A lonely gate stands in an unmowed field atop a small knob of a hill; its fence had long ago fallen victim to the brambles. I discovered this gate one warm summer evening on my daily walk through the country. I became intrigued by the simple beauty of its rough-hewn character, probably carved by a farmer a hundred years ago. The wood slats that made up the gate had faint Celtic carvings running their entire length. The wood had aged to a dull grey and was splintering on the edges.

The closed gate compels me to open it. There is a sense of longing that draws me closer, and I follow, even with this out-of-place gate that has neither a closed side nor an open side. It stands freely, alone between its posts.

I must see if there is a path on the other side. There is always a path on the other side. The path might be well-worn, or it is overgrown. But there is a path… always. Someone or something to follow creates a trail. Follow it, I will.

There is one thing that must be done as a gate opens. You must listen to the rusty voice of the ancient hinges. Those hinges have stories to tell and their songs must be heard. As I listen to the gate's voice, I clearly hear it tell me adventure awaits. It sings that I must put my old beliefs aside and accept all things as they are here in this land. The rules are different. Up might be down, and what I see might not be what I see. I must be willing to accept this new gravity.

Passing through the gate, I feel a rush of warm air go by, as if entering a space that has not contained fresh air for centuries. My eyes blurred for a moment as I closed the gate behind me. As my eyes cleared I became aware that a stone path appeared below my feet. The path led off into a dark, looming forest that was not visible when I first faced the closed gate. This world was different here from the other side of the gate. It was strangely familiar, but different in a way that could only be felt, like a chill breeze caressing my skin. ‌The grass looks like grass, and the trees look like trees, but they all shimmer with a faint silver glow. I could sense magic here. In my world, science and knowledge erase magic. Here, in this world magic still exists. Pigs can fly and castles sit high in the clouds. There are dragons around and wizards in stone cottages turning lead into gold. There are good kings and queens who treat the populations well; there are evil monarchs creating nothing but misery for their subjects.

Written under the influence of THC and CBD. I am not comfortable writing, so this was an experiment in visualising a place. I do hope it isn't too amateurish to be read.

By David Baldinger

Note: This photo is of a gate that existed near Orford Keep in East Anglia, UK, in the Spring of 1984. It has inspired my fantasy for 40 years. It probably no longer exists as the other side has probably pulled it into oblivion.


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