I have had many thoughts of late about crossing boundaries, the kind of boundaries that exist in society and our institutions. The kinds that we create for ourselves; the lines we don’t want to cross, the taboos we don’t want to break in case of rejection, or worse.
I wrote this piece at the start of July and it reflects on this theme:
It is there to protect us. The barrier between civilisation and the wild. Since childhood, at my mother’s knee, I was taught; you don’t cross the hedge.
It lies at the edge of the forest. In younger years I would peer through gaps in the thorny branches and watch the creatures and birds. I could smell the deep, musty scent of fertile earth; the musk of the wild.
I found a gap one day. It beckoned me onward, an almost perfect tunnel through the thorns, low down and hidden from view. But I was afraid, hearing my mother’s warnings and the fearful whisperings of the village women. I knew the stories…the girls who dared to cross. Those who vanished forever, and those who returned, changed; the ones we feared, rejected, burned.Years passed. I wed. My own children grew. I forgot the hedge, drawn into the everyday.
And then one morning, outside fetching water, I follow a low beam of early sunlight and find it again. My feet take me closer with dream-like steps, towards the gap. Peering through I see the dappled light fall between the trees beyond. I can hear the wild ones calling me, feel the bloom of joy and hope in my heart.
Yet I hold back.
To cross the hedge is to leave the known and choose strange paths. To be changed. To risk getting lost. There may be no way back; which I fear. I fear even more that I won’t want one.