Monthly Archives: October 2006

The Cathedral Glen, Introduction

Below, you will find parts one and two of a four-part short story. These are each on their second revision, and parts three and four are currently in SFD (Sh**ty First Draft) status. This is a story I have wanted to write for a while, although I never knew how to start it. Finally, about two weeks ago, I began writing a story, and though it was not intended to be this one, it did turn into it.
Finding the boundaries within our world is a task with which children are familiar; the thin places that separate our world and time from others, where the imagination, or magic, or science rule instead of the politics of our world. These worlds are ideal, they are places children escape to, or believe in, or know exist. They are places we lose as we age, and come to terms with our own reality, with the car payments and crookedness and harshness.
Our real world drives our imagination into the ground, and insists that those things are unreal, and so unimportant. Personally, I like to go to those places where we can travel the stars, and meet creatures of our fantasy.
I hope this story will bring out the child in its readers, the wonder and imagination and love…
Let me know what you think.

The Cathedral Glen, Part 2

So Brad and I were playing in the stand of trees that to us was nearly the size of a cathedral, and that is what we called it, The Cathedral. Between the tall trees with arching branches, and the vine-covered brush around the outside and the one tunnel in that you had to know was there… It always seemed that when we got on our knees to crawl in through the brush and thorns, and stood in the clear space with filtered light and the columns of tree trunks, that we had entered another place and time. Even that young, each of us knew it was a sacred place, one of those thin places in the world. Whenever we went there, we would stand quietly for a while, and when we played, we played quietly (as I am now sure our parents wished for when we played at home), and there was an unspoken agreement that older kids and adults were not ever invited. We always left The Cathedral feeling a little different, a little… Well, older, or more reverent, or spiritual, just a little, indefinably different…
So Jimmy and I were there, playing with the new B-29 model, and the Transformers, and the Star Wars heroes when he suddenly paused in the middle of a bombing-run. He looked around and said, carefully and quietly, “E___, you wanna see something?”
Of course I wanted to see something, because in this place it could only be something new and strange and wondrous. So I agreed, and he led the way through our Cathedral of trees to the far side. There, he found a particular tree with smooth silver bark and shiny green leaves. It was the first time I’d seen it, but it was young, barely as big around as my leg and maybe as high as the two of us, if Tommy stood on my shoulders. I looked at him with a question in my mind and he said very clearly, “I was here last week, and it was only this high,” holding his hand at his waist, “and this big around,” and he made a circle with his hands so his first-fingers and thumbs were overlapped. It was so much bigger than he said that I almost did not believe him and said,
“But that’s imPOSSible! Trees don’t grow THAT fast!”
“But it DID! I was here yesterday, and it wasn’t even THIS big,” and he stretched his hand over his head. “I had to show SOMEone!”
“But…” I had nothing to say, really.
“It’s bigger since yesterday, I can tell. An’ I bet if we sit over there we could even watch it grow!”
And we went and sat down, because I still did not really believe him, and we watched, and as we watched the tree grew. We saw branches grow out, sprout buds, and leaves emerge. We saw the top get higher, by inches. I still swear that I watched that tree grow with my eyes.
“See? I told you, E___.” Brad said a while later. We watched the tree grow, and the shadows move across the ground with the sun, and I though and said, “Yeah.”
A little later, I realized how long it had been, and jumped up, saying, “Brad, we havta go home. Our Mom’s’ll be worried!” So we scrambled out of our wooded Cathedral and ran across the length of the field, and as Brad veered off toward his backyard he yelled, “Tomorrow! We havta go back!” and I yelled back to him, “Okay!”