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First Chapters
September Issue

David Rutherford
...the treasure I seek lies not beyond the horizon but tantalizing within sight ...

Long wispy vapour trails stretch across the sky above, remembrances of planes on their way who knows where, days drift pass by in much the same way.

It’s been a while since I first stood here, atop the hedgerow that marks the boundary between the garden of my childhood home and the fields that gently climb up the hill. The hedgerow from which I would dream what life could be. Looking south out to sea I would cast off my land locked life and dream of great ocean adventures. Turn west and gaze over the valley to the downs beyond and the mind would race with what treasures lie beyond the horizon.

It seems longer since I first stood here and watched as she rode down the lane. She should have kept on riding, instead she stopped, just to say hello, an innocent gesture of an innocent girl, yet the words that passed those sweet lips were as corrupting as the apple passed to Adam. A simple hello stripped my teenage emotions bare and revealed lust to my life. Yet, as I stand here now, staring across the West Penwith Downs that populate the horizon it seems as if the years have slipped past as if days and the memory of her lingers with me as if it were only yesterday.

Watching as the last moments of daylight makes its inevitable surrender to the dark of night. The dusk sky ablaze with colour as if heaven itself was on fire, stunning even the birds into silence. It is a scene of utter tranquility and quite devastating beauty, punctuated only by distant toll of church bells calling the faithful to evensong.

Watching a sunset is to watch two restless souls briefly entwine, like lovers who have found a place in time to co-exist. So wrapped in the moment, they are oblivious to their own inhibitions, their brief moment of rapture bare for all to see, before darkness draws its veil and modesty is regained. I observe this ritual because it is in the brief space between the days and nights beginning that I find myself closer to her. My unrequited heart drawing comfort that even the day can momentarily allow itself to be caught and seduced by its eternal pursuer the night.

A moment of melancholy descends with the growing darkness that has enveloped the valley that linked me to the horizon. Stars begin to slowly appear above me, like popcorn in the pan, one by one then with increased rapidity as the darkness intensifies. Perhaps the Verve were right, ‘a bittersweet symphony this life’, for somewhere down in the valley lies loves lost dream, I am the night, she is my day, but we co-exist in a world devoid of sunset. My hedgerow has grown corrupt, my dreams of great ocean adventures and what treasures lie beyond the horizon, redundant. All the mountains have been climbed, all the seas crossed, leaving only pointless adventure. For the treasure I seek lies not beyond the horizon but tantalizing within sight and all I want is the day when her shadow walks within mine; touched by the chill breath of night, with only my moon shadow for company.

I lower my head to the horizon. Below me now the shimmering lights emanating from the houses that randomly litter the downs,as if an earthly firmament had appeared to rival the heavens above and mouth three times, as if renewing a vow, let it be.


© David Rutherford October 2001

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