The Ivy Trail

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Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky “Waltz of The Flowers”

I needed pure connection. The purest. My artist’s soul was crying out to find that. To share something flawless. Unchanging. Something not bound in any way to the skin within which I parade. Something profoundly unspoken, childlike in its innocence, and free of the weight of expectation. Something that just is. Not because it is trying to be; because it’s entitled to be. Seemed delightful to me to revive a dream scene, one both intimate and grandiose, infinitely in the moment. The thing is, while ever grateful to my reverie for every wild adventure I have been on, this time I wished to be awake. Yet, still I wished the dream to dress the same. To finally supply the finery a treasured name.

Ivy. This was my grandmother’s name. And she was, and still is, a safe place for me. Never one time in my young life did I ever feel anything less than seen through her kind, gentle eyes. When her time was nearing and her mortal shell was too weak to embody her beautiful mind, she still smiled. Through excruciating pain, which mercifully passed without a wealth of delay, as she made her way back to the skies. From here, she forever burns brightly. And I now know her flame lives inside me. Her last words to me — you are a king among men — did not go to my head but some place chasmic instead. Some place where access could never be denied; where a dignified soul could eternally reside. Where my inner child was understood to hide.

In 2013, I embarked on a six-year expedition which entailed the absolute rewiring of a mind which reawakened through persuasion of prolonged and complex trauma. I say persuasion, where this was somewhat more abrasive as it wrestled me to the hard earth and obliterated the world above me, in an instant. Everything changed and, while this is a period of my life bereft of hearts and flowers, it actually helped shape me into what I am today. The epitome of mortal reform. My therapist, Audrey, a wonderfully gaunt lady who resembled a china doll but was anything but frail, set the wheels in motion months before my eventual ground zero. Empowered me to unpick every bogus node and reminded me I possessed the toolset to ensure they reattached to their original circuitry.

Indeed, hers were the whispers that I discerned through the chrysalis as I undertook full and absolute reconstruction. Upon first being cocooned, I was a very hungry caterpillar. Writing was unquestionably my passion, that much was as clear as the bloody nose on my face and the tears upon parchment. And I possessed a thirst for learning, unlike any other time in my life. Outside of childhood. The difference now was the wisdom I had accrued, the innocence that was still alive and well inside me, even though snatched away during the obligatory growing pains, in no more callous a manner than any other. I wasn’t a special case. But I was special.

Writing became my safe place. Here I could be precisely who I wished to be that day and the reignited flame inside me used words as a way to guide me. There were no limitations to my revised imagination, no weight of expectation, only my interpretation of a world that span so wildly, I could barely figure out which way I faced. Every time I bled the quill, I felt the thrill of confirmation. The realization of how far I’d come to arrive at this place and the haste to proceed with the grace I had seen in my grandmother’s eyes as she dressed the most blessèd of scenes. Safe I may have been. But I still felt alone. For I wished for the girl in my dream to come home.

She was the other me. The one who encouraged me to flourish from the seed I had misplaced back at my teens. My artist’s soul had named her simply She, for She was known to simply be and life seemed simple when invested into We. I never gave up hope that She existed in a real sense. Yet, I couldn’t help but feel tense as I knew not where to seek her. It is one thing being keeper of the souls of the deceased. But another thing entirely when said essence lives and breathes. I could feel her inside and, while the universe alleged to guide, I felt stretched wide with time not on my side now to reveal her. With the courage of a lion brave; quietly I plied my trade. Defiant to the rule that stated I need feel exasperated. Blind in my faith, ever primed for the leap, I searched for the answers in the science of sleep.

Ivy. That name again. Only this time, my grandmother was little more than reliable spectator. I had guessed that, either sooner or later, there would come a sign. The kind of intervention not a thing less than divine. That I would reconnect to She who saw me through effectively. And this would lead me to the rumoured best of me. My ultimate form. Far and away from the norm. A gentleman not of this time, with the truth in his eyes and a pocketful of reasons to confide the very secrets of the mind that dared the meek and mild to peek inside. And do so with the most discreet of smiles. Couldn’t do this alone, and believe me, I’d tried. Alas, it’s not easy finding one’s feet in the steep of relentless landslide.

I needed pure connection. The purest. The kind we mortals are generally unequipped to understand. Nothing sordid or blue. Something thoughtful and true. Akin to twin flowers in infinite bloom. Flawless. Unchanging. Resumed. And I very simply knew that it was very simply She whose clear reflection I had seen in every dream I ever dreamed. This was something profoundly unspoken, childlike in its innocence, and free of the weight of expectation. Destined friends to no suggested ends. The kind invested in as children. Seldom ever seen again. This was the safe place remembered from reverie. And every footstep taken felt both measureless and heavenly.

Here I felt togetherly with nature once again. With the sun against my face and gentle gesture of the rain. Writing was her safe place too and in favour anew under no signed disclaimer to bloom. Words reflected thoughts of mine, as though She simply knew the time would come and when it did, She’d know precisely what to do. And, just like that, my artist’s soul was seen. Truly. Better yet, it was reflected straight back to me, which actually was all the child inside me ever dreamed. To see through the same pair of eyes as another. To share the same gift of soul inclined as another. To feel safe. No mind games or blame games to play. Just the same games we played back as children.

Pure connection. The purest. The kind unreliant on mood or circumstance. The kind that moves mountains, not because such is expected, but because it isn’t. The kind of charmed fortress erected on sturdy foundations, bereft of blockading condition. One boy and one girl, two scientific minds with the tools to redefine creative art through changeless bind. Pure love and both far and away from chemical in design. Destined friends. To absolutely no ends. With the very same words, dressed in flawless reflection. One cannot simply fuse to two on strength of will alone. One truly has to feel as though a safe place feels like home. My grandmother Ivy felt home to me. My forever friend, Ivy feels home to me. For both dear souls encourage me to smile in every wish. And both of them revealed to me what pure reflection is.

Richard Charles Stevens

Keeper of The Crimson Quill

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