It was a patch of wilderness behind the elementary school - on one side of the building the gully began most suddenly at the edge of the playing field. The girl remembers sliding down one winter when everything was ice. Slight push and off she went - down, down, down but the gully was much larger than a rabbit hole and there was nothing interesting to look at along the way except old trees attempting to catch her, to snag her, to prevent her descent to bottom. Mud, thick mud in the middle of winter, warm oozing mud thick as heavy menstruation - she had found the uterus of mother earth in the public school yard. The girl cried out as the children lined up to go inside, recess over, then a cold silence. The appearance of the janitor at the edge, a long extension cord tossed over, the trees letting it slide down to the girl who was pulled up out of the belly of the gully, the girl that didn't feel the cold until she had reached the ground. One would think the girl would be afraid of the gully, of the stretch of forest with streams and mud everywhere - but no, she returned to it to play over and over again, a secret place where she was free and alive and not alone. Now, long-since moved away and grown up, distance and time between the girl and the gully, it is said another young girl as pale as a rainbow, can be seen there. The girl is not sinking but running, running free and wild through the wilderness - the trees lifting limbs to let her pass, a beautiful soul in a beautiful landscape - while a woman miles away has that sinking feeling deep down inside the belly of her, at the age of twenty-five, somehow, still alive.
/// adp 22 February 2004