#writephoto: In the lap of the gods

Next WIP started and Sue Vincent has found a photo for her prompt to nudge it along.

Screenshot 2020-07-09 at 17.59.38

She follows with her eyes the sinuous line that hugs the contours of the hill until it disappears out of sight, to fall to the valley beyond. There is a plain, rich and green and on the horizon the march of low hills, blue in the uncertain distance. At her back is the sea; she smells the salt in the wind, feels its buffeting. If she were to turn, she might still be able to see the sail of a small boat, know who sails it, even though he is too far away for her to distinguish any feature. If she were to turn, she might see, if it were not for the tears.

He has gone, looking for the one who will take her place, and all she can do is send him a kindly wind and hope he reaches his goal safely. She wonders if she made a mistake and this place will never be her home. Would she have been happier had she stayed a servant to a brute but in a world she knew and understood? She looks down across the valley the herds of fat cattle, the sheep on the hills. She feels the peace that comes from plenty, from a land wide enough for all, fruitful and prosperous. There is song here and poetry and the children grow straight and tall. She was not wrong to come here. She was just wrong in choosing Caibhán.

She sighs and carries on the path. Beyond the bend she will be able to see the houses, the strangely comforting round houses that echo the sun and moon, the ripples made by raindrops in a pool. She will watch the children running, round and round in their noisy games, the dogs following, and the life of the settlement revolving round and round the seasons, birth, death and the successions of joys and sorrows. She will line her own round nest with comforts against unhappiness and hope in what the turning seasons will bring. One day, perhaps she will become a gull and fly round and round with no more cares than the choice of a fish.

Published by

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.

22 thoughts on “#writephoto: In the lap of the gods”

  1. It sounds like a lovely place. We can never know what might have been, even in the discomfort of the familiar. We can only try to aim ourselves in the right direction. (K)

  2. Of course I don’t know the story, or what will happen, but your words go perfectly with the picture–or as you say, the picture nudged the story along. 😀 I guess we always face paths and make choices.

  3. The photograph and the narrative work practically and meaningfully together. She will be sad in her new home but better than if she had stayed in her former world with a brute. Maybe in adapting she’ll find contentment. I guess according to the lore Caibhán doesn’t return, so it appears that on her own she’ll stay.

    1. There are several endings to this story. As usual, the Christian monks wrote their own versions, usually having Caibhán drowned because of the faithlessness of the wanton woman. The original versions are rather different.

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