WALKING THE HILLS by Barry Lee Thompson,
award winning writer of Short Fiction
Night coats the world in stillness. We walk until a solitary place is found where thoughts can be given weight. We consider in silence. Our ideas reach out. A gentle
spinning begins, and, despite an accelerating complexity, sleep comes quickly.
A dream, of two cities connected by a tunnel, but not a physical tunnel, rather an opening in each place, penetrating into accumulated layers of time, cutting deep through
shared spaces, exposing experiences. The cities and the connective space is layers. Layered so each element is pressed or held within. Listen: from beyond come faint echoes, the churning industry of life and water and land and its scapes, creating new layers.
And here, where we are, is not enclosed but open to everything, yet it feels like a chamber because of the quiet and because of something else. Moving through this space called a tunnel we become captivated by its vastness. We glimpse the past, the future.
But despite the scale, it’s carefree, this journey, this moving through place and space and time. Memory can be like this, sometimes, when an outcome is known, definite, resolved, or when it’s simply felt or intuited. We move through, and we collect
as we go along, because it’s only natural to want a souvenir. The collector takes, but nothing is owned, all is borrowed. Sentiment is the only thing retained every time, the only thing really worthy of salvage, for it’s a word for feeling.
Waking now. There has been a dream, that’s certain. But the clock ticks and there’s a falling away to the point of disappearance, so that the remembering itself becomes dreamlike. There are remnants, clues: sensory echoes, a feeling of openness,
of places joined, of a shared history and future, but that’s all that’s remaining. We stay still, attempt to capture the detail. Softly, quietly, we creep towards it. There it is. Make a grab. But no, it recedes further, further. It’s brought
out of reach. It’s like a butterfly, elusive like a butterfly. This is all butterflies, everything is butterflies, fluttering their precious and flimsy and beautiful wings, beating to a rhythm that’s known only to them. But because something can’t
be held doesn’t make it any less. We know from past experience that a dream not captured may never return. The most we can wish for is that the same might be dreamed again, or that the dream will, at some time and in some way, be expressed in wakeful