Growing up in the Highlands of Scotland, one would think that I would be perfectly at home on the heights. The honest truth though, is that I get vertigo unless I know there's a barrier between me and the open edge.

Back in 2013 when I began to train for hiking, I took the GO Express bus to Hamilton to hike the trails to one of the City's many waterfalls: Albion Falls.  I never did made the hike down from Hamilton Mountain because at a certain point on the trail I froze.  I was motionless, not because there was a visible "open edge" but because I could feel the open edge just off to my right. And there I stood.  I could feel the fall. My brain always feels with an open edge that gravity will somehow stop working and I will inexorably be drawn to the edge and fall, fall, fall ... like Alice in Wonderland except without the good drugs.

Theses small poems were both composed after my return to the bottom of the 'mountain' when my feet were once more firmly attached to ground at lake level.

On Hamilton Mountain (I)

A speck of stardust,

standing witness to geologic time;

adrift in the dark and the vastness.

Remembering beginnings.

Remembering breath.

Even though the depths are hidden,

even though the path is wide,

still, I know the fall.


On Hamilton Mountain (II)

Sheared away, 

cataclysmic handiwork of geologic time.


Witness the depths,

the dizzying fall.



Grounded upon that citadel,

a speck of stardust

adrift in the dark of the vastness.

Remembering beginnings,

Remembering breath.

Fiona Mackintosh (© April 4, 2013)

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