How to Get to Heaven.
The most gorgeous places are sunlit and sweet.
Best in summer time. Caught in memory, amber, nostalgia and sepia longings.
We sat out in heaven. Well, that was what we called it.
Slipping and tripping in the dark across woods and fields, dancing down the railway tracks. Feet skittering over the rails as our voices lifted along with our Walkmans.
Holding hands and peering up dizzily at the trees through the fading dusk to find our way.
You go out of the village across the common then by way of the field with the big oaks, up to the train tracks and you’re about a mile from the river when you cut through the hedges. One more field and then dive into the woods. Go straight, straight on then you come to the ash at the top of the ridge and can start heading down. Don’t get this wrong as it won’t end well. It’s a steep drop, so grab branches and head straight down as far as you can. Suddenly, you are there.
A clearing deep in the woods, on the side of a sheer hill, dropping away to the river below.
All at once, it appears, a natural indentation in the land, a rough circle, like a large well covered all around with ivy, our cushioning. Sit down there and look out across the land. You can see the whole valley from this spot.
You are so safe, no one knows it’s there but those with you, and who would stumble and scale across a forest floor in a July dusk anyway? Watching the sunset. Laughing, drinking, hanging out with good friends. It’s Heaven.
We could see the villages on the opposite hills, the lights just going on as the sun sank down. Clouds stippled sunshot with scarlet, umber and shining copper from the dying light.
The bracket of hills surrounding our homes, dragons scarred and ridged backs guarding our villages nestled in their flanks. The shadow of the woods, the calls of the birds heading home to roost.
Song of the river below, moments of sheer silence as everything settled and our little beautiful world exhaled. Tree songs whispering through the branches.
Laughter carrying, sweetsharp gingerbeer, rosy in the bottle.
All the hates and wants and worries left unsaid.
A sanctuary as the sun went down.
That saturated, burnished, strawberry summer filled light. Playing through your hair, bronzing skin, the taste of sunburn, sweet teenage vanilla laughter.
Nostalgia tinged memory, overexpose the photograph till shadows blur and times stand out, a handful from a world of summer. I am writing all I can remember.
It felt like Sunday mornings, new possibilities and Saturday night eternity.
I sank down on my haunches, exuberant to have arrived finally. Slipping down onto the ivy cushioned banks, legs dangling, tiny in the huge woods. Trees lifetimes older than me shading us into the night.
Leaning back, shoulders releasing, broadening, relaxation rippled through me.