With my hands clasped behind my back, I stroll down a deserted lane, my eyes looking at beauty but not seeing it. All my troubles and cares overwhelm my ability to see. There is no use of trying to find beauty, I think, because there never will be beauty for me any longer. How I want to escape the world!

I stop at a crossing of the ways and chance to glance down. At my feet is a still, mirror-sheened puddle. In it is a vision. A gorgeous, bowery, spring-filled world winks out at me, and my breath catches in my throat with a single gasp of longing. Why, oh why, cannot I go to that world and escape the horrors of this?

Something in me moves, and I extend my bare foot to hover over the still surface of the water. When I lower my foot, it keeps going -

Until I am through the puddle and find myself in the world it showed me, a world of peaceful, nodding blossoms and gentle whispering breezes fingering my face, playing with my hair ever so softly.

I walk entranced down a path of downy grasses, their cool textures caressing my bare feet. There is a small bird somewhere beyond my vision trilling merrily, and I lift my voice in song with it. Perfect harmony.

I come to a place where the path turns into weathered stone steps leading up into a gazebo. It is made of trees, or appears so, and I lay my hand on the uneven surface of its supporting pillars. Rambling over it are a myriad of rosevines, heavy laden with roseblooms and threaded through with morning glories opening their sleepy petals in a shining of purple, white, pink, blue. The quiet afternoon sunlight which seeps through the tangle of leaves and vines and flowers is steeped in tranquility, makes a lazy, dappled pattern over the floor. My eyes alternately sparkle and dim as shreds of light glance off them.

Passing through the gazebo, I come out onto the threshold of a beautiful meadow. The horizon is a harmonious marriage of treeline and skyline, and I can barely tell where the two become one, as it should be. I see a sleek fawn leap through the waves of grasses, the white spots over its tan back making contrast pleasurable. I step out from the gazebo's shade and join it in its dance across the meadow, singing and shouting and raising my hands to Heaven.

The tree line closes in on my vision, and all of a sudden I'm racing through tall trees, a short interval of them, and my feet stumble on a path. I stop running and breathe in the heavy scent of pine and earth. The trunks rise from the ground and draw my eyes ever upward, their fingers of being directing my attention to their Maker. I seize a low branch of the pine closest me and mount it, one, another, up, up, up, until I'm encircling the trunk at the very top and swaying with it precariously.

I gaze up into the sky and see that the light is changing its garment. Something tells me where I can go next, so I swing in succession down to the last branch, where I drop to my feet with my right hand touching the ground for an instant and I'm off again.

I do not run this time, for the forest is a cathedral. I am surrounded by, engulfed in, at one with Holiness. "The woods were God's first temples."

Looking forward, I can see where the trees stop. I break free of them and the grainy texture under my feet gives way to pure sand. I am standing on a deserted shore.

Dunes rise languorously from the beach to my left, ridges of sweetgrass mounting them from time to time. But I do not notice them at first. My attention is irresistably attracted by the Sea.

Its endlessness stretches in every direction. Its horizon is so far it is nonexistant. A whisper sounds at the back of my conscious that across this Ocean are foreign Lands, the Lands Far Off spoken of in legend, from whence the heroes of myth and song came in a Time Long Ago.

The reddening of the light I saw from the pine tree spoke true. The Sun is setting, and as I watch its plethera of colors I feel as though I've never seen a sunset before. Any cloud valiant enough to interrupt its symphony is immediately drenched in color, according to the Conductor's fancy. See how the Light is reflected off the deeps of the ocean! A single dolphin leaps from the water, drops radiating from its body, little drops which hold worlds of color. In a moment it is beside me, and I discover I am in the water swimming. The water is warm and gentle, so that I did not notice its separation from the air. I take hold of the dolphin's dorsal, and its skin is greyly resiliant.

In a foam it whips forward, and I am soaring through a different element, flying in another form, flying towards the Sun and the Edge of the World.

With my eyes half-shut against the spray, I do not notice until I feel sand once again under my feet that the dolphin has taken me back to the shore. As I dismount, its eye gravely yet merrily observes me. I observe back. And we are friends.

The last light of the setting sun flashes before my eyes - I actually watch the moment she surrenders the world to the Night, saying that Night may reign for a while, but she will return to bring joy again after his time is through. This is how it has been ordained since and before the Dawn of Time Kairos. And I can feel my body telling me by the inadvertent dropping of my eyelids that it is time to sleep.

My feet follow a worn wooden path of boards to a white house nestled in the bosom of the dunes. It is sprawled carelessly in a few directions, looking like a creamy seashell washed up on shore. The big bay windows facing the ocean are open, and fresh white curtains waft through them, blown by a sea breeze.

The screen door opens for me, and I enter a room filled with starlight and dreams. I see a big canopied bed with its down comforter turned back, and I know I can be safe here. Padding forward, I find that I am wearing a loosely falling nightgown, made of a fabric I've never felt the equal, made of woven moonbeams. I slide one foot under the covers; the sheets are cool. I let the rest of my body snuggle underneath, and my head surrenders to the pillows beneath me. The reassuring weight of the comforter lulls me to sleep, and I relinquish consciousness without fear of what will happen during the night. I know that I am watched by angels, for the house is Heaven-blessed.

I wake in the morning truly and wholly refreshed, leap from bed to a steaming breakfast which I eat. After dressing I leave the house by a different door.

I find myself in a somehow familiar garden. It is interlaced with bewitching dryad paths, and held under a haven of lacy trees in flower, cherry, apple, dogwood, and some others I do not recognize.

I give kisses to dear little violet faces peeping out at me from the ground near my feet, and nod my head to the daisies. When I gather some ferns and violets, I find that they have lent my fingers a magic which enables me to braid them into a coronet. I set the circlet over my auburn curls and dance lightly forward. My feet seem to have wings. The very stones look as if they are rejoicing.

The path intersects with another, then another and another. They form a decagon around a raised pool, and at its center is a fountain. It is in the shape of a girl, she is clothed in a Greek toga and her hair cascades in stony waves down her back. Her outstretched hand faces me, and from the bowl she holds in her other hand water brims and overflows. It is held high above her head, so the sheets of water are shot through with rosy light as they pour over her body. But her eyes are empty, for she is a statue.

I am drawn to the pool's lip. My hands rest against the marble curve of its circumference as I gaze into the water.

It reflects a scene which is somehow familiar, as though I had dreamt it some night a long time ago. I don't know why I feel attracted to it, but I climb to the edge of the pool and look down into the liquid mirror. I see myself reflected, and my face is lit from within by a joy without words. Yet the trees and flowers the water reflects are, and are not, the same as those which I see surrounding the pool.

My bare foot extends over the pool. As I lower it, I remember in a horrible, sudden flash, that this world I am in is not the world I've lived in all my life. That world, the one the pool "reflects", is the world I live in. And I have a deep longing not to go back.

I am gazing sorrowfully around at the Eden-world I have experienced, and I wonder, is this really not my world? Would it have been, but for...?

Then it is gone, and I am going through a void, and then I find myself standing at the edge of a puddle in a path of a park.

I remember everything now. I am back in my world, and as I look around at the trees, flowers, paths... I realise that they are so like the ones I left that they almost could be the exact replicas. Yet... there is something missing. I remember the day and night I spent in that puddle-world, that Paradise, and think, this could have been like that. One day, I will return there.

I want to return right away. Looking down at the puddle again, there is no view into that other world. Just the reflection of the sky. And I know that my task here is not yet complete. Someday, when my work is through, I will find another portal, a different one perhaps, and go to meet that world we call Heaven. There I will truly live, live forever, and live with a life I can only experience in glimpses here. Meanwhile I overcome my trials and watch for parallels to that Eden-world. There are a great many of them. I wonder why I never saw them before?


A/N: This piece I would like to dedicate to Adonai, my beautiful God, Who was working through my fingers as I typed this. Do you know, this is the first time I've ever typed that much without going back and discovering a million typos? There was only one. And that one happened in a place where I had changed the wording. I know that it wasn't really me who wrote this. Praise You, Father!
I apologize if this dedication offends anyone. But I couldn't possibly take credit for this when I really didn't write it. I'm not saying that it's so superbly wonderful or anything, but the vision I wrote from was not my own. And I have to give glory where glory is due.
As always, please review!