on sweeney ridge

Taking the path down from Sweeney Ridge, the wild flowers were sparse daubs of vivid color on the grey canvas of a cool, foggy day. We were tired from a long climb, and happy, because the air smelled sweet and everything around us gave us a sense of physical wellbeing. At once I could see the two of us returning from a day’s work of some physically taxing but skilled, familiar and useful kind, together with a phantom group of comrades suddenly at our sides. We had passed the day out in that sweet air, working with people we had known all our lives, making up work songs to add to the long list of songs we knew by heart, that we or our parents or their parents had created. We felt the bonds that wove us together with one another and everything we saw and touched. It was only possible and yet it was more real than the jet that screamed into view, climbing off the vast concrete airfield below as we descended.

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