I watched the numbers on the digital clock of my computer slowly move towards 17:00. The seconds seemed to stretched in those last minutes of work until finally the magic number appeared and I switched my computer off. I waved goodbye to my colleagues and headed to the train station at a brisk pace to join my fellow commuters. There was nothing unusual about this, but for the fact that I was standing in the wrong crowd. That evening I was heading away from home. My roof was going to be the branches and leaves of the trees.
Twenty minutes later I was in an unfamiliar town, looking at my directions to get out of it. It wasn’t difficult to find the way out and soon I was among dog walkers. I stood out with my backpack for sole companion. I ventured further away than they dared and crossed a busy A road populated by a long queue of cars stuck in traffic. I smiled and wanted to wave but restrained myself. I went to the opposite side and squeezed my way between two overgrown hedges and emerged beside a giant field of green wheat. The sight so familiar and yet so foreign. I walked on, my fingertips brushing the cereal and thinking of all the bread it would provide.
The field eventually came to an end and I moved between rows of peas, happy that I have become much better at identifying the vegetation of my environment those last few months. I followed the path on its gentle ascent until a field of vibrant poppies burst into view, a splash of red set on fire by the sun in this otherwise green world. I stopped to catch my breath before going forward, incapable of tearing my eyes away from the sight, until I veered left and it disappeared.
I was thrown into another world as a canopy of tree sheltered me from my surroundings. The luminescent green light under the leaves illuminated a crowd of insects which provided music to my walk. I exited the long tunnel at a hamlet. Some inhabitants were still outside, enjoying the evening sun. Some of them even timidly greeted me probably wondering where I was heading and maybe even a little jealous of my big smile. The road ran out and I was once more walking along a wheat field. The path I was treading was rapidly becoming overgrown and I briefly wondered if I was on the right track. But it didn’t matter, there were plenty of woods around me to settle in for the night. The vegetation finally overtook the path completely next to some bee hives and I was stuck. There was no way forward except via the field. So I stepped in, trying to stick to the tractor marks as much as possible until I was able to make my escape into the woods. No one would find me there.
I cleared a small area on the ground, inflated my sleeping mat and laid down. I closed my eyes. All I could hear were the birds singing above me, offering me a private concert. When my stomach grumbled, I cooked a frugal meal and ate as the sun melted away in the distance, the lens of the trees turning the light into gold. I watched it disappear and slid in my sleeping bag. I read until my eyes closed and I fell asleep.
The following morning my alarm didn’t shriek through the silence. Instead I was awaken by the filtering light of morning and a chorus of birds greeting the new day. I laid still for a while savouring this instant of peace before I had to get up, pack up and rejoin the built world and my office desk. I retraced my steps to the station, my fellow commuters turned into hares and birds for a while before I jumped in a train heading towards London.