Where the nettles grew
At the end of the short-grass garden, the small gate leads to the long-grass field. Near the end of the field a fir tree stands apart from the rocks behind: a guardian it seemed all those years ago, watching over my grandparents’ house. Beyond the fir tree were the nettles.
We spent a hot summer holiday clearing them from a cleft in the rocks, assaulting them with an old walking stick, trampling them down mercilessly, conquering a small corner of wilderness. We made a roof of dead branches, crawled in underneath and called it a camp. And we spent long hours in other worlds, watched over by the tree until evening drew on and it was time to run back to supper and my grandparents’ arms. But they were tired arms and I think we knew it was ending. After the holidays, the house was sold and reality consumed us.
I am walking in darkness now through the long-grass field. The tree sways gently but there is no wind. Somewhere in the shadows the nettles have grown high again. I turn to see the old house, ghost-like in the moonlight. Just because I’m dreaming, it doesn’t mean I’m not there.