Caitlin Kiely

The Walker in the Landscape (2020)

Act 1, Scene 1
The People’s Monument

(Enter Narrator)

Prologue

She’s a place He likes to visit sometimes. A place He is captivated by and finds any excuse to return to.

Narrator
There She stands.

She, above. He, below. Her head in the clouds, sometimes. Yet her feet firmly anchored to the ground.

He. Stands on this ground. Looking up. Admiringly. In awe of the view. The same view which both envelops and dwarfs Him, Her.

Act 1, Scene 2
In Search of Her

Narrator
He first found Her, Through walking in search of Her. A place of outstanding natural beauty.

Alone He walked, with an image of Her in his back pocket. Something He referred to along the way – To guide him. To make sure He could find Her exact location.

Reduced to a few inanimate lines on the page of the map, That he so longingly gripped in his hands – Here, She represented nothing of herself.

On the page, She was a few concentric lines, Expressed neatly within the confines of a rigid structure. Here, She was static, Fixed, Compressed. Scaled down, Manageable –

Just the right size to be folded and held within the human hands, Comfortably.

For it is in this form, that He can observe Her more closely and in greater detail. Survey her objectively, in relation to her surroundings.

So that He can find Her. So that He can enjoy Her. So that He can be at one, with Her.

In this form, He reads of Her, about Her. As He has not yet met or experienced Her. As though She is just words and images on a page. Not Her own words though – Someone else’s. Of Her. About Her. Just focusing on Her external features And Her dimensions, It is this which He interprets, This – which makes him start walking.

Act 1, Scene 3
Following the Light

(Enter Walker)

Walker
And there She was, waiting in the distance…

Narrator
Before Him.

Seeing Her for the first time, in the flesh. He could no longer fit Her in the palm of his hands – As He had done so before, for

Walker
She was monumental in scale

Narrator
…And presence.

Walker
I quickened up the pace, eager to see Her, be acquainted with Her!

Narrator
As He draws closer, he sees Her slowly emerge from her surroundings, and slip into the foreground.

Walker
It was as though She’d been lying on her back this whole time, just gazing up at the sky. Waiting. Patiently, dormant. For me.

Narrator
When He’s almost at touching distance of Her, she stirs and finally wakes – Shifting Her weight onto Her side. Her side profile was now on full display, and elevated to view.

His eyes begin at one end, And travel along Her.

The light swells behind and dances over Her.

Walker
But penetrates through her tiny cinched waist. Her every curve and smooth line, Accentuated as

Narrator
…She lay clothed in vast swathes of light. Shadows cast upon Her skin as She blocks the sunlight in its tracks. For many, this -…

Walker
…Was the first taste of Spring. A welcoming sight after many long months of darkness. I followed the light. Treading closer to where our boundaries would finally meet.

Act 2, Scene 1
The Meeting Place

Narrator
Her arms were already outstretched wide.

Walker
Inviting me, welcoming me in. For She is the most gentle of sorts. Ready to hold me. Or so I supposed from where we both stood.

Narrator
He could finally stop. He need not walk any further, For he had now reached his destination point – Her.

He looks up at Her. The light ricochets off Her and onto His skin.

Beyond witnessing Her beautiful surface, He began to notice a subtle shift or change in himself – Just being in Her presence.

He offloads his heavy bag onto Her, and sits down. She carries the bag for him for a little while. He unfastens his boots and kicks them off. He closes his eyes, And breathes.

Walker (breathes)

Narrator
1……..2……..3

1………………2……………..3

1……………………………….2…………………………………3

He was home.

Walker
With Her, In Her.

Act 2, Scene 2
Closer

Narrator
She reaches down…

Walker
And approaches me softly from behind. A soft, delicate breeze. A breeze, just strong enough to carry a dry brown leaf across the pavement. Assertive, yet gentle. Her quiet whisper envelopes me, Sends a slight shiver down the nape of my neck.

Narrator
She removes Her outer layer And offers it to him.

He takes it. And She wraps it around his frame, In complete excess.

Walker
I pull her in, close.

Narrator
She drapes herself around his shoulders, And flows down him– Like a fine piece of silk…

Walker
So delicate to the touch,

She is utterly weightless on your skin. Weightless enough to feel as though you’re naked, but shielded enough to know that you’re not.

I nestled into Her – As I wear Her like a blanket over me

Narrator
…Whilst She shivers. He pulls Her in some more, and holds Her close. She, now his blanket of armour. She, now without. She – His – Armour….

Walker
….Without any of the stifling heaviness

Narrator
He opens His eyes, looks out from where they both stand, and hears nothing.

Walker
She need not say a word, She need not say anything. Because at once, when I’m with Her. In Her I feel

Narrator
A feeling – She herself is a feeling! Untamable, feral, free.

Walker
A feeling you can’t help but feel intoxicated by. An essence so sought after that you want to capture it..

Narrator
… but She is what She is because She cannot be contained. She’s elusive…

Walker
…Like trying to carry a sand dune in the palm of your hands. You try, but the harder your hands grip, the quicker each grain falls through your fingers.

Narrator
As it is in trying to stop Her, or contain Her, That you lose Her. Her elusiveness though..

Walker
…Is what makes her all the more enchanting – Enticing even. A feeling that escapes words A feeling that needs no words, It just is.

Narrator
She flows in Him, with Him, through Him. Then out of Him. She brings it all to the surface. With such effortless grace.

And for once He doesn’t fight it, She was in control.

Narrator
Slowly She has gone from towering above Him to Sitting near enough cross legged with Him, Admiring Him.

Act 2, Scene 3
A Shift

Narrator
She gives herself – Her stage, To him, in exchange for no fee. For no other reason than

She just simply loved to watch and listen.

She makes him the centre of Her stage. Elevates him to view, Then sits back. For She need not say a word. For She is merely the backdrop.

Walker
Amidst all of this stillness though, a deafening kind of quietness began to set in. The kind where you can hear nothing but yourself, Breathing. And your mind, ticking.

Narrator
Tick, Tick, Tick (repetitively)

Walker
You touch your skin and it feels like some else’s.

Narrator
Suddenly He’s both centre stage and His own audience. Without any of the props or costumes to hide behind. – Just Him, And Her.

Walker
It’s as though I’m witnessing myself from the outside, As well as the inside. The inside from the outside, And the outside from the inside.

Narrator
There was no hiding with Her.

Walker
She had the ability to see, And cut through it all – But I couldn’t stop, She made it so easy to be vulnerable.

Narrator
The sun started to come down and settle in around them.

Walker
It was time to leave. It would be dark soon.

Narrator
He reluctantly prizes himself from her comforting embrace, Which only makes Her grip tighter.

He rips the blanket off that She’d given him and releases himself, Taking part of it with Him.

Walker
Something to remember Her by.

Narrator
It was now soiled, irreversibly damaged. She lay bare holding herself as She watched him hurriedly tie up his boots, pick up his bag and set off. For dusk was hot on his heels.

Clumsily He treads over her one last time as He leaves tracks behind Him. He doesn’t look back.

(Exit Walker)

Narrator
She retrieves the ripped blanket and wraps it around herself.

He’d only come to see Her.

Act 3, Scene 1
Walking Back

Narrator
Some time had passed when He decided to return to Her. Paths He hadn’t tread in so long, Yet had never forgotten.

Unlike the first time, When He walked in search of Her. He was now walking back, in need of Her.

(Enter Walker)

Walker
Retracing my steps back there – To Her was like picking up a book that you’d stowed away in the attic a while back.

You know where it is, You don’t forget about it. You’re just secure in the knowledge that it’s there, where you left it, should you ever want or need it later.

Narrator
But, like reading any book again after much time has passed, The journey back through felt somewhat different.

Walker
Sure, I walked the same way I always had. Expecting to reach all the same turning points along the way, And for the most part, it was pretty much the same. The same paths, twists and turns.

Act 3, Scene 2
Walking Through

Walker
I walked towards the edge of the forest, And took a deep breath in anticipation. Knowing it was here that I could begin to see Her in the distance. The part of the journey which always assured me that I was close.

Narrator
From here He could always approximate the distance from Her in steps. In order to leave through the edge of the forest …

Walker
…I batted down the branches to carve out a clearing for myself to step through.

Narrator
He had to draw back the branches of the trees – The same trees He first came to know in their infancy.

Walker
It was evident no one had ventured this way in a while.

Narrator
Now, strong and established, The trees provided a screen from the outside.

Walker
With the trees restrained to one side, Light began to pour through and I squinted into the distance, Expecting to see Her. Waiting in front of me, as I always had done.

Narrator
He catches His first glimpse of Her, in what has been years, But not as he had ever remembered.

Walker
My heart dropped. A gasp lodged in the back of my throat, When I looked out and saw Her. Or at least, What was left of Her.

Narrator
This..

Walker
..once

Narrator
..alluring beauty, Now..

Walker
…brutally savaged to the core. Ruined! How could they do this to Her?

Narrator
He takes a moment to try and process what He has seen.

Walker
I couldn’t understand, The journey until now ran so smoothly and comfortingly familiar…

Narrator
…Just as opening chapters of a book always do. As you retrace the words you once read, From page to page.

It isn’t until you venture to the centre and turn the page, that you find someone has..

Walker
Got there first. They’ve prized the book apart, they’ve ripped pages out and they’ve taken them away.

Narrator
Leaving just a jagged frill down the internal spine of the book.

Narrator
The gaps which change the story – Creating through taking away.

Narrator
He carries on anyway, towards Her or to …

Walker
… what was left of Her, At least..

Narrator
He was rigid,

As…

Walker
…I braced myself. For the worst, For what a closer inspection might look like.

Act 3, Scene 3
Walking To

I walked the same few steps towards Her, But this time She wasn’t waiting with Her arms outstretched wide, Waiting for me.

Narrator
Her once softly sweeping curves were now sharp and angular. Her cheeks were hollowed out and sunken, But were showing gradual signs of filling back out again. Her back was turned away, Shielding herself from view.

Walker
I couldn’t get to Her, To reach and touch Her. All of the usual entry points and paths to Her, Were now tightly hemmed in. Her entire perimeter was sealed off. She was encased, Trapped…..

Narrator
…Protected behind thick walls of bracken – Razor sharp, Too impenetrable to pass through by foot.

As though She’d instructed them to close Her in. To give Her a break. For She was old now, She needed some rest. Time to tend to her own needs first, before that of others.

All He could do now was stand in the shadow She cast upon him, And contemplate Her. He stood in the same place where He first met her all that time ago.

She, Still above. He, Still below, Looking up.

Except now, He was forced to view Her differently.

As there was no classical beauty left. He could now only see beyond that.

Like Her ability to wear Her story on Her surface like that. As well as everyone else’s that had been inscribed into, and etched onto Her.

He stayed quiet, He knew better than to disturb Her.

For ‘She’,
The Landscape in question.

– With love x