I AM walking in woods. I thought I knew them once.
I should have crossed a little stream by now. That would be welcome, for I am
thirsty on this warm afternoon. Perhaps I am a little lost, though this does
not trouble me; I have forgotten more important ways. I am thinking of a face,
a touch, and a casual word or two. Trying to remember the feeling of what was;
yet all I can recall is a warm and golden light. Now I am on a stony, dusty
path. I follow it, and stop under a noble tree, ringed deep in bluebells and
cool shadow. Have I passed this way before?
I am that tree. I feel the cool earth below, the warmth of sun upon my
crown. I feel the breeze lifting among my branches, and thrill at the touch. I
am waiting for the rain. I thirst.
I look at the tree. I am enchanted by graceful sweep of bough, by dappled,
golden light. I shrug off my rucksack, and move close. Touch. Feel smooth
bark; alive, serene.
What is this creature unknown, alien; yet kin?
There is a rustling sway of tall trees, and a shiver in my bare arms. The
sky darkens: I wonder if I should find shelter. The thought amuses me, for
a little rain never harmed us then.
I know it will be soon, for I sense clouds; they occlude the sun. I am
rocking to my roots, and grown weary on my stony holds. And if the gale
should tear me down, it is with an exhilaration, a celebration of the Storm.
I may lie in ruin yet care not: there are many trees in the forest.
And then the lightning struck. The tree, not me yet it is I who scream.
I who feel the piercing of my heartwood soul. I am engulfed in blazing roar,
jagged splinters and golden fire-motes hissing through my hair. I fall among
bluebells, blind and deaf. If I call to others, by forgotten names, it is
because in my abyss of pain I think I am at death.
I am that Storm, rough-raging: a fierce joy of destruction; yet of love too.
All that I touch is broken or caressed by that wild light. I see
a great tree fall with a splash of blue flowers. Yet both tree and flowers call
to me in the moment of their passing as my equals in life and love. I am
sad at that, yet their light is with me now and so we are complete again. They
call another name also. One I had forgotten was part of me or us. There
is a figure, running in the forest. Wet hair clinging to pale forehead. Does
that creature run from me? Or to me?
I have lost my pack in confusion. That annoys me, for I seem to be unharmed.
Wet and shaking perhaps. The rain is cold, hard: it lashes the smell of char
from my hair. I find my pack, also undamaged, under the fallen, blackened tree.
Good, I will need dry clothes and bivvy-bag.
We move on, but gently now. To wash the dust from stones and fill the empty
streams. We murmur softly, of all that has been since last we met. I see a
figure, crouched under a fallen tree, and opening a pack among blue flowers.
The broken tree will be my shelter for this night. It seems safe enough now. I
am sad that it was struck; I think perhaps it saved me then. I climb on the
supine trunk and sit, watching radiant clouds; I gaze at faces, forming of mist
and loveliness, but they dwindle away to nothing. The last rays of the setting
sun are a golden grace, and warm upon my head.
We will not be this way for long: where goes the wail, when the storm is
done? Where goes the wild light, when the flame is out? We part, and become
the last warm beams of evening, settling golden whorls on brisk streams. I
dry the hair from a pale forehead; it is worth it just for the smile. I take
the invitation: what else would I do? So now I am a memory of a golden light,
and it is time for sleep. I will be the dream in a poet's mind; I am the
touch of golden, healing light.
I am in dream: memories of all that has been since last we met. I remember you,
and your touch. I remember the smile upon your face. I remember words you
spoke, and the soft ripples of your voice. These are the things that fill me
with a golden light.
It is Morning, it is Spring. I am a drop of dew upon the tip of a
bell-shaped, blue flower. There is a child here also, not old, not young:
I was merely sleeping in the night: and now awake. I gaze silent,
at cloudless arc and shattered tree, then shift focus, near. Slowly, I turn
my face, below a pendant blue flower. One drop of water, seen close; it fills
the world. With golden light. Is this bluebell leaning down to me?
There is a moment: exquisite: long. Of hesitation or supplication. Lips
meet drop. Yet who can say if drop falls, or lips rise?
Then was I thirsty; now we are not.