Here, where the plants grow wild and the music of nature sounds as a constant background, was where I made my home.
It was a simple cottage, constructed out of wattle and daub, but it was mine. My home. My shelter from the harsh world. My protection from the judgemental gazes of the villagers from whom I had been out cast. For the longest time they let me be, out here on the fringes. Out of sight, I was out of mind, but still accessible when they found themselves in need of my herbal simples or the knowledge of a midwife.
“Witch,” they called me, in vicious whispers, with suspicious glares. “Devil lover”, “monster”, “demoness”. My only sins had been to reject the role of wife and mother – or sexual plaything – and to revere the Earth and the gifts that she granted to us. I was different, an outsider, and so I was dangerous, an object of suspicion.
There, in the pond, was where I found my death.
They came as an angry mob. After a bad harvest, followed by a harsh winter and a sickness that had taken too many beloved lives, they’d needed someone to blame. The priest had pointed his finger towards the only non church-goer in the area.
“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”
The villagers had been only too happy to lay the blame at my door.
My cottage is long gone now, destroyed in a blaze of so-called ‘cleansing flame’. For centuries my little scrap of land had been tamed, and cultivated, and forced into unnatural form. Farm hands had ploughed the earth and poisoned the soil in the name of enrichment and productivity, until only a handful of species could thrive. The music of nature had faded almost into silence.
But now my spirit walks again through a place filled with wild growing plants and flowers, as the gifts of the Earth are revered once more. The bees hum in delight whilst dragonflies and butterflies and insects and beetles galore all dance in joy amongst the blooms.
Now, my spirit is home. I am sheltered once more.
This little piece of flash fiction was inspired by the meadow, and the signs of former buildings that are visible in the patches of meagre growth. It was written for day 27 of 365 Days Wild.