A Midsummer Day’s Dream

I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. At first I thought it was my imagination, but it was too vivid, too intense. All I know is that I laid my head down in the grass, fresh from the dew of the morning, just observing the clouds pass by me and the sun shining over them. Everything was so peaceful, no sounds could be heard in the surroundings. I could hardly keep my eyes open. It was hot and humid because of the sun and of the dew on the grass. I was tired and, even if I wasn’t moving a bit, I was sweating. But I didn’t care, because I didn’t want to come back to the noisy, frenetic place I was walking away from when I got here. So I let myself stay a bit more. I spent some time there, this I can remember, all these sensations on me at the same time.  

(Photo by ift.tt on Pinterest)

And after a while it got strange. Somehow I felt that something was looking at me. I sat up and I frowned in confusion, for I could clearly feel it and yet I wasn’t seeing anything. The shadow of the trees around this field were touching just the borders of it. Then I noticed one particular tree with its long branches bent over, folding to create a sort of entrance to the wood. In a moment I saw something moving there, running away. I found myself standing up and running towards it, a mixture of fear and excitement building up in my chest. What was that? I stopped right before that tree, standing on the entrance like it was a door. Past that, spots of light let the vegetation sparkle in green and gold while spots of shadow hid the thorns in the darkness. That place was no joke, I could sense it. But something was dragging me in, while reality was trying to push me out. When I was a kid, I was told stories of fairies and magic, and my imagination ran free. I backed out some steps, I wasn’t a child anymore. What did I have in mind? This is a tree in a field, that is a forest, and I am a stupid kid. Did I let my hopes up for some imaginary feeling? I still let my emotions play with me. Unbelievable. A rustle brought me away from my thoughts and back to reality. Reality. So, this wasn’t imaginary. It wasn’t. Cautiously, I approached the trees again, in the direction of the noise. I went over the big tree into the forest. The noise wasn’t there anymore and this was a bad idea because I get drawn into this kind of thing all the time. But before I could make even a single step I started to feel my body grow weaker and weaker and, I believe, I lost my senses, falling right where I was. I cannot tell how much time passed while I was unconscious. However, as soon as I got up, I was filled with a new energy. It seemed to me like the weight of the world got off my shoulders. I felt light and free. I wasn’t alone nor left to myself, because I knew someone was guiding me. Although, I don’t know where the creature went. What’s that anyway? Well, I say creature even though I really have no idea what that is, I expect something like a fairy or a nymph. Who knows. Or maybe it was never here. This doesn’t have any logic, but I have felt watched, that thing is here somewhere.  

(Photo by Little Lost Travel | Sustainable Outdoor Travel on Pinterest)

I took the first steps before I realised I couldn’t perceive its presence anymore. Where did it go? Where was it? Should I follow my instinct? Should I look for it? I decided to make my way through the woods, still hesitant, still uncertain and unclear of what I was doing, of what I had to do. In no time I was eaten by the vegetation and the more I got in, the more I felt lost. The forest changed at some point. The colours were brighter and more intense, alive. I think that thing dragged me through the forest on purpose, however the reason remains unknown to me. I just knew I had nowhere else to go. I didn’t know how to go back, I didn’t know where exactly I was heading towards. I stopped at a big rock and for a moment it seemed to me that the thing was sitting there. If it was, it hid fast. In fact, I could hardly distinguish anything, since my surroundings were all made in green: the summer trees, covered with moss on their trunks, occupied the grassy surface. There was not a single inch that had not been conquered by nature. Now the ground I was standing on was not soil, but a rock covered in soil and roots and shrubs, stoned into the ground. I had to climb on the big rock, to be elevated and get a broader view. When I stood on it, I could see a bit further and a little element caught my attention, so I walked to it.  

(Photo by Chelsea Moon on Pinterest)

I saw the vegetation going down, as to indicate a concavity, and I had to cross a little bridge made of a tree trunk. I couldn’t think of how exactly the tree must have fallen or someone had cut it and put it there, because the trees had grown thickly all around the passage. Just after I hopped on it, I could look down and see that there wasn’t any water. The stream must have changed course. I finally got close to what I saw from the rock: it was a well, now unused, because some buckets were next to it but not those nor the ropes were in good condition. The sides seemed made of white rock or a material likewise elegant. It was the only different-coloured thing among all that green. I heard the sound of water deep at the bottom of the well. I couldn’t reach it though, for the ropes would have broken. However, the watercourse could not but be close. Indeed, not far away from the well was a river. Limpid water flowing calmly in front of me, the bed of the river had pebbles all over. The grass was allowed to grow directly by the watercourse because of the slow rhythm of the flow. Over the river, a wooden passage was the only way to get on the other side. This was not like the one I saw before. It seemed of new and young wood, fresh from the water running below. I cannot believe I got there. I cannot believe that place was real. I jumped on some rocks, making sure they were stable enough for me not to fall. The water jumped with me at times, breaking on the stones. My head was somewhere else, wondering where the creature went and what it was. I didn’t notice its presence since the big rocks. Why was I there? Some more steps and I would have probably encountered grassy fields again and maybe, just maybe, gotten out of the woods, but this river felt like a safe place to stay and rest. Perhaps my imagination just decided to mess with me, play with my head, to make me see things. I still didn’t know what that creature was. Was it even real? Was it my imagination playing with my head? It must have been there, I could swear I felt its gaze on me. I bet it was curious, just as much as I was. I did let myself follow it. I did let myself believe that something was actually there. There was. What led me couldn’t have been just nature and my excitement for adventures. When I reached the river, the creature was still hidden from me. This feels unreal. The spots I got to see in the forest were amazing. Nature did all by itself. The awesome settings I had near me made me think that I don’t belong to all this. I come from a place that is totally different. I’m never so tightly engulfed by trees. The grass doesn’t touch my feet. The water doesn’t have a scent and the colour green doesn’t have a sound.  

(Photo by Child of Nature on Pinterest)

I dipped my hand in the water, letting the sensation of cleanness and freshness take my thoughts for a second. I splashed some onto my face, feeling so awake. Having reached the other side of the river, I decided to lay down in the grass beside the river, under a tree. I was tired from all the walking. A breath of wind was blowing and the sun didn’t feel so hot anymore. The shadow of the forest was so comfortable and fresh. I could fall asleep here. I closed my eyes and the forest was silent for a while, the water was the only thing breaking that moment. Then I heard footsteps of something approaching, I believed it was the creature and I didn’t want to scare it. It got closer and closer, I didn’t open my eyes and decided to just wait for it. In the meantime, my head got lost in all kinds of thoughts, and I can’t remember anything after that. When my eyes opened, I couldn’t understand. I was looking at the fine ends of flourishing and fresh grass. I couldn’t hear the sound of the water, all the trees disappeared and the sky was suddenly clear. I got up from the ground, the sun was still hot over my head. I can’t believe I fell asleep. I looked around. Seeing the entrance to the wood made me wonder if I ever even crossed this field to reach it. But two eyes, green and shiny, spying on me from behind a big tree, made my stomach hurt and my chest burn.