Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Once Upon Dusty Floorboards

Once upon dusty floorboards, I smelt a rose, and thought of trees.

To be honest, it wasn't once upon, it was just yesterday, in my acting class. I sat on the floor, breathing heavily - no, gasping, if I remember correctly - after some ghastly and very sadistic body work exercise that had us all running, hopping, waving our arms about and sweating a lot.

I thought of trees as I ran my fingers over old and new nails pounded through the wooden panel flooring of this little hall at Baldwin Boys' School. I wondered how many trees were part of the hall. And how long they had been there. I wondered what the panels might have looked like when they were new, when they were somebody's pride, to be waxed and polished on a regular basis. I wondered if the soul and spirit of each tree was still present there in those boards. Is wood dead? As long as it is still wood, perhaps that inner energy and wisdom of the tree is still within, ebbing slowly, very slowly, as the years go by and the wood wears down and years of dust and indifference gradually stifle it.

And once upon those dusty floorboards - still yesterday - I smelt a rose, although I did not see one: just a slender stalk and three leaves still perfect. The rose had gone, perhaps crumpled into someone's pocket or hymn book or cleavage. The stalk with its three leaves lay there so prettily and poignantly, I had to pick it up. And was rewarded with the divine fragrance of the long-gone rose, still clinging to those leaves.

I must have used it all up, because no one else who took a whiff could smell that fragrance. Perhaps it was just meant for me.

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