Shine Through the Ages

I live in a two-hundred year old building. It’s the sort of place that when I knock a nail to the wall you can hear the rumble of history through the floorboards. Deep enough to house the thoughts of man these window sills bear centuries of silent witness to those beneath the times.

We sweep it away and call it dust.

Hundreds have rested here, have smelled the scented apples on the sweet summer breeze, marked their dreams with the footfall of black-suited men and cried the salts of regret.

It once stood guard to the city of old where fools and their horses were brought to market to be swapped, sold or hanged. These are the same cobbles upon which Robert Burns walked his borrowed pony through the gates of immortality, the same cobbles upon which Margaret Dickson survived her public execution, and the same cobbles upon which I walk today.

Behind this foot of stone, carved by the hand of man in the quarry of Craigleith, sits an intricate network of dry walled apartments testament to the decline of building since the fall of Hitler and the rise of the cheap-fast-fix.

I wonder if she remembers that she was once a school, a church. That beneath the steadfast fortress in whose shadow she has resided for two-hundred years she once stood tall, a lighthouse to the lost souls washed up on the stoney banks of society.

Today her stories rest not in the walls but in the countless books that line her windows. It is the words that keep the past alive, the tales we tell, the legends we pass from one mouth to another to feed the dreams of men in their black-suited mortality.

We sweep them away and call it dust.

Each morning, as the sun spills her rays across two-hundred years of history onto my living room floor, I am swept up in the constant reminder that life is lived in layers. To strip it back would be to dismantle the thoughts of man, to unravel the stories and float them away.

And so it is.

Year upon year the words roll themselves up, fall through the cracks in time and turn to thunder, layer by layer, stone by stone, until we are turned to dust.

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