And the wind shifts, and the veil is swept away entirely. Inward from the cliff, the land rises to the top of a low hill. At the summit, a single stone stands like a man, a blank silhouette against the dusky sky.
Just wondering – should I stay longer? It’s cold here on the cliff. The whiteness is enchanting but the danger makes me prickle. I know the edge is very close.
I start to inch back towards the path, but then I’m confused. Which way?
I stop, fearful of taking a step in any direction. The flowing mist suddenly seems hostile. This place is not for me. I feel the fear rise.
Then… a sudden surprise.
The white cloud parts.
And I can see forever.
Depth below me, beyond my understanding; the edge is close at my feet, so close I feel I’m floating in the empty air. There is no flatness about this scene, no sense of a picture in a frame. This is the world in all its solidity and its emptiness, and it is vast.
And then the sea, the floor of the world, just clear enough that I can see the rocks beneath it, the hint of yet more and more depth; and then it is cloaked in silver-blue, sweeping away, away, away to meet the sky.
To the boundary, veiled with the merest haze of blue.
To the islands.
There’s a little passage through the rock. At first it’s dim, just a streak of cloud showing far above my head. But the streak gets closer and wider – I’m climbing up a path of turf alongside a tiny stream, which rattles through a little channel, cut into the rock over ages.
The slope is gentle, but as I climb the brightness increases, until at last my head is level with the cliffs and I can see above.
The clouds cling tight to the clifftops, sweeping silently past, now rags of mist, now a solid wall of whiteness. Through the gaps, I glimpse a plain of turf, sweet with dew and the sound of birds. I walk for a while in the passageway, but it’s opening out, breaking up into mounds and outcrops of rock, so I leave it behind and step out into the cloud.
It’s an ethereal place, uncanny and wild. I can’t walk fast or far, because the cliff edge is near and the clouds surround me, offering only glimpses of the ground. Between those glimpses, I am alone in the whiteness: at my feet, a ring of grey grass, and then nothing. But when the cloud splits, sunlight shafts through it and the wet grass shines like diamonds. The clouds make no sound, but their silence rings in my ears.
What am I hungry for?
The clouds kiss the tops of the cliffs; the air is rich with mist. And I am filled with longing – for what, I’m not sure.
The shadow under the tree is dark now, its leaves too enclosing. I turn my face back to the road – but as I do, I see a cleft in the rocks, a corridor lined with grass and moss, winding back through the cliffs.
And I feel the hunger.
The leaves move against the sky, the soft yellow-green of spring. Their edges loop like a child’s handwriting, the story ever-changing as they meet and cross, lock together and swing free. Between them the silver-bright sky shows in chinks and stars.
For the most part, though, my eyes are filled with green, soft green, sweet green, the many-layered green of the leaves, the vivid green of the grass, the soft green scent of the ferns.
A green place; a soft place; a place of leaves, and the leaves are for healing.