The woods are quiet, not silent of course, the woods are never silent. Summer days they are raucous with bird song, leaf rustle and falling branches, more usual than one would imagine, scuttering, fluttering and scrambling. Now as the sun is dipping in a sky that glows with the beautiful indescribable purple blue colour, all is quiet.
I am tempted by the magic time, the moments between dusk and full night when the spirits are freed to fly and maybe, just maybe, wishes come true. They are calling to me the depths and green spaces. It is difficult, my body doesn’t understand the messages from my brain. I have sat in this wheeled chair for so many months now, long, long days watching as the world has turned, slowly leaving me behind. I struggle upright and grab the sticks. Without the sticks I would fall and then the nurse will come, gasp with shock- tut tut – as if to a child, and insist that I lie down.
My hands caress the smooth apple wood. I made these sticks myself many long years ago when my body was sound, my eye true and my step sure. How could I ever have seen that I would become so broken and fragile? But the sticks are still strong. I oiled them and smoothed them and caressed them into what they are now.
They support me well enough, true friends repaying the love that I gave them. Down the two shallow steps. My legs are shaking with the unaccustomed movement. They can’t remember how to support me and my feet scream at each bend and stretch. It doesn’t matter I am going to the woods.
I am here, I have made it. Not deep into the trees but deep enough so that I can’t see the buildings. The earth is damp and pungent with the wonderful living smell of rot and rebirth. The air kisses my skin and the trees are dripping with the evening song of the birds as they settle. Tears start to my eyes at the beauty of it all.
I will sit now on this tree stump. It is bumpy and hard but there is a trunk to lean against and I close my eyes to absorb it all. Now the quiet deepens and thickens, silk to velvet. The air prickles with tension and magic. I lift my lids and there before me the undergrowth parts. She is here, the willowy beauty of The Lady appears to me. Her hair golden with glints of green flowing around the slender shoulders. Fathomless depths in her eyes hold the promise of peace and I reach towards her. Two steps, three she is nearer, I smell the sea, the trees, grass, moorland all of it together the scent of the earth. I stretch and her hand takes mine. Now she leans to me and kisses my eyelids. They close and the calm envelopes me and I know that now the suffering is over and the earth will take me back. Peace, just peace.
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