Monday, 16 July 2007

I Shall Go Where The Great Trees Stand

Wayland Smithy 2005

Excerpt from Confessions of the Kibbo Kift by John Hargrave.

...Everyone will come at last, into the ship of the earth, but these go now while they yet live to open themselves, to unlock the spirit in timelessness, to receive the impress of the quiet world where no man is, where consciousness is not, where words are dispelled and thoughts hold no arguments but run ahead softly in supple forms, darkly.

Ah, no, no, they do not lose themselves, this is not the hemlock-drink of the soul. This is the time and the place of remaking, where the exhausted mind is laid aside, entering the gloom emptied of the echoes of broken thought and mental clatter carried over from the world of day, and here the whole being is cleansed of the close associations, the nearness, the hot imprint of other personalities, encountered in the day's work.

This is the coming together again, alone, in silence. This is the right and necessary retirement.

I shall go where the great trees stand, deep into the half-light of the woods, whelming upon the giant bodies of the beech. I know the place where the afterglow shines like a pale halo upon the hill, and there the ash and the elm take hold upon the earth, flinging their strength into the sky. And over the summit of the hill on slanting ground a crab tree and crooked thorn crouch and clutch each other.

I shall come round them uneasily and pass under the ash and the elm with an intaking of breath, and so down the valley to the track that runs into a pine wood where the darkness closes in, and the feet tread noiselessly, and the lungs are filled with the scent of the hanging Curtains, the needled carpet and the cones.

Neither to look, nor to hear, nor to think but only to receive. After the work of the day, a little staggeringly, blundering without faltering through the high weeds. Neither asleep nor awake, but open. Not as one who flees the sharp outlines of the daytime, but as one mysteriously dead; quick now to the wide friendliness of the fields and the sudden, unaccountable fears of bracken dell and chalk pit, of softly cushioned ant-heap underfoot, of blossoming elderberry bush,
Melting into the bewildering dusk, looming again, pale and almost colourless.

Tread softly over the grass that springs out of the blood and bodies of old heroes of the Inkneild Way long since gone to dust. Back to the place of dwelling, to the encampment. Plunge, then, into the deep sleep that knows no fitful dreaming...

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