The Lost Upland

"By then I had begun, with an old digging fork, to turn over a little of the area I had cleared, working the tines down into the heavy red clay and the mass of roots that had become the possessors of the place. I laid bare the hard brown knots of ancient blackberry kingdoms, the wiry arteries leading down between stones, mats of finer roots fukl of the dark soil that they had helped make. The limestone's base of the garden was seldom more than a foot below the surface, and I came to learn, a few inches at a time, clefts and fissures that led down through the porous shield of the upland with its endless galleries and caverns and underground streams far below me out of the sun.The place itself was a memory that I was recovering. Some few of the living, perhaps, and many of the dead, one by one, had known it this way, inch by inch, root by root. They had carried many fields in their minds like this and had spoken from that knowledge and had died with it. It was not something you could tell, apart froma particular detail, now and then, Every day it was strange to me to realize that I was letting the light in, and that as I did so, the colors emerged without hesitation from where they had always been."

from The Lost Upland by W.S. Merwin