Monday, May 04, 2009

Dragon fly king – Dunwich

Sunday April 26, 2009:

The threatened rain has not materialised. I shove the thick jumpers and heavy waterproof into my bulging suitcase. It’s tee-shirt weather and I still feel like a schoolgirl on a summer holiday.

We walk west this time, along a circular route. Dunwich village is quiet. The church sits peacefully amongst its grounds. The little lane is flanked by high hedgerows and runs between woods, the occasional nice detached house, and farmland.

From time to time we meet other walkers and I am struck, not for the first time about the walker’s etiquette of always saying “hello”. It all seems rather civilised to me and I “halloo” along with the rest of the party as we pass strangers. But for the most part, we share the lane only with the birds and I suspect, I’m the only one saying “hello” to them!
WE turn and move into open space. The heath is festooned with bright yellow gorse, the air sweet with its soft coconut fragrance. I imagine the vivid yellow against the dark green gorse, backed by the soft sandy soil and the whole, lying serenely under a clear blue sky. I construct the painting in my head, draw hazy white airplane trails and small, swiftly moving dark shapely dots of fast flying birds wheeling overhead, their wings all a-glitter with the noon-day sun.

We’ve been walking for some time now and we search for a place to sit and rest for a while. I set my little green mat down in a patch of sunlight and stretch out beneath the kind and gentle sun. Closing my eyes, I allow the soft sandy soil to support me as I listen to my companions chatter and the call of sky larks high above me. I breathe in the sensual sweetness of the gorse flowers.

Standing against the dark green gorse leaves, the yellow flowers and the blue, blue sky is a strange creature. He is tall and thin, with delicate antennae waving and bobbing on top of his head. Great turquoise chiffon wings spread wide on either side of his body. They flutter in the breeze and the light shines through them like iridescent rainbows on oily water.

I gaze and the image is clearer now. His narrow face is dark, the antennae waving like flexible elegant antlers, his body long and thin, the gorse half concealing his legs. I can’t tell properly but he looks like an enormous dragon fly with a human face and the most beautiful of gauzy wings.

Now I can see his eyes, dark, calm and steady. He stands and silently regards me. I am transfixed, full of wonder. I’ve never seen anything so beautiful and yet so unearthly.

The narrow face is androgynous the body too indistinct to guess further at his gender. He looks ethereal, other worldly yet definitely here in the flesh. I feast my eyes, drinking in every detail about his beauty.

A few feet away, a companion cackles with laughter. My neighbour leans across and prods me. I sit up and he is gone.

On we trudge down a sandy track into the woods. The trees hold their newly greening branches over the path. Warm fingers of sunshine tenderly stroke my cheek. Still the image of the dragon fly shimmers in my minds eye as I walk.

Out of the woods now, we sit down under a hawthorn hedge to eat lunch. I picture the dragon fly and the heath as I eat. I feel a soft sense of calm and peace settle upon me. How fortunate I am to be able to spend time amongst the beauty of this green earth and how good to be able to find this peace again by remembering the beautiful dragon fly.


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