One of the iron gateposts has rusted at the bottom and is almost ready to fall, but the gate is kept propped by lifting it onto the ledge of the other post. It is either that or keep the gate open, and then dogs go on the gravel outside the house.
There is only one way of reading it: mend the gatepost. Don’t wait for the house to be fixed just do it. Or, you are the gatepost, still standing, apparently, but broken at the stem, quite broken. There is nothing you can do about rust.
But the road beyond is story: the old lamp post where we sing Little Town of Bethlehem at Christmas, even though no-one looks out at us since M’s mother died. She had silverwhite hair cut short and neat, and little blue eyes that shone like candles. Three of us sing for her each year and I stand under the light of the lamp post that is sturdy and painted green to protect it from rust. It isn’t Narnia but I always think it might be; and there is never any snow, but I hope.
Last week I met a wise woman who knows about forests and the stories we live in them. She said, you can walk through, come out the other side. But I said I wasn’t sure I wanted to. I have always lived in the forest.
A sign says Beware Narrow Track. It leads straight up to the forest and holds no dangers for me, I know how to walk it. Big fast roads are what I fear, but they lead to other places and on them you can travel quickly. It is said that it’s better to travel than to arrive, but this is only true if you are on a train or a narrow track. Otherwise it is better to have arrived and be in the place.
If I had a carpet that would take me in an instant, I would go to all the continents I have never visited. If I had a wardrobe that opened onto strange terrain I would go into it.
The wind blows the dust of the road, the thin film of dust that lay on the wet ground, the compressed mud that is the unadopted road I live on. I am at the end of a row of cottages, or I am at the beginning, it depends which way you look.