Between Breaths

Moon and tree

Listen!

We could be an opera

if we tell it right.

That night we first kissed —

in the telling, remember

the tree on the hill

and say:  “In the dark

the moon followed us home.”

But you wouldn’t let me keep it.

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The Night We Saved the Moon

Art from

It was just past midnight when the moon fell from the sky.

It landed in the lake south of our barn and slowly began to sink below the surface. I saw it from my place at the window.

Lately I have been unable to sleep and lie in bed beside my husband until his breathing changes to soft snores.  Then I move to the chair beside the window from which I can study the night sky.

It seems to me the Universe surely has all the answers hidden somewhere.  All we need to do is to look in the right place, ask the right questions, and our little piece of the eternal puzzle will be revealed.

This farm and this life and this man are what I chose. Now I study the stars and wonder— is this all there is?

The life has become harder, the farm has struggled through crop failures and now flooding and the man…..well the man and I appear to have fallen out of love.  Or so it seems.

So I sit up at night and look to the sky for answers.

Although the rains have stopped much of the country around here is flooded.  Rivers have spilled over their banks and culverts and gulleys run with water.  Our lake has risen right up to the barn.

Tonight the muddy lake water has turned to a beautiful fiery gold.  It has gathered up the moons’ shine and multiplied it out from the center to reach as far as the water spreads.  It is so beautiful I sit and gaze at it for a long while before i notice that the moon is sinking.

I dress quickly, calling my husband’s name as I pull on jeans and a sweatshirt.  It takes him moments to wake but when he looks out the window he doesn’t question me, just begins to dress as fast as I.  Downstairs we yank on coats and pull our clean mud boots from the closet.  In minutes we are standing on the lake shore, wondering what to do.

As the night sky rotates towards dawn we try different solutions.  Pulling it with a rope does not work, in fact it causes it to tip and slip further beneath the surface.  After three failed attempts I turn to my husband and see the same feeling of despair written on his face.  This seems so important to us, so vital for us to do together.  There is no thought of calling others to help.

He drags our row-boat from the barn and throws the rope into it.  Together we push-off and sail to the middle of the lake where our moon waits patiently.  Together we use the rope to lift it easily into the boat .  Together we hold the moon up and maneuver back to safe ground.

When we roll the moon out of the boat it lifts gently up into the air and glides back into the night sky.  I find myself holding my husband’s hand and when he leans in for a kiss it is the best kiss we have ever shared. I melt into his arms and in the morning I’m still there, snuggled close beside him in our bed.

“What an odd and beautiful dream,” I think and wonder if that is why everything feels so much better this morning.

The love of my life is still sleeping when I tiptoe downstairs to start the coffee.

It will be hours before I notice the muddy boots dropped haphazardly by the door.

Solace Forthcoming

Homesickness - by René Magritte
Homesickness – by René Magritte

Where we love is home.  Although we might leave, our hearts do remain.  Sometimes they call us to return.

Michael stood on the bridge overlooking the river’s relentless flow into a golden sunset.  He could feel Mixael behind him but refused to turn.  The problem seemed simple enough to him – only one of them could go back.  Obviously it should be him.

The day was too warm for the heavy black suit he wore.  Little trickles of perspiration gathered around the base of his wings.  Although the four-foot wings were invisible to the human eye they felt like a drag on his back, anchoring him to the here and now in a way he had not felt before.  He sighed and squinted into the sun.  The whole world felt too heavy for the human body he wore.

He flexed his wings and waited for his feline companion’s argument.  It didn’t come.

“You know it should be me, Mixa,” he finally thought at the lion. The response he felt in return was like a huff of warm air in his brain, full of stinging bees.

“Don’t be like that,” he thought.  Lions don’t feel homesick. Additionally you know one of us must stay to see things through. You don’t need me for that, you can do it easily. In fact it is something you have accomplished in the past in your own bodacious, awesome, indomitable, sassy, valiant, lionhearted way!” he thought.

The stinging inside his head grew worse. Michael blinked and turned to face his partner.

“Alright, I’m sorry – I was just trying to inject a little levity into the situation,” he thought.

All at once his mind was filled with visions of a lush jungle teeming with beautiful animals and abundant plant life.  He was running through this bounteous landscape towards verdant plains and a sparkling waterhole.  Then suddenly a brilliant light dazzled and He appeared. Although the light was too overwhelming to see clearly it was simple to know it was Him; the love emanating from His presence felt like no other.  It was the same love Michael longed to feel again upon his return to Heaven and home.

“Oh!” he thought.  “I see.  You too.  Well this is a quandary then, isn’t it?”

The vision of the jungle faded into his companion’s view of the bridge and river.  It looked sad and lonely despite the lovely golden light.

“I know,” thought Michael.  “Me too.”

 

This was written as part of the latest writing challenge at Grammar Ghoul Press where the prompts were the word “bodacious” and the artwork by Magritte.  Click the badge above to see how other folks responded to the challenge!  

Casting Stones

Runes

My first memory is of crouching by the fire, watching my mother throw rune stones.  The woman who had come to see us kept her face covered but my mother called her by name as though she could see through cloth.  Perhaps she could.

I was fascinated by the runes and longed to feel them in my fingers but I knew to do so would be asking for punishment, swift and sure.  Once, and once only, I had touched those runes, gently taking the one which looked like a star  into my hand.

“Ior,” my mother said, carefully taking it from me.  Then she slapped me hard across the face.

“You do not ever touch my runes,” she said. “They are mine, they carry my energy and to defile them with yours is to put me in danger.  Do you understand?”

I stared at her silently, willing the tears away.  “I want to learn,” I said simply.   She narrowed her eyes and peered at me closely.

“Ior,” she said again.  “The water beast.  It represents the World Serpent  which circles the world at the bottom of the ocean.  The Serpent is a dangerous beast; when it moves it can cause the earth to shake and the waters of the ocean to drown the land, ” she said.

 “And yet, it is necessary, essential to the growth of crops, the cycle of birth and death, the entire continuation of the world.  Even if it could be destroyed the void which followed would be worse than the Serpent’s continuing existence.  What does that tell you?” she demanded.

I had not thought to be questioned and took a moment to ponder.

“That Ior has two natures, much like the beasts of the water who also walk on the land.”

There was a pause while my mother studied me.

“So wise for one so young,” she said. “Ior symbolizes the unavoidable hardships and problems with which we must learn to live so that our lives can be tolerable. When it appears it is a reminder that we should not worry about things we cannot change. Sometimes a loss can be transformed into something new.”

Many nights followed that first one as I sat at my mother’s knee while she taught me the art of reading the future.  I learned to predict when babies would arrive, how close an approaching raiding party might be and how many would die when they arrived.  I predicted storms, and crop failure, and marriages.  Many years went by and I became even better than she at reading the stones.

As her health failed I gradually took over her duties in the tribe.  Late one evening she called me to her bedside and asked that I  read for her.  I drew a circle on the dirt floor and cast the runes into it.

“What do they say?” she asked.

“Once more,” I said, and cast again.  Then again. And again.

When the Death rune continued to fall from my hand  I knew that she did not have much longer among us.

I did not see the rune for Transformation which fell behind it every time.

The rune stones did not show my fate on the night my mother died.  But when she rose from her death bead and took them away from me,  I read it in her eyes.