Other Worlds

~ W.B. Yeats

Old Moss Woman’s Secret Garden

Once, many years ago, in a park, I left this world for another. I don’t know how I got to the park, why I was there. It may have been part of some event—a birthday, a picnic—something. I walked off by myself, following the chain-link fence that separated the park from the river flowing by on the other side. Perhaps I was looking for a break in the fence so that I could sit next to the water, dangle my feet in the current. I didn’t find a break in the fence, but I noted a duck nest and a mama duck, the dull mallard color denoting the female, blending with the undergrowth next to the fence. It was stepping down, bending past the nest, into it that left the waving air of ether that pushed me into itself. I don’t know how long I was there, inside that funnel of other, or what it meant. I just knew that I was there. I had a sense that I was invisible to the people standing outside, though I didn’t know for certain. I could not see out. I was just there. And then I walked out, the other end away from the duck nest. I tried to go back, to find the nest again, but I could not. I went back to the picnic, joined some others—strangers I knew. And then the day passed like any other, like thousands of other days in a park where we would eat sandwiches and laugh in the sunlight, spend those infinite high school days of summer.

Some weeks later, much later, I tried to find the park again. That was strange too, as I don’t recall ever being there before or since. I don’t know how I found it, but I did. I took the walk along the fence, watching the undergrowth as I went, willing the nest to reappear. But it did not. No matter how much I looked or how far I walked, I could find nothing. No nest, no doorway, no path. Nothing. Perhaps I had taken some flight of fancy, launched some capsule of time which only landed in memory. And then, on that day, it returned to the nothingness of disbelief.

And just how it came to be, I have forgot.