The Wild Hunt

I stand in the silence and wait. Down in the valley farmers are bringing their livestock into waiting barns and fastening the doors tight. Mothers tuck children into bed, pulling the covers a little tighter than usual, leaving a nightlight on in the corner. Stragglers wander home from the pub, pulling up their collars and bowing their heads against the wind.


I am whistling, a low constant breath of sound, like air passing across the top of a bottle. The sound rolls down the hillside, into the valley, and the wind howls its reply.


They have forgotten. They have forgotten who they are. They have forgotten who they are and they will remember. Or they will die. Nature is simple that way.


I am the storm. I bring remembrance.


I stand on the hill facing South and I summon the Wild Hunt. With arms raised to the the sky I call the elements and they respond with a deafening roar. Then comes the rain; great swollen drops start to fall. A shower becomes a downpour becomes a great raging torrent from the pitch black sky.


All down the valley trees are bent double, every sinew and fibre stretched to their limit as the gale blows on. In the village the Post Office shutters crash relentlessly against the window frames as their rusted hooks give way in the maelstrom.


As I turn to the North I can hear the faint thrumming of hoof beats on the wind, their rhythm unmistakeable. I sweep my arms out to the valley and unleash the blizzard's fury. Rain hail and snow beat down on every window as the Tempest rages on. Closer, closer, ever closer comes the Hunt with wild eyed horses and bare toothed hounds. It emerges from the rolling black clouds on the horizon, bearing down on my hill and the valley beyond.


Those awake in the village cannot hear or think or feel, the storm is all consuming as it shrieks and beats at everything in its path. Suddenly the sound changes: horses squealing and blowing, hounds baying, and above it all the clarion sound of a hunting horn.


I watch the Hunt race down the valley and through the village. My arms still flung aloft to the sky I prepare to bring in the storm. Strand by strand I twist, knot, and bind it to me. The shrieking wind is calmed, the rain stops, and the blizzard reduces to a scattered flurry of flakes. It is done.


The next morning I watch from my hill as the village awakes. Gradually, tentatively, people emerge to survey the expected damage, exchanging cautious pleasantries with neighbours. Relief is expressed, but unspoken fear remains. They are waking. They are remembering. I see respect for nature re-emerging and here I stand, ready to remind them whenever they need me.


Katherine Horejsi
May 13 2020

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