Searching. A forbidden land. There is one safe road only. The white track. On either side, alluring green valleys and low, sweeping hills; but deceptive, chill. There is fear. The black cattle shy away. A rabbit bolts in panic. The skies loom grey-dark, laden. They unleash snow flurries which, as the wind rises, turn to stinging sleet. The smitten eyes can scarcely make out the journey’s goal, on the low hill ahead. So, at last, the way divides. A final choice: to continue where the track sweeps down and then curves steeply upwards to the Ring. The Enclosure, bounded by ditch and great earth banks. Here is thorn-tangle, stems dull brown in the white-out. No way in. Three times widdershins around. An incantation – and an opening where the hedge grew thickest – . Within, green paths open on a field bathed in yellow light. The sun shines warm on the face. Dark yews preside.
( Comment… All the tales have been told: fairy tales, folk tales… . Where does this leave us? Retellings, yes. Spin-offs, maybe. New tales? The trouble is, these ‘modern’ tales usually seem artificial, self-conscious, too ‘knowing’, somehow. Yet the archetypal elements of traditional stories – include myths and legends – are still with us. Recently I took a walk, and, whilst reflecting afterwards, I realised that so many elements of the traditional tales were there – and I mean, just there, on my path – . So I had to write this down, this demanded to be written down. I decided to keep to the basics, the fundamental elements but without peopling the account: there are no characters, only a quest. Because what would be gained by inventing people and a reason for their travelling? This is the thing I find difficult with story, the fact that the author has to make up and motivate characters. (Maybe because my leaning is towards poetry, I find this prospect difficult). So, no tale, no short story, no novel. Where does this leave my attempt: description, prose-poem, or could this become haiku prose if I created an appropriate haiku to include ? I will leave you to judge whether this piece in any way ‘works’!)