Time is a curious thing. A day is a book we open, then close, bright and vivid when the pages feel the air, dim and distant when they touch. A bubble of experience, a complete world when we’re in it, drifts away in the wind, never recaptured. We take photos, a desperate grab to keep our memories intact; but you can’t catch a bubble. Best not to try?
I thought I saw something,
deep in the green.
My heart is pounding –
I don’t know why.
Nothing to fear, here, surely;
it’s a gentle place;
but it’s such a very deep place.
Suddenly I fear I don’t belong here,
like it’s not my world.
The trees look sharp and over-real,
like in a mirror,
a reflection in water.
I feel insubstantial.
My feet make no prints in the peat.
For a moment I hang there, a breath stilled in my throat.
Then I draw that breath,
and walk on.
I can still smell the sea, but it’s incongruous here, in the green twilight. Or maybe not – I could imagine myself under the sea here, drifting through the twisted roots of a kelp bed, the light filtering down through fathoms of green water. The arching ferns would be the fronds of some delicate creature, combing the water for food; the pillowy moss, beds of sponges inhabited by shy brown fish.
The path descends, the trees grow taller, and I feel more and more that I am diving deep into another world, close to our own, close enough to touch, but as separate as the far side of the mirror. My neck prickles, but I keep going.
The branches close over my head, replacing clear sky with a pattern of fragments. The wind still penetrates, but it’s slowed and warmed, sweetened by the shade and the scent of the ferns. The sun still feels bright in here, the shade doesn’t hide it, but accentuates it, and the fragments of brightness seem brighter by contrast. It’s like being in a birdcage, ornamented with fluttering leaves.
Further in, the light fails further, though sparks of sun still dance on the trunks. The roots of the trees grip deep into the peat and the path cuts a gully between them. The trees are barely ten feet tall. I have to stoop under their branches, following the path onwards into the deepening shade
We are surrounded
by gold and silver;
leaves woven of air and sunlight,
intricate knotwork of silver twigs.
Scarcity is a tale I tell
to excuse myself.
The world is rich
and hoarded with treasure,
there for the taking.
The clouds have gone completely and the sky is deep blue above a haze. Everything is fresh, but soft, and I feel like I’m on an island in an empty sea of blue.
But then I see something, off to the left. The turf slopes away there, dropping down to a hollow, and above its edge I can see branches. A little wood of twisted oaks, bark worn silver by wind and sun, and leading into it, a path, like a channel in the peat, studded with smooth white stones. The branches arch over it, and inside the light is warm and green.
I pause for a moment, soft wind in my hair. Then I start down the path, drawn by the thrill of woods and caves and holes unexplored.
The soft sky, charcoal-scented, green-scented, perfumed with newness and soft memories of the past
Draws near us
Draws round us
The soft water, painted with stolen colours from the world above
Flows under us
Flows round us
Flows through us
The soft world wraps round us
And folds us in light.