A giant flag draped behind the nation’s leaders. A faded flag hanging limply in an antique shop in a small town. A book of ensigns on a shelf next to tea sets and cracked crockery, medals and vinyl records and gas masks.
A woman standing proudly in front of a house. A family on the beach. An old motor car. The car of a man and woman. The house and family of a man and woman. A woman standing proudly in an old photograph in a tatty album, on a dusty shelf, forgotten beside the flags, in an antiques shop.
When he came down from his mountain and ended his isolation he sang us a song so deep that the hill itself shuddered. In the high altitude he had escaped his history and greeted us with a smile that was sweet with innocence. But we had not forgotten the pasts we shared and, while his tune was generous and warm, we also remembered the lilting melodies of old and could not share his creation as equals as once we had done. He did not see that while he had turned away, we had learned our own tunes and were happy.