At spots about at seeming random draw of mound and rill and forest shade there were a number of piles of hefty stones -- just enough, it seems, for the count of travelers. Each might have been a crumbled castle wall or ancient buttress fallen from an edifice now shifted on. Each comprised in equal share stones rough and smooth, large and small and of shapes varied by geometer. There was even a spread of discarded skree at the meadow's lip where additional pieces could be sought to fit special niche or purpose; but it was found that each preset heap of opportunity was enough for then and all -- the 'Cuin', I mean. Well, I have to call these contestants something, and that will serve -- certainly none had objection to this phrase of reverence or limitation.
They assembled by process unknown close by these pallets of boulders and pebbles and gravel. Each fashioned in experienced imagination that which would resemble; and by what special art and intent that which would manifest assemble. For each would in finality be both a statement of self and soul and show the firmament just how magick played a role. Aye -- it was a simple task thus set by common will. While simple folk might find magick in any sense of awe that they might share with one another, these Cuin would forge a reality of magick art and prance of mind and spirit and heart. Now pray understand -- this 'contest' was not for ranking or fine reward, for the Cuin were above that in need or comfort -- but as a 'con - 'test', as to learn or steer a course in trial and perfection. In the taverns below, where the 'judges' prepared, this event was called in mirth the, "The grand put up or shut up," but then what would these villagers know of magick? May as well call them 'throng', for want of better term.
The Throng was vital in the game both as participants, audience and judge; for magick is meaningless unless it changes something -- and humanity is all we have by way of measure. Each of the Throng spent time in the Meadow; some to stand and gawk and get underfoot, others to help in construction for pay or barter -- some to pay in kind for entertainment provided by some Cuin for some bardic art. It might have been a medieval faire, for all of that, and each man found his place or call. They all wearied eventually though, and it became custom to rest at the Skree before the journey home. There was in practice a stone suited to every rump and shade suitable for a brief nap or a picnic or some games. What the Cuin would discard became a sort of park.
Within the Meadow sections solid miracles took form and shape -- which I will not describe out of respect -- and lack of words. You need to grasp that each was not a 'tower' or 'stage' or 'classroom', but that such words might apply, depending on which Throng gazed on it or toiled there or shook their head in wonder. In some the stones meshed in seeming random form yet in perfect symmetry -- and on these the Cuin sat or stood that all could plainly see. In some the building blocks were hewn smooth and regular such that no mortar held them fast -- and the Cuin there was hid away, though music issues forth. In one the boulders were phase-shifted unto sand and scooped and sculpted into fairie drifts and then returned to stone -- the Cuin within cast only shadows and brilliant words of light. In another the stones became benches in a theater both round and in a maze -- the Cuin there attending seemed everywhere at once. And there were/are others -- those just caught my eye.
Daily at the park, while chatting with friends old and new, I noticed that one man was always there -- I guess had always been. He sat by a smokeless fire and stirred a pot of stew, to which many folk added bits of edibles left over from their meal -- and no one ever went hungry or suffered long from chill. The tumbled stones stayed where they lay and drew on coverlets of moss and fern and lichen. We were comfortable there when said and done and the aged one always set out a lantern when the sun was gone. We knew he must have had stories to share, but somehow we always spoke instead, or laughed at some simple joke, or took a hand at mimicking a Cuin up the hill. There were no rules or guiding hand, yet the Skree did not allow for shouting or rough words or normal push and tumble. A gentle breeze always seemed to keep the pests away and the water in the brook's eddy pool was always clear and cool. And best of all the children found it easy to join in simple games and leave the troubles of the world to parents and wiser ones, who gathered in small groups to converse and whisper dreams.
(to be continued)