The clifftop

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.

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