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The Hermit

by Fay Robertson
(North Shields, Tyne and Wear, UK)

I stood at the top of the rise, maglight shining on the smooth worn stones of the path that I'd climbed. It had been a tough, steep climb.

I had had no destination in mind particularly, and the beam of the torch had only illuminated a step or two in front of me.

I'd discovered reserves in me I'd never known I possessed, and confronted fears, and conquered them.

The snake that was caught in the beam - I'd stayed and waited for it to look me in the eye and slither off rather than flee from it. The gossamer tickle of the web I inadvertantly walked through on my climb - after the initial shock of the featherlight fingerlike brushes to my cheeks and forehead, I stood still and waited for my heart to slow, and the realisation of what the touch had actually been, to enter my psyche.

As I stood alone and quiet with my torch raised high, feeling tired, but satisfied, the sky began to lighten with the grey, washed out dawn light and the landscape began to reveal itself. First in greyscale, and soon, as the sun rose above the horizon, colour and detail began to emerge. I turned off my torch, and surveyed the scene.

I notice that below me, in the fold of the valley, among the trees, there is a town, and roads, and cars and I see the stirrings of a brand new day starting. I am settled. At peace. I know that at any time I can head down there and be with people, among people, interacting with people.

For now, well, for now I choose to stay here on the hill in the cool freshness of the morning enjoying my solitude and sense of accomplishment and deep knowing.

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