Friday, 22 November 2019

Cold mountains, hot deserts


Cold on a mountaintop


I spent a lively day this week in Our Lady and St Edwards Primary School in Birkenhead. We shared stories: Hiram Bingham and Machu Piccku ran alongside ancient stories of giants and the beautiful mountain sisters of Kintail with their dresses of green and winter cloaks of white. After stories from me,  our young artists and storytellers plunged into a world of extremes. We were writing about deserts and - or - mountains. There were discussions about camels, of when to walk across the hot sands of a wind-blown desert and whether the ancient goddess Sekhmet stands in the centre of every  whirling dust-devil. The red sands of Autralia might have been the blood-coloured beer that lured Sekhmet to sleep. Mountains like dragons. Mountains to fear, to wonder over. Mountains to climb and slide down.....


Mountains called up many feelings and the following grew out of a quick discussion….

This wind is bitter, cold on this freezing, beautiful, snow-covered mountaintop

I am so high up now, I am proud but exhausted, too, and anxious. The height overwhelms me when I look down, and down, and down. Going down goes on forever. And I am frozen, petrified by the knowledge that I need to climb all that way down. Why didn’t I pack a parachute?

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