Thursday, 23 June 2005

expanse #1

The pond lay at the beginning; the place visited first and often, the immediate encounter. No travelling was undertaken to reach the pool of water, it simply arrived, atop a hill and in the centre of a clearing.

Grasses had been drawn towards the pond’s perimeter. The shallow banks met the beige and green of the grasses in an indistinguishable movement, neither rising nor falling. This transition happened without looking, barely noticeable to the eye.
The nearside of the pond continued largely flat and open towards the point of transference, where no more could be seen. This distance was grassy and largely unbroken apart from the feint line of an old track that lay beneath new growth, diagonal across the scene and seemingly moving away from the pond.
Outbreaks of heather had gathered upon the slight mounds and broke up the smooth continuity of the pale grasses with rougher browns and darker greens. Towards the left, but still someway in front of the pond, the low heavy branches of a yew tree hung, exhausted by the day’s sun, an indicator to an earlier occurrence that could not be proved…

Above the pond, the skies held a strange, nameless light, the day having ended some time ago and the night not yet begun. The sun, whilst not remembered, could be deduced to have set in a past hour but the air still held a light from somewhere, sourced from elsewhere, as though light held a physicality and was able to fill the places it reached before fading into the dusk.

The bank impacted harder on the other side, but not much. The difference held clearer but the same colours paled into and away from the water, moving in both directions slowly. They did not reach as far from the water’s edge as with the grasses on the nearside because abruptly they broke into a foot high wall of bracken. Where the bracken touched the sun by day it looked almost orange, moving back into browns and darker hues still as it reached for the heart of the trees that provided cover.
The silver birches stood very straight and young, their thin branches weaving together not far above the reach of the bracken, barely venturing away from the slender trunks. An older, much larger tree with a split trunk held position to the left of the younger trees, whereupon the younger birches fell away and only appeared sporadically, their mottled grey trunks occasionally puncturing a collection of hazel trees, themselves cowering beneath an impressive oak tree to the far left of the pond and some distance away.
Closer, throwing a shadow upon the pond’s left bank, was a rounded, deep holly tree beneath which the grasses grew tall and untamed. At the centre was another silver birch, a tall graceful tree whose high branches grew at perpendiculars, impressionable upon each other. Nothing could be seen of its trunk, surrounded as it was by the dense holly leaves, some of which could be seen, fallen and resting, in the reeds at the edge of the pond.
Upon the opposite side of the pond, which tapered into a point no further across than the stretch of a tree’s limb, was another silver birch, whose slant ensured that it spanned the width of the pond at this point. A continuation of the line of its trunk formed a loose v with the buried, diagonal track. The roots at the base of the tree were exposed above the ground, the trunk’s slant creating a focal point against the vertical alignment of the rest of the trees.
Beyond the slanted birch lay a dark spinney of maple, birch, alder and hazel. The grasses grew thick within and held shrubs and the fringes rose with great folds of bracken that disappeared into the gloom not far in.

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