“Shh, be still and you can hear it. There. Hush now. Here it comes,” said the forest, “Slowly at first, then all at once. Do you hear it?” What started as a trickle now covered the ground where naught but stone had stood before. One solid marble cliff. Mist filled the air and roaring thunder threatened in the distance.
Rush of ice-cold water broke the relative silence. Water drenched the dry stone as it broke freely from some hidden mountain abode above. Defiantly Marble stood. Immovable. Infused with new purpose. River spray flung itself hopelessly and abandoned to the basin below. The air sounded with the raw power of thunder, and yet it smelt of purity. Marble smiled. It was never his plan to become such a thing of wonder. No, how could he? For he was as ancient as the mountain itself. Joy filled his stony heart. He was content in who he had become.
New life birthed. With every thunder and every spray, life was spread to the valley below. The ancient forest spread out wide and thick; filled with dark deep browns and full lively greens. Chirping birds and fluttering bees darted from peddle to peddle, the essence of which diffused throughout the valley—each wondrous smell intoxicating them with the sensation of peace. Woodland creatures drank brisk and crisp water which filled their hearts with hope and their souls with fire. The marble cliff became much more than just a waterfall. He was a symbol of hope. Of a future. Of peace.
Yet, just as quickly as the water had come so had it gone. Dry bones filled his basin, and nothing fell to the ground but choking dust. The silence had returned. It seemed as though millennia had already quickly passed– like a restful night and it was gone. Yet, there Marble remained. A forgotten landmark of a bygone era—of a better time. Pride still filled his heart of who he once was. At least he had that much.
It was then that that strange creature came upon the cliff by chance. It took a wrong turn only to find that what it sought had now been found. “Yes, yes, I have finally found you!” said the small creature, a poorly thing of mush and bone. The creature was old, and Marble couldn’t help but think that it must be wise. Moments later this small creature pulled out of its back something that looked like the arm of a young tree, (Marble remembered when there were once young trees) and which had a hard pointy bit at the end—not much different from the long beaks of some of the birds which used to frequent his basin. The little being gazed brightly at Marble– its eyes holding a strange (and almost magical) mystery. Marbled wondered at the frail creature, “Could it be a friend?” he thought to himself.
Then it started.
Slowly, painfully, and meticulously the tiny mushy creature brought down the hard tipped branch upon his pure white skin. Every hit contained the bite of iron. For days the mushy-bony being picked away at Marble with determined purpose– every chip that fell felt as though his heart was slowly torn from his chest. He would have bled had he could. “He has come to finish the job,” thought Marble, “now it will be I who falls to the basin below.” It wasn’t much longer till the proud Marble fell to the ground with a fulminating crash. The land shook. A cloud of dust filled the sky. The remaining half-starved birds trembled and fluttered away in fear. His noble face smothered the ground while dirt and dried mud covered his once pure white skin.
“Good, let me stay here. I will taste of this dirt and die the death I so justly deserve. Finally it will end,” muttered Marble. Yet, just when he thought it was over came the carving. He could feel his flesh being ripped from him by the cruel laceration of iron and steel. What monster could this be who now tortured him so? Marble groaned with each piercing strike—hoping it would be the last. He wished only for the relief of the river to return so that it could carry him away into oblivion.
Then it was dark; and Marble felt nothing anymore. Nothing but darkness; deep penetrating and boding darkness.
Were it not for the muffled sound of voices, which he could hear moments later in the distance, Marble would have thought his miserable existence finally over. One voice in particular was extraordinarily clear, and likely very close. Marble recognized it as the cruel creature who had come to torture him before. “You thought you had purpose. Now you will know immortality,” whispered the small creature gently through the blackness.
The light came all at once,
Followed sharply by a chorus of gasps and breaths stopped short. In an instant Marble saw dozens of the same small creatures gazing upon him. “They have come to observe my demise. To delight in my pain and suffering,” he thought to himself, wishing his existence had ceased with the river.
“Behold, the David. Greatest masterpiece of all my sculptures,” shouted the small proud creature with delight. In response was quite silence, but not the same silence as before. This one was one of awe. Of reverence.
© Matthew Camphuis, all rights reserved. 2014.