Beyond the pond in some direction lay a path.
The journey between the two places was undetectable, a passive layering of one scene upon another so that the pond and its surroundings occurred as traces of light in every root, branch and leaf that overhung the hot, uneven path. The entire prospect was tinted with what had gone before.
An oak tree dominated the path, its weathered trunk rising high into the forest’s canopy, beyond view. The bark of the oak tree was formed into deep ruts and jagged calluses, its collection of dark grooves an indication of age. Within the fissured surface, lines of shadow held contrast with the browns and greys, an irregular joining of colours, which did not exist in gradations but in tiny patches of colour, a composite of a form. Despite this however, an overall gradation could be observed, a darkening in relation to height to the point of indistinction where the separate colours of the bark had darkened presenting a trick of single colour, hidden in a shadow.
At the base of the tree, the shadows played to a different effect, drawing out the imperfections of the trunk’s surface. As well as appearing lighter towards the ground, an aspect of green covered the bark at these lower reaches although its actual presence was an impossibility to confirm, light and colour being interdependent in the dimness of early evening and shade.
Green it appeared though, and it only emphasised the slow sweep of the trunk as it reached the ground and tapered into thick roots which broke the earth’s surface, travelling for several feet in some places before plunging beneath the hardened soil.
Upon the right side of the trunk, the shadier side, the demarcation of soil, root and trunk was a clumsy one, defined as it was by a crawl of mosses and grasses, clinging to the tree’s extremities with a loose, damp hold. No visible root could be seen further than a foot from the trunk on this side, the reason for which seemed to lie in the slope which gently fell away upon this right side, the roots ostensibly burrowing deeper to secure the tree’s mass.
Upon the left side, more could be seen, a result of the left-to-right tilt of the tree, an effort of balance. Five visible root structures protruded from the trunk’s base, splaying in irregular lengths and angles, bevelling and turning away from the tree at distances of seven or eight feet.
Wedges of moss existed within the form of some roots, especially at the conjoins and twists which islanded sections of soil and held raised tufts of thin green grass or dense nonvascular plants without visible pattern. Erosion had caused varying heights of soil to become trapped like steps between the outstretched roots and these slabs of terrace held their own light, functioning as a canvas upon which the dapples and travels of light circled and wavered. The light sat at the base of the tree on this side, illuminating a patch no bigger than the oak’s root spread and mirroring the roots’ searching emergence.
Two large roots lay at perpendiculars to the path, cutting straight across the view at a confrontational angle, lying as they did at almost ninety degrees to both the large oak tree and the path. The roots did not entirely cross the path however, they stopped short halfway across the compacted soil, and ended in coarse stumps. These were semblant of a gradual physical act, one that initially gave the impression of violence but with time was rationalised to a demonstration of inevitability. The wearing out of the two roots seemed to have no bearing of intervention either though, that was to say no sign of an actual occurrence of the presumed physical act, just the presumption itself manifest in the roots’ abrupt finish halfway across the path.