Softly. Walking with you, a hundred years ago. Afternoon sun, the hay wagon driving us home. Swinging our legs, dust in your eyes. Heat haze and cool streams. An insect symphony. Blackbirds, frog spawn, picking up sticks. Daydream. Butterflies with milky wings. A sun child and a sun king. Walking. With you. Over the stone bridge and back again. Long socks, long ago, a faded shirt. Heart of the sun. Forever. Walking. With you.
Tidal, absolute. Wake into a dream where the forest opens out onto the ocean. You stand at the edge of the cliff alongside your sister, your mother. All of you staring out to sea, all eyes on the horizon. You have seen what lies ahead, beyond your time. You are deeply loved. All three of you smile. And then you walk away, back towards the forest, alone. You lie down on your belly in the long grass, crying softly for everything that has been and everything that ever will be. Faith, loss, renewal. And the universe has taken you to its heart. You will never be alone again.
Labyrinthine. These rooms, opening onto new passageways, leading to other rooms. Each one with whitewashed walls, filled with your grandparents antique furniture - those Hummel dolls, the white porcelain lady with her white haired dog, and the curious crystal pyramid. Everything's here, everything you once knew. Your brothers never got old, your playmates' laughter resounds behind closed doors. But you can't see them. Where are they? There's a room at the end of this corridor with dark velvet curtains instead of a door. You have to enter this room because it might mean the end of the world. So you push back the drapes and enter, cautiously, trying not to let your feet make a sound. Once inside the room you are surprised to discover your playmates at last. They are no longer laughing, if ever they were. There is no furniture in this room, only a collection of white metalwork cages, the sort of cages in which people might keep little birds, suspended from the ceiling by chains wrapped with a decorative trellis of make-believe vines. Each of your playmates sits within her own ornate little cage, pale faced, knees pressed together, knuckles clenched. Their mournful eyes follow you as you navigate the room, but nobody speaks. Not a sound. You wonder what could have happened to them, but are afraid to ask.
I found a dead sparrow here, beneath this tree, so I buried it. That same night I dreamed the sparrow sleeping beside me, thrusting its bony wing into my ribs. The next day, returning to the tree, I spied three little boys poking around the burial mound with sticks. Leave it alone, I said. The boys pretended not to hear me. Leave it alone, I said. The boys laughed, kicking up the earth. And then I began to feel funny, like a wind was blowing through my head. My sides hurt, and my fingers and toes felt numb. It felt as though my bones were stretching, cracking, there were too many colours, so many sounds...When suddenly all about me was light, wind and leaves. I was way up above them in the arms of my tree, feathered and weightless and free. I'm a bird, I cried, i'm a ghost in this tree! The three little boys had dropped their sticks and fled in terror. Come back, I cried. Oh please come back and play with me!
And then I woke up.
New work for the Dreamchord Luxe series.
For the solstice.