#writephoto: The stones remember

Okay, WIP calls. For Sue’s Thursday Photo prompt.

Screen Shot 2020-02-06 at 16.06.53

The beck still flows as it has always done, quieter now that the mill has gone, quieter now that the ghosts have gone, but the water that is always different and always the same remembers. The stones remember and the wind and the great- great- great- grandchildren of the crows remember, the trees that bend, bowed but not broken, on the rocky hillside all know the story and will never forget.

Hawisa watches over this melancholy place and soothes the chattering bones. I have seen her face in the running water, strong, solemn and wise, and at night, those who dare, whose consciences are clear can see her weaving her dance of flame among the russet leaves of autumn, leading fox and deer and weasel and redbreast to the place where it all began and ended.

The beck still flows about the foot of the stone, and the February dance wreathes its mossy bulk in flames. Hawisa, wise and silent as stone opens her hand. Will she let it go, the soul that writhes in her palm?

She contemplates the mouth that opens and closes, still demanding even after all these years, and her fingers close about it again, stifling its piping. The bones cease their chattering clattering and lie still. The crows take up the clatter in their voices and their wings and fly. The russet creatures slip away until only I am left to see the woman stone turn her face to the town in the valley and say a silent, no.

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Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

25 thoughts on “#writephoto: The stones remember”

      1. Thanks for that, Sue.
        I’ve been out of it for so long I wouldn’t know how they speak in Birstall now, but listening to voices on the radio, I’d say most people in UK speak a homogenous mid-Atlantic with few regional idioms and even less dialect expressions. Sad when you think that coming from the north doesn’t have the stigma it had thirty forty years ago.

      2. Anything but received pronunciation was despised until quite recently, as if a language can be reduced to pronunciation! Now the English that I hear has all the history sucked out of it. It’s ugly and placeless and it isn’t even rich in its vocabulary. Tragic waste of a language.

  1. It’s a beautiful and melancholy story about the woman who said no to the town, not to nature or her own.

    I agree. It’s small, but beck is a terrific word (and place) to use.

    1. Without knowing who the woman is, or what her significance is in this story (it’s just a scrap of it) you’ve heard an echo of what it’s all about.

      Bekkr Old Norse for a stream. Yorkshire dialect is full of Viking words and locutions.

  2. I agree that beck is a wonderful word. And it is perfect here. I love how the stones, trees, etc, remember (of course they do). It seems Sue’s photo has worked it’s usual magic. 🙂

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