Behind The House And Through The Gate

For Magpie Tales #29

The House In The Woods

The house is so deep into the woods, one must stumble upon it, or it will not be found. No road, no path, leads one there, one must simply enter the woods and believe. The house is locked up tight, and trees grow so close that nothing but darkness may be seen through its windows. I know because I’ve been there.

One must make ones way around the house and behind it. There one will find an orchard: old gnarled apple trees, not in any particular order, as though some unseen hand scattered seeds eons ago, and those old trees stand wherever the seeds fell to the ground, found root, and flourished.

And flourish they did. Every type of apple can be found: reds, greens, delicious yellows, but it’s best not to eat. It is said that should one pluck one of these tempting fruits and bite into it, one might never find ones way back around that house or out of those woods. Yet, one can wonder through the orchard, smell the scents, and begin to remember all sorts of things. I know this because I have been there more than once.

If one perseveres, without giving into temptation, and veers to the left through the orchard and just a bit beyond, one will come upon an old wooden gate.

The Gate

The gate is always ajar, an open invitation to pass through and beyond into the realm of imagination where all things are possible, and impossible things are more than a bit probable. And for each individual who crosses this threshold, what lies beyond it is as individual, as unique, as that person who enters. I know this to be true because I have brought others here, and once beyond the gate, even if we held hands, what unfolded was different for each and everyone of us.

You may have already guessed that I have ventured here quite often, have even drawn a few conclusions about what can and does happen when one chooses to take this journey. Have come to know that passing through the gate, one enters the land of ones own inner landscape. Innumerable estates lie beyond that gate, winding paths that lead, each to a different story which unfolds, if only one believes. The stories are told in many languages, sometimes in song, or images, myth-like tales, or simply stories told around a bon-fire, while night breathes its own exhalations. What follows is only one of them:

Behind The House And Through The Gate

There is a rock at the end
of the path that wends its way
through my inner landscape.

I invented this rock,
more rightly defined
as a boulder, large enough
to warrant a climb
so I could sit, cross-legged
on its shoulder,
to think about whatever
was passing as ‘my life,’
and the strife of whatever
I might be becoming.

Found more questions
than answers, frustration
instead of peace-filled
contemplation, but am
an ornery sort, and refused
to be moved by induced
resignation. Continued
to sit, staring out at tall
grasses that waved at river
rolling past my imaginary,
yet decidedly chosen location.

‘Til the day that rock moved,
shuddered to awaken, became
a shimmering blue and green
dragon, who told me his name
was Peter (of course). Grumbled
a bit about people with enough
lip to awaken a creature
that was only half way through
a century long nap, then settled
back to sleep again.

“Hey,” said I, while raising one
bare foot, then dropping it neatly
to the middle of his forehead.
“This is my space, my season.
You are here by my grace, have come
for a reason, so let’s begin. What
possible good, if you only sleep,
never teach me the lessons
that have obviously propelled
your appearance?”

With a sly lazy grin, he flicked
one opened eye in my direction,
then softly drawled, “I was only
checking your perseverance.”

Marananthaheth – Peter’s Mate

Marananthaheth is yet one more story. One may leave this place: the gate, the orchard, the house in the woods, by simply opening ones eyes and continuing ones own journey.



About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here:
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39 Responses to Behind The House And Through The Gate

  1. Berowne says:

    Beautiful writing…

  2. friko says:

    You have gone into my bookmarks as there is no follower button. I don’t want to lose you.

    Out of many responses to Willow’s prompt this is one I can whole-heartedly and honestly endorse.
    I will be back, that’s certain.

    • 1sojournal says:

      Friko, am glad you enjoyed and will return. I always wonder when I publish these tidbits from my Personal Mythology, if they will be understood, let alone accepted for what they truly are: an adventure of imagination that holds a ton of meaning. I do so love the dragons, even though their lessons are often the difficult kind. Thanks so much for reading and commenting,


  3. Pan says:

    Oh what a wonderous tale! I followed your trail and loved it. 🙂

    • 1sojournal says:

      Pan, and here I thought it was only wee birds and squirrels that grabbed those bread crumbs, lol. But, am very glad you did and enjoyed the winding path it took. Sometimes the scenery alone is worth the effort and the energy, don’t you think?


  4. systematicweasel says:

    Wonderfully written! The world can learn a lot from the dragons. Great magpie!

    -Weasel =)

    • 1sojournal says:

      Weasel, I certainly believe that. Dragons are magnificent creatures that have deep wisdom and are willing to share. Glad you liked it,


  5. Deborah says:

    Simply wonderful!

  6. willow says:

    Wonderful writing! (I particularly like the little “gate” print, too)

    • 1sojournal says:

      Thank you Willow, your prompt started a great deal, lol. The ‘gate’ print is one of my own, I call them doodling for lack of another name. They are done with colored ink and artists pens.


  7. anthonynorth says:

    Excellently done, as always.

    • 1sojournal says:

      Anthony, I have to wonder why ‘excellent’ coming from you, means more somehow. I mean, all I know of you is your writing and your photo, at least I hope that is your photo, lol. I think it is because when I read your words, I find a depth of thought often hidden behind a seemingly casual wit and clear perspective that rings true to my ear, as well as my mind. Whatever the reason, I’ll take the ‘excellent’ and place it in the kudo box. Thank you,


  8. I really enjoyed reading this Elizabeth. It evoked in me memories of my childhood, and my introduction to storytelling through ‘The Enchanted Wood’ by Enid Blyton. I know she’s basically been discredited (rightly) because of some of the things she wrote into her books, but as a child I knew nothing of political correctness, racism and the nastiness of the world. To me, they were just stories where I went on imaginary adventures.

    Your writing drew me back into that world of the imagination. 🙂


    • 1sojournal says:

      Paul, I’m glad to hear that. It is one of the purposes of this particular blog. Imagination is a tool we use for our writing, but few understand that it is meant to be used for our daily living as well. Using ones imagination to change the end of the story allows the new ending to become possibility which, in turns, opens a door to probability. It is often said, “if you can see it, it’s possible.” Seeing it is done with the imagination, and again makes the impossible, possible.

      The dragon, Peter, actually came to me as I have told in the story/poem. He appeared many years ago from the boulder I had created in my Secret Garden, where I went to meditate. He had a deep spiritual lesson to teach me and eventually I did learn it. But, he was only the first of many who came after.

      Imagination can come to help us understand our pesonal truths, to unblock areas that have been buried or suppressed. And so much more. Thanks for stopping and commenting,


  9. I love that mystical place you have created and defined! I love everything about it, and all the colors you added and didn’t. Wow! How fun! I hope to go there sometime.

    • 1sojournal says:

      Annell, I would hope for the same. It really is as easy is closing your eyes and then working with the images your imagination creates. It’s a bit like dreaming when you are awake. And the more you use it, the easier it becomes. However, the hardest part, at least it was for me, is to trust ones own mind and imagination.

      I often used spontaneous imaging in my classes. My students loved the journeys and adventures we would go on, and then I would have them write about it afterward. No two were alike, each one saw what was unique to their own person. You can find some of that on my 1sojournal site, under the title of A Tiger Named Pain. In it I speak about one of my first imaginary encounters, and how years later, after doing an imaging exercise with a group of teachers, one of them came up and asked me about a strange thing that had happened while we were doing the exercise. I laughed and explained, and she got all excited because I did understand.

      That’s one of the reasons I miss the teaching experience, those memories are some of my best. Thanks for stopping and I enjoyed your mag as well,


  10. Teresa says:

    Very enchanting tale. I especially liked the prose.

    Mine is located here.

  11. Tumblewords says:

    Mystical and magical. I’ve been there in the past and think it might be time to go again. Your words and art are so beautiful.

  12. 1sojournal says:

    Thank you Tumblewords, I like the mystical and magical. We should strive never to lose them from our beings. They keep us young and willing. Glad you like the art.


  13. ninotaziz says:

    Dear Elizabeth,
    I love dragons too – the wittier and raspier the better. In my language, we call them naga – a throwback from sanskrit I believe.

    Your introduction to your special place is the best part – I close my eyes and I am there.

    • 1sojournal says:

      Ninotaziz, thank you for knowing that is all that is ever needed. Just close your eyes, breathe deeply, and you are there. I’ve been having dragon visitors for many years, have written a few stories about them as well. I’d love to hear your stories. Have you ever seen ‘Dragonheart’? Shaun Connery is the voice of the dragon, talk about witty and raspy, lol. Thanks so much for reading and commenting,


  14. This post swept my mind away with its thought-provoking content. I thoroughly enjoyed it and congratulate you on your incredibly ability to write so beautifully.

    CJ xx

  15. jinksy says:

    Your gate to the land of imagination is certainly wide open – maybe you will hold it wide for me too! 🙂

  16. brian says:

    excellent write…fascinated by your tale…i too dabbled with temptation in my magpie…nicely played…

    • 1sojournal says:

      Hi Brian, went and looked at your tale. You did a lot more than play or dabble with temptaiton. All I did was offer apples to strangers, lol. And warned them beforehand as well. So which part fascinates you? There are many. But, thanks for dropping in, you are welcome anytime.


  17. Always the beautiful wonder of an unknown is so tempting to own and to experience! The narrative prose tempts and activates the full-blown experience in the poem! A great Magpie!

    • 1sojournal says:

      Hi Gemma, and yes I agree about the wonder of the unknown, but more specifically the what and why of my own mind and how it works. Because of an accident at a very young age, I spent an awful lot of years feeling that my mind was somehow deficient, missing something, that others seemed to have in abundance. When I finally realized that mine is just as unique, just as wondrous, the whole cosmos of reality changed and became my favorite playground, lol.

      The problem here was to get from the image of the cottage, to that one of the dragon. I slept on it, and first thing the next morning, as I awakened, I saw the path and immediately set out to follow it. I’m glad I did.

      Thanks for your thoughts and comments,


  18. Kathe W. says:

    I love the story within a story…so imaginatively told….more please!

    • 1sojournal says:

      Lol, Kathe, I hope you realize that would probably be a lot more than one book. I own a great many imaginary creatures, and each one represents some aspect of my personality and psyche. Furthermore, they still keep coming, to talk, to whisper, to yell when I don’t pay attention. And the dragons sing! A beautiful sound of bells in harmony, that raises goosebumps on the flesh of shoulders and arms. I love it.

      Thanks for dropping in and for commenting,


  19. Abhilasha says:

    Beautiful writing Elizabeth..liked your mixed way of writing the piece.. poem was wonderful… “to think about whatever was passing as ‘my life’ “, so nicely put… thanks for sharing…

  20. 1sojournal says:

    And thank you for reading and commenting Abhilasha, it was fun to put all the different pieces together in one place. And I liked the poem as well, lol. Finding a way to bring it to sunlight was a lot like doing a jigsaw puzzle or following a trail of bread crumbs.


  21. Patience Ray says:

    Ooo, like the prose, there are so many places you can go with this. take me with, i want to go too. great writing.

    • 1sojournal says:

      Patience Ray, you do an old woman good. There is nothing better than to weave a story and have someone come and lean it to listen, then ask, “Is there more?” And yes, there is. This is seriously fun writing. Fun because it is made up as it goes a long. Connections, like bread crumbs, from the last bit to the next. Thanks for stopping and listening,


  22. Sherry Marr says:

    I love this, Elizabeth – loved him lifting a lazy eye and smiling……….

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