• Ruth Ashbee

Different worlds

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

There was no doubt about the Magic this time. Down and down they rushed, first through darkness and then through a mass of vague and whirling shapes which might have been almost anything. It grew lighter. Then suddenly they felt they were standing on something solid. A moment later everything came into focus and they were able to look about them.

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In The Magician’s Nephew by CS Lewis, Polly and Digory travel to a wood, “the quietest wood you could possibly imagine”, where glittering pools lead to different worlds.

You might not think that my job involves a lot of travel, but it does. I jump in those pools, and I travel far beyond my own world. Sometimes I visit three or four in a day. It’s exhilarating and intoxicating.

In each of these worlds, the rules are different. Underfoot I find rich soil, hard rock, shifting sands. Trees grow, but their shapes are not the same. Some are narrow and orderly. Some sprawl wildly. Cities rise against the skyline, silhouettes of blocks, spires, or domes. Geometry, light, and time itself all behave differently in these worlds. They are strange and beautiful.

We have fourteen subjects in my school, fourteen pools, fourteen worlds. Each on its own takes my breath away, and moving between them leaves me reeling. I am a traveller and a pilgrim, and it is the most wonderful thing.

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