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Unto The Hills
Summer Night

HERE it is, then, the wise old mountain that we climbed today, veiled now in the shadows, untouched by the cares of the world. And there, too, is the loch where the prow of our little boat cut a pathway of gold towards the sun -- and the loch, too, is asleep, or dreaming a dream of its own.

Now the witching hour is upon us; the hour of changing patterns on the hills and soft, brittle noises echoing through the dark forest all around; of rustling wings, the restless patter of tiny feet across the heather -- and, over all, the cool, mysterious light of the stars, shining down upon an enchanted world.

And we, too, are somehow part of the enchantment. Did we really live today? Did we sail a boat across the loch, and laugh when the spray surged over our feet? Did we climb a mountain, and fish for trout in the sunlit burns of the glen? Who will believe it, in this atmosphere of magic and moonlight, where the only urge is for poetry and dreams . . . ?

And yet-but a few brief hours, and the mood will be gone. The shadows will lift their robes and depart; the sun will shine again. Or perhaps the rain will be drifting across the moor like a fine silver mist blown upon the morning wind. But, sun or rain, it will be all the same. We'll be climbing the hills again, we two, and singing a fine walking-song -- "The Road to the Isles" will it be? -- or some other vigorous, catchy tune to fit the rhythm of tramping feet. And who knows how many eager voices will be echoing it all around-the voices of the climbers who have gone before . . . ?

For the mountains have long memories, and their days are full of the songs that never die.

ONLY, on nights like this, when the slow blue shadows gather about their feet, and all the peat-brown lochs and tarns shine suddenly forth like pools of silver under the moon -- only then do they draw their veils of silence about them, and become once more the inscrutable guardians of a secret land.

Ben Stack, from Loch More

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