THE SILENCE OF TIME

22 Feb

The forest was big and silent. The birds had clamped their own beaks shut, or so it seemed – or gone away altogether, which was a scary thing to contemplate, especially for one who has lived his life in the place.
Misner Modie was troubled. He knew this forest like the back of his hand. He had counted every branch and twig. He had sunned in every clearing, lying with his back propped against every cosy stump left by a time-weary tree, and listened to every song from every songbird, joining in sometimes, with his own hoary baritone.
It had never been silent like this before and it boded ill. He knew that it did. Misner was in touch with everything that was beautiful and natural, and what he was feeling with his every nerve right now was neither of those things.
It was ugly and gnarled.
It was as if time had decided, all on its own and without any kind of consultation with Misner, to draw a veil on things.
That was unkind! Why, hadn’t he walked these verdant pathways and plunged between brambly growths for all the years of his life, loving every moment of it all? So why had things turned so bad, so silent, and why did everything suddenly seem to terrifyingly big?
“Cooey!” sang a voice. “Cooey Mr Misner Nature! I have come to be with you!”
Nobody had ever spoken to him before! Not in a voice like this and not in any voice! It wasn’t a song-thrush’s love song and it wasn’t a nightingale’s romantic warble! It was crafted into words and it was sweet like … like … he could think of nothing as sweet as this.
So he spun round to see what manner of creature had called him Mr Nature, had cooeyed at him with a treble laugh in its voice.
And when he saw who it was it took his breath away!
He knew, instantly, that it was the love of his life. He had never loved more than leaf or twig before, but he knew in a single moment that he would have to share every coming moment in all of his life with the speaker. For it was obviously and gloriously as female as any speaker could be.
And it giggled when it saw the expression on his face.
“Who … what … who are you?” he stammered, and the elfin figure in front of him, with a beaming face and the whitest teeth he had ever seen, and gloriously long hair that cascaded like a living river past its shoulders and half way down its back, and everything, each tiny exciting detail, designed by fair nature to excite the cockles of a Misner’s heart, giggled again.
“I am Faerie,” she sang, “and I am here to take you away with me, back to where the birds still sing, where the forest is alive with music and melody and where I live…”
“But …but I live here, in the forest…” stammered Misner. “I walk the paths between the trees, I sing with the birds, I hop and skip and dance with the fair rabbit folk… I don’t want to go anywhere else…”
“Not even with me?” sighed Faerie, “to lie with me during long winter nights when the frost is hoary in the big wide world and we are snug in Paradise, my head on your manly chest, you heart singing its rhythm in time with my own…”
He looked at her closely, and sighed.
“Who are you really, Faerie?” he asked, suddenly guessing why the birds had ceased their song and everything was so still and silent … and big.
“I am me,” she said, simply, “and me is Death … welcome to my world…”
© Peter Rogerson 22.02.16

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