Olivia Wills

About Place: The Twilight in my Land Colliding Into My Soul

The cryptic darkness undoubtedly brings this place to life at nightfall. It is almost like the luminosity of the sky causes nature to evolve into objects personified. It speaks to me in ways I cannot entirely explain. It whispers stories through the whistling of the winds, and it is one of the vast contributions to my never-ending imagination. Henry David Thoreau once expressed, "It is the marriage of the soul with Nature that makes the intellect fruitful, and gives birth to imagination." When I finally allowed myself to become one with this place, my imagination broadened in ways I will never be completely capable of construing into a tale. Perfection is not limited here, but only demonstrated.

In my past when the day turned dark, I would venture out to this extraordinary place of mine to escape all things reality. I craved the feeling of nature capturing my body, and controlling my impulses as if they were their own. It was remarkably magnificent to me. I would lay in my spot only big enough for one, just beyond the wheat field and over the extensive hill, down the twisted tree filled valley into the clearing over-looking the lake and the sky. I'd carry my dirt-infested sleeping bag and tread along, spreading it out and cuddling myself inside. My spot was filled with handfuls of cushioned wheat I tore from the field, matted down to form something similar to a bed. Almost like a home where a deer would sleep with his family, in this oval depression of brush. It keeps them warm when the darkness spreads and chills the land, much like it does for me. I lay here with the reassurance of safety and warmth. I can feel that mysterious, yet somehow sincere rush of energy penetrate my body; my soul. But it is not just the water, trees, and the creatures that reach out to me individually; this place told me a story as a whole. When the moon glistens off the water, and the Grandmother Willow dances in the wind, it is easy to observe nature's story unravel throughout the night.

At night, from afar, everything looks like it blends together giving no one object any certain color. The water looks equivalent to nothing more than a dark, oil spill. No form of life would desire to abide there. The copse surrounding this is nothing more than a thicket of useless bark and leaves. Everything is characterless until you've recognized the things that I have. But with each step I draw closer to this land of mine everything comes into perspective.

I watch the colossal willows stretch their branches like arms to the sky. Impatiently demanding entrance to the elegance of what lies above. They have been here the longest, watching this land emerge gradually while each organism breeds of one another. The one I call Grandmother Willow tells me most about this place. With every second time progresses, she watches it form into a land of perpetual elegance. There was once a war here. Her bark in places is missing, she is nearly bare. The trunk twists and forks in unlikely places, and there are sections of her branches in disrepair. The tattered leaves she is still capable of producing are altered into nothing but broken fingers and nails at the extent of her outstretched arms. But the greatest delicacy of her is her never-ending perseverance to survive. She is the eldest of the forest, and the most insightful of anyone I have ever crossed. She has faced problems that the largest part of this land will never see, and she still stands, high into the sky with not a sole grievance. I have formed an undying love for Grandmother Willow, and it is everlasting, even still when the sun is high.

When I peer into the water, the face of the moon is reflecting back at me. Greeting me with a smile and welcoming me for the remainder of the night. The water is rippling intensely and violently, yet it calms my senses. The trickling of the water is a hymn to my ears. The splash of the fish from their nightly swim, and the cold drops that collide into my arm, send goose bumps like a rollercoaster down my spine. Subsequently, the animals awake to the appearance of the moon, and the accents of the after hour air, attacking the branches of the Adler tree. They are not afraid now. The obsidian black of the night provides them with the comfort and security that the light cannot offer. There is not a single reason to conceal themselves, for the night is serene and gentle. A trot to the lake for a drink of chilled water will not expose them to any form of harm. Everyone here holds a bond of trust, and the only entity capable of fracturing that is the dreaded sunrise.

I am a true night dweller here. I watch the full moon cast its light upon the settling dew. As it reflects back and shimmers like a mirror, it attempts to blind my vision. The light is frozen, along with all of the living surrounding me. I am stuck inside this scene of beauty, watching nature look at me, while I gaze back. Neither of us is able to move. Somehow, the fireflies remain as the only twinkling light. But only a fraction of a second later, which seems like an eternity to me, the reflection shoots back to the moon, releasing the stand-still and motion begins again. Though it seems I was stuck in the passage of time, it arrived and departed in nearly no time at all.

I shift my head vertical to see all the mystical creatures that lie within the stars. Orion is staring down, watching my every move. With his sword close at hand, he is ready to warn off any who cross his path in the sky. Each star represents the echoes of heroes and forgotten gods, now remembered in the twilight. To me it seems the moon is the protector of the sky. Stars surrender their power of light to the moon, realizing there is no likelihood of overcoming him. I have officially lost myself in this space. The crisp air and the swirling leaves, the shimmering lake and the splashing salmon, and the twinkling stars in the immortal light, grant me permission to become one of their kind. I am now a member of the night. I drop in at dusk and disappear at dawn, and my impulses rely on the actions of those around me.

The darkness may seem immortal, but it can only survive in parts of the world at a time. Eventually, daybreak does cause the death of the night. But I know it is not forever gone, just forced to retire for a short interval. Soon, the moon will rise again. But as day begins, the beauty ends, and I know this cycle is inevitable. In my lastingly memorable, eloquent land, I allow the moon to brighten my eyes and I allow myself to see the revival of the night. I let the wheat wrap it's arms around me, surely warmer than any I have felt in my lifetime. I grant the trees permission to tell me stories and I am now and forever, an everlasting mortal of the night. This place, I feel, is the only place I will ever truly belong.