Saturday, March 16, 2013

F Three ways to the future

F Three ways to the future
Sunday January 6, 2013
There's some indecisiveness about which path I will take. I start on all
three recently used gateways. Perhaps I need them all.

I climb up through the trees on the hill to the clearing in the woods. In
the centre a spring tinkles in a rocky pol. Beside it, the fire springs up.
They merge and dance together, fire shining on droplets of water, steam
rising into the air. Above in the canopy, birds are singing. I can hear
rustling in the undergrowth of many small hoofed and pawed creatures moving
about.

Out from amongst the trees comes a small white Nanny goat. She bleats
softly as she gambles up to me. She buts me insistently, and I realise that
her udders are dripping and she is in urgent need of milking. I wonder
where her kid is, that she is in this state.

I kneel down besides her, leaning my cheek against her soft downy flank and
milk her into a stone bowl that is sitting beside the fire spring. It's
easy. The milk is warm and smells deeply silkily. I'm not keen on milk but
love cheese. This milk smells like it would make great cheese.

When I have finished, she leans against me as though to thank me. I wonder
what I will do with the milk.

I'VE never drunk goat's milk before. As I say, I don't actually like milk.
I raise the stone bowl to my lips and sip. Oo it is creamy and tangy. I
can taste the cheese it will be.

The birds are singing. The creatures are scurrying in the undergrowth.
Again, I wonder where her kid is. She leans against me, bleating gently.
She loves.

My heart is warm. I feel loved. She has given me such a gift in this milk.
Perhaps her kid has been taken from her and she seeks another to nurture. I
smile to think I am like this goat's kid!

I see the tall majestic ash. I will give some of the milk to her. Maybe it
will help her and all her species, symbolically if not actually. The
insects of the woods will also enjoy it.

The rest of the milk, I set down in the bowl by the fire. Down from the
trees come the birds. Out of the wood come the small creatures, little
moles, mice and even bigger ones like badger and hedgehog. They drink and
are sated. My goat buts me once more. I lay my hand on my heart and bow to
her in respect and reverence. She bleats playfully and skips off into the
trees.

Laying my hands on the forest floor, I breathe my thanks for this place and
this bounty and carefully climb down the path.

I climb up to the combe at the top of the second path. Here, backed by a
hedge of broad and deciduous trees, I gaze down at the calm world. The sun
shines full in my face and the birds wheel around in the air, coming to
land. Eagle, pigeon, goose, owl and blackbird come down. They are here to
remind me of the wisdom of the birds. They sing their power out to me and I
am soothed by the scirring of wings and their song.

They accompany me back to the garden and sit in the trees in the Parkland
Walk singing. I can come here when I need and want to hear them. Dear,
dear birds.

I take the third path. I walk down through a winter wood, to a bubbling
stream or small river. I'm cold but I'm drawn to swim. I take off my
clothes and do just that.

It's lovely. The water is cool but not cold. It is silky on my skin. I
swim a long way down river then back again. I climb out on the crescent
beach and kneel down before the hedge of broadleaf and deciduous trees that
edges the beach.

He arrives, tall and majestic, pushing through the trees, his hooves on mud
and shingle. I kneel down at his hooves and put my forehead to the ground.
I feel his presence above me as I humble myself at the feet of the wild.
Time passes.

Something soft touches my shoulder, a cheek, a muzzle, a gentle gesture bids
me rise. I do so looking up into that face, fierce yet gentle, dark
magnificent antlers etched against the blue winter sky. I lay my hand on my
heart to say, I hear you and I thank you.

I return across the river to the garden.

The birds are singing. There's a smell in the air as though the earth is
beginning to warm. It is too soon, I think but I breathe in its hopefulness
anyway.

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