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
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.
The leaves move against the sky, the soft yellow-green of spring. Their edges loop like a child’s handwriting, the story ever-changing as they meet and cross, lock together and swing free. Between them the silver-bright sky shows in chinks and stars.
For the most part, though, my eyes are filled with green, soft green, sweet green, the many-layered green of the leaves, the vivid green of the grass, the soft green scent of the ferns.
A green place; a soft place; a place of leaves, and the leaves are for healing.
And suddenly, to my left, the cliffs fall back, leaving an opening like a doorway. I leave the road and walk through.
And inside is a pool of quiet, a round bay of cliffs. It’s a moist place, soft and vivid green. The dripping walls are coated with green moss and liverwort. Ferns spring from cracks like long green feathers, bright against the rock, dark filigree against the silver sky.
The ground is carpeted with short green grass which rises in a mound, the margins thick with irises and ferns. In the centre grows a little oak tree, its bark silver with age, its leaves shivering as the air moves through them. Its leaves are like a dome, casting a circle of shadow on the grass below. I sit there for a while, watching the leaves shift against the sky.
Close to, the rock is mottled with colour. In the cracks are little puffs of grassy stuff. Spindly stalks bear dry flower-heads: pink thrift gone to seed. In smaller cracks, copper-green lichen grows like lace, its intricate fronds like something made, not grown.
In the grass below me are flowers of a subtle sort: purple tufts of thistles, raggy clouds of meadowsweet and, crouched at the roots of the grass, tiny tapestry-flowers of tormentil. The grass itself is laden with flower-heads of many shapes: rough rabbit-paws and velvet tails and fragile forms of trees. You can’t see any of these right away: it takes some lowering of the eyes and some slowing of the stride, and some humbling of the heart, to see the fine stitching that makes up the world.