Two words rumble around my dreams all night: ferie and urlaub. Different languages, none of them mine, for the same thing.
The 6am alarm dispels the words and whatever meaning they might hold. The drawn up blind reveals a greyer and more humid day outside, like the mystery of the dreams and words clouding over me. I drag myself out of bed for today’s best opportunity to not think about work; walking and running in the woods.
The first kilometre is mostly uphill, but what I initially mistake as silence – the absence of music, tv, speech and traffic – soon gives way to all the noise of life in the forest. The squirrels, the wind, the birds, the leaves and the humidity that slowly creates little drops make the woods a rainforest today. Yes, when I look again that flapping to my left isn’t a pigeon, it’s a parrot. The plant stinging my ankle isn’t a nettle, it’s a life threatening carnivorous plant that I narrowly escaped.
At the top of the hill I look out over the view and don’t see sheep and farms, but slaves working for the evil King in his castle. I start to run as the hill crests downwards to escape, having avoided being seen. I run deeper into the woods and find a feather pointing north, surely this is a vital clue in the search of finding out who killed Laura Palmer, or kidnapped Princess Peach Toadstool? A forgotten sock has been hung on one of the signposts for the trail I’m following; more evidence that the Princess is still alive!
The path now turn upwards again, and I have a view of the forested valley below; the full glory of Lothlórien spread out before me. My legs are strong, my breath keeps up, I hear rain but the leaves and branches of the magical forest move to protect and shelter me as I carry on my mission. I hear hoofs behind me! One of the evil King Midas’ Dark Riders, no doubt. I hide behind a tree and watch the large horse pass. The rider is a woman some ten years older than me in helmet, riding boots and a purple t-shirt saying Keep Calm and Drink Gin. One of the Dark Riders for sure, I knew it!
Fortunately I’m not spotted, and carry on up towards the cafe, I mean, the Crossroads Inn. And there, at the crest of the hill, just before the Inn and its safety and warmth from the perils of the woods, is my Lover. We haven’t met yet, but we know each other when we see each other now. I run faster to the open arms, the chest, the mouth, the hair. We meet in the All Consuming Kiss – the Jack and Rose kiss, the Pocahontas and John Smith kiss – that both consummate our bond and eternal love, and ravage and ruin everything around us. Nothing will ever be the same again after this kiss. The King defeated, the Death Star destroyed, the Ring cast into the fire.
The sun returns and reveals the true glory of the victory: I have beaten the demons of stress, monotony, adulthood, loneliness, anxiety and work. I can save myself, give myself the escape I need with my imagination.
And the words of the night come back to me: ferie and urlaub. Different languages, none of them mine, for the same meaning: