The battlefield that day had been hectic with hundreds of fighters doing all they could to win for their side. My world had narrowed to grabbing the next arrow and lining up my target. I had ducked and dodged behind friendly fighters as enemy archers targeted me. Several shield men protected spears and glaives as they tried to break the shield wall in front of the castle. They also protected archers as they could.
But now the fighting was done for the day. Adjacent camps were raucous at times but within our own walls, peace reigned. Some of our compatriots were dressing for the fancy dress ball that was to be held that night. Jon and I walked up the hill to find food for the evening. We also poked through vendor stalls, admiring and wishing, assuring each other of “someday”. There was no shortage of shinies and pretties that we could have frittered our money away on but we were good and only spent it on food, mostly.
The blue blush of the fading sun was losing ground to the deep night, the lush darkness slowly pushing out the twilight. By the time we regrouped with our friends the blue was barely an echo. It slowly slipped away as we walked around the lake and explored the many paths winding through the woods and other camps. There were circles of cacophony: dancing, drinking, and drumming, illuminated with flickering flames
But we were drawn elsewhere. There were pocket of silence so deep you could feel it pressing into your skin, beckoning you deeper into the natural embrace of the trees surrounding you. The sky was filled with stars, like diamonds scattered across soft linen.
This is where I return when I can’t anymore. When day to day life is overwhelming and I need a break. I’m back in the woods, my husband’s hand in mine. The dark is complete, the trees too dense to allow the moonlight to filter through. Fireflies are flitting to and fro around us in a dance known only to them. It’s a magical moment, heralded by the setting of the sun. It’s my oasis of calm in the bedlam of the normal world.
In only 99 days I'll be able to return.