Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Return

The wind toyed with her hair as they motored along, windows wide open to absorb as much of the warm fresh air as possible. The engine hummed happily, bubbling with its own excitement at the prospect of adventure on the open road. She lent forward and changed the radio station, searching for a song that would reflect their mood. After rumbling through static and broadcasts in French, she stopped, the song was by Snow Patrol, its gentle melody and lyrics bringing waves of nostalgia. Looking around her, she saw the smiles on the faces of those that she held dear, a calm, contented satisfaction mingled with an anticipation of adventure. The mood was perfect. Reaching over she touched his knee. He responded, placing his hand on hers and looked into her eyes with his lips forming a wide smile. His eyes saw deep into hers, and seemed to open her soul. At the same time, his own appeared to open, and for that moment of time they were intrinsically interlinked, mind, touch and spirit spiralling in a dance of desire, passion and love. Together they looked forward through the windshield at the long straight road ahead. In the distance, mountains sprung from the earth, tree covered, green and welcoming. Nature had called them from the city, and they were answering that call. A primeval yearning to belong to the elements, and entrust the ebb and flow of life to them. Earth to sleep on, the air their ceiling, water to wash and swim in, fire for warmth, security and to cook with. They had prepared for this time, organising the family and gathering the provisions for the days ahead. Now they were on their way, kilometres had been covered, villages passed by them and disappeared in the distance while new landscapes contantly shaped, formed and grew ahead of them. Views that stole breath, and impressed images of bliss upon the mind. The children sat quietly in the back, watching the world pass by outside the windows, transfixed by the visions. Music and mood, the sensory calm and gentle rhythm of the motor combining hypnotically. They were smiling. Without words they let the road pass them by, curiously looking at each inlet, each cluster of farms and houses, signs of life.

The flamingo hanging from the mirror swayed as if dancing when small potholes momentarily bumped the steady wheels. The sun blessing the occupants with steady warmth as they continued, miandering along into the high ground. The map had been discarded long ago, now they were heading northwards, to a destination that they had only seen in dreams, a name that they had mentioned in hushed reverant voices - their Eden. Each of them had seen the place in their sleep, they had touched the cool running water and felt the warm, smooth texture of the earth between their fingertips. They had explored every part of the lake, touched every tree and absorbed the beauty of every flower. With each passing moment, they knew they were getting closer, as if the vehicle was driving itself, bringing them home. They could feel the pulse of life, a pulse weak and barely present when they were in the steady rush of the city, but that had been growing stronger over the days, beating with a comfort that drew them onwards. Not far to go.

The traffic on the road diminished, and they were soon the only vehicle to be seen. The sun cast the box like shadow across the grey worn surface. The sound of the engines approach picked up by the keen ears of the animals hiding in the trees out of view. They picked up a scent, a sensation of change. Cautiously, some of them approached the road to get a glimpse of the travellers, to match instinct with sight. As the vehicle passed them by, the animals watched them with curiosity. After generations, after many lost years, the travellers had found their way, and were coming home once again.

The road texture changed as they slowed down, and turned off to the east. A thin winding gravel road interspersed with grasses and wild flowers, the track long overgrown, overtaken and hidden by nature from casual passers by. The mood inside the van became more focused, more alert. Eagerly they looked at their surroundings, recognising the trees, the shrubs, the way the wind whispered through the long grass outside the windows. Above the low rhythym of the engine, insects could be heard chattering and singing, pausing in their performance while the van passed them by. The van slowed as it neared the final bend of the long journey, turning and twisting downwards to then open into an expanse of space felt as though it was welcoming them with arms wide open. The trees parted, the grasses flowed, the sun shone through leaves and cascaded light into their eyes as they glimpsed their destination in front of them.

He brought the vehicle to a slow stop and then turned off the engine. For a moment none of the occupants moved, silently grateful to have arrived, to feel the warm sense of belonging, of returning to the place that until now had only been in their dreams. The light was abundant, bright and warm, casting the shadows of trunks and branches across the baked earth that awaited their footsteps. The creatures chorus rose to a crescendo, welcoming them after so long an absence. Water glistened from the pool and the trickle of the stream bubbled over smooth shiny stones. The earth greeted them with an embrace of spirit. One by one, the occupants opened the doors, still silent, but each with a warmth and bond to each other and their place. This was the earth that they would nourish as the earth would nourish them. This was where they belonged, this was home.

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