In a clearing in the middle of the deep greenwood sits a man in a patch of dappled sunlight, careless of his simple robe, cross-legged and barefoot on the forest floor. Around him are arrayed books and journals, alongside a burlap satchel containing an assortment of curious items he has gathered along his way.
From time to time he looks up, reaches out to select a new journal, swimming through the lines and words, bathing in the pools and currents of these memories. In each handwritten page experiences are relived: insights, joys, frustrations, barriers, contemplations and explorations of one sort or another. Next a book or two are chosen, in those chapters he soars from concept to concept, held aloft by the updrafts of intellect, research and imagination to soar above the tangled path, perch on some airy belvedere or seek nourishment in a reaching bough. Then a pause for an object picked up and turned over in his scarred hands, feeling its wholeness and its beauty. Each unique thing has its purpose, a lesson or some significance, not just relating to why it was carried on the journey but in the story of how it was found, made or sought out.
The man is a traveller, he has been on a long journey, but he has not come to this familiar clearing to rest, nor is his journey yet over. There is a quiet industry about him, like that of the bees that float around the clearing and with a similar purpose. To go forth, to range far and wide, to gather in and, in returning, to create golden nourishment. After lifting his face to the light and feeling the radiance through closed eyes, the man again delves into the recesses of his bag, bringing out crisp new leaves of paper and his favourite pen. It fits in his had like the hilt of a blade, held the way a musician gently and firmly holds their instrument. After three deep breaths, he begins to write…
… the light begins to dim as he reaches the end of his final page. The setting rays catch the smoke rising from his small fire and gently wreathe the clearing, holding the moment in amber. Satisfied with his work the man carefully rolls the paper and binds it with a length of thin blue cord, placing it reverently on a low stone that rests near the fire at the centre of the clearing. He repacks his pen, journals, books and all but three of the objects into his burlap satchel.
Those three objects are offerings, gratitude to the Gods and Spirits and Guides that have been his company on the journey so far. First incense, offered to the coals to rise in aromatic wisps, each herb, wood and resin adding their own counterpoint to the woodsmoke. Next mead, the brew of sunshine and sweetness transformed by patient tending, the first three shining drops given as libation. The third offering is placed upon the stone, a carved post of pale willow wood with a face peering from it. The face of a serene man, wide eyes staring into the unknown and a brow crowned with antlers and leaves. All three are things the man has made with his own hands, expressions of his creativity and symbols of the things he has gathered.
Leaving the way he arrived, he pauses briefly in the entwined archway formed by an oak and a beech tree and places a hand on each trunk, standing on the threshold between the clearing and the path that leads onwards into the wildwood. The way ahead will soon be crowded with shadows, he will need a lantern to light his way, a staff to steady him and a cloak to keep out the night-time cold.
Moments later he steps forward, journeying on.