I’m sure you all know Robin-run-the-hedge – nature’s velcro – it’s also called goosegrass and sticky willy among others. This is an extract from Clare’s first meeting with the plant sprite himself and my imagining of what it might have looked like . .
This felt like a magical spot, Clare decided, as she stood in a quiet clearing off the forest’s path, a shaft of sunlight filtering through the canopy of leaves overhead, lighting up the primroses and bluebells that peeped out from the forest’s spongy floor.
She took a deep breath remembering Nana’s advice :
‘Wherever the Blackthorn and Hawthorn grow side by side is a powerful and magical place, although you have to know how to look. You don’t need magic glasses or goblin spit, you just need to relax your eyes and your mind. If you look at the world straight on, you will see what the world wants you to see: a cat, a tree, a plant, a puddle, a cloud. If you listen to the little professor inside you, you know what you are supposed to see and that is precisely what you will see. However, if you listen to the child inside you, look with eyes that see exactly what is there, whether it is supposed to be there or not, then you will see the magic.’ She pointed her finger at Clare and grinned. ‘You need to catch it off guard.’
Catch it off guard, Clare repeated to herself. Yes, she could do that.
Pretending to be concentrating on the robin-run-the-hedge that was creeping lazily up a tree right in front of her, she was actually watching a spot to her left. To convince the magic that she was not paying it any attention she decided to speak to the sticky little plant.
‘What a funny name Robin-run-the-hedge. I wonder where it came from.’
All the while her gaze was on a little clump of bluebells growing at the foot of a beautiful hawthorn tree. Disappointed that nothing seemed to be happening she gave a startled gasp as something rustled right in front of her and she jumped back as she saw the strands of sticky leaves moving. They twisted and folded, sticking together gradually forming a body and arms, fingers and a head. Then little bits pulled apart to form little gaps where a mouth and eyes should be.
‘There’s a funny – pop – story about my – pop- name’ the little plant creature said, its voice soft, like the rustling of leaves. His words were broken up with soft popping sounds as his lips stuck together and he pulled them apart with an up-tilt of his chin.
‘I’m – pop – sorry if I – pop – startled you.’