(An Ode To Dreams)
Three girls, holding hands. They take one look at each other, laugh, and start running. The police are hot on their trail, but they don’t care- they’re going to outrun them. Plus, they know an escape route. The trail is made of hard-packed earth, and their sneakers pound as they run. Dust rises behind them, obscuring the men from view, but the girls can hear them not far behind.
Just up ahead, beyond the clearing, their magic spot comes into view. It is a booby trap, an illusion of nature. What appears to be a small gorge, rimmed on every side by twisted sticks and summer-green brambles, is actually a portal to another world. Diving in would be madness, but leaping over it would be impossible. As the sounds of men and dogs grow louder in the underbrush behind them, the girls laugh wildly and take a flying leap. The mass of dense growth, climbing ferns, twisted grasses, and jutting sticks gives way beneath them, and suddenly they are falling…
They fall and fall and fall, laughing hysterically, their legs kicking the air. They are like atmospheric swimmers, or a trio of Alice’s as they tumble down the rabbit hole. Brush scratches them on every side, and the mountains fade away to nothing. They laugh and shout, their stomachs in their throats, falling through empty space.
In this Wonderland, they don’t pass cupboards and tea parties, they fall through an endless array of greenery and life. Ferns reach out and touch them, sticks catch in their hair. The occasional friendly thorn gifts them a scratch, and earthworms watch as they fall. Then, with an easy plunk, they find themselves on the ground again. The police aren’t far behind, though.
“GO!” shouts one of the girls, and they continue running, leaping over a stream and hitting the trail with pounding feet. They have broken apart, but as another brambly vortex looms ahead, they take hands once again and leap.
Again, they are scratched on every side, and again they laugh as they fall. Their hands are plump and warm, locked together, and as their feet churn the air, the landscape turns to a green blur all around them. This time, they have outwitted the cops. This time, the fall was too deep.
When they hit the ground, they tumble apart, dazed, twigs in their hair. Up ahead, a blue pond is luminous in the sunlight. They gather their wits and stand up, and when they see each other, they start laughing.
“Are they coming?” asks one of them. All three cock their ears skyward, but the air around them is silent. The tunnel of brambles that conducted their escape has swallowed itself back up, disappearing into the sky. Now the only trace of their pursuers is a slight haze of gray that could easily be mistaken for a rain cloud.
“Let’s go!” they shout, jubilant. Grasping hands once again, they hit the trail running, the sapphire lake ahead their next experiment. Falling through air is fantastic- it is a breathless, freeing experience. What will it be like to fall through water?