It is dark here, as it is in all tunnels. The walls and roof are chiselled rock, cold and wet to the touch. Sometimes, I have to crawl . . . the roof is that low. Sometimes.
The floor of the tunnel is dangerously uneven. Rocks have fallen from the roof, and deep puddlesare everywhere. And everywhere there is the trickle and spit-spot of water, and the unending roll of an echo. It is impossible to tell now, what the original sound was, for now it simply wanders from hard surface to hard surface, a network of sound ripples, amplified by the darkness into white noise.
I shuffle through this tunnel on my knees or by sitting cross-legged. These are the safest ways of moving in the dark
I have a mountain to pass through, a mountain that wasn’t here four months ago. Above me are rock faces and ice ledges, eagles and mountain goats. The world up there has its own, different, set of perils.
And then I see it. A tiny speck of light in the blackness. It is so faint that it comes and goes, smudges and sharpens. My retina can’t work out where it is.
This is as far as the metaphor of hope will take me today.
Yesterday, I hobbled out of the house, and, with my trusty Walker I limped slowly along the road to the canal. There I sat down to wait for Elisabeth coming back from the woods with Ruby.
Unfortunately, she had walked in the opposite direction, so the surprise was ruined. Mobile phones reconnected us.
But I had made it to the canal on my own. It’s only 30 yards, but it has opened a tiny chink in the darkness of the pain. This tiny, tiny pinprick of light must be nurtured. I must will the light to be bigger and brighter.
I will get to the woods with Ruby again. Just keep crawling. Grit those teeth and mumble those curses.