The Fell Walker’s Guide To Eternity, by Andy Carling
Second paragraph of third chapter:
So, it was something of a shock walking along one cold wintery night when I saw a figure in the moonlight heading towards me. The fells are a lonely place on a windless night like this. It’s hard to judge distance and, enveloped in the dark, with the Moon weaving between the clouds, the sound of boots over icy rocks filled me with dread. The footsteps grew ever nearer, the silhouette of what approached grew bigger. I saw the looming figure appeared to be holding something, but what made me take notice was that this apparition seemed somehow out of place, not quite fitting into the world. Crunch, crunch, they came closer I could see it was a man wearing very dark clothes, rather like an oilskin jacket. He had a stoic and weatherbeaten face edged with matted black hair and short beard.
Andy Carling was one of the best people I knew in Brussels until he decided to move back to his beloved Lake District two years ago. I read his short story a couple of months ago, and seeing the author once more this weekend reminded me that I have not yet written it up here. It is a nice compact story told by a spirit of the fells, navigating between human society and the physical geography of the Cumbrian landscape to come to acceptance of one's place in the universe. It ends:
...after wandering on the fells and through the ages I know that I will be here in this ever changing beauty for eternity.
It just won’t be long enough.
Somehow it never is long enough, is it? Thank you, Andy.