ON A RECENT WALK, the afternoon light filtered softly through a thick web of oak branches and leaves, the tree branches forming an archway that beckoned me into nature’s hall and to some magical place beyond. Spider web filaments, stretching from branch to branch, danced in the breeze. Beneath my feet, a delicate carpet of clover glowed like emerald green velvet. I imagined that if I lay down on it, it would smell like newly cut grass. And it would not be crushed, but by some magical property would hold my weight and spring back unfazed when I arose again.
As the sun moved lower on the horizon, the clover burst into blossoms of cold, green fire that in some strange way reminded me of the lacy stems of baby’s breath. Wanting a closer view, I lay flat on the ground. The earth’s fertile aromas—moist, peaty, and decaying—filled my nostrils. Needles of dry oak leaves poked my ribs through my shirt, and my knees and hipbones sunk into the soft ground.
I thought, “I have become an ant,” and I began to climb the towering clover stems to that magical place of gold and jade-green clouds. I knew that reaching it, I would reach heaven, and its streets would be paved with amber gold. But as I climbed, the sun’s spotlight moved to another actor, the brilliance dimmed, and the filaments of glowing light began to fade from sight. Entranced, I lay still as the earth’s damp cold spread into my body. I became one with the dissolving leaves and spreading moss and knew that when the next visitor arrived, she would see only a fresh growth of green clover where my body once lay.