In the quiet, I travel. I go deep within, down into the indigo.
I find myself seated at a café; a steaming cuppa cradled in my hands. I breathe deeply, inhaling cinnamon and ginger and chamomile. The cacophony of street sounds breaks my reverie as melancholy strains of jazz wash over me. I watch the people pass along the streets, concrete beneath their feet. I am surrounded and flying solo.
Visiting a stone cottage bathed in pale smoke, I enter, taking in the interior space, sparse and supported by heavy umber beams, a room with a view. I am greeted by the smells of freshly baked bread, rosemary, and molasses. The only inhabitants: a rustic long table and a large iron pot the color of midnight dangling above a crackling fire, bubbling and brewing. I listen to the snapping flames and the occasional hiss as condensation becomes steam. Solitude and serenity.
But it is the woods that call me, unrelenting. This is the beckoning that is the loudest and I cannot deny it. Deep within the trees, there is a hut, so old, so ancient. It has become one with the landscape, so encapsulated by the greens and greys, not knowing where the human construction begins, and nature overtakes. Enmeshed with sticks and stones, protected and longing to project.
And there I am, in the middle of it all. I hear the songs of the wild things, the music of the earth. I walk along the moss-covered forest floor, damp lichen beneath my feet. I am engulfed by the aroma of cypress, ash, rain, and detritus — bitter, sweet, fertile. The woodland creatures and winged folk, my company; I am far from alone. They are real, flesh and blood, sinew and bone. I see them and I am seen.
As I wander, my path is partially lighted. Some sun peeks through the canopy of leaf and pine but I only ever get a glimpse as I reside in the deep and the dark. I bloom and flourish here. The flora beneath my soles rises up to meet me and I, like the hut, am indistinguishable. I no longer know where the landscape ceases, and I originate. But who am I? Am I the princess in hiding, secured and safe? Or am I the witch who chose to retreat and save herself?
I am both and all at once. I too am flesh and blood, sinew and bone as well as weeds and soil. I am protected yearning to project. I am a part of it all, no beginning and no end, entangled, twisted and tethered, my roots reach down into the planet’s core, and I am connected to Gaia.
Here … I am home.
[Greta T. Bates lives in Fairhope, AL. She enjoys writing personal growth anecdotes and poetry. She self-published Snapping, Fraying and Dangling in the Wind, Thoughts on Motherhood, Midlife and a Meaningful Existence in 2020. With a love for all things odd, it was no surprise that Greta ventured into the realm of fantasy. She is currently writing short stories that explore lost love, revenge, and facing one’s fears, told through the lens of horror. You can find her at www.gretatbates.wordpress.com.]