Newborn Mountain

Some art inspired by my friend Holly Mead’s new album!

(view more on my Instagram)

A quick little story I wrote about this mystical place:

I was born in the valley below, the youngest of three boys. My father’s name was Julian; my mother’s, Gail. They were a good match for each other—he tall and dark-haired, she small and fair—and they had been married for three years when I came into the world.

I have heard it said that all children are miracles: as if there could be no explanation but magic for why one particular person should appear in this world at this time and not another. But to me it seems only natural that I should be here now: that I should have been born to these people, in the shadow of this mountain.

The land my father worked was not large—a few acres of pasture and a small orchard, with a stream that ran through it all the way down from Newborn’s peak. He had inherited it when he was young, just as I did from him. It is an old story: one man’s land passed to another in time for him to raise his son upon it before he dies himself.

When I think back now, though I cannot remember ever having done so before, I imagine that my father must have been a happy man. He was not rich, but he had enough to live on and more than enough for his family; there were always apples from the orchard in autumn and lambs born in spring. And though he worked hard—harder than any other farmer around us—he did it with a smile on his face.

I remember him best at night: sitting by the fire after supper, telling stories about Newborn’s peak to me and my brothers as we sat upon our mother’s lap listening to them all together. The Mountain was a place of magic to him, and he would tell us tales about it that made the hair on my arms stand up.

I was only five years old when I first climbed its peak with him; but even then I remember being struck by how different it was from any other mountain in the world. It is not very high, but it is steep and jagged: a place of sharp edges and sudden drops. There are no trees upon its peak; only rocks that have been worn down to smoothness by the wind, so that they shine like jewels in the sun.
My father told me once that there was once a castle at Newborn’s summit: built long ago by one of my ancestors who had made his fortune in the north. But it was a ruin now, and no one had lived there for many years.

The castle may be gone, but I can still see its walls in my mind’s eye: high and white-washed, with towers at each corner that rise above them like fingers pointing to heaven. It must have been beautiful once; but when I climbed up onto those ruins as a boy—the first time we went together—it seemed only sad to me then: an empty place where nothing moved or sang except the wind through the grasses on its battlements.

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