The Impossible Garden
& The Wildforest
ART & STORIES BY MARICHIT GARCIA
Aaagh. Fudge it.
The magic is strong and a little bit wilder than usual today. Which means it will be a harder than usual battle trying to get some dayjob work done.
Shinigami. Soul reapers. Death gods. Raven kings. And goblins, particularly the royal kind, descendants of old gods, or keeper of labyrinths, more akin to high faeries than monsters, intelligent and beautiful. My vulnerabilities, the patterns of the tales repeating in sharper starker forms, within the unfolding spiral of my own quest. My left foot trapped in a forest somewhere, and I keep feeling a slithering sensation around my ankle. I have heard it said that serpents ascend to dragonhood when they achieve a greatness, perhaps something like the destruction of a paradise? Or the simple temptation of a woman who has been secretly longing for something beyond the defaults she has been given? The flower-marked have been sent out of their courts: one from each season; one each from the courts of day, dawn, night, and twilight; one each from the courts of light, dark, and grey -- to watch the doorways, to ask the riddles, to pass the judgments of whether I pass the tests, to send the messengers, to whisper into the ears of Kairos who is god of synchronicities, to grant a boon out of sheer whim or out of love.
These are the run of my thoughts, so far and away from where my daily life demands them to go. Always the flowers lure me, catch my gaze, draw me into the intricacies of their impossibility. The path insists to be walked. A sweet singing always just ahead, the source of the music out of sight pulling me deeper -- I know I'm way in over my head when I begin to hear music. That is always a sign of enchantment for me, the music weaving itself into my days, changing the very fabric of my daily life. Something's afoot, that is a certainty. Something shadows me, unseen, unrevealed, a suggestion, a secret.
My left foot drags, slows me down, while my right foot does its best to be righteous. This constant straining to be sane and sensible and reasonable is a drain. The wildness sometimes slips through when I am not vigilant enough, and then something spills or topples over, and the mask slips and I am almost caught in my carelessness.
There is a noisy clamour inside me now. So many subtle and violent stirrings from so many that have been asleep. Sleepwalking and sleeptalking, with eyes open yet seeing nothing before them but gazing at something invisible. Tenuous tightrope threads hold the weight of ten thousand dreams traversing the makeshift bridges of my belief, as strong only as my spirit is strong and as my heart is true.
My hands are portals, having so much in common with that door in a moving castle, opening to so many worlds, powered by a fallen star. And now the worlds are pushing in to break through the thresholds, slipping through the cracks, pouring their eternities within the limitations of my human language -- a poem, a painting, a story disguised as fantasy -- willing to be contained and constrained for the tiniest chance to exist into visibility. (For isn’t this at the heart of all our desires? To be visible, to be manifest, to be seen. And sometimes, or often, it is not so much about being seen by everyone, but about being seen by just one, who will acknowledge our presence, recognise our meaning, and in the process enter into us and into the mystery of ourselves that even we cannot fully grasp, but, oh to have someone who will respond to the echoes of our inner voices. who will pick up the nuance of a sigh. And we, in our turn, will also see and recognise the other, and dare ourselves to be brave, to leap into the vastness of the other’s universe.)
My heart is a wayward thing, a rebel, having gnawed its way out of its chains with the serrated edges of its various brokenness. It refuses to be caught, itself a fallen star escaping the sky that has been defined and categorised with numbers instead of stories. It doesn't trust me, the way I could never fully trust it, and thus we circle each other in a wary dance of an uneasy peace, with just enough distance between us to stay alive and yet also out of each other’s reach. It is always ahead of me, proving itself faster and stronger, and it has grown cunning in a terrifying way. It lays traps, and provokes, and seeds me with its discontent. (It carries a sword, and I have often felt the cold sharpness of a blade leave a trail of fire on my soul-skin when I surface from sleep in the middle of the night.) And yet it also, generously, and with undisguised motive, shares its joys and ecstasies without reservation. It wants to win me completely, and it shows off how much magic it can do, with the full force of its desires.
My life, my life is a divided country. And the longest war that could ever be waged upon it has just begun.