My home, and more precisely, the rear window that encompassed a third of my writing studio, looked out upon a wall of rock. Most people would’ve found it a tedious view at best. This was not the case with me. I enjoyed nothing better than to sit tapping away upon my keyboard whilst casting occasional glances to the mountain’s base. I loved the way the light played across its marbleised exterior, variants of grey marking the passage of the day. By the time I was ready to pack my laptop away, I would be faced with an imposing wall of obsidian mimicking rock. Beautiful in an immobile sort of way.
The mountain was far too high and much too an acute angle for me to see the top, in fact, I was fortunate that it was north of my position and therefore cast no shadow. That’s why I was shocked when it did. A large section of the rock face turned black in the middle of the day for no apparent reason whatsoever. I was so surprised, I even rubbed my eyes twice like a cartoon character or a child who’d had a bad night. However, there was no denying the facts, the mountain had changed.
Thinking it some bizarre natural phenomena, I went to do what all good Englishmen should, make a cup of tea. When I returned the black had gone replaced by blue; water seeped through the very rock. In trails of cascading cerulean, the mountain wept. Wept! I hear you cry. Yes, wept. For as I strained my neck to gaze to the water’s source, I clearly saw two bushes growing where there’d been none like great bushy eyebrows, from beneath which poured the streams. Above said bushes were dry as was to either side. The mountain wept, and that was that.
I reported the abnormality to the Environment Agency not because I was superstitious or frightened but just in case enough water spilled from the thing to flood my lower floors. You see, even a fantasy writer can be practical where insurance is involved. However, by the time they arrived the very next day, the mountain had ceased its outpourings and had returned to the same veined rock it always was.
“Must be an aquifer,” said the knowledgeable man in his white overalls and clipboard. “These things happen if a mountain stores enough rainwater inside. Sometimes, they literally burst.”
I accepted his explanation with smiled apologies for having wasted his time, but declined to mention the eyebrow bushes had also disappeared.
“Anyhow,” he said after finishing his third cut of tea, “they’re levelling it all soon for the new motorway.”
“What?” said I, having heard not a word of it.
“It’s been in all the news,” he added.
It wasn’t until he’d gone that I wondered just how long I’d been staring at the mountain? How I’d written three volumes when I’d thought to only have written three pages? Had time moved for me as it did geology? Had I become one with the natural world? All very strange!
As I sat there that evening mulling over the hows and whys for the umpteenth time, I distilled them all down to two salient queries: Could a mountain cry and wouldn’t I if millennia of life was to be ended?
I left my home before the dynamiting. I had to. Wouldn’t you?