This was a dream Quinn had while camping within the roots of The Old Sycamore.
You wake among the roots, dirt, and tunnels of the old sycamore. You look around. Your companions are gone ‒ their breath echoes and reverberates throughout the chamber of where you were sleeping. They are alive and safe. When you take a deep, reassuring breath, the moist, dark earth smells of freshly ploughed fields. Around you, the earth teems with life. You must get out, so you climb. As you climb, the roots shift and twist to aid you. Your fingers break through the loam and you are able to draw yourself out. You shake the dirt from your body.
Outside you see the familiar hills of the Kamelands, but it is a landscape transformed and transforming! It is green, primordial, constantly growing, budding, moving, evolving. The land writhes with life and danger. Plants drip poison and their thorns claw at chaotic winds. Birds are swift and cunning ‒ predators strong and healthy. The wild perils are home. The land is forsaken by the gods. The land does not need the gods. The extensive canopy of the sycamore shades, shadows, and comforts you.
You turn to face the towering sycamore. The tree is an ancient beacon of power and stability ‒ there is no rotting decay! Tree lords over the landscape. In its fullness, you see a pattern. You see the pattern. Within the riot of branches and leaves and bark is the same pattern that stretches across your skin, your arm, your chest, your back. Your body is not a tree. Your body is a branch of The Tree.
You step away from the tree and towards the land. But you cannot pass beyond the influence of the tree’s outer branches.
To your right is a deep droning. You turn to face the noise. You roll over. You,Quinn, are awake under the roots of the sycamore.
The song! Even through Eugene’s snoring you know the song. It flows through your veins, pounds in your blood, beats in your heart. The words are old, spoken by an old people. But they must be sung. The song must be out, now! No, it is fading! Understanding dissolves. Quinn is alone. But something remains in Quinn’s mouth, like the fading sweetness of a lemon drop:
The path of exile holds*
Keep secure the spirit-chest [spirit-chest=mind]
Guard the treasure-chamber [treasure-chamber=thoughts]
how terrible it will be
when all the wealth of this world lies waste
the meadhalls decay
the proud ones, by the wall
you must go where I cannot
*These lines were inspired/adapted/excerpted from “The Wanderer.” Anglo-Saxons.net