You stand before me, just as others have done, staring up at my magnificence!
Are you in awe? Do you feel fear?
How small you are! How insignificant! Standing in line, surrounding me. You are just one in many that have come into my presence.
What right have you to judge me?
Curiosity brought you here. What is it that they’ve told you about me? What is it that you think you know? Some call me Witch! I am the soaring heights and the depths below. I am earth. I am essence. And you? What are you?
Can you feel that? It is the cool wind that has shaped my form. See how it furrows the grass and tosses the branches of the trees. Do you fear it? It is but a small show today, dancing its way over the hills, gently drawing the clouds through the blue strip of sky that hangs over you. It’s playing with you, lulling you, rocking you in its soft, gentle arms. Would you have even spared it a thought unless I’d asked?
Beware those arms! They will pick you up and toss you aside. They will pin you down and roar over you as you tremble, as you crumble! You have not felt its power as I have, standing here, exposed! You could have no concept, no idea, to be torn, ravaged with no means of escape. And you? What do you feel?
If you touch me, am I rough under your soft fingers? Do the sharp crystals at my back that glisten and dance, catch and score your skin? See how soft nature clings to me, clothes me as it lays itself flat across the broad stone of my being. If you lay your hands on me, does a cold start to seep and ooze into your palms? Is that what you feel? Is that all you feel? How numb your life must be!
You are not the first to caress my form. Do the contours of my surface please you? Others have lain their hands on my sides. Some seeking reverence, all seeking to possess. Ha! Possess? Me? Look closely. Can you see the marks they left? They thought to claim Me! Their crude incisions barely scratched my surface. If only they knew what lay beneath! They could not begin to imagine! Touch them! I dare you! What is it you hope to reveal? A story? A connection? It will not lead you to the men they were. For that is all they were! Men.
Tell me, I’m curious. Who are you looking for in the past of mankind? What message do you hope to decipher? I can tell you this – the marks they left upon me were not for you. It matters not that you have found them, or found what remains of them. Time has carried many of them away, both mark and man, though the latter still lie prostrate in the ground before me, ever hopeful; their foolishness pleases me.
Some marks were carved for love. Some for hope. Most were left for ignorance. I see that nothing has changed! Look! There! What things are these that are left behind, discarded at my feet, scattered before me? The trifling detritus of your human lives, petty trinkets from your modern age. What value do your coins and baubles have for me? What use have I for such … inconsequence? They think I care! Cover me with the blood of your fealty, sacrifice your being, offer up your soul!
Lift your head and look behind me. Do you truly see? Ah, but am I not the fool to ask it? Look, look! Isn’t he magnificent! The High Chair, there! How he dominates the horizon! I wonder if you are capable of comprehending the time he has stood in my wake? A few steps behind, watching, guarding. The heart of him bowed by the weight of his responsibility. He is strength. He is power. He is mine to command! Such presence, high above the landscape. Silent, brooding. Such loyalty. Such depth. You name him Mountain, “Blencathra”, my brother, my ancient seat. We are earth, we are essence, but I, I am all.
You are shivering! Was it something I said? I care not! Your foolish need for hope, for comfort, it is feeble, it is weak! I am the approaching storm, I am the ravenger of time! And you? What are you?
Am I not well attended as I stand here with my acolytes? Are they not beautiful, my daughters? How they dance, how they dip and twirl. No man can count them, though many have tried. I have no fear that you will succeed! Here before me in their rightful places, each unique, each reverent, each silent in their worship as they gaze upon me, Creator! They watch, they are witness as Sun and Moon rise and set before me. Think you that I was placed here for them? Fool! It is they that seek me, turning circles, dancing with my daughters, warming me in winter, shedding light over the darkness of the nights as I stand, still stand, as you find me…as all have found me.
Are you of those whose thoughts lie higher in the universe? Do you seek, like those before, a higher mind, a celestial being? Turn your face from the stars, for it is not there you should survey! Look to the earth, look to the rocks beneath. Behold! Here still I stand!
Men will say they formed me, cut me from my cradle and placed me here for their purpose, a long stone among many. They named me in their ignorance and called me Witch in their fear. Kings and Sages have stood before me. I, the compass of their existence. The once jagged turns of my form, their gauges, their guides to navigate the turmoil of their world as they tried to shape it within the confines of their limited understanding. Ah, the days of sacrifice and fear! All that I gave, all that I am, and man still will not believe! Blind!
Yet here you stand before me, whispering the dreams of your heart, the agitations of your soul. Another will come after you, the same questions, the same ignorance, the same hope, the same fears. If it’s knowledge you seek, I cannot help you. Why would I waste my breath? You would not listen! You would not know what is it that I’m saying! You could not comprehend!
You think you hear me? Step closer, I dare you! Lay your ear to my side, close your eyes, let go as I whisper. Listen!
I am earth, I am essence. I am.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:
Long Meg is a monolith that stands with a stone circle, known as her daughters, in Cumbria, UK. Bronze Age in origin, one of the most famous legends about Meg and the circle is that they were a coven of witches that were turned into stone by a wizard. Others state that it is impossible to count the same number of stones twice and if you walk around the circle and then put your ear against Long Meg, you will hear her whisper!
The soundtrack accompanying Long Meg was composed specifically for the story. Right at the start of the story, the listener will hear the sound of fingers being drawn across Long Meg herself. This sound is heard three times during the story, the final time being right at the end. Long Meg’s scraping sound file is also used as an ‘impulse response’, creating a reverb that is used on percussion instruments throughout the work. This means that Long Meg is actually a part of her own story. Synthesisers, samplers and ‘live’ recorded instruments were all used in the creation of the music.
Kate Aranda Nye is a British writer of short stories and poetry. Growing up in Gloucestershire (UK) with her two brothers and an array of pets, she was often found in a comfy corner with her head in a book, and would now describe reading as one of her greatest pleasures. After achieving a degree in English Literature, she spent many years living and working in France and Spain before returning to the UK with her family, and is now settled in the beautiful Lake District in the north west of the country. Much of her work is inspired by the landscapes around her. She often collaborates with her older brother, the composer Richard Nye to produce scored audio versions of her stories and poetry. Her work has appeared in "Writers' Forum" magazine (UK) - "Jenny Hyde" from the "Wolfe Lake" series of short stories - and she has collaborated on winning entries for "15 Minutes of Fame" and the "Kernow Awards" with her poems "John Marrack" and "The Bal Maiden". Most recently her short story "The Corpse Road" was the winning entry in a Christmas Ghost story competition, the audio version of which was published on Facebook.