My friend recently finished reading Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett. I had promised to send him my copy of the book by Speed Post. I had imagined that with the book I would send him a letter. I would write it on the letter writing pad I bought in Seattle two years ago. The paper is thick, solid, and has small bluebird on it. It is packed in a lovely box that I hadn’t opened until two days ago. Letter writing between us has been fairly common for ten years, but just like I have felt about almost all writing, I kept wondering what I would say in that letter that would bridge the gap that somehow seems to exist, or what words could act as a salve for these times. What do I write about, has been the refrain, and in all that time my friend had already read the book. I am not sure if this makes me sad, because somehow I knew I was never going to write that letter. Too much has happened to write a wartime-like-letter to a childhood friend.
Last week was a rare ocassion when I went out for some chores. The evening was awash with gentle golden sunshine after many days of rain. To me, sunshine after rains seems like a shameless symbol of hope. It is right there in front of you to witness — the glistening green, the twinkling gold on the world around you, the fresh brown, and a sign that says ‘You’re welcome‘ without being a snob about it. Yes, thank you very much, no sarcasm intended. Boy says that nature doesn’t intend to mean any of the grandiose qualities we ascribe to it. Nature just is. I can’t say really, because to me, very few things come close to being all-knowing, all-powerful – Nature and Time.
A lot of books I have read recently have had two facets in common: an abundance of natural life and witches. Now that I think about it, although I did not read Lord of the Rings because of its size and the poems in it (I am ashamed to admit), the book doesn’t shy away from making the forests, trees, natural life, rivers, and mountains a living, breathing part of the story (Thank you, Peter Jackson). Similarly, I have just started reading A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K Le Guin and the way she describes the forests, the rivers and oceans, winds and trees is unmistakable. All of Terry Pratchett’s novels set in the Ramtop Mountains or Lancre feel protected and wise because of the deep roots growing under those lands. In Katherine Arden’s Winternight Trilogy, the forests, snow, trees, and lakes play an active role in the storytelling and characterisation. One feels the safety in this kind of world-building*. I feel safe in such stories. I feel protected in the knowledge that I am immersed in worlds where relationships may be fraught, and evil abounds, but the deep roots, wide skies, fresh earth, and the dark lakes still stand. They are there. They witness and watch as humans and wizards and elves play the folly such that the witches would save them. But nature stands its ground and holds steady under prophetic skies. I find a safety in places that abound with what grows.
Some days I stand in the window to watch the leaves of my Aboli plant and I am filled with a deep sense of wonder. I planted a few seeds and here is a fully grown green leaf, sashaying in the warm sunshine, being its jocund self. I keep telling my mother that I grew it from a seed and she wonders aloud if her eldest is okay. The woman doesn’t understand how else could one grow a plant, it comes from a seed, she says. I am bewildered at the magic of growth every morning. I still don’t understand how that fresh, green leaf with a pinkish stalk now suddenly exists.
How does magic happen on an every day basis in a world as cruel as this, I couldn’t really know.
*All these books are bought for me by TFB. Thank you. ❤