Saturday, 5 October 2013
WHEN we WALKED to THE wood
I CANNOT QUITE REMEMBER
SO TELL ME...
The day we walked to the wood... And I followed your footsteps up the steep earthen path, cut by rain and as brown as nature's womb... and when, at the steepest places, you reached out and held onto the same trees that I too hold on to; their slender trunks, wet with dew and rain and life... and you said that you could smell autumn and it made you smile as autumn always does... and we listened to the silence and a rook's call and the sound of rain falling from leaf to leaf.
... BUT I know there was more...
SO much MORE...
Two people cannot share an hour in the woods without experiencing a lifetime brimming over with wonder and joy... and I want to remember and to savour every single moment...
SO TELL ME...
DID the mist hang in the air like dragons' breath so that the tops of the larches touched a different sky?
DID the chimes from the village clock roll up the hills, as sweet as carols, as soulful as owls, as lethal as quicksilver, shimmering among the beech and sycamore until only the moles and the sleeping badgers could hear it?
DID the crows rake the skies with their ragged wings?
WERE your fingers wet with rain drops that hung like glass globes from each leaf and branch and blade?
DID we dance together to the ancient music that the trees sing? And if not, why not?
DID we really meet the hermit who lived in the brushwood shelter, who smoked a briar pipe, and who sang songs and brewed coffee too bitter to drink? And did we sit with him beside his fire to listen to stories of love and hope and of friendship that is greater than both, while badger cubs dozed between his feet?
WERE there pink mallow and yellow cats ear and wood aven that outshone the sun among those dying leaves?
DID we taste together blackberry and wild sorrel's bitter-lemon bite?
DID we stand together upon the cracked concrete of the old airfield, now welcomed back by the wood, and listen, among the mist and the dripping leaves to the crackle and hiss of wartime music and the thud of distant bombs and the sadnesses they bring?
WERE there crab apples and rose-hips and bread-and-cheese leaves, and did we run our fingers, crimson with blackberries, through willow-herb's matted beard?
WERE your scarlet paths aisled with Lords-and-ladies and around your throat did you wear black bryony's bloody necklace?
DID the clouds part and the sun pour down upon us honeyed warmth so we walked through a dappled landscape where Cain was unborn? And I marvelled at the chalk-blue sky and you blew upon a dandelion-clock that was a perfect sphere and feathered-time drifted from your lips and out over field and hedgerow where the soft-eyed cows grazed.
WERE the fields filled with crane flies that rose with each footfall and heralded our way with elven wings?
DID the wind turn and ravage the world with ice and snow so that your breath burned in warm clouds and your nose turned red? And did you say, "This is Narnia" and I replied, "Yes. And below us lies the valley of Huntercombe where the Walker and the Rider and King Arthur meet." But neither of us could feel anything malevolent about the friendly, dancing flakes.
DID I see joy and wonder in your eyes, darting and flaming like fireflies (though I was afraid to look too closely), so that I too could see the world as you see it?
WERE there Chinese lanterns glowing again like painted planets in the Rectory garden below us and was there an accordion playing and the sound of a woman singing beneath the Harvesters' Moon?
DID dragons come and play at your feet? And each tree limb burst into bloom? And golden leaves and butterflies cascade from the skies? And was the world filled with God's laughter?
Perhaps ALL... or perhaps just SOME of this really HAPPENED...
I cannot precisely remember...
So tell me about the day we walked to the woods
and I followed your footsteps up the steep earthen track...