It wasn't a cloak or a hood but a tent. It appears and disappears at random parts of the forest. The girl and the grandmother are one and the same. The wolf is a prince fulfilling an ancient ritual that has kept a kingdom alive. Sometimes the prince fails because he fails to see the girl in the grandmother, and the grandmother in the girl. In such times the kingdom falls, and the prince is cursed with forgetfulness and an unspeakable ache in his heart that sends him wandering in the cities that corrode his spirit and taint his senses. He confuses the scent of magic with the tricky scents of mortal indulgence. He hungers for a love he only remembers in dreams.
This is why the garden is impossible and the forest is wild.
It is a present that is writing its history in order to shape a desired future. And with every shaping the future becomes the present.
And the past is a vast, vast landscape where anything could have happened.
To craft a story one needs to be fluent in forest, for it is wildwork, and only chaos carries the seeds of impossibles. To be fluent in forest one must navigate the grammar of dreams. For dreams is where chaos slides along the fragile edges of our souls, like hands feeling for seams on a blank wall, looking for ways in.
I’ve started but I’ve barely begun. The forest is deep even along its edges. Its heart is too well hidden even though one can feel its presence in every thing and every creature. Maps are mere tools for pretending to know the paths, perhaps only good enough to mark the waystations of longing and loneliness. Trigger warnings.
So many layers of hard walls and sharp boundaries before I even dared to declare that I was getting anywhere. Duties and daily life drain so much spirit. So much magic lost in the concrete and the false lights.
So slow, I go. Circumnavigating my own defenses and fears. I fight even myself, as if there aren’t enough dragons along the way. As if there are only dragons. As if I have so much life to spare.
I clutch my worthless scribbles close, checking from time to time if maybe something has changed to reveal a clue, a secret, a signature. For this is known, that the forest seeds itself in all heart-creation, and grows into a Story when it is Time.
The blue-heart boy visits the forest in his dreams, and wakes up afraid to sleep again. He does not know why. Nor does he understand the weight in his own heart as if it had grown many hands and clutch at the earth wishing to be still and quiet and waiting.
And my own quest? Only half-known, half-remembered. Something to do with breaking. Something to do with finding and being found. Something to do with waking. And falling. And being still while moving everywhere. A lot to do with bringing forth the impossible. Of grasping the chaos within order, and the order within chaos.
Something about escape and coming home and realising that the North is a place of the soul. Of re-wilding what has been tamed. Relearning what has always been known.
So much to do and I am so slow. And often so afraid, and weak, and so terribly, terribly lonely.
Blue Heart Boy is a love story in labour. The Wildforest is pregnant with it, conceived after an invisible secret courtship that never happened sometime in the middle of last year. January is the seventh month. Maybe it's a nine-month thing, maybe not. Maybe something happens in March. It's a wild story, all fierce and weepingly beautiful, and sharp, and painfully elusive, and most impossible. It is also light and sunshine and unexpected foolish smiles out of nowhere and anywhere.
But every love story has a shadow. And it is the Blue-Blind Boy. All tricky and kind and cruel at the same time. All real and too close with silences that slice like serrated claws. He wounds with the possible by denying it. He stains the impossible with dark hope. His very breath a curse in the wind. He shows up at every crossroad like a test. And I have to see through him, break through him.
Blue Heart Boy marks the trail. Blue-Blind Boy lays traps. But Blue-Blind Boy is not even hungry, he just likes catching things, and then he will complain why he can't have what he wants.
Blue Heart Boy is magic. Blue-Blind Boy is a test, until he isn't, until he is shadow merged with light, or until he is shadow burned away by light. And until then his grip is tight, his fingerprints are guilty all over my bruised beaten heart.
The 30th day is the Impossible Day when everything and anything is possible. But to get to it you have to make the leap on the 29th. And that is not just any whimsical leap but a Quest. And even then there is no guarantee it will grant access to the 30th. Or how much impossible you can make possible.
And then there is the other Quest, of how to take your possible back to the real world. This, I believe, is the hardest part. Because so much heart is needed. So much hope. So much faith. So much work.
Roughly it means Day of the Dead Hearts. But it is also called the Day of Dead Stories. Among others it is referred to as Resurrection Day, for it is the one time in a year when stories may get a chance to be retold, in real life, and possibly to have a different ending. But of course such chances come with impossible conditions.
It is celebrated in the middle of February, interestingly coinciding with that other more popular occasion. Though it does benefit from the abundance of flowers.
It is said that in some of the graves there are real bodies.
And not all of them are mortal humans.
It is said that if you bury yourself in a shallow grave at sunset, and don't get up until the sun has risen, you will be granted a boon to change a heart, including yours.
It is said that you can leave objects in any of the original graves for a full moon cycle. When you claim them again they will either be blessed or cursed, depending on whether which of the dead has touched them. The touch of the broken-hearted always blesses. The touch of the breaker curses.
It is said that if you listen carefully on the Day, the wind murmurs the stories of the dead. If you listen carefully there will be a pause before the final twist. If you speak your wish within that silence, your wish will be granted. But if you speak your wish outside of that silence, your wish will be woven with the ill luck of the dead.
It is said that the Queen of the Wildforest always visits the graveyard on the Day. If you wish to ask a favour from her, this is the time she is most generous and kind. But if you displease her in any way, she will be as cruel as the deaths of those buried beneath the stones.
It is said that the graveyard is a labyrinth. You have to be careful where you walk. You have to know where to put your feet. For in this place, a dead end can mean so many things.
It is said that the veil between worlds is always thin in the graveyard, so that the dead can pass through any time. But on the Day they can make themselves visible, even though you are invisible to them. It is said that with certain impossible conditions, you can speak to them and they can see you and you can ask for advice.
It is said that on the Day the dead can live out an alternate ending (not in real life but as a dream) but forget it all once the Day is over, thus spending the rest of the year in a hell of hope and longing.
Hidden, yes. Not with much effort, no. Simply in plain sight, but omitted from mention, and with averted eyes misdirect attention. I am armoured in metaphors, surrounded by an impossible forest. A play of mirrors reflect safe meanings glazed over barely proper imagination. Those open secrets, simmer inside me, flushing heat into my face, and people would think, what a shy person. But I am shameless, really, if you only knew. Hidden between prey and predator, playing both sides, invisible. I have sewn my mouth shut to keep all the dangerous words in the dark of my heart, tangled up in the unnamed desires writhing there, all day, all night. No one can even begin to know the springs from which the rivers flow that feed the roots of these impossible flowers, nor the depths of the ocean into which dreams ripen into ravenous insatiable hungers, waiting blindly, silent mouths half open, a multitude of arms held out ready to take and be taken.
The garden is where the courtship happens. The forest is where you find yourself when you open your eyes after that long, longed-for, first kiss.
(Of course this is a courtship. Did you think that all courtships happen with fanfare and mad loud declarations? Have you never wondered how a forest came to be upon a once flat empty landscape? Think of all that silent time and careful roots and the patience, oh the patience. The seasons woven in layers of magic, spelling an enchantment. The wind is sometimes my fingers running through your hair. The sea is sometimes my arms embracing you, and sometimes the turmoil in my heart clamouring for you. Every fire you see carries the ember of my desire.)
(Of course the Queen courts. Did you think she would just sit still on her throne waiting to be sought? Did you never realise how much a Queen is not really seen, always looked at sideways or with averted eyes, left to her own queenly devices, assumed to be self-sufficient with everything else at her command? Have you never wondered how a Queen feels watching everyone inside and outside of her kingdom have their fairy tales while she, who is a fairy tale in her very soul, had to play by unfair Rules? Well, she has broken those Rules. She has risen from her throne and gone hunting for herself. Her love is an untamed secret, a wanton feral creature howling at the Dark Moon, waiting for the call of another.)
STORIES are what happen in the Impossible Garden & the Wildforest. They are the overheard conversations, the gossip of the flowers and the trees, the fragments written on bones and stones. They are the secrets whispered by the wind, the tales of the stars, the knowledge earned or traded with the forest dwellers. They are the fairy tales that had been forgotten or never told. They are the rules and the history and how they are repeatedly broken and rewritten. They are the murmurings of magic, the language of hidden love, the wildness beneath every order and the pattern beneath every chaos. They are truths and they are lies and in the end they are real to those who have the heart to see.
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