Photograph by Lisa Shambrook Tree Man Clyne Gardens, Swansea
(Please do not use without permission)
The Seasons of Enchantment
As autumn’s chill spread through the gold, and scarlet, and dying green, her voice still wandered across the dewy grass, lifting up into the fading leaves, searching for her lost love. My bursting heart sang and my breath fluttered on the autumn symphony, and in her hair, and I watched as Bronagh moved like a sylvan through the forest. The song on her lips, a mournful lament, matched only by the black she wore from head to toe. I urged and whispered, and she searched.
Winter snow swathed the forest floor, and ominous clouds hung in the sky, and still she walked, soft-footed and lone. Her fur-bound feet crunched through the flurry, and her hands brushed snow from low, bare branches, and I shivered as she moved softly through the trees. She walked like a shadow, dark against white, and I listened, my heart breaking as “Odhran…” slipped from her mouth.
Light, crepuscular rays shone down through the emerging canopy. Honey-green leaves unfurled and broke through, stretching in spring’s embrace. Bronagh, still dressed in mourning, welcomed the early sun, gathering bluebells and pale sunshine primroses. Her feet danced lightly on the green sward. I breathed and my heart swelled like the buds on the boughs.
When summer brought its glittering jewels, and deep verdant life, she moved soulfully through the forest, resting beneath its emerald awning, taking time to catch her breath. I waved and beamed as the sun bore down, and my heart leapt as she still whispered my name in the breeze “Odhran…” I yearned to touch and hold her, but I waited.
Autumn’s return brought crimson and bronze, and jade and brown, and the slow falling leaves matched her new attire. My heart dimmed and my hearing dulled as the wild, winter wind blew across the fields and into my life. She still wandered, lonely, through the trees, still searching, and I still whispered in her ear, but she no longer heard me.
As winter froze the ground and water the colour of her ice-blue eyes hung from my boughs, I knew she was gone. Only deer wandered, hooves crushing the hoarfrost and bruising the grass like the purple shroud that veiled my heart. I shivered beneath the black, night sky and listened to my splintering heart.
Spring’s warmth failed to reignite my soul. It stiffened and darkened, until I was a shadow of myself, until I became blind. I could not stop the burgeoning joy of new growth, my new cloak of leaves, but my heart was finally stilled.
Frozen amid summer’s heat, I stood silent and cold, my soul as hard and as callous as the wood I wore.
When she reappeared with recognition, and ruddy, autumn cheeks, and a heart full of joy I felt nothing. Her arms embraced me, but my stone-cold heart was lost and my waters frozen. She cried, rivers of tears like a weeping willow, but there was nothing left of me, the man she once loved, just a lonely tree, tall and strong, but forever bereft of love.