Before Dreams

Nestled among undulations topped by coarse grass, in a natural bowl ringed by sand-sprinkled mounds with earth for its floor was a small camp fire. After dinner when branches were fed prodigally into the flames, the flames grew red and built higher and higher and seemed to lick the dirty grey canopy above, and the tops of the flames were visible beyond the bowl.

Now the sky was black and bright with stars and there was no trace of the fire, nor of any human activity, save for the periodic wafting of singing voices carried by the breezes which gently swirled around the contours of the valley and made their way back toward the surf beyond.

The sandy bowl and the singing remained in the soon to be forgotten rear, and the valley’s rise up to the top of the ridge away behind the bowl was already beyond forgetting. It was obliterated. Made into nothing. Separated and removed and no longer part of the consciousness of the world of the hills and grass and the sand dunes below. From this vantage the beach could be made out, made out in dimly smudged tones, blurred and obscured, but with a defined shoreline, and waves sharply assertive and the water’s motion relentless yet soothing.

The sand and grass on top of the hill were rough and feet were bare and the breeze was swift at this height and salt water fumes filled nostrils and the sound beat dull and constant, interspersed with the slow rush of foam making its way back off the beach, ready to join the next wave and come in again.

From above the water was still. Serenity of purpose and poise in action, and the motion was smooth where you could see it and clear where you couldn’t. Up here it was the wind that roared. The wind roared and the sea seethed. The big sea restrained its own power below, in the deep depths, and the wind whistled as it rushed through hair and between toes and blasted ears and hands cold.

Air rushed like a wind tunnel, and like a wind tunnel the body seemed to float, buffeted by forces and suspended by air pressures in constant competing fluctuating competition.

Smooth and violent and harsh and delicate.


A worn path curled and bounced its way organically along the fence line, pocked with holes and tiny rivulets, gullies, spurs, and shallows, and without anything straight or horizontal in it. Overhead trees from both sides of the path threw their arms high and they met in the middle and an impromptu avenue was formed, and there was green on the trees and light shards pierced the roof formed by branches and leaves of intersecting branches and caused spots of sunshine to fall upon the grassy surface under foot.

Gouged and weathered earth made an elongated crater, snaking away into thicker bush, along its floor a dirty trickling stream determined to reach its goal. The stream grew as it went and as it went it grew clear, and it ran, and as it ran it began to flow. And the path was now some way off from the stream and the stream had reached a clearing, but scrub beyond the clearing was dense and dark and green, and the thick scrub was all around the clearing and the path could not be seen at all from the clearing now.

Inside was cool and woody and dry. Green grew lush and dense, trunks grey and spare, standing thin and tall and angular, a feather breeze faintly disturbing the ends of the branches of the trees. Water ran steady and a concoction of warm blossom scents mingled with the smells of dirt, bark, and moss, and insects called to each other from above and below.

Published in: on March 14, 2012 at 7:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

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