Fourteen Steps to Nowhere

Entry Seventeen

An entry not about the crazy girl and her dreams, but an entry of the crazy girl and her crazy life.

It was late September, a few days before my birthday, a few days after the autumnal equinox.  Technology had disappeared before my eyes and been replaced with a more relaxed lifestyle.  People around me spoke a language strange to my ears, but beautiful, dripping off the tongue in song, roaring into the air with joy and sliding into the ears in speech.  The nights were cold while the days were crisp and the ocean was still warm enough that one could see people swimming in it.

I loved to walk along the beaches during the day.  The beach reminded of a body waiting to be caressed.  Everywhere I went on the island I carried a notebook and a pencil.  I remember laying atop that body of sand, stroking the chilled grains, pressing gently against it and making little pictures.  I drew pictures in my notebook of the landscape, every bump and every curve.

I laid down on the beach on my winter coat and stared at the sky and the water.  I wanted to see this beach at night, look out at the lack of lights and study the stars and the moon.  I wanted to nap on that beach, but I didn't in the end.  The city girl in me was too frightened at the prospect of sleeping outside in public, even someplace such as this.

That night, my friend Mara and I decided to take a walk after dinner.  The sun was still up, but gliding toward the ocean slightly.  I remember how the ocean shined.  Roiling waves of silver surrounded the little speck of an island and Galway, only milles away, seemed an eternal journey into a darkening sky.

We lost track of time and didn't realize how hard it would be to find out way back on the island after the sunset.  Both of us we use to the security of streetlamps.  The center of the island, with two or three streetlamps total, was a bright light on the hill above us as we wandered the winding road below us.  The lower half of the island seemed like a wall of mirrors, the only view changing was that in front of us and the behind us.  A labyrinth of walls guided us and the road, built on the island to allow wind to pass through, but to keep the grass and the dirt that had been transplanted from the mainland from blowing into the ocean.  Wild raspberries grew along side the road and occasionally a cow or a donkey stuck its head over the wall to greet us.

As the sun lowered itself into the ocean, Mara and I decided we should turn back.  As we turned, both of us heard a strange high-pitched sound, laughter loud and clear.  Unnerved, we picked up our pace, but kept stopping and reaching out because objects kept appearing in front of us.  As we stop to avoid running into them or tripping, we would hear rustling around us and laughter.  The road seemed endless, winding more than either of us recalled and leading us a different direction than that from which we had come.

We kept looking for the house we had seen earlier in the evening.  It was in process of being built, a landmark against all of the older houses and traditional cottages.  We walked for at least thirty minutes, ten more than we had originally.  Concerned that nothing looked familiar, we turned around.

Eventually, we came to a fork in the road.  I don't know how we missed it previously.  The fork led to the paved road (where we had come from) while we had been on a minor path.  We both breathed a sigh of relief as we got back onto the worn paved road and saw the house coming up.  As we started walking up the hill, the moon started to rise.  Normally I find the moon comforting and a spiritual force, but that night the moon, my goddess, my savior, my guide, came up bloody and shrouded by grey clouds.

Mara and I watched the moon rising and I could almost feel something physically at my back.  I dared not turn around and when the house came into sight both mara and I broke into a run, heading for the open and lighted door.  Inside, the feeling of the wild suffocation of the night ebbed away while the warmth of tea and biscuits calmed us.

I don't know whether to count myself lucky or not, blessed or cursed in having this experience.  Blessing, curse, good omen or bad, this event has forever changed my life and my beliefs.

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