Words of warning and welcome:

This is very much my blog, so don't be surprised if this doesn't follow accepted patterns and norms. Obviously it started out as a blog about my cross-dressing but it has developed a great deal since then. It is a place where I can be anonymous and honest, and I appreciate that.

It will deal with many things and new readers would do well to check out the New Readers' Page above this and the tag down there on the right. Although there's nothing too bad in here there will be adult language, so be careful. If you think this needs a greater control, please let me know. Thank you!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

My Safe Place

Comparisons to Hitler aside (I don't think I know any Jews, much less have a view on whether or not 'they' are 'different' to anyone else - I don't think I actually believe in 'races' for that matter) my last post was pretty harrowing.  More for the reader (ha) than for the writer.  I've said before, I'm not a fan of myself and so it follows that I make myself unpalatable.

Resolution Number 2 needs rebooting.  And my first paragraph implies 1 needs some work too.

So, being more positive, trying again.  It's not all that easy, being me, to be positive and the recent events at work have conspired to make it difficult to remain so.  However, I am secure in the knowledge that this time I have done pretty much everything I need to (apart from the bits I haven't, natch) so I should be alright.  Also, this post is not about all of that.  It's about the title: creating a safe place.

Without the odd white haired man there, this is pretty close
to the ring of oaks that makes up the centre of my safe place,
it's how I visualise this blog looking if twere physical.
My last post would be from the old quarry.
A safe place, as I intend to create it, is somewhere to visit once a day and to enjoy - it is not a physical location, for that would be problematic and does carry with it a sense that it would be a retreat from the world.  I do that enough without a safe place.  No, this place would be a place to be free.  In many ways that liberating aspect is already covered by this space on the intarwebs - this blog is unknown to people who know who I am and I have said the worst that I can here - I am free on this blog.  I am me.  However, it is a place based entirely in my mind, so I guess I need to flesh out what this place is in my head.  I mean, I know it's a blog and all, a record of one aspect of my life primarily, but I want to make it more than that - a place I can visit when I'm not posting or using it to go to the blogs I follow and read reagularly-ish.  I want it to be a place that senses attached, not just the raw wet wound of my brain meeting the keyboard and spouting as it does.  It's not like I can embarrass myself here, no worse than I did in my last post anyway.

This is close to how I imagine the path to the
oak tree ring looks like in mid-summer.
In my head, then, I guess this is like a woodland.  This exact spot, where I post from, would be a ring of gnarled, but still relatively young, oak trees, with a patch of long grasses in the middle.  In summer the air in the ring would throb with the sound of insects, bees and the like, on their journeys.  Not loud, not too many, but enough that you'd notice them above the rustle of the leaves in the breeze.  Autumn would bring a small drift of leaves, some late flowering plants and falling acorns.  Squirrels would run through the branches and the low sun would wink weakly through the patchwork canopy.  The green grass would turn slowly to yellow, grow brittle, and wither into winter.  Rains would come, a wet winter, with frost and ice, the trees stripped bare, and then slowly return to verdant as the spring came.  There would be birds, but they would not nest in the ring, and there would be a fallen log, an older oak felled and forgotten, to sit on and enjoy the quiet.  A path would lead through two of the oaks and stop in the centre, an animal path perhaps or a memory of something much older, but I would not use it so much as see it as a guide to direction during cloudy days or misty mornings.  In summer the smell would be one heavy with tree pollen, warm air and floating grass seeds.  Sunlight would warm my skin and the breeze would barely breathe - held in check by the shrubbery beyond the ring and the thick trees that press toward the south.

This is actually the old bridge I have in mind for the safe
place.  It's more overgrown in my imagination, and not still
in use.
The ring would be on level ground.  To the south a berm rises, topped with holly, beech, sycamore and silver birch, some coppiced, and shrubs and low lying plants.  There would be patches of bramble on the slopes and tumble-down dry stones walls along the brow.  An old tunnel beneath the berm, lined as a stone bridge, C19th architecture, by a small babbling brook, stones lining the bed and filled with the detritus of some old ruin, modern in many ways, but a ruin still.  Weeds and barmbles mingle with the raspberry bushes and elderberry trees.  Along the higher stone walls grow a festival of nasturtiums in yellows and reds and oranges and whites.  To the north and west there are the beginnings of the wild woods, old and brooding and dark.  Squat oaks mark the beginning, in amongst the slender young silver birch, and slowly the older trees make their presense felt.  There are beeches thicker than pathways, branches wider than cars, and a blackness even in the heat of summer that is at once foreboding and inviting.  Walking there is cool in summer, comforting in the moonlit night.  The darkness is soft, filled with animals and their noises, of hedgehogs snuffing, foxes sleeping, chickens scratching in the undergrowth.  There are wild strawberries to be found here, and mushrooms of all varieties.  Walk quietly enough and you might meet a wolf.

The entrance to the wild woods, a place of majesty and
mystery where there a wolves, for some reason, but
where I like to walk.
The brook surfaces here, in the wild woods, and joins others to become a fast flowing stream, overhung by the boughs of old and new trees.  It disappears into a steep, but short, valley, a natural path lined with horse chestnuts follows it.  There are a few old, dilapidated, stone bridges and the remains of some old roads.  There were people here once but they have long gone, the woods have reclaimed this as their own.  On the opposite side of the path there is a small stretch of marsh and wetland before the land rises once again, back to the berm and the ring of trees.  It is magical here.  You would hold your breath if visiting through awe and wonder.  In summer it is a place simply to tarry.  I watch the light, feel the winds and smell the flowers and the mud, the water and the animals, the shit and the leaves.  Autumn is a time for foraging, scanning for the reds of raspberries and the plump blackness of brambles.  There is rhubarb too.  The feel of the rough bramble leaves as you pick through them, the criss-cross ridges of tree roots on the animal paths that I follow beneath my feet.  Bark gnarled with age, leaves rustling, always noise and movement.  Night brings no terror, just different animals at dusk, different insects that flutter more than buzz.  Sister Moon lights the way as I delve deeper, bringing to mind the history, the sense of place and mystery.  There is a majesty in these woods, something that demands respect.  God is in the woods.

Deep within the fairy forest, beyond the old dragon's lair,
there are conifers and mounds of moss like this.
Look carefully enough and you'll meet the fairies, with their
wings and trilling...
To the east there is the forest.  Woodland is more spaced out here, there are fewer dark places and grasses grow.  Oaks, beeches, birches and bushes mingle companionably.  There are small ponds and lakes in amongst the rises and dips.  Old roads are still wide here, the streams and brooks are less noisey, and the ground can be baked in summer and deluged in winter and spring.  The smell is different, the flowers here are less edible, nut trees grow and there are banks and long slow slopes hidden in amongst the trees and leaves.  Here I can see squirels more readily, the chickens are seen more too, rather than heard, moving in their strange raptor-like gait.  Their clucking fills the gaps between bird-song and moving grass.  Water tinkles.  God is here too, but more approachable.  In the wild wood He stands in Majesty, demanding fealty, respect and reverence.  Here, He puts his arm round you and smiles.  Points out the animals, smells the air and listens to the world around us.  There are fairies here.  They live in the banks of flowers, in amongst the weeds and down by the river.  Delicate, feminine features, with gossamer wings.  They never speak, always just out of reach, but they seem to like watching me as I walk through their domain, like they too are with God and in Him.  Even the male fairies seem female to human eyes, inquistive and intelligent but no more than the stoats and weasels and foxes.

Where the wild wood takes over from the valley.  A short walk
from the bridge where I play pooh sticks.  In summer I like to
stop here a while in my yellow dress and simply be.
Beyond the berm, in the steep valley, the wild wood and the fairy forest meet and mingle.  Trees whisper to one another the gossip and animals discuss the days events.  Birds call headlines, flowers blow pollen in poems of love and affection.  Foxes murder chickens and wolves prowl for prey.  There are tracks in the earth, dusty in dry weather, moist in the night and properly slippery and muddy in winter.  Hard and iron in the frost and comforting in the thick fogs that can roll in.  God points out the deer tracks, they are hardly ever seen, and the tracks of otters from the stream.  Silver fish catch flies, trees hang low over the water: willow, birch and yew.  I play pooh sticks on the old concrete bridge, rusting iron lattice work poking from the rubble of the ruins.

It's missing the long sleeves that my
dress has, but the flowing gown
effect is just right.
Beyond the ring of oak, where I sleep, through the bridge there is an old corner of brick and stone.  A path perhaps, part of an old house?  The ruins of some long-forgotten mill or factory?  There is a hole in there, once used by some animal to rear its young, but abandoned now.  I have my clothes there.  A summer dress in yellow that tailors me to it, so that it fits and hangs right without too much trouble, it falls to my feet when I wear my summer heels and has sleeves to my elbow, ending in lace.  My hair grows long when I wear it, the fairies dance closer, and I love the noise and the feeling of the fabric.  It is always clean when I go there, but I don't wash it.  A shorter dress in blue with pink and white hearts, it stops at mid-thigh, for the warmer days when I wish to ramble for longer or walk more.  It too tailors my body to its shape.  I wear that with brown leather boots, they stop below the knee, and have heels with grips on them.  They are comfortable for walking longer distances, perfect for exploring the summer streams and the wild wood in kind weather.  Long skirts and long sleeve tops, billowing out from elbow to wrist, the long ends joined somehow to the bottom of the skirt so that everything flows perfectly, catching the breeze.  Velvet effect vests for warmth, the clothes of early spring and autumn in browns, blacks and flower print.  My hair grows long and tightly curled with these.  I have platform shoes so the skirts kiss the ground as I walk and the shoes are comfortable.  Some have straps, for the warmer days, some are like ankle boots and there is a pair of simple mules.  The platforms are cork, the uppers leather and suede.

My winter boots.  Sort of.
For winter I have a long military cut coat in green with fake fur lining that reaches the ground, without heels it would catch, with them it drags a little but never gets caught in the undergrowth.  It has a tailored waist and flares about my legs without opening to let in the wind.  I wear it with cavalry boots and trousers, with a red stripe down the side of each leg.  I wear a waistcoat over an old blouse from the C18th with ties rather than buttons, and kid-leather gloves in black.  My hair is tied back into an elegant pony-tail.  The boots, of course, have wedges rather than heels, to aid walking in the slippery winter.

For rain I have an umbrella, slender and black with mock white lace on the edges and along the spines, it is large and easy to hold.  For longer walks, in the denser woods, I have a long raincoat and cape in yellow and purple.  Both reach the ground if I wear heels.  I also have my waterproof boots, black leather and zip closing, with the block heel, that hug my calves and finish just below the knee.  I have a separate cape in green that covers my winter coat.  They all have hoods.  There is a parasol, delicate and festooned in tasteful lace if I want to feel really girly in summer, and lace gloves that serve no purpose but to make me feel vulnerable and feminine.  They feel the best when handling smooth stones by the crooked willow where I play pooh sticks.

My summer parasol for extra girliness.
In the ring there is a sleeping bag for night-time visits.  I have a chemise in silk, pink and tailored, for the summer and a long night dress that drapes over the ground, long lace sleeves that go over my hands when I stand still and upright.  There is a collar for night time, it helps me feel safe and looked after when I sleep here overnight.  I don't have to dress, I bring my male clothes with me when I visit in my rucksack.  I have my green ex-Austrian military coat, my Tahquamenon russet jumper, a selection of T-shirts in greens and reds (some have anarchist slogans on them) and my jeans.  I bring my trainers and walking boots.  Some days I can be me and masculine to walk this terrain.

There are apple trees here too, near the ring between the wild wood and the fairy forest.  Pear trees too.  There are clearings that can be discovered for picnics, where rosebushes provide the colour, the sky stretches above and the choir or bird song can reach its peak.  There are wild cows, herds of them can be glimpsed in these clearings and sometimes they stay when I come to eat.  If it is summer, and I wear my yellow dress, I bring food and jams in a basket covered with checked cheesecloth, red and white, and I hum.  Wild wheat grows here, to be ground into flour and baked into pitta bread.  There are olive trees on the far side of the fairy forest, a good day's walk from the ring, that can be pressed into spreads or eaten fresh.  If you know where to look you can find carrorts, purple and fat, around the old dragon's lair.  It was a quarry, but I prefer to speak of dragons in times of old.  Courgettes grow here too, with peppers and chives.  I know where to find parsley, coriander and spinach.  When I make fires in the ring I dress masculine and cook, saving some for later.  If I wish, I can go hunting boar and wild pig for meat, but I don't do that very often, I save it for a release of anger and tension.

En femme I can sit and wait for curious animals to meet me.  I can feed hedgehogs from my hand, let birds approach, watch the chickens and sometimes see the wolves and foxes stalking their prey.  At night I am more likely to watch for and see the bats catching their moths.  Dressed masculine I watch Sister Moon at night and am more likely to see animals at a distance.  There are more of them.  But I can walk faster.  It is three days to and from the olive groves en femme.

It is beautiful.  It is here.

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