We live in a Grimm's fairy tale. One of the Gothic ones, with its triad of fairytale loveliness, surreality and nature's blind harshness.
I lie in bed. It's late- 9pm! I look up through the gauze of netting. We live under a roof of twiglets, knobbly knitting. I now know what it feels like to be a tiny doll in an oversized garter-stitch mud-brown jumper. We are pet fleas in a matchstick dolls-house. The borrowers, playing at real life. (I've never been self-sufficient, but the sensation of wimpish uselessness is different when everyone else is). Our little house feels safe, finite, gingerbread. A child's house.
I go out to the toilet before going to sleep. Tiptoe through the cowpats. Juggling an umbrella and keys whilst winding a wind-up lantern in the dark over rough ground is no mean feat, so I'm happy it's stopped raining. My feet are soaked through by the time I get there, though. Tonight the big beetles are flying, and they are in love with my white skin (the light bouncing off it, to be precise), so they butt me playfully. I'm feeling unplayful and vulnerable (they do, after all, bite), so I'm afraid I swear back at them. The mosquitoes nibble on regardless.
I stumble back in starlight. The planets wink gently. Aishalton's stars effulge and glimmer, diamonds that do not permit envy or ownership, assured in their gorgeousness. Fireflies cruise past with their lovely trajectory- I wish for a vehicle that could emulate their quiet transports of flight.
There is always a strong moment of relief, of protection when I climb back under the net. Sleep holds out its familiar arms and I walk on in, not knowing what I will find but trusting it because I have never had a choice.