by Keren Dibbens-Wyatt
Even as a child I didn’t really understand the excitement about new leaves, buds on trees, the denizens of the nests changing. I wanted everything to stay the same. Skeletons should not creak back to life. The dark sorcery of spring fazed and frightened me. The familiar faces made of barking knotholes, the shapes of wooden arms and fingers would disappear each year into unrelenting foliage, along with the stories we had created together. Drowning in green.
Two hundred seasons later, everyone still raves about pink blossom and the loud fullness of sap that follows it. I cover my ears and watch from my room, from behind the sliver of window I allow myself. That way I do not get overwhelmed. The crescendo of spring into summer becomes noise. The heat suffocates and lays heavy, unwelcome extra blankets on already sultry nights. Even the moon looks weighed down, wider than she should be, flattened out like a pancake, sizzling.
But soon it is my time. There is a golden harvest to gather, to glean from. The apples shine with rust and make the short leap to the ground when the time is ripe and the cord is twisted beyond brittleness. Birthings are soft and squelching, or they crown as dancers, leaves dusted with cocoa finally breaking free from their prisons and sculling downwards in pirouettes. They are dry hammocks filled with cool air, neither end tethered to anything but the whim of the wind.
This is my hearth, my heart-time. My skin is patchy and browning, thinning and creasing. I am letting my bark show. This is no longer the tower of a princess, but of a pacing crone. A madwoman in the attic who is so full of ideas that she must turn over a new leaf every day, and pour herself out in ink. This is how I bleed now.
I will spin gold from straw, and let the brambles climb up and entwine me in their magic. Time will stand still. There will be no winter, and I shall brook no spring.
Keren Dibbens-Wyatt is a chronically-ill contemplative, writer and artist. She has a passion for prayer, poetry, story and colour. Her writing features regularly in literary journals (Fathom, Amethyst Review, The Blue Nib) and on spiritual blogs (Contemplative Light, Godspace). She is the author of the book Recital of Love (Paraclete Press, 2020). Keren lives in England and suffers from M.E. which keeps her housebound and out of the trouble she would doubtless get into otherwise. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and her website.