Swept Along

A storm came and left the hedges ragged and slit. Its hot breath burned the edges of leaves. Scumbled clouds cast grey marbled light on all the broken things. The Pilgrim Woman pulled her scarf tight and walked on.

Then a splash of blue appeared; no more than a puddle’s worth of clear sky. Her eyes widened at that shade. It pooled in her unblinking gaze. Reminded her of the sea and sky blended in the windows of the Lone Chapel.

Did it still stand among the dunes? Had the shape-changing sand swallowed it?

A frond of hair whipped across her lashes. Grey as that old spray-worn oak door. It wasn’t much – the dusty garret upstairs. A neglected place till she came. An unwanted inheritance.

But it had been a kind of home.

She grasped the straps on her rucksack and turned toward the coast. It would not be the same: any more than the sandbanks in the estuary remained as they had been drawn upon the hopeful charts.

And she was different too. Tired of shouting into thronged marketplaces. Tired of voices proclaiming that this was The Way. And having altered her steps, tired of finding that the narrow alleys were stopped by walls too tall to climb. Too many sellers. Too many welcoming faces with fingers outstretched. So little jingled in her purse now.

The clouds thinned. Gusts pinked her cheeks. Her pack might be lighter – but her hoard of stories bulged. Time to share her treaures.

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