When I open my eyes,
I am in the dark forest again.
The trees around me sigh
as if they are content to have me
returned to them.
I wander among the trees
that I know so well
but it is as if I am seeing them
from a distance.
I can hear a song calling me
and it is taking me deeper
into the forest than I have been before.
I wonder if I’ve walked to the very centre?
It doesn’t surprise me
that there are places within the trees
I do not know. The dark forest
has always been good at changing,
shifting its shape,
until I could not find my way home.
The song pulls me through the trees.
It is as if my feet know the way,
or they’ve been there before.
I often slept within the forest,
who knows where my dreams took me
when I lived within these trees.
The song stops when I find myself
standing in front of a tree
that is unlike any of the others.
There are wide shelves
carved into its trunk
and on the shelves are books
of every shape and size,
all kinds of colours and they
look like jewels in the shadows
of the trees, so foreign and unusual
among the darkness and shadows.
I reach out with a trembling hand
and take a book off the shelf.
When I open it,
words begin to flow from the pages,
stirred by a light breeze that surrounds me.
I can read the words husband, lifetime and love.
When I open another, I can read the words family, support and togetherness.
I open a third and it says creative, ink and paint.
Looking upward, I can see all these words and more
swirling above my head. Thousands of words
filter into the leaves of the blood trees
and as I watch, I can see sun beginning
to shine through the leaves.
I see that the light
which is filtering through the trees,
and as I look, I can see the light
pointing to the way out of the dark forest.
The leaves shrink from the light,
afraid of the lights touch.
I look back to where I came from,
full of shadows and the promise of pain.
I look forwards to where the light
is guiding me and I know that,
though there are still shadows along the path,
the light will lead to safety.
I pull one more book from the shelves
so that I can take it with me
and when I open it, I can see one word
written on its pages:
I clutch the book to my chest
and walk to where the light
is guiding me home.