I woke up this morning in the grey light of early dawn. The wind was howling through the half-open window and the dark shadows of clouds scudded and skidded across the sky. I tried to rub the last remnants of sleep from my eyes while tip-toing through the house like a disembodied spirit. Apart from the voice of the wind, the silence was almost eerie. I wanted to relish the moment, to stretch it out as long as I could in the hope that I would have this magical time to myself. With that uncanny clarity that comes to us during those first few moments of wakefulness, I realised that I’d had a restless night. Without a doubt, it was the wind that was to blame. Sometimes, it lulls me into a deep sleep. But there are those other nights, when it whispers and it calls with a thousand ghostly voices.
We live on the western hills. The back of our house faces the setting sun. Every evening, its ochre-coloured light paints our white-washed walls with the colour of life, before it dips beneath the hills and the world darkens. In ancient times these hills were used as burial sites by the Phoenicians and by the Romans after them. Our ancestors were laid to rest facing the dying sun. In those far-off times, these would have been sacred hills, places of rites of passage, of worship. When we die, we leave our earthly carcass behind, while our spirit soars and walks in the pathways of the stars.
But what of our humanity; our close relationships with our loved ones; our memories accumulated over a lifetime? Do they forever cease to exist? Something tells me that that part of us lingers on. Somewhere, in the world between the worlds, we never cease to exist.
This morning, as the world was starting to awaken from its slumber and the cold golden light of dawn gently lit up the western hills, I wondered whose voices I’d heard on the breath of the wind during the night. With a silent prayer I closed the window and, as darkness fled, I turned to face the coming day.