All Paths Are Straight

After twelve hours of walking she came to the first door. Beyond the door lay a garden, bright and fragrant, a riot of flowers and fruit trees. The grass had grown wild, three feet tall and more, purple and fuzzy with seed. Worn flagstones wound off into the room, the grass running high between them. Written on the lintel was ‘The Garden of St. Augustine’. After the twilight of the corridor the sunshine was dazzling. She stood poised under the arch, eyes squinted closed, breathing deep the wild, comforting smells of timothy, almond blossoms, running water. She pulled off her shoes, wincing as the canvas scraped over raw places where blisters had formed and burst, and stalked into the room, eyes still closed, following the smell of water. The grasses bent before her and closed after, stalks rattling against each other like rain.

Her feet were light on the earth. She curled her toes as she walked, digging them into the soil, bending them dexterously around the plants. When she came to the water (the spray cool on her legs, a blessing on her gladsome feet) she opened her eyes, saw everything blue: blue stream, blue apple tree spreading over the water, blue sun in a blue sky. In the branches of the tree the saint watched her mournfully, his beard sticky with apple pulp.