. In short no mess at all. Hmm, had this been what my nocturnal guest had been after?
From then on, I took time to venture out of my tent in the dark hours and observe what exactly was going on in the big bad pitch beyond my canvas. It was fantastic. What I saw was a carefully timed banquet. First to arrive were the cats. They rooted through my bin and carted off the bigger scraps. Next the field mice crept by. Finally, there were parties of lizards, skinks and agamas that polished off the crumbs. There was an owl too. It came most nights, calling into the darkness to its mate down in the valley, before making mincemeat of one or two unsuspecting reptiles, no doubt.
However, a month later something really dragged me to my senses. That summer, the first summer on my land, I would open up a large kilim onto the bare earth every morning for my morning yoga practice. Once I was done, I had to fold the carpet up quickly, otherwise the late spring wind blew burrs that would enmesh themselves in the weave. One day, I forgot to fold up the rug. I came back in the evening to see it covered in thistles and spiky caterpillar-like burrs. I groaned. They could only be removed one by one. It was a laborious, finger scratching process. I couldn’t be bothered with the task, so I left it. The next morning, when I chanced to walk by the rug, what should I see? Ants. Hundreds of them. And they had turned my yoga carpet into an insect spaghetti junction. Agh! Burrs, ants, it was hopeless. The rug was a goner.Then something caught my eye. I noticed two of the ants tugging at a burr, and another carrying one off.
As it happened I’d just finished reading a book about humanity's special relationship to its own land, or domain. I think if I hadn’t actually been living in the wild it would have written the work off as nonsense. One of the things the book stated was that when a person owns a domain and loves it, all the wildlife within the area will support them. I looked at the traffic of ants streaming across my kilim. I rubbed my chin, scratched my head, and turned around. Next I left for the beach.
When I came back in the evening I couldn’t believe my eyes. My rug was spotless. Completely and utterly. It looked as though it had been picked clean by a school of tweezer-brandishing elves. I began to look at animals in a vastly different light. I have become very humbled by them to be honest. Because all of them, even the scaliest, slimiest or most arthropod, are surprisingly benign. In fact they are not only harmless, they are invaluable, helpful little mates, and without them we'd be floundering in our own muck. I never sweep or wash the floor of my open kitchen. I leave my used saucepans out at night as well. And every morning I wake to find my band of nocturnal helpers has cleaned up the lot.
So it was that the bag of sulphur I had bought for protection remained forever unopened. Suddenly, I didn’t want to harm anything, and I believed, rightly or wrongly that nothing would harm me in return. Perhaps it was coincidence. Perhaps I was just lucky. I lived outside in the wild for the duration of eight months, and the only snake I ever saw was a tiny grass snake on the border six months on. No wild boar entered the land either. My pomegranate-growing neighbours (boar love pomegranates) believed they were warded off by the smell of a human sleeping outside. There were no spider bites, no scorpion stings, no Ottoman vipers found lurking in the toilet. It was almost as though the land was blessed.
My gardener owns an enormous Anatolian shepherd called Apo. He’s the size a small lion. For reasons that no one really understood Apo would turn up on my land most nights to begin a voluntary protective watch. Did he feel the way I did? I wondered.That there was magic concealed in the dirt? Sitting by his side, I would run my hands through his thick fur and marvel how such a huge carnivorous animal could be so gentle.Together we would stare out over a starlit valley listening to the owl calling overhead and the agamas scampering below. His ears would prick up and he would bark. It was a deep, wolf-like roar that echoed out into the darkness for miles and miles.
I began to feel that this might just be what paradise is like.
The perspiration dripped from my face as I pushed the wheelbarrow. The earth track that lead down to my land was scarred with ruts and craters, and the barrow wheels wedged themselves into each one. Each time they did I had to pull the weighty metal cart out of the hole and take a run at the offending hillocks. At the entrance to the property a stony path plunged downwards through a mess of brambles. On reaching the incline, the barrow promptly gained a mind of its own, rattling out of control down the slope. I galloped after it, hanging onto the handlebars for dear life, suffering scratches and stubbed-toes for the duration. I clung, because that wheelbarrow held within it the most important thing in my life. In fact it held the most important thing in the whole world. I now realised only too well exactly how fundamental that thing was because my land seemed to possess none of it. That treasure was water.
One way and another I’ve endured a trying relationship to water throughout my life. Either there’s too much of the stuff or too little. I’ve been on the wrong end of floods, terminally dripping ceilings, furred up water pipes, wild boar bashing through pipelines and now, very conspicuously I was in a drought. There was no running water on my land. There were no streams or well springs either. It was May, and I had one more rainfall to go before summer took the Mediterranean in its fiery, waterless grip. Everyone said living on my mountain would be impossible.
“Olmaz!” came the cries from all quarters. “Olmaz” is Turkish and translates roughly as, “You can’t or shouldn’t do it.”
Did I mention that I was a headstrong sort? That it had its pros and cons? It’s the bane of my life, but when someone barks the word “can’t” at me, I find myself driven by this insatiable bent to ignore them completely.
It was now nearly a month after my first auspicious night on the land. I’d hired a car to transport as much of a camp up to the mountain as I could. However, the track was in such a state of dusty furrowed imperfection that the little Fiat Punto proved ill-equipped to descend all the way to the land itself. I had parked it a hundred metres uphill. Bit by bit I wheeled or carried down a tent, mattress, sleeping bag, rucksack of clothes, a pick, rake, spade, scythe, washing-up bowl, teapot, and now a 30 litre plastic tank of water. How long would 30 litres last? I wondered. Well, that all depends on how you use it.
And you use it a lot. An awful lot. With the obvious exception of oxygen, water’s the thing we rely on most in the world. H2O. Liquid diamonds. If you’re breathing, you need it.
As I scanned the huge grasses and thickets of spines my first task loomed in front of me. I had to clear a space for my tent. Eyeing my three new garden tools, I wondered which to choose. It may or may not surprise you to learn I had absolutely zero experience with DIY or gardening when I moved onto the land that summer. I couldn’t even bang nails in. I’d never planted a seed. The only thing I could lay claim to was having taken part in some terracing. The Mediterranean is riddled with rocks, which, when you know how to use them, prove incredibly useful. First the stones are dug out with a pick and used to form a wall. After that the earth is raked forwards to create a level surface. It’s a timeless system that’s been employed since the ancient Greeks 2000 years ago. The only trouble is, it’s very thirsty work. I looked at my small plastic water container. It looked back at me impassively.
I grabbed the scythe and hacked away at the rampant undergrowth, dry grasses and thorns that came up to my shoulders. Then began my first foray into the art terracing. After a few rock-crushed fingers, and the onset of blisters it dawned on me that I should have bought some gloves. Still, what a feeling of accomplishment it was to see my paltry two metres of ‘wall’ manifest out of the earth, even if in retrospect it did look more like a rickety row of enamel-chipped teeth. It was baking, and I was drinking non-stop. I eyed the water tank again. Two litres down, twenty-eight to go.
I should point out here that in actual fact there wasn’t really much of a risk of me dying of thirst. My closest neighbour was 400 metres away, and the handy public tap (of which there are so many in Turkey) was wedged 800 metres up a sharp slope in the graveyard. Nonetheless, unless I revolutionised the way I used water, things were going to get exceptionally inconvenient.
The sun had now shimmied behind the mountain signaling that afternoon was over and evening approaching. I tipped a little water from the tank into my hands to clean them, and watched it trickle through my fingers and into the mud.
It was time to establish camp proper. I grabbed my new £30 Carrefour tent, and set about making what was to become my home for the next 8 months. True, that tent changed positions more often than a mainstream politician. Even so, the bargain canvas far surpassed all expectations, and would survive well into the next year, until finally meeting its maker in a wrathful storm.
As the sky thickened with darkness, and the distant lights from Alakir bay flicked on one by one. I realised I still hadn’t eaten. By now I was almost staggering about in exhaustion, having done at least six or seven runs with the wheel barrow, land terracing, camp founding and the like. The easiest thing I could think of preparing was a sandwich. There was more hand washing, then tomato washing. I ate, and drank. Made myself some tea. I was now down to 25 litres with the washing up now towering menacingly in the shadows. I was also filthy.
Night had well and truly fallen, and I was almost sleeping in my hiking boots. Dragging the plastic tankard of water next to the tent, I crouched and stuck my torch into it. I calculated I could spare about ten litres for a shower. Ten litres. It’s a piffling amount, but that was all I had. I needed water for breakfast in the morning, and I didn’t like the idea of completely running out. Turning around, I briefly caught the last outlines of the great pines that bordered the land disappearing into the pitch. I decided to forego my wash and sleep in my own grime.
As I pulled off my work clothes and lay on my new bed, how cosy it felt. The kilim* on the floor was both warm and homely, the foam mattress as comfortable as any bed. I reached out for a last slug of water and wondered briefly how long I would manage to live up there like that. I wondered how long it would take me to get connected to the municipality supply too.
One and a half years on I still have no running water. And I’ve no longer any intention of getting any either. An earthbag house has been built, tons of earthplaster made, plants planted, bathrooms erected and dismantled, animals fed, meals cooked, washing up done. After that first night I think I managed to shower just about every day. You see, we humans are made of water, and water always finds a way. As I sit here in my earth covered roundhouse tapping away my story, the winter rain is driving down. I can hear that deluge hammering on my roof and gurgling into the newly installed water storage tanks below. I receive no bills. There’s no direct debit. Water just comes. For free. As it always has and it always will.
But how have I managed until now? I’ve managed by being thrifty. Water really shouldn’t be used just once, and there is a three-step system in operation in my kitchen.
Step 1: Clean water is used for washing vegetables. Step 2: Semi clean goes in the washing up bowl. Step 3. Dirty water goes on the garden.
You need to be using bio-degradable detergent for such a program, but my basil plants thrived on the washing up bowl throw outs for more than eight months. In addition, I have a composting dry toilet, which abhors water, and I plant trees that are as thrifty as I am; Olives, almonds, carobs, walnuts, and figs are highly sustainable in hot dry climates. Laundry was never the great problem I imagined it would be, as rocks and mountains care little about your wardrobe so you can wear the same thing until it stands up and walks away from you.
Water is the most important thing in the world. When it’s no longer there that fact becomes very very clear. It’s crazy how much we waste it, and pollute it and take this luscious resource for granted. So next time you leave the tap on, take a moment and spare a thought for me ;))
*Kilim – Traditional handwoven Turkish rug.
Why would anyone move into a tent and live on a mountain for eight months? A mountain with no power, no water, and no permanent shelter to speak of.
Something has to have gone wrong.
The trouble all began with a dream, and in many ways it ended with one too. Only it was a dream I had never planned. One I hadn't expected at all.
I’m lucky enough to own a small plot of land. It sits snug within the pomegranate-laden folds of Turkey’s Mediterranean. I stare out at great hulks of mountain pitching themselves into the sea. The surrounding pine thickets whir in the balmy breeze, while buzzards loop through the blue overhead. My nearest neighbour is four hundred metres away. It’s so quiet I can hear her every word when she speaks on the phone.
Land is a bit like a child. When it’s yours you lose all objectivity about it. For me, my land burgeons with charm. It’s unreasonable, but I’m convinced it’s the most beautiful place on Earth. Certainly, not so long back, I harboured a few grandiose plans for it. By 2011, it seemed the time had finally come. My 2500 square metres of the planet was about to be transformed into a living, breathing vision; a meditation centre. It was a fantasy I had cherished for years, and I’d already had one bash at manifesting it further along the coast in the Kabak valley. I had failed spectacularly. But I’m a headstrong sort, and not much prone to heeding advice. It’s the kind of personality that either does very well or very badly, depending on the circumstances.
I wasn't the only one set on this vision either. Seth and Claire, two friends from South Africa, had recently flown in to join me in the venture. They were fellow teachers and yogis, and as such we seemed to be a dream-team; a fantastic, three-pronged super-group. We had been planning our centre for months, right down to the size of the gong at the entrance.
Spring was damp and cool that year, summer late in coming. The winter grass that adorns the steep hills of Turkey’s Mediterranean rolled in thick, green waves. There was still quite a bite to the gusts of sea air blowing in too, and they slapped the cobalt water whipping it into unpredictable shapes. Seth, Claire and I set up a temporary base in the nearby seaside village of Alakir and looked forward to attacking our project. Sometimes, however, life has other plans.
Right from the beginning, it seemed nothing would work out for us. The first setback was that we couldn’t manage to lay our hands on a car. Or motorcycle. Or licenses. So for all intents and purposes, we were grounded, stuck twiddling our thumbs a good half an hour drive from the land. It gave us plenty of time to think. And talk. For reasons no one could quite put their finger on, doubts seeped in between the cracks of our plans. As the weeks groaned by, a vague but unsettling cloud of unease began to spread through our close-knit triangle. I wondered what to do.
Then, without warning a guide appeared. He trotted out from the aphotic depths of the Lycian forests one cold evening in late March. Brian was a hiker. He had the wild look all those who spend too long in the Lycian mountains finally acquire – a look I myself would soon absorb. He could often be found a thousand odd metres above sea level, cooking rogan josh over a campfire with a copy of Heidegger in his back pocket. With his shock of white hair, caustic laugh, and sawing Australian vowels, he was what you might call ‘a character’.
I perched on a beanbag next to the fire. Brian pulled himself closer to the wood-burner. He took sporadic sips out of his mug of tea and held it neatly on his lap when he was done. He narrowed his eyes before imparting his portentous message.
“Well Doll, looks like you need to get yourself tent and spend a night alone on that land. Let the Earth speak to you,” he said.
I rubbed my hands over the stove and nodded. “Of course, let Mother Nature talk to me. Listen to Gaia and all of that.”
Yet inwardly I baulked. Really? Did I have to listen? Couldn’t I just have a fabulous plan, make colourful scribbles in my notebook and get on with it? It seemed so uncomfortable, inconvenient, time consuming; trekking all the way up to the land and freezing my butt off for a night. There was no toilet, no running water. And there were all the possibilities of trouble, too. Wild boar were common in the forests, lascivious locals even more widespread. It would be a night fraught with fear and insomnia, no doubt. Nonetheless, something somewhere in me must have seen some merit in the idea, because a few days later I was scouring the house for a tent. All that I could lay my hands on was a Wendy House, the type small children use for den-making in the back garden.
Beggars can’t be choosers they say. The next day I packed the Wendy House into a small yellow day pack, along with a blanket and a bin-liner. I filled the pockets with dried apricots and nuts, and of course a bottle of water. Off I went. Off to hear my land. The plot was a good fifteen to twenty kilometres from Alakir bay, and I’d set out far too late. The sun was edging past noon as I trotted along the water’s edge, the sea collecting flecks of gold in its wavy pockets.
When I reached the end of the beach, I spotted a tractor approaching. I flagged it down. Hurling my pack into the cement-caked trailer, I climbed in myself. It was a dusty lurching ride, but it got me a good part of the way into the valley.
Two hours of hiking later, I was closing in on the still unfamiliar territory of my land. As I trotted along the dusty track, I passed gaggles of village women squatting on their front steps in their bloomers and headscarves. Some were toothless, many were wrinkled, all wore smiles and hooted their hellos at me. Bolstered by the good feeling, I clambered through the thin boundary of holly trees and pines to get into my square of earth. Ah I was here. On my own turf. I pricked my ears up and did my utmost to listen to what, if anything, that spot of turf was saying. All I heard was a few birds twittering with absurd enthusiasm.
The first question was where to set up camp. I trudged up the slope, while grass stalks, thick and lush, brushed my ankles and calves. I scoured left and right for signs.
“Come on! I’m here. Speak!” I muttered at the undergrowth. Nothing. Just the wind gently rattling the pine needles above.
Soon, I reached a small plateau at the top of the land. Here it was utterly overgrown, hemmed in by an army of barbed thorn bushes. One corner was sheltered by three magnificent old olive trees, their gnarled trunks wrangled into knotty sculptures. I dropped my pack, rubbed my shoulders, and paced about, relishing the feeling of wandering about a piece of the Earth I could call my own. My domain. It’s an incredibly visceral sensation to own land. Frighteningly instinctive. I heard the quiet but unmistakable growl of something primal inside me, and to be honest I didn’t completely approve.
Strolling past the spikes of the thorn bushes, I stopped for a moment. They were far from attractive, their pale green claws splayed in messy clumps. Still, I couldn’t escape the sensation there was more to them. They were natural barbed-wire and as such offered a protection. It was a peculiar circle of safety, and I realised a pig or human would have trouble getting through it. Looking up, I saw the olive trees towering over me, their arms outstretched like old family, or ancestors or something. It was then that I noticed, I was grinning to absolutely no one at all.
I’d found my spot.
It wasn’t difficult to erect the tent. It was made for a seven-year-old, after all. I crawled inside it, but I could neither sit up nor lie down. It was too small. The best I could do was lay flat and let my legs poke out of the flap at the front. I just hoped and prayed no scorpions were prowling, and hoped again that it didn’t rain.
Nature is fascinating when you get into it, though. It looks so dirty and menacing from the smudge-free windows of a city. Yet once you’re in it, you forget all of that, because the earth is speckled with stardust, Green magic spills out from every niche. As the sun drifted over the top of the mountains, I felt excitement rather than dread. The Wendy House, the smell of the grass, the twisting trunks of the trees, the open sky, all of them called back long-forgotten childhood moments in the outdoors, times before a rational education had stuffed reality into meaningless boxes, times when magic had been a living possibility
As twilight moved through the trees, I decided to build a fireplace. Soon enough, I was gazing at blooms of orange sparks flying through the darkness, while munching on those apricots. One by one, the stars pushed through the night sky. I looked about, listening, still waiting for the land to speak. It was then, as I perched on a rock lost in the hypnotic dance of the flames that I heard them. The land. And the Sky.
They were talking.
Atulya K Bingham
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