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.
There is a graveyard. It is a most beautiful place because the dead tend to it. Every tomb is a portal to a what-if, created by regrets, woven by orphaned dreams.
You have to see it through the seasons. You have to see it on its Day of the Dead which is the middle of February. I'll show you soon. For now I only have sketches of the original gravestones that lie at the heart of the place. They are the first. They are the seeds.
The dead are the lost of passed-away stories, waiting on the other side, although they are not certain what they are waiting for. They had forgotten. They had taken the bitter sweet cup from the Grim Reaper. They are strangers to me now, and I am a stranger to them. The dead are lost even to themselves because they broke my heart.
Choices have been made. I have not been chosen. Peace has to be laid to rest, one way or another, uneasy though it may be.
The Grim Reaper is as much a friend to me as a teacher. He is perhaps the only one who will choose me, one day, more out of duty than out of love.
What is the beginning? In the beginning there was an ocean.
The sand of the shore became a desert. The desert found a mountain. The mountain sheltered a forest. The forest sent itself to me as a garden. Like an archangel subduing itself in human form.
The ocean flows through to the forest by the rivers, also subduing itself to be less overwhelming, less stinging. But it waits for when it can be what it is and still be loved. We both wait.
The way through is a road of thorns lined by trees weeping poison. But if your heart can spell the password you can pass unharmed.
Do you know that as you travel this earth, as you move from place to place, but most importantly when you cross its imagined borders, the invisible lines that countries claim for instance, you pass through the thresholds that the Wildforest shares with everywhere?
And the same is true for when you pass over oceans, or even when you simply stand at that point where the sea repeatedly paints the shore like a needy lover.
The Wildforest also has an affinity with certain places, and has loosely woven its border walls within certain countries where it finds itself echoed into a love song. When you are in these spaces, you walk in two places, except that the forest is closed and invisible until you open yourself. The forest will mirror your opening, and show itself in all its sometimes frightening beauty.
If you know how, if I tell you how, if I love you enough that the secrets will speak themselves to you, if you love me enough to really want to see, not merely out of curiosity, not simply because you think you can if given enough instructions, or not just because you've once been here in a forgotten dream, then you can learn how to walk into the forest any time. To find the soft spots where the walls become doors. To seek refuge among the ancient trees and the too-knowing flowers. It would not matter which way you came in, the forest dwellers will lead you to me because they will recognise you, because they know my heart.
In the forest you will never be lost unless you lose me.
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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