It started with a sleepless night. I was late to bed, as I couldn’t seem to relax. I wandered back downstairs a scant hour and a half after snuggling down with every intention of staying there for a long, leisurely while. I woke, however, and after tossing and turning in frustration gave up and got up. Even Ani, dangling head first off the end of the sofa, merely opened one eye, gave me one of those looks that say, “Yeah, right….” And went back to sleep. I couldn’t blame her.
I couldn’t settle to much, not even research, so ended up cleaning files on the computer… it was that bad…drinking hot milk and listening to the whine of a lone mosquito. I threw in the towel after a couple of hours and went back to bed to try again.
This seemed far more promising… I composed myself and began to drift….
Nebulous images form on the threshold of dream, flitting across the inner screen like vague ghosts, tantalising and intriguing…
Aware, at some level of residual wakefulness that the conscious mind was running the events of the day, the worries and concerns that nestle there, the images created by emotions and reactions, I did not pursue them. It is best, I find, to simply relax and go with the flow. So I let them happen… watched them arise from the mists and fade into nothingness… waiting for that final step over the threshold into slumber…
Some unguessable time later sees me frantically scribbling notes in the black- clad journal that lies beside the bed. It is a dreamcatcher of sorts… deployed in theoretical readiness to crystallise those magnificent thoughts that seem to meander through the mind between sleep and waking. I say ‘theoretical’ as I can seldom rouse myself from that state enough to catch them… and usually find they have dissolved into a sepia mockery of memory while I dangle over the edge of the bed scrabbling hopelessly for the pencil…
Last night, however, the moonlight provided enough illumination for the elusive prey to be pinned in an illegible scrawl to the pristine pages. But that doesn’t seem to matter. Whatever we can translate into words from those ephemeral images seems to become fixed in accessible recall. There was no magnificence… no profound philosophies were revealed, no inspirational lights switched on.
Instead there was the story of a place and a moment in time. It had been haunting me since the weekend. It is one of those high places where you can see for miles in every direction. A place of rowan berries and melted stone, where the sky seems low enough to touch and the past rises from the ground, touching you through the veils of legend across time, space and realities.
It is a place that evokes sadness. The green silence should be simply beautiful and peaceful, yet for some reason it held a deep sorrow and sitting at its centre the past touched the heart with ghostly fingers. Snippets of a story surfaced in response to emotion and were lost to the winds.
Last night the story played out on the screen of images that marks the borderland between waking and dreaming, bringing once again that sense of place. Writing it up this afternoon I could barely see the keyboard for the tears. Yet the words themselves are nothing but words.
Does it have a basis in truth? Certainly it fits within the little known from the archaeology… but there is nothing to say it is factual. Many scenarios would fit and most of the ‘facts’ are speculation. Is it a glimpse beyond time, or simply the attempt of the mind to understand the essence of the place? How can we know? And does it really matter?
It is true that the emotions match the place, true that through them there is a sense of familiarity and kinship with those who walked there thousands of years before… and through their story, glimpsed or imagined, a deeper understanding of human lives, our connection to each other and our roots in the land we walk.
Somehow, I think that matters more than proving the reality of a dream.
Heart of Albion – Stuart France & Sue Vincent