The Enigma of “Now then.”

sheep scene 1


“Now then.”

…A greeting most peculiar.

“Now then.”

“Sorry; what? When? …Come again?

I had thought it beyond my ken,

This irreverent paradox of moorland men.

“Now then.”

Every bit as indecipherable as a Rinpoch’s Koan.

…So I thinks: is this a whiff of a time when these moors stood as the Himalayas of the North; when Holy Men walked those cliff top paths? Is this a crumb left by Bede, Cedd or Hilda perchance? A glimpse of a blind man cured? The whisper of a Saint stepping out ‘cross the sea to sink as the gathered crowd laughed?

I think not.

Still, a world rolls between these two words if I keep… on… staring.

…Concentrate now.

No. These are not words of the divine but of Man; they were born of a time when he strode twenty rough miles to see a pint of dark ale drawn; an age when Miss Featherstone crossed a moor with no moon for a kiss from a Horner of Bransdale. A time when a Beckett was born to die in the dale and n’er set his foot South of the vale; a time when Hobs worked deep in the Hills and witches shrank down to be hares.

That time far gone of a quiet we’ll n’er fathom.

So to hear them now I best see them then; those who met and shared that mysterious phrase, in the mud, with cold toes, as the dead moles on the rail there swayed in the Westerly breeze.

“Now then.”

Listen.

“Now then.”

It stands on those words like a boulder left by the ice that carved out the dales themselves…

Self reliance immovable.

“Now we are together, then, was I, alone.”


JPW

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