28th February 2013
1st March 2014
I slid across the leather seats as the car swung around the obstacles on the track; pulled forwards and pushed back as the steep slopes were tackled. The headlights carved tunnels of green from the forest, the keys rattled against themselves and the steering column, the windscreen wipers rubbed the glass in wide sweeps. Levelling out at the plateau on the summit, a sudden gift, offered then instantly withdrawn: a gaunt wolf’s yellow eyes in our beams. Hard cold gusts of rain-filled wind; the cloud ceiling below us flashed by lightning strikes as inverted trees; our torches on the shrine.
23rd August 2016
We had begun to imagine that these summits were spell-bound; had begun to see deep snow, biting rain, those lightning trees, too-steep slopes and too-narrow ridges as barriers patrolled by such sentinels as blood-thick ticks, palm-sized spiders and lunging sheepdogs with spiked collars who barked hoarse to keep us from the peaks. The augurs this morning could be read in early downpours, a chill that had no place in a Southern Italian summer, wrong turns that lead us astray and low cloud that held the heights, yet we did break through, sitting exhausted by the trig point, cairn and shrines.
Part of The Learned Pig’s Wolf Crossing editorial season, spring/summer 2017.