Sunday, January 20, 2008

Singing to the Dark Hills

While holidaying with my family at the north end of Queen Charlotte Sound, I left our cabin in the bush as dusk was fading to night, and went for a wander along the shore in front of the old white homestead.

I’d seen photos of weddings Furneaux had hosted, the bride walking on her father’s arm past the stone fountain, down the path between the majestic trees on the smooth lawn, and making her eternal sacred vows in front of the shrubby pink roses overlooking the bay.

Dreamily I followed her down to the roses and watched the retreating reflections on the sea as the pale sky turned to shades of deep grey and purple. The silhouette of the hills, smooth and velvety, and the silver lapping water transported me across the world to Celtic isles, rocky shores, misty mountains…

I lifted my voice and sang out across the bay. The lyrics of “The Mists of Islay” were so perfect (view here) seemed I was really on the Scottish isle. I felt like Kiri Te Kanawa singing in a vast natural amphitheatre to a hushed and eager audience. And yet I was also alone, singing to the sky, the hills, and the water, testing the power of my lungs, pouring my soul into song.

I sang again, and other songs, until I became aware of human presence, hovering behind trees to my left. It wasn’t an uncomfortable feeling. Somehow I knew they’d come to listen. I sang on, smiling at the hills.

Somewhere in the middle of “The Impossible Dream”, I was rudely interrupted by the Furneaux dog, a small and indignant creature who apparently disapproved of my pitch. I turned to meet her, still singing, but she yapped more vociferously, so I stopped and humbly apologized. She grumbled and shook her head but scooted off down the beach with two men I assume had let her out when they exited the bar.

I turned back toward the sea, but couldn’t find the curtain back onto my stage. That rude creature spoiled my magic. I didn’t have the heart to sing any more. The invisible audience realized the concert was over and slipped back to their cabins. I meandered down to the deserted jetty to recover…and enjoy the memory of my magical concert to the dark hills.

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