It’s been a while.
Dead pines stood as sentinels to firetime, framing the golden blonde moorlands as I approached the burial place of the Ancestors. Warm to the touch, Pikestones held fast in the wavering grasses, the remnant stones of a once majestic barrow. I nodded and offered my greetings, however my journey today was taking me to a more distant place. Pikestones served as my threshold.
I tramped up the clump covered slope, watching my steps as I navigated through the hedgehog grasses and casting the occasional cursory glance at the horizon awaiting the familiar scene. Tiny worlds thrived in the moss gardens around my feet.
Kneeling down, I traced my fingers through the golden spires and green cushions disturbing spiders and springtails out in the midday sun. Spring on the moss at last.
Skylark heralded the appearance of Round Loaf on the skyline, a symmetrical mound who’s history is mystery. Pinning the earth to the sky the lark song flipped a switch deep inside me. The home button. I was back. It’s been a while.
With a spring in my step I joined the skylark with my own serenade to the moors. ‘Mother I feel you under my feet, Mother I feel your heart beat’ I whispered. ‘Mother I feel you under my feet, Mother I hear your heart beat’. Louder this time. My words became a blessing to this land, a full blown gift offered with joy. Skylark looked down, no doubt bemused by my efforts, valiant though they were.
Round Loaf is one of those places that takes a long time to get near. The landscape slips away in the other direction, over ridges and down unseen dips. Pheasant flees, making my heart race. Why do they do that!
Eventually I reach the sodden guard bog that surrounds the mound, a final few hundred metres remain. Wet, squelchy mud that clings around ankles and turns every step into half of one.
I find a pool which reflects the bright blue sky with an inky black answer. Night dark, the surface is kissed by water skaters who make for the edges on my approach. Peering into the peaty scrying mirror I search hard. Touching my fingers to the surface I find my wild twin reaching from the darkness to touch me. It’s been a while.
Round Loaf is now a white crow’s dance away and I pick up my pace, knowing what may await. Pausing at the incline to the mound I utter a few private words of greeting and climb to the top. My bed is there. A natural hollow with a moss sweetened pillow ready and waiting for my contours to rest in. Homecoming. I lie under chasing clouds, listening to their words, seeing the call of curlew wrap itself through the fabric of this old stead.
I reach for my little horse drum, a gift from Nicola. A wild and racy Gypsy cob of ash and horse hide the drum plays effortlessly under my gentle beater touch, his breath ringing out bell-like over the ancient ones. A world away from the baritone thump of many drums, Gypsy Cob drum sings clear like a travelers tambourine.
In this moment he reminds me of the pony of my youth. Flicker was as unruly as they come. Small, muscly and grey as twilight he would buck me off his bareback without a thought and then run me a merry chase around Anglezarke just for the fun of it. This memory pricked my eyes.
Flicker didn’t want to journey me to the spirit of Round Loaf today. No, he took control and wanted to weave a gift of timpani to the place. So I stood, took of my boots and we sang together. His voice galloped across the moors and dove into the realms, rearing and trotting its way to the hearing folk. We danced a blessing to Lover Earth, impervious to the glances of distant walkers.
Libations offered I lay back down and asked what was wanted of me.
This place never called me without a reason. “Welcome back’ I heard. ‘It’s been a while.”
Written by Jason