Crossing the hedge

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. IMG_0465


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