The memories I have from my early years are vague. Father Time stole them from me long ago.
There is, however, a memory that remains firm within my grey matter; it is a remarkable event that must of happened when I was a wee ginger haired stripling of a lass, not more than five or six years of age. All the more singular an event to have remained with me these 1700 years. That memory is of the first time that I can recall taking flight.
My mother had peeled a coarse woven dress from my body to wash, leaving me as well dressed as the day I entered the world, plus dirt. We were inside our wee bothey, nought more than a thatch covered rude circular stone hut really, and I had been jumping from a block of roughly cut wood beside the fire onto the dirt and bulrush/straw covered floor, only to find that I did not land with a fun filled thud. Rather, I continued to rise steadily forward and upward into the highest point within the cottage, directly beneath the central part of the thatch. This was accompanied by an in-flight sound, just like one made as a child after pursing your lips, and blowing through them. On completion of the lip vibrations, you are left with a mild tickling sensation on the lips and a sound known to cause raptures of laughter among children the world over, the modern description of the same would be to call it ‘a raspberry’. A sound something along the lines of “pffffffffffffffffffffttttttt”; it makes you want to laugh if you get it right, and smile if you manage to get half way there.
So, with said “pffffft” like sound going on somewhere behind me, a gentle breeze in my face, and a stronger one from somewhere around my back, it was the most wonderful moment in my short life. I had begun to fly.
Sadly a ruckus below was beginning to crank itself up.
With malnourished strength, my father whirled a heavy wooden bucketish object, catching me a glancing blow along the left side of my head with its splintering upper edge. Concussed and giggling I tenderly lifted myself from the floor, in the same movement I stretched my arm behind my back and felt it. One of a matched set. Feathers under my young fingers, smooth and silky. When I drew out my wing I discovered it to be slightly longer than the length of my outstretched arm. Mystified, I repeated the process with its partner. On closer examination, I found noted my feathers were almost identical to those of the birds that were later to be called ‘Eider Ducks’. The very same that I regularly chased with utter glee from the wee loch, and also from a craggy beach near our village. I was utterly elated at my find, and screamed my delight to my parents.
Bitter horror followed almost immediately. My wings, my beautiful milk chocolate brown wings dissolved into my back. Gone. Completely and utterly gone, and my heart of hearts broke, as did the hearts of my parents, although for reasons poles apart.
To be continued.
Click the picture up yonder! Or else! Actually, what you will, should, encounter is RPS (who are seriously groovy) ripping up ‘Lady Marmalade.’
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