Epilogue: … Into a Sunlit Meadow

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. 

And so I awoke, my ears still ringing with celestial chimes, sweet chords imperceptibly fading, overlaid with the soothing sound of the bubbling spring. I open my eyes and find myself back in the Dark Wood, now illuminated by a ray of sunlight shining through the branches of the yew tree I am sitting under.

Tomorrow to fresh woods, and pastures new.

As I compose myself, the wildwood reassembles around me. Then I hear the sound of approaching footsteps and turn round. My heart leaps to see my beloved Basil striding towards me, now standing in front of me. “Ah, here you are, Sybil. Did you have a nice snooze?”

“Oh no, just travelling on the astral plane 😉 The best bit was that I met Ra up there; we had quite an interesting trip together. He sends his love to you and hopes to see you again soon.”

Basil smiles enigmatically. He has his own relationship with Ra, being Ra’s favourite human. He extends a helping hand to me. “Time to rise and shine! Meanwhile I’ve found the path out of the wood. Come along and see, it’s really beautiful.”

We walk together along the path, hand in hand, enjoying the songs of the birds in the trees and the rays of the afternoon sun dappling through the branches.

All the way to heaven is heaven … All of it a kiss.

Skirting the side of the wood we emerge into a sunlit meadow stretching away to the horizon. The sun is shining in an azure-blue sky, just a few fluffy white clouds floating over the hills. The glorious landscape is bright with every variety of summer wildflowers – a sea of blue cornflowers, foaming white cow parsley, vivid splashes of red poppies. We follow the path up through the meadow and climb up the hillside, passing proud clumps of the round-headed rampions we love so much as well as the occasional rare pyramidal orchid.

They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate;
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.

They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.

After a while we reach the summit, and pause to rest, cooled by a gentle summer breeze. This wondrous place has yet another surprise in store for us. Here are the magnificent barrows, tombs of long forgotten ancestors who once strode the land like giants.

Kingley Vale, photo © Mark Oswald-Cutler

We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

An exaltation of larks are rising up from the meadow high into the sky, singing their hearts out all around us. We stand on top, gazing out over the beauties of Sussex, most bountiful domain of Gaia’s realm: verdant hills grazed by flocks of sheep, sloping down to golden fields full of ripening corn, leading the eye towards a small but beautiful city encircling its magnificent stone cathedral. Even further beyond, the land comes to a sudden halt at the white cliffs, surrounded by the silver sea, illuminated by the setting sun.

Live without fear, live without guilt; live without any fear of hell or any greed for heaven. Just live! Death is not creating any illusion for you, it is your mind. Put this mind aside, so that it cannot disturb your dance, your song, your music.