12 trailers – trailer 1 – The searchers

Based on this



This landscape will swallow you , chew you up and then spit you out.

It’s so big a man can get lost, even lose himself, his sense of who he is, where he is going, where he’s come from.

The only way to manage it – the vastness, the strangeness – is to motion, perpetual motion.

You need to keep the sky at bay, keep a lid on the horizon, keep a wary eye on everything in between.

We don’t belong here, you can see it in the way we try to fill the space , to join the dots between each ramshackle smallholding.

Our fences try to make sense of the emptyness, to identify what is mine, what is yours, but only points up the gaps, the enormous expanses of un-belonged.

We try to civilise it, we name it, map it, import pianos and fine china but our rickety wooden townships perch on the desert.

They look ready to blow away at any moment.

Summer time, the sun bleaches the wooden signs outside the jail, the bar, the tiny Baptist church – takes everything back to dust.

Winter, the mud engulfs us, we drown , out feet dragged down, heavy with the leaden weight of clay.

Then the snow comes, obliterates our faltering attempts to make sense of a space iwith no landmarks.

And it makes you mad, makes you angry, makes you want to shout out, to scream, to do any damned thing to fill the space, to fill the silence.

Men fall out with each other, a sideways glance become a blow, a blow becomes a gun shot, a gun shot becomes a cairn of stones somewhere out there, before it all returns to dust.

But the movement sustains us, the journey becomes, itself, the reason to go on.

The women have it worst, they are immobile , stuck, one hand shades their eyes against the midday sun.

They watch the men, watch them come and wait for them to go.

The women tend the fences, hang the curtains, endlessly move the dust and dirt, create tiny pocket-handkerchief gardens and all the time they scan the horizon, waiting for a moment of apocalypse that they know must come.

And behind us and to the side of us are the others, their movement different to ours, deft, silent, without trace.

They inhabit another landscape,not this empty desert that defies our need to pin it down, but somewhere already filled histories, colour, a sense of place,

We watch our women, watching them.

About cathi rae

50ish teacher & aspiring writer and parent of a stroppy teenager and carer for a confused bedlington terrier and a small selection of horses who fail to shar emy dressage ambitions. Interested in contemporary fiction but find myself returning to PG Wodehouse when the chips are down View all posts by cathi rae

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