Amber light streamed down from the arched windows, splattering the altar and their upturned faces. The congregation, choir, organist and vicar all remained seated as the earthquake rocked the church.
The stone floor, walls, pillars and the stained glass in the windows shook. Candle stands toppled and the people closest reached out to grip the still burning candles. Vases of flowers tipped too and people moved out of the way. The vicar and members of the choir collected the Holy Communion things off the altar. The church bell began ringing by itself.
The choir master started up a hymn. Other voices joined in, mingling with those who were saying prayers aloud. The vicar joined in the song, his voice drowning out everyone else, until the organist began playing the hundred year old organ and those booming notes covered everything but the rumbling of the earthquake.
Dust fell from the high wooden beams and stone roof. The sound of things falling echoed then the vibrations stopped and the rumbling faded. People opened their eyes and looked around. The church was still intact, they had survived.
Out here there was nothing but peace. There were no stresses because nature had nothing to worry about. She just got on with things, like She had for centuries. I envied that.
Hiking had become my only escape, everything else -books, TV, therapy -had stopped working. I worried though, that soon enough I’d loss this too and that was heavy on my mind.
Trekking up the hill to the noisy waterfall, I let all that go. A drizzle rain was falling, making the rocks and plants slick. I had to watch my footing and not look around as much. The chilly air was causing my lungs to burn. I took that feeling and forced it to push everything else away as I climbed.
I reached the blockage of tumbled rocks that marked the foot of the waterfall and stop. The loudness of the rushing water was enough to block close by bird song. Finding a place to stand in-between the mossy, wet stones, I reached out into the waterfall and cupped water. It was a cold shock! I drink from my hands, feeling like ice was traveling inside me.
The meadows stretched for miles and miles. Not many people came by, sometimes a farmer or a lost hiker, but they never saw the headstone standing alone on the little hill before the leafy woods.
Birds soared above, sometimes landing on the headstone that marked the life of someone now long forgotten. Other animals also came, they sniffed the stone and moved on. Nature grew moss and grass across the stone, protecting it from the rain and snow.
And the ghost whom the gravestone belongs to drifts evermore, silently haunting, waiting to be released.
The small river weaved it’s way around the banks and trees just as it always did. The soft, tinkling sounds the water made as it traveled over rocks and fallen branches was the constant background music to the woods.
The wind made itself know; shaking the newly flourishing branches, roughing up the young flowers and grass. The noises echoing, falling and raising again in an almost pattern like way. The wind blew across the surface of the river but it knew better then to mess with the water, for water is more powerful.
Shy animals scampered or fluttered about; birds in bushes, squirrels in trees, butterflies on flowers and rabbits nibbling grass outside their burrows. All could just be glimpsed if in the right place at the right time. They were heard far more then they were seen though.
I, the ancient but still mighty oak which all this around me, adding it to my fountain of knowledge. I towered over all the other trees; giving shelter to the saplings, home to many animals and a king to this patch of woodland. We were protected because man said I was over two hundred years old and must not be cut down.
With man doing their job, I was left alone to do mine.
The small mining town had been built by hard working men for themselves and their families. Prosperity filled the buildings, laughter filled the streets and everything was just like any other town for many years. Then the coal and money began to run out, forcing people to find work else where and leave their homes.
With time, all the buildings become empty. For years, they sat alone until explorers came to see them. The new people found things pretty much as they had been left, as if the owners had just gone on holiday. Though, it was clear those people were never coming back.
The explorers’ photos and word of mouth spread and more people came to view the abandoned town. Things long untouched gotten taken, people left their different marks and the buildings deteriorated further. That though just made interested parties visit more often but they too added to the destruction.
At last, the ghost town crumbled and nature reclaimed the land. Visitors stopped coming and what little reminded of the buildings was left alone. And where once a happy, working town had stood there become nothing but the passage of time.
The Druid tree stood bare in a forest full of green. Only when a person of nature magic touched the empty soil at the base would the tree awaken. The branches would fill with green leaves and pink blooms then the trunk would open, revealing the secret grove of the Druids.
Merry Christmas! I handmade this present for you. I know it’s not much and not fancy, but it was the best I could do all the way out here! It’s actually filled many evenings by the fire as the snow falls against the windows. It’s all natural things I’ve found whilst working, even the paint I mixed myself!
Hopefully, I’ll be home next year and we can celebrate as a family should.