The Trysting Oak has recently burst into yellow-green leaf. Beside it stands a puckish youth dressed in the same colours. I know he is from the Summerlands, is one of the spirits of summer.
The oak’s girth is thickened with gall. From it sprout numerous twigs, some growing their own tiny lobed leaves. I sometimes see this swelling as a belly. Its weight is other than oak, yet it contains oak life. I put my hand to the gnarly, protruding belly, which is surrounded by a hazy golden light.
As my fingers meet the rough surface, the boundary between skin and bark, this world and Faerie ceases to exist. Tiny laughing figures alight on my hand and march spiralling up my arm playing fiddles. The sky is alive with their music and pink as the puckish youth’s cheeks. The oak is crowned in gold.
I am covered in fairies and the valley is filled with them. They play instruments on the edges of plantain leaves, swim in buttercups and ring the bluebells. This land is too beautiful with or without them.
Their lives dissolve from my vision. Skin is skin, and bark is bark, a hand on the oak’s rough belly. The puckish youth is gone. In the silence we are different again.
Yet when bluebells toll without sound, I know I will remember the voice inside the oak.