Wednesday, 18 May 2016
In The Sacred Wood
Look out for appeals to at least three of the senses when the King and his first challenger walk into the Sacred Wood:
"Dead leaves crackled underfoot. Sun-speckled shadow filled the space among the oaks, below their arching crowns. For some reason, no squirrel or bird was about, but the wind blustered through branches, making them creak as well as rustle. It smelled of dampness."
-Dahut, Chapter VII, section 1, p. 137.
The reference to dead leaves is appropriate since one of the men will soon be dead. We have got used to the wildness and symbolism of the wind. For sight, we have sunlight, shadows and spaces between the trees. There is silence from animals and birds but also crackling, creaking and rustling. And the concluding sentence, as we expect, gives us the sense of smell. There is not only deadness but also dampness in the Sacred Wood. Do not hurry on to read about the fight. Pause to appreciate the sensory impressions, for one of these men his last.