Blue Belle, Bodie and the Bums


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There is something about a wood at this time of year. One of the bums says its about the time of year, the season and the fake smell of lavender. Blue Belle is absent. Blue Belle has gone to stay with friends. Me. I’m a bum and I’m out walking with another bum and his dog Bodie. The other Bum is more grounded than myself. He’s walked this way before. He knows the route. All my maps and memories are fake. They don’t belong here. They belong somewhere else. My mind says Patsull, Patsell, Patshell. It’s interesting I can’t spell it anymore. Patshull has gone the same way as the patronage I found there. Lost on the track with the tree from whence hung 100’s of weasels though they could be stoats. A terrifying game played by the keeper barking keep out all who enter here.
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Deers Leap is closer to the wood I knew. I’m surmising there are millions of Deers Leaps. High fences on the edge of the wood where the deer leaps out. Last year on a Devon Road a companion said do you know why these hedges are so high. Its to stop Henry riding with his hounds in pursuit of stag and fox. No need for the Devon Deer to leap. Another friend said minimalism cannot be understood until all types of something are understood. He was talking hedges. Or was it bushes. It may have been bushes. You cannot know a bush he said until you know all bushes. I thought his minimalism was maximalism until the day after his saying it. Then I went out along the road blearly eyed looking at Volkswagens. A yellow Volkswagen stood out different to the rest. There can be no other like this. It is unique. It stands alone. It is of its own minimal essence and so it is I understood and by extension so it is that everyone else tends to get it completely wrong except for those that know. Minimalism is not anti materialism. The materialism within minimalism is within the uniqueness of the material and within the sanctity of what the materials mean to you. Slowly I reach an understanding of the world.
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I am thinking these things within the Heartwood. The Deers Leap is bounded by a track. The track leads to the bluebells and the wood of my childhood. The bells were blue and the foxes red. It was a small wood. Most blue bell woods are. It existed within wider furrowed fields were I met with my first electric fence and where I hobbled long distances with blisters on the hard summer stone past barns, past Devil Coachman’s Lane where I longed to meet with the even touch of  tarmac and then a road. We would cross the road and go straight on – making our way past the old school into the new school, relieved that our Sunday nightmare was over. But I want to hang a right. I want to see a sign. A sign that can no longer be there. I remember it as being green but it could have been blue. It held the word delicate but did not hold it delicately so. It stood there below the other words bold enough to be mock. Delicate.

I was delicate. My friends were delicate too. The sign it told me so. I want to stand in front of it today the big strong bum I have become  but it mocks me still by being no where laughing. Save for in my mind. Just past the sign is a left turn. Take it or else you reach a v Junction. This being the first and possibly only v junction I ever knew. Though there have been others, this one remains in my mind. You can find it on my lost map. I take the turn. Fox gloves, Speedwells, Forget-me-nots. Back home mom grew a hollyhock. I think i see a Sunflower too. Tall plants. We are a tall family. The Foxglove outgrew me then. I looked up to it. Just like I looked up to the hollyhock. Looking up to the hollyhock, looking back on looking up to the hollyhock I kind of remember some sort of magic festering in my mind. The foxglove gave off a rank smell. Putrid. There is a witchcraft here.

The lane led past the headmasters. He lived there, friendly, bucolic and kilted sometimes, but he also lived with the evil Mrs Mac. the cruel, sardonic, Mrs Mac. Some look back on her like I look back on looking up to that hollyhock. Clearly the lead witch.  I hurry past the entrance to their yard. There is no way they can possibly still be living. But just in case I hurry past. A barn lies to the north. An owl flew through the open door, a mouse in its beak, to feed its young. I do not think of following it. Someone said some time once upon a long, long time ago that they had heard of men losing their eyes to owls. I think about having my eyes pecked out; of being blinded. It enchants me. there is much I would prefer not to see in this primeval landscape and whilst I welcome the loss of sight in fantasy the thought also sickens me. So I will stay my distance from the owl and I will hurry even quicker past the rookery for what one lone barn owl might render to you this black throng of cawing blackness can likewise many times deliver.

I have one more left to turn to complete the cycle of the walk though there are other fields all round that I could also travel through but not this time. This is the last stretch. To the right, the sports field bordered by rabbit holes where the beastly Beastone set his traps of twig and wire and brick, a far from foolproof system aiming to maim those currently beset by myxomatosis. Beastone the Bastard loves blood. To watch us bleed he finds so beguiling. A fist to the nose, to the eye, to the chin. Bruises are good too but blood wins. I sense him watching from an upstairs window and I dive further to the left.

I am amongst blackberry brambles on my way to a hawthorn. The thorn is large. This tree sapped of blossom by huge thorns. I think of using them against Beastone but I have been foolish. the brambles, the nettles, the thorns they have all stung me and i bleed and as I bleed I suck to taste the life draining away from me. Exhausted by the walk I wish to sleep. I find myself nodding off in the branches, cupped by the bough, suspended. I will lie awhile and i will dream of fairies. There has to be some good somewhere in this pale remembered geography. I will find the good. I will find the good.

I will find the good or else go to scout camp and learn to tie a noose. I will find the good.  Or I will struggle with a black dog that I will carry forever onwards in my lap. I will find the good.

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