The last days of November passed like ghost ships from the harbour. Loudon, who waited for the last day, poured another coffee laced with whisky from his flask. “The ferryman will be here soon,” he said. He thought about the people in bars and churches. He considered them, sitting around fireplaces, their eyes fixed on sharp flames leaping from the stone hearths. He thought about them in their cabins and cottages, where wood burners greedily eye log piles crammed into inglenooks. Ice stalactites looming down from porch rooftops, starlight glistening off ice islands forming on the lake. Boreas sings in anticipation of that wondrous night. Loudon watched a mist form on the opposite shore. He heard a muffled bell toll and a voice call out: “Hear ye, hear ye, those who wish to cross should make ready!” The voice repeated its instruction three times.
Loudon heard an owl call out from the forest. He heard the sound of a child singing and with the child a choir almost haunting in their praise of the moment. Their voices attenuate into the mist as the oars of the ferryman, plunging into the black liquid that trust alone claims to be water, grows louder by the breath.
“Hear ye, hear ye, those who wish to cross should make ready!” The mast, now clear above the necklace of white fog; the voice, as clear and hollow as the lake itself. Behind Loudon, a crowd. Their minds full of silent thought, hope, memories and dreams, but above all else – faith.
“Where is the moon tonight?” A child’s voice travels as only a whisper in the dead of night can.
“It is there.” A mother answers.
“But where? I can’t see it?”
“It is there nonetheless,” the mother says in such a way as to quieten yet comfort the child.
The boat knuckles against the outstretched arm of the jetty. Loudon slowly moves up the long line of wooden planks. He steps down onto the deck, nodding to the ferryman as he steps off the gangplank. Soon it will be sunrise, he thinks to himself, and smiles a rich, plentiful, peaceful smile.
©DMM #inspirational_photograph By @reikje70