Amongst the Mountains

By Kevin Power

Do you believe in God, Domhnall? Doctor McKenna asked, raising his glass to his lips and observing him over the brim.

Domhnall was silent for a moment. In the fireplace beside them, logs split and spat embers against the guard. Domhnall remembered the lightning in the sky on that night; the Mairín Rua adrift in the Atlantic, at the mercy of the waves. He admired the doctor’s research a great deal, and he wanted this meeting to go well, but he felt that it was important he told the truth, regardless of the consequences.

I believe there is a God, Doctor McKenna. Although, probably not the same one as you do. 

Oh? Doctor McKenna sat back in his armchair, and with a small gesture indicated that Domhnall should continue.

Well, I won’t deny 3.8 billion years of evolution, no sir. But something was there, surely, in the beginning, to test a dream and watch it become true. How else could life have started from nothing, if not nurtured in the palm of a hand?

Domhnall realised he was grinning and corrected his demeanour to be professional. He turned his head to the fire and his eyes glistened, reflecting the flames.

The eons would not have been kind to it, however. Time would have turned it to stone long ago, as it does with all things, with enough persistence. Its skin became cracked and crystalline, pressed of all fluid. Its body was folded and faulted and burned in the Earth, on a hundred occasions or more. The rain and the wind wore it further, down to just a carving of its former stature, and yet it stands now amongst the mountains as an equal. 

Domhnall paused, remembering the storm. His hands slipping as he grasped at the taffrail, the Mairín Rua pitching wildly, nearly capsizing, but he was not afraid, fixated upon the giant. He continued softly;

Now moss and vines have sewn its eyes shut to the light, but it wanders still on violent nights. Waves smash against its shins, angry to be interrupted long before the shore. Thunder claps and it disappears beneath the surface. I… I can hear it still.

Doctor McKenna studied Domhnall, fingers playing over his chin, scratching through his beard. Domhnall feared he had gone too far, that he would appear mad, but the answer seemed to please the doctor after some consideration. Shadows danced across his face in the flickering firelight, revealing a knowing smile.

So you’ve seen the Stoneman, he said.

Irish ex-pat living in Edinburgh. Graduate geologist and wannabe author, usually writing something geological to put the degree to use.


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