A Secluded Pasture

October 27, 2007
In the summer of 2001, I was ten. Every acre of our land seemed wondrous, unexplored, and, uncharted. The ten acres that I looked upon now are known, tamed, and calm. I have explored every inch, and discovered every blackberry, and smelled every wild flower, and captured every insect, and heard every bird sing its song. I was getting the lay of the land in the land of the lea.

I walk out of the dim dwelling into the brilliant radiance of the day. I walk to the gate. I walk into the front pasture. The warmth of the sun felt heavenly on my bare, tanned flesh. I’ve now entered the double digits; I’m ten, yet I still seem vertically challenged. The weeds engulf me; they are so tall and anyone looking out into the pasture would not even have known I was there. The summer day has grown hot and already, on my long journey, there are beads of sweat on my forehead and trickling down my neck. Dragonflies whiz past my head. A bright blue one landed on a stalk of grass directly in front of me. Upon further examination, I notice little black stripes on the thorax and the wings seem to have colorful threads running through them. I continue my trek into unfamiliar territory, much like Columbus, explorer extraordinaire, discovering the new land.
It is so quiet out here that I can here the silent roaring in my ears. Yet, when I listen closer, I hear our horses in the next pasture over snort (the one horse, I think I should mention, bit my face and sent me to the hospital. But don’t worry, the horse only tore my cheek open to my ear and I had to get about 25 stitches inside my mouth and on my cheek), the 15 head of cattle on the next property over moo, the crickets, the frogs by the pond, and the butterfly’s wings flutter. From the pasture I, expert explorer, super surveyor, deft discoverer, entered the enchanted realm of the woods. I draw nearer to my destination, the place that is my secret.
The trees are as massive as the giant Sequoias of California. I look up only to see that these monsters obstruct my view of the sky. A year ago, in my ninth year, my brother took me to visit the Sequoias of California. They were magnificent. Looking up in the Sequoia forest I felt dwarfed, walking among these colossal giants. Time stood still in walking along small footpaths, like I was now walking through my own forest. They were timeless and immortal. I strolled up to one of the Sequoias. The bark was smooth beneath my fingertips. I traced every line and crack in the tree’s shell. This forest in California was a time portal. I was transported back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the earth. At any moment I was going to encounter ancient dinosaurs. It was odd to think that, millions of years ago, dinosaurs roamed the very spot on which I was standing and that maybe I was standing on an ancient dinosaur footprint. These Sequoias had witnessed the dawn of time, the rise of the dinosaurs. I am standing in my own forest now, one year and thousands of miles away from the Sequoias of California. The giant beasts cast moving shadows. The light that was able to push its way past the fluttering leaves glittered upon the under growth, rocking and swaying, never in the same spot for more than one second. I continue down the small footpath and could see the clearing in which I was headed. I walked on then I stopped to smell a wild geranium, yet I discovered it had no smell, and I decided to pick one for my mother, but thought it would probably wilt by the time I returned to the house, nevertheless I picked one anyways, though for myself. I reached the edge of the woods and it was as if I stepped out of the dim house again and into the light; I walked out of the dark woods into the bright and blinding light in the field. I didn’t even notice that it had been dark as night in the middle of the woods and when I stepped into the light it felt as though I was being interrogated with the sun being the lamp detectives point in your face.
The field was absolutely spectacular. I am reminded of “The Pasture” by Robert Frost, professional poet, although I don’t exactly know why. Maybe the title. Yet, his poem seems shallow compared to my view of this lea. The small creek in the petite valley in the middle of the meadow was in full force. Moss grew on the rocks, water burbling from their cracks and crevices. Thin dragonflies landed on the reeds and water bugs floated down stream. The meadow, with all its noises, had its own tongue, a language only it and I understood. We could have covert conversation and clandestine chats. I ran, jumped, leaped, fell to the ground laughing. I pressed my ear to the ground and could hear the heart beat of the soil. I regretted having to turn around, say good-bye, turn my back, walk to the house.

Although it is a magical place and I enjoy the walk to get there, I don’t visit my pasture often. It seems that it is all work and no play now, as opposed to all play and no work when I was ten. Now I walk through the woods to my pasture and am reminded of those immortal Sequoias and of the deforestation that harms them. Every time I do get the chance to visit the secret Eden, it is always different. The way the wind blows the trees change, the flowers in bloom change, the birds’ songs change, and the way the butterflies fly changes. I once read a book by Annie Dillard called An American Childhood. She wrote:
“When the shining city, too, fades, I will see only those forested mountains and hills, and the way the rivers lie flat and moving around them, and the way the low land lies wooded among them…In those first days, people said, a squirrel could run…without ever touching the ground. The wilderness was uncanny, unknown” (4).
I was reminded of my own woods, though not in 1955, but in 2001. When I am gray, I will only remember how that pasture looked. I will have long forgotten, September 11th, and forgotten the war in Iraq, and forgotten the presidential elections, and forgotten my school years, and forgotten my name.
It is my understanding that we live to die and when I die, I wish that my soul, as well as my ashes, be returned to this place, where magic has a form. If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a noise? It does, I’ve been there.

"This i certify that the above work is completely original."-Michelle Coppens

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Sonnetclv said...
Oct. 9, 2008 at 6:27 pm
This peice is beautiful and gets right to the heart of how you view the world. I've always admired your perception. Awesome work.
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