I stand, staring, in the midst of a heavy fog that rolls over the pewter stones and down the walls of ancient granite like a blanket scouring every inch of this gray landscape. The silence is deafening, and for a moment I fear this lonely place has truly stolen my hearing, until the faded peaks above let a whisper of wind skim its atmosphere, and I let my breath follow suit.
My soft footsteps are the next sound to break the spell of silence as I cross the empty threshold of a forgotten arch of white stone, scuffing flagstones that hadn't been scuffed for ages upon ages. Their echo stirs a reminder of the penumbral escarpment belying this island of ghosts and quiet, yet my eyes remain ahead, taking in the solemn sight before me.
It's beautiful, but cold. Cold to the touch, and every other sense, as the splendor I'm witnessing is surely a tragic beauty. The pillars of mossy stones, once carved with the utmost care and skill, now stand worn by the weather of a hollow valley, alone to ward an empty shell of a monument from nothing.
The walls, at least those left standing after countless rains eroded their foundation, tower over the broken ceiling they once held high. A pallid light pours through the remnants of that shelter, cutting through the fog to land upon a crooked path of bricks and scree that leads me to the end of this hallowed hall. This place, forgotten as it was, chills me not just by the temperature of its air, but by its solace and austerity—that air's loneliness that it exhibits upon first glance, and multiplies once breathed in.
At the end of my peaceful walk along the brick path, through the lull of the mists and by the watch of the mosses, I reach the alcove of a serene little statue sitting upon a stone bowl, untouched since its placement in the rough, cracked cradle. Lifting it for closer inspection, one realizes the care that must have been put into its creation, not unlike the pillars and walls. One notes the detail in the features of this statue's face, and the realism of every fold of cloth it wears. This little statue was witness to the last person to step foot within these walls, and now it looks up at me.
I set it back where I found it, and take a seat upon the stone beside the alcove. We watch the fog roll through together, and take in the sight of crumbled walls, cracking floor, and broken pillars; we read the green leaves and mosses that adorn them, and the dew that drips from each one. I listen to the wind howl once more, and enjoy the peace of this beautiful, cold place.