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The Lost Man

Author: Alison Bell
Year: Future

There is a queer corner of recollection, of vision, up here where the blown, bleached grass throws back the early sun. I am up the Cairn, hearing the lark song high and dizzy above me and around me like I’m swimming in the sound of it and I see the man. Yes, the lost man, not in his real person you understand but it’s him right enough. He treads with no lightness, no intention, with little heed for bog or burn or the gorse bushes tearing at his clothes and up to the knees in glaur. I can see the lost man through the hill…aye through the solid bones of it, but like you’d see through mist. It’s not easy for me, not sure at the first if it was a tree or a stone or just an old tired body with no sense of the world and how it is this while. The what or the why or the how we are to live with the thing that’s about us and dividing us now, in the air itself...Think of a dog that’s afraid and is running, running, without care for where, just moving, moving. He’s down on his hands, staggering up again now and wiping his face but how many more times will he manage that and keep going? No, I’m saying I can’t tell you where he’s heading, he doesn’t know himself, how should I see all that? Well, that’s your lost man and if he gets to the falls before you reach him then he’ll be finished with all of this. You’ll need to shift yourselves. No, no. Ask me instead about birdsong, or the happiness of children.