May the Road Rise With You




Sanna and I climbed up the hill with the wind in our hair. Finally we made it to the top of Norman’s Law and looked out over the hills of Fife. 

We sat down to rest for a while when suddenly, out appeared an elderly man dressed in green and wearing a blue hat. Laughing and joking, he approached us and sat down in the grass. His name is Mike and he introduces himself as a poet, writer and artist. At 82 years old, he walks up Norman’s Law every day! He grew up in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, and as kids they had to speak English in school, but they spoke Gaelic out in the playground.

He tells us a Gaelic saying, “go n-éirí an bóthar leat” – “may the road rise with you”.

The saying is a blessing said to those going on a journey, meaning “may you be successful on your journey" - "may the road rise with you" - and also known as "may the road rise up to meet you."

In the old days of the Celts, poets had very high status in society (equal status with the king!) and apparently, in order to hear a poem one was expected to pay (the highest payment for a poem was a chariot, and the least that was expected was a young cow and a cauldron). I don’t know if I want someone to pay me with a cow for my stories, but I certainly agree that poems and stories are great gifts! And so, to give something back in return, I ask Mike if he would like to hear a story.

“Would I!” he exclaimed.

And so, I told Mike and Sanna a story about a travelling wizard who climbs up a great mountain… “and they say that the wizard’s laugher spilled out over the top of the mountain and echoed far out and over the land and beyond the sea…” Sitting on the top of the hill, I could not think of a better setting for the story!

After the story, we talked and laughed about the magic of meeting strangers in the middle of nowhere and sharing stories on top of hills. Mike was overjoyed. “That’s the best fairy story I have heard in a long, long time! Oh I will be telling everyone about this you know!”

After saying goodbye, we set off in separate directions.

Walking down the hill, I realised that stories are indeed meant for sharing, and I have so many stories and songs just waiting to be shared. I have been sharing stories a little at a time, opening up more and more. It feels as though I have a secret treasure chest inside of me full of all sorts of songs and stories, and lately my secret treasure chest has been trembling, shaking and bursting for release. Every so often, I open the chest and the magic spills over...

During such moments when I release the magic and see the joy stories can bring, I am once again reminded of what it means to really walk the path of the storyteller.

Stories are for sharing.



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