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The Wild Inside

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The Wild Inside | story.one

You’ve been to the gate before to admire it’s delicate filigree structure, a representation of splendorous nature beyond. The design is mesmerising, the trees appear free- flowing in the breeze, as if in denial of their rigid fixings. Birds which perch on the branches are gracefully spellbound there. You noticed the flowers and fauna soundlessly waving within the metalwork and reflected that the photograph did not do it justice. You looked through but did not see.

On Autumn evenings such as this, the sun gives up its last rays and dusk sheds an atmospheric, haunting mist which allures some visitors and repels others. You have never ventured beyond the gate before, and you won’t do so today. There is too much to explore and too little time. I know you will prefer to return in summer when nature gives its greatest visual display and the lazy days buzz with busy insects. All year round this gate is a picture frame for a seasonally evolving landscape.

Sometimes a red squirrel plays on the gate. His beady black eyes curiously stare through the mesh at those who study its design. He is certainly not the prisoner he feigns to be! His tickly whiskers are laughing in irony that he has such a free and natural playground.

On the crumbling path you must be careful not to slip into the river, not that you will come to any great harm. The loose stone fragments can easily steal your balance and rob your footing. Be mindful of overhanging branches and bushes that grow unruly and of the gnarled roots protruding from the ground. Listen to the sharp crack of snapped twigs beneath your feet. At this spot the water is merely a constant trickle, gaining fortitude and momentum further downstream. Carefully cross the rickety, moss-covered bridge and notice how sticks and stones are dragged along with the flow, wending to an unknown destination. Now you are in the shade of a huge ancient tree; even in a downpour you would remain dry under its leafy canopy. Look up and see the shafts of sunlight beaming through the foliage. Have you ever known and appreciated such verdant shades?

I’m taking you to a wildflower meadow, through a sea of bluebells and onwards to a carpet of random colour and beauty. Nature’s haphazard display could not be made so perfectly imperfect by man.

You have finally returned! Now is the time for you to open the gate and walk through. You have won your freedom. Your lifelong investment is both your gift and your reward. No longer are you shackled to the walls of the work establishment or trapped by time constraints and obligations of employment. I am your wild inside spirit, indeed a sprite, a nymph unleashed! I will accompany you on the journey I described. Open your eyes to these new pastures, savour every little detail and fully nurture your senses. Run free in this country that ever flourishes on the wild side.

© Angela Craddock 2021-07-09

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