Monday, 15 June 2015


I spiral through the lens to a world at the other side; Alice down a rabbit hole. Do the turgid grasping roots of fungus squeeze new life from the decaying blooms when they land in the compost,I wonder, as I sink down through the humus layer in a bubble of thought? I have no time to gather my wits, let alone the items that have fallen from my fruit baskets. I pass a lowly worm who gives me a drunken stare through his monocled eye and I return a slow wink. He looks outraged at my presence but I feel I should remind him it is him burrowing in my garden, well my Uncle's garden really, not the other way round. But all of a sudden I am not so sure.
I spiral through time and underground space assaulted as much by mushroom smells as flashes of sky as I tumble further from the garden. Surreal scenes flash past me: a mole postman on a penny farthing bicycle, belly dancing grubs, a tight-rope walker with a huge head and sequinned tights, a toy horse with a coronet of feathers cantering round and around like a motorbike on the wall of death, all defying the gravity that pulls me down and down. I was looking for answers in the compost, like reading tea leaves, truth, a different reality, a view to the horizon and beyond, a way out from narrow perspectives, but as I spiral through this strange new world I wonder if my perspective is not shrinking further. There is no horizon here, no sky even any more. All is shades of brown and strangeness.
The tunnel narrows and I fear I will be wedged but then realise the narrowing is due in part to a spiral of ants and beetles on the tunnel sides. My legs and arms bite into the thread of them and I spin more slowly, slowing, tighter, tight, stopping with my feet on stone steps. The insects melt away through the damp of ages, scratching through the agony of mortar. I look around at endless arches and staircases reaching and joining one another in a dance of right angles, sideways, inverted, until I spot a door. I find I am terrified. Now I have new horizons to explore, new possibilities, I am not brave enough to explore this new world now I have found it. Wishing only to find my way back to the comfort of familiar thoughts and expectations I can think of nothing but escape. I run the maze of stairs, pausing at the top of each flight, the bottom of the next, often finding they are one and the same, to consider my progress. Am I getting any closer to my goal? It is all a cruel joke, the stairs are mirrors and perspectives and for all my efforts I am getting nowhere. Eventually I sink to the floor on a half landing exhausted, and curl like a hedgehog with my head to my knees feeling keenly the absence of prickles to protect me. I am a jellyfish to be squashed and moulded by other forces. I drift into sleep, oblivion, relief.
When I wake the sun has sunk lower in the sky and I can feel the fabric imprint of my skirt and the grass on my cheek. I am stiff with the exertions of my adventure (or is it the damp from the earth?) and I unclench my body from its ball, spiralling up from the ground like a new sprout released from a corm, arms outstretched. The sun glints off my Uncles binoculars where he stands on the balcony and I know I will always be observed, inspected. I clean the dirt from beneath my nails, already longing to have been braver.

The copyright of this post belongs to Holly Khan

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