| Current Issue | About CHO | Editorial Staff & Guidelines | Submissions | Articles | Archives | Search |
April 2019 Vol. 15 No. 1

| Contents This Issue | Next |

Alison Lock

The Clearing

I lie on the forest floor; my back aches, I am unable to walk any further. I am waiting for the pain to pass. As I look up through the branches of the Monterey Pines, I see ravens skim the tops, then disappear through an opening that seems to go nowhere. I am drawn towards it, but it is as if a magnet is plucking at the upper part of my body: my head, my breast, my stomach, my knees, and feet, as if I am being prised apart, separated from the part of me that is holding onto my pain. The ground beneath me is a mattress of moss: a safe place to leave the underside of my body.

I look up to the tree-tops where there is a gap between the branches. I am at the end of a spectrum where all the silvers and blues and pale creamy-whites abide, up high, among the delicate leaves and twigs of the canopy. The clouds are beginning to form recognizable shapes, but before they are fully cast, they shift and drift away. I look down from my nest-like place, and I see the depression in the ground made by the weight of my body, the place where I have left my pain. There is the impression of my spine, all its arches, notches, and cracks, every vertebra, each hollow of pain – now filled with tiny flowers.

without the skill of flight