Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Nature reclaiming her own

Today a departure from my usual nonfiction reflections - bit of a fantasy based on a place I went, adjacent to Burns Bog....

The pavement looked as frail as paper, crumpled darkly around the base of the thick tree trunks. A decade or more of nature's litter, mostly leaves and twigs, had composted itself into soil, covering what had been the parking lot of the huge plastics facility. Only where others had walked, men and less 'civilized' creatures, did the pavement show through, forming a path through the guerrilla forest. She had the feeling that if she stood too long in one place here, nature would reclaim her as well, pushing tree trunks up through the thin tissues of her body, wrapping her transitory flesh and bones in vines, so that morning glories would cascade out of her mouth, white and beautiful, if she opened it to speak. Only the birds were permitted to make noise here, their music loud and raucous, asserting nature's triumph over man. Tufts of grass thrust their roots down into the openings in the pavement around her feet, pushing them wider, like cracks spreading across an ice flow, threatening to split open and toss her down into the abyss below.

Although it unsettled her, Elspeth reveled in the place. It was nature's relentless patience at work, the earth's iron fist clothed in soft moss and fragrant blossoms. Ferns grew everywhere, their delicate foliage belying the fibrous tenacity of their roots.

The first puncture hurt a little, the new woody shoot, coming up through the bottom of her left foot. It felt like a pin prick, but rooted her to the ground. She gave in briefly to the urge to run but found she couldn't lift her foot. Then, another instant of pain as her right foot was fixed to the ground. She stood and felt a warmth curling through her, full of new, vibrant life. It flowed up inside her legs and curled between her hips for a moment, pulsing. Then, it burst forth, through her belly, her chest and finally her arms, which were suddenly stretched up, reaching toward the sun, her fingers waving gently in the wind. Her face lifted towards the warmth of the sun and she smiled, just as a bird landed on her right hand. She whispered to it in an ancient language she had just remembered and it raised its head and sang with a beauty she had never heard before. Somehow she knew she was were she belonged now and that nature had taken her back, brought her home. This was where she would stay.

No comments: