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The Sellar Winds

The Story of a Wall

By S. A. CrawfordPublished about a year ago 3 min read
Image: David Mark via Pixabay

If walls could talk, we would speak of the children of the barley and the wind-buffeted lands that their seeds left to be carried on the winds of change. I was never beautiful; built roughly with stone hewn from the corpses of long-dead volcanos, backed by wattle and daub, topped with highland heather.

When the hard wind whips across the island it whistles through the gaps in my stone, the toothless door, and the blind eyes that were once windows. It picks up the ashes in the cold hearth and spreads them fine across the land...

But I was warm, once. Stood firm against the long dark of the Hebridean winter, soaking up fiery sunshine in the endless summers. If walls could talk, we would tell you about the McLeans, the McLeods, the MacDonalds, and the Morrisons. How their children laughed and climbed the stones, how their families grew on the crofts of the coast.

And the singing - we would tell you about the singing. How the made the tweed in rhythm with the world, hands and feet and voices rapping out melodies older than the walls, singing the life back into our bones. From words and weary hands and the fruit of hard land on the far side of the world, they spun real cloth. Real food. Real homes.

Then the winds came. Winds called Sellar, Leverson-Gower, and a hundred other names. Winds that shook the stones and put out the hearthfires. Winds that stripped the land and burned the thatch and swept away the seeds. The children of the barley were lifted, too small to be of consequence to the Sellar winds; they were thrown far and wide, most of them. Too far for us to see.

Those who stayed didn't sing. They wailed... and then fell silent. Small bones by large stones. Tattered tweed under the feet of grazing sheep.

If walls could talk, some might whisper the wisdom of ages lost and tell you all the glorious secrets of the world. I would tell you about human kindness, small acts by small people; the hand that feeds the hungry, the foot that holds the door for a shivering dog to take its place by the fire. I would tell you of human cruelty and burning thatch. Of the hard men with clipped words, so different to the singing, who seemed stonier than I.

And of the sheep that wandered through my bones, passing empty chairs at empty tables, peering through empty windows at a dead land. I would tell you about the gulls that nest on the cliffs close by and the quiet sounds of a sleeping land. I would tell you about the McLeods and the MacLarens. But I would have little to say because they are gone. All gone.

I could sing to you of loneliness, or the ghosts that wander the land looking for doors smashed and fires doused long ago. I could tell you about the seeds carried back on kinder winds, raised in foreign soil and grown away from the roots, but they never stay and they rarely sing. They cannot hear me. They pat my side and look around with eyes filled with shallow sadness then move on their way, bulky bags groaning, to livelier worlds.

If walls could talk, we could tell you so much. And so little. A wall is a wall; we see the world in clips and flashes. Only what touches us, only what whispers by in the gloom. In the heart beyond my face there is a pot, small and dented, but still whole, that holds the last traces of a stew made with care from mutton and bone.

I can tell you no more than that.


About the Creator

S. A. Crawford

Writer, reader, life-long student - being brave and finally taking the plunge by publishing some articles and fiction pieces.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

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    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

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Comments (2)

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  • Donna Fox (HKB)about a year ago

    This was a really interesting perspective you chose! This was really well written and engaging!

  • JBazabout a year ago


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