Saturday, June 30, 2012

Conquered by the Lion

We met beside the clearest stream.

You were watching the fishes swim.
I watched you, watching them.
Your eyes sparkled quietly.
I stepped carefully over the stones,
So not to disturb you, there alone,
With your dreams, and wishes, and fishes.
But, your mind drew me.

A fullness of your heart’s overflow
Babbled out to my empty wastes.
I longed for acceptance from a deep place,
And your self-actualized, eminent peace,
Drew me to a state of sweet release—
Every grudge, devaluation, let loose like the pebbles
We dropped in the clean, deep pools.

We were so young,
Only fourteen years old,
But braved the summers’ heat,
The bitter colds of northern Italy
To be together, to face the wilds,
To educate ourselves,
For the schools would not have
A poor girl like me, or, an “illegitimate” child,
Like you.

I had barely an original thought,
But you, I followed, and loved, and fought
Myself deeply over your initiatives:
Your drawings, your missives,
Written out in that dyslexic code—
The fascinating quality of your reproductions!
The pressing pushes, the tensing suctions
Of grasshopper legs, or slimy black leaches!

Sometimes those eyes would turn on me.
Mine turned, too, and would try to flee
To avoid that intense gaze.
It cut me right in two,
With one finger tracing me,
And later you drew
Secret sketches of my nude body.

My heart, speechless, barely pulsed.
I posed, still-life,
Frozen, convulsed,
At the brave inquiries of your driven hand.
Then stayed, like a fawn, put, by its mother,
Even after you’d turned to stare
Deeply into another land,
Drawing a stamen, or a bee.

One day we stumbled upon a dank cave,
Spelunked for hours, finding bones from a grave,
And you put them into a line.
You penned your ideas,
And then chased me back to the light.
But the dampness seemed to stay inside.
I couldn’t shake the consumptive tide,
And finally,
I gave up the lie and died.

But, I see you now.
You’ve taken my body back there,
And I see how
You’ve placed me on the flat stone.
You’ve stripped the grave clothes.
You stand back, and those eyes haunt my cadaver.
I see the shine of a silver scalpel
Cutting me right in two.
Pulling back layer, after tender layer,
You examine, trace, and note each node,
And record my biographical anatomy in mirror code.

And now you’ve cut to the deepest part!
I’d always saved it for your sweet heart!
There! A living ring of love lay hidden
To be thrilled by you alone.
Bidden to come,
But, I couldn’t shake home
Out of my sleepy eyes.

But, I see you now.
That certain style
You have when you comprehend
Some unthinkable, unsearchable mystery—
You smile
That Mona Lisa smile,
Five hundred years before history
Will ever have a clue.

But, your mind drew me.

-jenn long

Dialogue With A Strange Man, 6

My electrons tell me to come apart,
To enlarge the stakes of my tent.
So I push out past the tight springs
Of my screen door, hearing it slam
Loudly and snug back into its place.

I spur past the rock walk,
Beyond the worn trail in the yard,
Hop the barbed-wire fence,
And take off, propelled, thru the wilds of the pasture.

The heat is intense, within and without,
Driving every nucleus of my matter
To a fevered pitch,
Every orbiter to near light-speed.

I’m on my course, running warp,
Forward motion of a woman 4 times my size,
Inertia, pulling me out ahead of myself,
While also exerting a force that pulls me from behind.
Great beads of sweat drop into my eyes,
Blinding me.
Still galloping full-steam ahead,
I collide,
Particle to particle
With you.

“Mass times acceleration,”
You said,
Banging big in a frenzied ellipse.
It’s the strange, good looking man,
With an offbeat orbit,
An exponential downdraft,
And an infinite upward one.

We fall trembling and tumbling headlong
In the sandy weeds,
Stickers and burrs flinging and flying like the sparks
That foreshadow the launch.

“Nature abhors a vacuum,” he says,
And the spaces between our masses are shared.
The fission and fusion
Of dark matter and kinetic energy crescendos
To a potential powder keg,
Exploding, trading electrons, and mutating!
The chemical reaction!
My carbon goes to sugar!

Sodium chloride, H2O,
Still pouring, temperature close to burning.
Can’t !      take     !       another    !     degree     !
Eyes of steel still pounding, forging,
Smithing it all, like an ancient Hephaestus,
Into “something worth it,”
He says, finally taking off his glasses.


I pity the cold ones—
The absence of heat!
The fusion reaches zenith peak!
I try to speak,
To acquiesce, too late,
But the moan I emit is off the chart—
A periodical, fractal,
Non-linear resonance.
The high frequency,
Is ultra-amplitude, beyond
Perception by human ear,
But it forms a nuclear, pressure wave,
Going out in every direction!

Ignition—Houston—boiling point!
Steam, smoke, vapour!
Liquid skin has released its captive,
A force of spectral, energy beam
24,000 miles per hour exceeded.
Gravity broken,
Feet up,

Atmospheric boundaries shattered,
My expanse is stretching still,
To the furthermost walls of my new container—
The edges of the universe,
Still expanding!
“Things have a tendency of going
From order to disorder,”
He whispers.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dialogue With A Strange Man, 5

My funny bone tells me
I need a good laugh.
So past the grocery,
Around the court house,
And across the street,
I join a nun, a priest, and a rabbi
And walk into the bar with them.

They meet their party on the downstairs level
And ask me to join them there for a beer.
I am not a big drinker,
But I sit at the end there
And smile as I watch all the interactions.

The rabbi is funny
And cracking me up.
His grizzled, gray beard
Banters out wisecracks
Brilliantly wild, like Einstein’s do.

The frolic sets in with jolly laughter.
I find a deep chuckle in spite of myself.
The rabbi asks me to dance a quick polka.
I hear a faint squeeze box rib out the song.

Someone is pulling my leg ‘neath the table.
I agree to the dance, (hoping it’s not the nun.)
I stand and, in fun, give my hand to the rabbi,
Who joins me in a Cajun Repartee.

At the end of the song, there’s a tap on my shoulder.
Then, a hand on the back of the rabbi, as well.
I turn to see, the strange, good looking man,
Just as the lights dim, and a new song commences.

The intro is swooooony
At the changing of the arms,
Totally different mood and feeling—
So gay, the innocuous beat with the rabbi,
But this one is dangerous.

Joking aside,
Laughter deepened,
All the way down to the seriously funny.
You’re leading my feet
And dipping me sweetly.
My insides have disintegrated.
They mock me for staying.
And yet there is a presence of fractured giggling
Settling in on me like everyday quicksand,
Putting me whole with every stitch,
Regaling me with deep hilarity,
And wrapping me up in gleaming play.

Funny how life sweetly deceives us,
Dropping the punch line we crave all along.
Fate smirks, but this last laugh is loudest.
As I unwind in your stroll, you grin and say,
“Have you heard the one about the strange, good looking man?”

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dialogue With A Strange Man, 4

My soul calls out to me,
“Come be alone!”
So I drive out toward the place
Where I love to sit,
Deep in the park
Where the birds sing sweet,
And I can ponder and think.

And speaking of thinking,
As I feel that pull,
I stop and decide to avoid the fates.
I’ll go completely the opposite way.
I drive to a lonely strand—
A sandy shoreline where nobody ever bothers to go,
Or bothers to stop, for that matter.

I step out of my car and survey
The empty, wind blown beach.
A wasteland of tumbled up weeds,
Briars, and blackberries
Give way to grain after grain of sterile sand.

The winds are pushing the waves to the limit.
They pound and turn, relentless, and crash,
Over and over, lulling me into their rhythm and pulling me close.

I think about sitting right down on the sand,
But the repetitive beating and pulse of the sea
Has hypnotized my soul.

All in this world I can see for this moment
Is wading steadily into that water
And relieving my every qualm
In the heart of it's conquering waves.

My feet reach the wet, overpowered layer,
And the first bit of water foams and sprays on them.
My toes gasp a bit
But hold on for dear life
As I continue out to my knees.

Trudging now against all opposition
That would push me back to a sanded seat,
I'm in all the way
Up to my narrowed waist.

My soaking clothes hang wet and heavy,
Floating in the excess, pulling in the tow.
I pull my shorts off and fling them beachward,
My top quickly following.

I dive straight headlong into the waves,
Riding them, big, and gently swelled.
I’m completely free, exhilarated,
By their overwhelming largeness,
And all of my helpless flails.

Out of the cradle endlessly rocking—
I feel a Whitman moment coming,
A riptide of multitude proposing,
Floating me out of control.

Suddenly bobbing up like a cork
From an elegant bottle of perfectly aged wine,
It's him,
Out of nowhere,
The strange good looking man,
Skinny dipping with me.

His landfall a few short meters there,
Nonchalantly sharing my wave,
A smile on his brow
Like a navy frogman,
I wonder if he opens his eyes under water.
I kind of think he did.

His knowing eyes stare deep, right thru me.
To the soul who tried to avoid
His chancy advances,
He speaks the words
Stronger and more delicious than any,
Then he twines and turns me up in his arms.

I feel my heart going down for the third time,
While only the mocking bird's throat can chant
The pains and joys,
The uniting of here and hereafter,
As you sing to me
In fitful risings and fallings
Your transparent hints and reminiscings.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dialogue With A Strange Man, 3

My conscience tells me
I need a job.
My eyes scan down
Past the general,
Past the sales,
All the way down
To the Professional Help
Wanted section of
The Daily Classifieds.

I pull my hair up in a tidy,
Organized little coif,
Submitted to the back of my tender head,
And slipping on hose,
And a higher heel,
I click along
Down the sidewalk
In my fitted dress.

The ad tells me to go
Past the tall buildings,
Past the metropolitan plex,
Past the library, too?
Oh well! The address screams,
“It’s worth it!”

Finally I come to a neglected exterior,
But peering inside, I see potential,
And just under the white wash paint I see
The name, Inventions of Great Archimedes
Written in ancient greek.
Pipes and gears, concentric circles,
Sit strewn inside, beyond the pane.
A desk to the back with gaskets and clamps,
Instantly I am intrigued.

The numbers on the door tell me
This is the place
I m looking for.
I open with caution
And step into a genius lair.

Ancient Texts! A bookcase full!
Pythagoras and Dionysus the Elder!
Archimedes with his ancient screw!
Diagrams drawn by the great Hephaestus!
How to make a catapult, and Icarus’ wings!

A rustle from the back and a voice,
“Can I be of service, please?”
The person follows out the words:
It’s the strange, good looking man!
Seeing me there, he plies a dry smile.
Ironic eyes begin to turn
The mischievous clutch to set the gears.
I get a little hint of where they’re going.

I try to say, “I’m here to see
About the assistant job position,”
But my breath is gone,
And no air at all passes over my vocal chords.

You spin me around and peer into my upswept do,
And find the keystone bobby pin—
The only one holding up the entire arch,
And all of my self control.
You pull it out clean
And lean around to wave it bravely before my eyes,
Accusing me with it there.
“Is this the way you treat your hair?”
As it falls down loose and free,

You run your right hand thru it
While you pull me close with the left one,
Putting your lips to my ear you whisper,
“Would you rather take the two legs,
Or the hypotenuse?”

I Drop A Line

I drop a line
With bated breath.
This kind of fishing
Scares me to death.
I never know
What you’ll say.

Most folk have
Their shtick and spiel,
But you come downtown
From way left field.
Then you make
Me pay.

Oh, you never require a dime
As you pummel me softly
And beat my time,
But the squeeze is
Ever so tight.

Your mafia presence
Is felt in the flurry
Of delicious threats.
You leave in a hurry,
And it is only right

That I should hand over
My allowance, milk money,
Lunch ticket, lucky quarter,
And call you “Honey”
All the way back
To my bank,

Where I gladly
Pull up to the ATM
And empty my savings
All out again,
And have you
So to thank.

Cheek in hand
Elbowed, I stare,
Gazing at you
Chirping there,
Swallowing it all
From top to bottom.

Then in a whirlwind
Flash you’re gone.
Hangover empty,
I sit withdrawn,
But, boy, the cojones!
You’ve got ‘em!

-jenn long

Dialogue With A Strange Man, 2

My hunger tells me
To keep on going—
Past the little kiosk
With the snacky breakfast items,
Past the magazine bar
With the bagels and cheap coffee,
Over the next two blocks of worn cobble
To the little omelet shop.

I order while I’m thinking dessert—
The avant bookstore right next door.
Maybe luck will hand me over
My own philosophie book.
I wonder if I‘ll ever see him again—
The strange, good looking man.
I hadn’t even gotten his name,
And he’d vanished without a trace.
They bring me eggs and bacon
And still, I wondered and I wondered.
Breakfast is always so delicious
When you have it away from home.
I don't know why, but even the toast
Has a crisp to it that's unreasonably good.

I drink my tea.

I think of Socrates’ bitter cup.
How lucky I am to be sipping peppermint!
These particular thoughts and the flavor—warm,
Arouse me to a new level of awake.

Ready for my treat now,
I head to the faded bookstore,
Where I browse the aisles for something sturdy,
Something I can sink my teeth into.
I round a shelf, startled,
To see him facing me—
The strange good looking man,
Who’s just turned a corner, too.

His eyes are steele.
They stare a hole through my soul
Like he’s never even seen me before.
He coldly blinks
And looks me up and down.
“Divining eyes”, I see the book
He’s holding there, is Shakespeare.
I look him up and down, too,
Once I see his eyes locked on the text.

I turn away toward the ancient books
Shelved in the section where we stand.
Trying to seek asylum there,
To glom on to a title to save me.
My territory is being conquered,
Vanquished by a stronger state,
I’ll surely be taken as plunder and spoil,
Shuffling shackled in the victory march.
I plead the names of transcendent souls
Who wrote free with the “antique pen.”

Not wanting to peruse too much,
Merely, the “beautiful old rhymes in praise
Of ladies dead and lovely knights,”
But “being your slave,”
Not wanting at all to leave your side.
I cut my eyes to spy what you have there:
The One Hundred and Sixtieth Sonnet:
“Prophecies of this, our time prefiguring.”
You flippantly page to 279, where
My eyes land on the Fifty Seventh.
My heart melts on the auction block
As you officially purchase me there
With your breath (but I was long yours,
In tow, chained to your faint cologne.)

My soul rushes headlong now, to “Tend
Upon the hours and times of your desire.”
The prophecies crush me under two great tons of time,
Knowing I can never
“Question with my jealous thought,”
“Where you may be, or your  affairs suppose,”
But, this “love will alter,” and altar, not.

He’s staring at me deeply again,
Looking through my eyes, and beyond,
Ultra, and infra-understanding.
Then reflecting their beam upon the page,
He wills me with his uber-strong will
To want him,
But not nearly too much—
To bind him, with dissolving silk,
To seize, not the day,
But only the priceless hour.

He leans in close to read a bit to himself and me,
And presses the small of my back,
Like a button
That raises the door of my heart to speak.
My mouth opens,
But cannot sound.
“Precious time…you require…” he whispers,
Then kisses me as my heart mutely emanates,
“My sovereign, (may I) watch the clock for you?”

He’s lovely, and I am dead.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Stab Me In The Heart, Imposter!

Stab me in the heart, Imposter!
Kill me if you can.
If your aim is good and true,
You'll find your blow lands clean.

If it is that you can unseat
My life's source seal so easily,
‘Tis just that you should be the one
To send me to an early grave.

But since confusion clouds your heart,
You may not be the man.
Your eyes cut back, that way
And this,
Have you really seen

My Soul, my Essence, Who it is
Over which you hold the cold blade?
You don't know where to land the blow?
Or what power you really have?

Now I am slipping from your grip,
Passing thru the crowd like a whisper,
Living to tell the tale to those
Who wish to live another day,

A witness to your poison lip,
That can pull you from the mug shot queue,
Yet also one with authority
Who can have execution stayed.

Alas, the jury is quite out.
What will be the verdict?
I've never believed others best
To decide factors of my life.

Maybe all's fair in turn about?
Perhaps I should go vigilante?
Find a lethal power too,
And stalk you in your dreams?

Oh! Let’s hang the jury, Darling!
Let's make our escape together, quick!
We'll head out east or even west,
With hopes and an insecure knife!

And if we win the lottery,
We'll sell trailers as long as the money holds out.
Come, I'll show you where my heart is,
And you can kill me after tea.

-jenn long

Eye Swallows

My eyes swallowed you like an egg,
Then bulging with sweet satisfaction,
Slithered fat with the idea of you inside,
In a nonchalant state of pre-digestion.

They rolled back in my head; my lids shut heavy,
Not wanting to let any other thought through.
Drawbridge is clamped down tight, and singular,
For only the taste, the sight, of you.

The mere vision remembered delivers the goods
To my castle. Sash, pulled tight, absorbs the load.
Precious treasures of shining jewels and liquid sand
Burden the horse on the inside road.

Let me sit, swollen, Joy-Full-Sassy,
Just one hour! To meditate—
To relive the illusion of Delirious-Happy—
My gobby fat eyes to ruminate

On the twists and turns of your gleaming sparkles,
Of being such a flicker in your glory fire,
Of wanting only you, that very instant,
And being, momentarily, so utterly desired.

-jenn long

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Dialogue with a Strange Man

My ticket tells me
To keep on going—
Past first class,
Past the wings,
To sit by the strange man
On the plane.

Strange because,
He is strangely good looking.
Strange because,
His soulful eyes
Hang full
Like Ganymede and Callisto,
As they orbit
The old worn book
In his hands.

He raises them only
They follow me
Sliding clumsily in
To the window seat
There beside him,
Then back to the ancient text.

Addicted to archaic things, myself,
I cut my eyes over
To see what tune
Those delicate little ink blots
Are dancing to on that yellowed page.

I am surely not disappointed,
For the feast upon which
My gaze alights,
Is the particular story
Of the last day
That Socrates ever lived.

My lean gets a little
And maybe my breath
Gets a little
But the strange,
Good looking man’s eyes
Get a little retrograde
In their motion,
And ellipse a little my way.
“You like the Dialogues?”
He asks.

In flagrante delicto,
My eyes are caught,
Their only defense to go
Io, and Europa, and get to orbiting
Just like his.
I nod my head.

We both go back
To the story—
Right to the part
Where Socrates says,
“Out of sleeping,
Waking is generated.”

“I like this part,”
He whispers.
Io and Europa dilate a bit,
And I nod my head again.

“What then is generated
From this life?”
The wise man under the
Sentence queries.
“Death,” Cebes calmly answers.
The strange good looking man
Suddenly quotes out loud:
“And what from death?”
He closes the book and
Looks at me full on.

I know the story quite by heart,
But I’m not sure if I can speak.
The strange, good looking man
Is staring deeply into me.
Those eyes are orbiting me
For the moment,
And I am thoroughly paralyzed.

“For someone who likes “Dialogue…”
He starts to say, then stops.
The Song of Socrates
Has charmed him
Like a magnificent
Hooded cobra,
And his swaying,
Fanning, courtship dance
Has mesmerized my Soul.

He kisses me
Full on the lips,
The taste of his wisdom
Precarious on my tongue.

Endangered love;
Endangered knowledge;
Speculative peace;
And thrills concrete!
I succumb,
Losing all consciousness,
And wake with
His right index finger
Just inside my mouth.

“Mmmm,” he says,
Waking beside me,
“In other words,
I like your dress.”

-jenn long

Big Country Morn

Crystal blue, pale blue,
Powder blue morning,
Casting surreal
On the great canyoned sky,
Perfectly silent,
As a still life painting,
Yet true as true love
Gently wakes me ‘mid yawn.

Finely misted jet streams
Of cotton candy pinkling,
Golden yellow beamlets
Begin to dazzle and to whirl.
Cosmic beauty glorious,
Captured here forever,
In this pale blue morning,
At the breaking of this dawn.

My dreams are breaking gently,
Sunny side and over easy.
The giant ball of yolk is slipping
Neatly in the span.
The sizzle of the sky
Begins to glimmer now with color.
The horizon full tilt glorious,
This huge big country morn.

Great hush upon the glory,
Like a chubby cherub infant.
Peace enormous plentiful,
In natures silent treat.
No criticism sears in there,
Nor any retribution.
Sincere smile relinquishes every scar
Like spots on a growing fawn.

The largeness of the beauty
Tells me
Anything is possible.
The solitude fills the pastures
Saying, there is room to grow.
The quiet of this sunrise whispers,
Spread yourself out bigger.
Keep planting now
For time is ripe,
More than you can know.

Slowly the turn is coloring
The horizon's layers to golden,
The rosy streams now overhead,
The pale blue to the west.
Imperceptible movement
Affects my days forever,
Turning, softly turning,
Til tomorrow’s ever gone.

-jenn long

The Epic Gelling

Chapter 1

It’s fun to play house
For a little while.
The honeymoon current buzzes electric,
Zipping consciousness dangerously close
There along the edge.
That butterfly feeling in the top of the stomach
Sometimes causes the body to try
Defying gravity,
Though the toes are terrified.
They’ve never floated
For quite that long,
And they are not sure
How to handle weightlessness.
They begin to feel unnecessary
(and sometimes they are.)
But sometimes the exuberance
Of the sexual flurry
Sends norepinephrine
Cascading out,
Rippling from the body’s core,
All the way up,
And all the way down,
Even to the tips of the toes—
Giving them tiny, little gasms
Of pleasure,
And reminding them that
They are a vital part of the body,
And as such
Are dearly beloved.

But, alas, the toes are also the first
To feel the intoxication ease.
They are the first to feel
The morning-after headache.
They chill, and lead the way
For the feet to get cold, and for
The rest of the body also to withdraw.
And so it was that we enjoyed
Several weeks of honeyed treasure,
Exploring the quaint old farm place
And re-discovering one another.

But neither one of us
Wanted to play house very much—
Not in the old familiar ways.
So much had happened in the earth,
Nothing would ever be the same.
I liked foraging the forest for food—
Roasting duck eggs right out in the fire.
You liked examining the greater landscape,
Probing the new realities of life,
Mapping all of it out.
And in these ways, we supported one another.
Ample space was there for each,
And that allowed us really to be very close,
And to cherish one another deeply.

And I had decided that even though
The attic was full of wonderful clothes,
That I rather liked not wearing any,
And so the forest became, for me,
My own private sanctuary and haven,
Where I could think freely and be completely myself.
And unless I was cold,
And felt I wanted covering,
I roamed the land naked, and very comfortable.

Of course, it was always too much fun,
When we would wind up back together
At the old abandoned farmhouse.
We would have a rousing, good romp,
And laugh, and confer—
Talk philosophy,
Until the discussion turned again
To kissing, or nipples,
And then more love-making quickly ensued.

We were both searching for deeper meaning.
Both of us wanting to try to make sense
Of the world as we knew it to be now—currently.
And so we lived and loved and considered,
And asked each other questions,
And tried to answer them,
And began to shape together
Out of the chaos.

Chapter 2

At noon I strolled the forest glades
In perfect peace and timeless purity.
I barely felt my feet gliding over the leaf strewn path.
My mind and heart were up and all alit,
For my eyes could see the choicest paths
For the soul to journey.
Like a dream, great images about me glowed,
And I, in the midst of the current,
Dipped my fingers in.
I watched the rush diverting the swirl around
And felt the exhilaration of Life’s great ebb and flow.
And as I stood with outstretched arms and swayed
To the great rhythm of the wooded song,
I heard a whisper calling out to me,
For a moment, time and motion stopped.
A silent eternity orbed in a mere tock of time.
I froze, and opened my ear very wide.
“Come again?”
I most politely supplicated.
Hebrides,” came the wispy, air-ish answer.
Hebrides,” I said in childish echo.
Hebrides,” I like to hear its sound.
Speaking the name
Suddenly whisked great curtains open.
I stood alone there
On an enormous stage.
A brilliant light shone into my face,
Blinding my eyes, blocking all frontal vision.
I stood alone, naked, deeply breathing.
I thought for a moment
What I ought to do.

Composing myself
As I sought to perceive
The nature of my audience,
Or whether this was a rehearsal or performance meant to be,
But the hush of the moment
Was so immense that
Intense anticipation filled the time.
The importance of what I would do next
Must have some eternal impact.
I must play my part
To my very best.
There is no turning back.
And so with all myself
I pull a deep and powerful breath
And slowly release the sounds
Of ancient islands, hills and vales.
A great orchestra joins me now
In full harmonic convergence,
With horns and woodwinds floating gently in.
I sense the easy pulse of a kettle drum.
It choreographs a slow and graceful dance
Within my heart.
My feet perceive the dance and glide grace filled.
Suddenly the movement stops,
And I address the patrons.
Only my voice is heard,
Telling the powerful story of my own poetic journey,
And I sense that silent tears are being moved.
Frozen again—
The end of the epic stanza
Has fallen on the ears of those who yearn to understand.
A bow, two quick and playful curtsies,
And then I blow a kiss
Which erupts a thundering applause,
That breaks the silent darkness.
Hebrides!” They shout! “Hebrides! Oh! Hebrides!” They cheer
As the curtains come rushing back together,
Like waves crashing in on each other merging, forever changed.
I stand in shock!
Turning my head in quick movements this way and that,
I cut my eyes all about and up and down,
Seeing myself surrounded again instantly by only the forest scenes.

But wait!
I run to the place where the curtains had parted.
I feel the velvet folds in reams and reams,
But I am senseless to where the opening sheers.
I put my hands to the bottom to pull it up,
But endless bolts of the heavy material
Keep coming and coming
Up into and through my desperate hands.
I am powerless to even take a peek
Back into the world in which I had just been thrust,
But I must mark and remember where this wrinkle lies.
I poke the curtain to see Reality ripple.
I must understand more of what this means,
And what the part that I have yet to play.

I sit down hard on the leaf strewn ground
And wonder if they can still see me.
I wonder where the orchestra has gone.
I ponder how they knew just what I’d sing there,
And when to stop just so for the recitation.
I’m baffled to think that I knew what song to sing,
And wonder what might have been if I’d chosen to sing something else,
And sit overwhelmed at the mystery of the word,

Chapter 3

Ahhhh, those little breaks in Reality,
Where a truer absolute presents itself.
The fantasy becomes real.
The actual becomes a mere figment
Of some lost imagination.
Precious and breath-taking
Those minutes of wonderful timelessness
Where nothing could be better,
Nothing could be dreamed or desired
More choice than those existential terms.

I pondered for days how I could take myself
And make myself be a part of the other reality.
I considered different analogies and means to make them so.
Each idea played before me as part of some grand scheme,
And in the end I dismissed their presentations
As too contrived and controlling.
But more than the fact that structured strategy
Is really not my style,
I felt they wouldn’t work!
There may have been many, many factors involved
Ones that I would be unable to reproduce,
And thus the desired results might leave me sadly lacking,
And so I weighed the gains of trying now,
Or simply continuing my understanding of the matter
Until I felt my chances might be better.

And so what did I really know at all?

Nothing at all was the answer.

I did realize that, for the most part,
My existence was a pleasant one.
I had made much noticeable progress
In my own self actualization
By just surviving all these months
Out in the modern wilds.
I had come to terms with many old destructive habits
And had neutralized various hidden fears
That had lurked at every turn.
The freedom that these gains had brought me
Opened several target doors
Which before seemed too ambitious
Even to approach.
But now my mind had not only reached them
But found them sprung quite open,
Ajar, for any and all who dared to venture boldly in.

But whatever came and whatever went,
The times that I cherished most
Were the ones I spent with you—
Whatever we might do.
Something was different about those times.
Those bits in parenthesis I would find
Somehow more thrilling,
More full and fulfilling,
Even than singing on the grand stage.
But those were chances that
Flowed between
Two banks of beauty
Seldom scene,
Tho maybe that rarity was a part
Of their preciousness.

And then this revealing
Of curtain and stage?
Still butterflied in my stomach
And deep inside my soul
Was I, because of the experience.
No access to repercussions
From the other side—
What the critics might have said;
Forced to hide in
Uncontrolled isolation.
The response seemed large
From the audience then.
How I longed for an encore
To try again,
Maybe I could be even better prepared?
No doubt to it really,
For I had been scared half silly by the
Sudden surprise,
But next time I would not be as shocked.
Reality would not
Have a second chance to mock me
With its cruel disguise—
And its curtain.

And so I challenged my inner soul
To expand itself and thrive
And grow and be prepared
To be more itself
And less of anything else!
So I sought to eradicate again
The sections of myself
Prone to guilt or fear or hate,
And I pulled down the irony weeds from the ancient trellis.
I wanted the good stuff to expand to the largeness
Of my heart’s desire,
To grow into the depth
And width and breadth
And source of whatever inspires
Courage and beauty and all things possible,
And overcome my three worst enemies:
Insecurity, insincerity, and inferiority

Not many can handle great excess.
Bones are often too brittle to support success—
The brain incapable of processing it all
And settling into the place
Where the bigness is acceptable, and
The achievement preferable,
Where tense looks melt
Quite off the face,
And peaceful, self-secured open eyes
See the horizon as true as it lies
And open all for the taking.
But I want my infrastructure
Strong and supported
Able to bear any gratifying thing
Reality purported to hold for me—
Mine for the making.

Chapter 4

And so it was I drifted off to sleep
With the wind rustling through the
Tops of the mulberry trees,
And as the darkness of my trance
Drifted across my latent thoughts,
I found myself seated in a large auditorium
With plush velvety seats that cushioned me in.
I looked up just in time to see the curtain open
And saw a beautiful woman center left.
She stood stock still for an expectant moment,
Just enough so that all in the audience moved
To the edge of their seats,
And then we watched her fill herself with the teeming air
And begin a blooming aria of strength.

I couldn’t understand a word she sang,
Rolling the melodic spell right through her lips into my heart.
‘Twas some ancient Italian ode, perhaps, or older,
But the sound of her voice
And the deep roaring sweeps of the music,
And the movement of herself across the great stage
In the beautiful scarlet satin billows of her full length gown,
Like opulent hope flowing out to me,
Strengthened my resolve
And gave me a sense of deep and inner peace.

Suddenly as I gazed at her
A flicker of recognition pierced my soul.
It was me that I sat watching!
It was my better self that was encouraging me
And giving life to my hidden other self!

As quickly as I had this revelation,
I blinked and was nowhere to be seen.
Then just as quickly reappeared to myself in my own dream.
I saw my body lying on a couch,
Watching a hazy television set
In an old  ramshackle shack.
Dormant, my mind lay sated by the stupidity,
Until the front door flung wide
And my better self strode gaily through.
Still regaled in the ruby richness,
I came to myself in a vision.
I watched myself sashay
Right in front of the old black and white,
And click the power button off as I waltzed by it.
I came to the ragged sofa and took my own drooping hand,
And then the beautiful dimension of myself
Proceeded to translate for me
What the song had meant:

“There is a zone
Where one can live
In a constant state of arrival.
Life absorbed and exhaled freely,
Enlarging the conscious point.
At liberty to acknowledge the past,
And to appreciate the ingrediential grit
Of every moment,
And yet not be found
To focus in on the little bitter traces,
Re-feeling them, resenting them,
Choosing to dwell back there.

And yet not skipping much far up,
Jumping ahead to some future thing—
Some dream or goal or fantasy
And its glory extraordinaire.
A bit of either is fine in life,
But lingering too far behind yourself
Or constant daydreams of early advancement
Prohibits the delicate harmony of soul
That one will surely find
By breathing simply
And deeply
Of the present sentient moment.

For if we allow every level of our conscious being
To align itself with all the other levels
In a point of real space and time,
Our own sense of Reality
Shifts into the center of Truth.

That is when the power resonates.
That’s where Love will flow like rivers.
That’s when abundance happens.

This is when one can truly understand one’s past
And let it go.
That is when one can grasp the energy and drive
Necessary to lay hold of the future’s hope.”

Chapter 5

Walking today,
I found a trail I’d never seen before,
And so I took it,
Wondering where it might lead.
I followed it as it bent and turned
Finally coming to an open space in a meadow
Toward a cleared place in the forest.
There stood a little unattended bamboo hut,
Shining sun bleached beside the forest,
And five little bonsai trees grew from shallow trays.
I walked up to get a closer look at the diminutive expressions.
The rains must have come at just the right times
To keep the tiny trees alive,
And two of the trees had busted out at the roots.
Their life starved tentacles had found their way
To a pile of loose dirt lying in a pile on the potter’s bench.
Those two had grown significantly bigger than the others.

I saw the hunger on the faces of the deprived foliage of the insignificant trees.
I perceived that there had been too much severe pruning.
The roots had been strictly prohibited
And had not been allowed to grow and thrive
To the fullest potential.
I grabbed the shovel that I saw leaning on the bamboo porch
And dug five good sized holes.
I put a bit of the nourishing loam loosely in the holes,
And took each bonsai and smashed the callow pottery
Which held them upon a jagged rock,
Freeing each last tangled root from the pieces of its former pot,
And stuck each tree in its own separate roomy place,
Giving each one ample space to send its root system
Digging as deep into the fertile ground as it wanted to go.
Then I sat down in the pentagonal garden of hopeful abundance
That I had helped to create.
I let the sun shine on my face and meditated.
I pictured the trees growing big and tall,
Making a beautiful shady grove and
Providing sturdy branches for birds of every kind
And a sanctuary for small climbing creatures.

Momentarily my own heart cried out to me,
“Break the shallow tray off my roots too!
Break off every shackle from the womb of your own heart!
Plant your soul in the depths of life’s source!
Let there be no limitation to your roots’ questions and curiosity,
Then there will be no hobbling or restriction to
The magnitude of love that will flow through you
Causing your matrix to enlarge and expand!”

Instantly replayed in my head was the recent scene
Of me dashing the depthless urns upon the stone,
And so just as suddenly I saw myself
Gently picking up my heart,
Growing there inside me in a shallow tray.
I saw how small it seemed to be—
Delicate, and beautiful,
But somehow the diminutive size left me lacking and crippled.
I was stunted because I had allowed many pressures,
Expectations, and demands of my world to influence my growth,
To cut me at the roots.
My environment had also cut back vital growth at the budding branches,
And so I held my heart, stuck there in its cramped and squelching container,
Yes, I held it high over my head,
And then violently brought it down,
Crushing the man-made ceramic form
Into broken bits that scattered upon the dirt.
Then I went and carved out a huge hole in the sky with my bare hands,
And I set my heart out,
Free to grow in the fertile abundance of the star dusted universe.

Chapter 6

Today the trail was taking me
Along as any other day,
When I began to detect
An old familiar hum.
I couldn’t quite place it,
Whether it was electricity,
Or whether it emanated from some other automation,
But my ears followed the sound
Up the slight grade and through the brushy tree line.

The hum grew louder and louder,
And finally became a dull roar.
And I saw a river of motion blurring
Where the forest seemed to come to a sudden stop.
I came to the edge there
And stood with mouth agape.

A high-way!
Four lanes of rapid traffic
Juggernauting along,
And I stood looking at it all in shock,
Covering my naked self in the brush by the side of it.

I silently observed the rush of cars and people in them,
Running to and fro,
Quite as if no catastrophe had happened
Just so many months before?
As if no changed had occurred at all upon the earth?

I saw across the busy byway
A somewhat dingy run-down shopping center.
Some part of me felt deeply drawn
Across the dangerous thoroughfare
To network with the people there
And hear their various stories.
Had this part of the world been unscathed by it all?
Had they recovered this quickly?

Another part of me wanted to run back
To my now familiar surroundings, the woods,
And stay out my existence mostly all alone.
The curiosity part won out, and even though
I was completely nude, I didn’t worry about that much.
I figured that someone would be kind enough to
Offer some spare garments,
Or maybe everyone had gotten the urge
To go naked and unafraid, now, as I had.
What did I know of the world at hand?

Just as I put one foot out onto the pavement,
Trying to time my transit just so,
I was halted in mid-step,
Pulled back violently,
And whiplashed into the graveled edge.
Two huge arms pinned me hard,
Face first in the littered ditch
And struggling for air.

My accoster’s hot breath steamed
The back of my neck,
Smelling of rancid meat
And cheap aftershave,
“Ha! I got you!” he grunted,
His lips touching my left shoulder,
Leaving a slobbery smear that I could still feel.
He muscled me around,
Tying my wrists together,
Then he pulled me up to my feet.

I stood in shock, watching his hoggish eyes
Move up and down my naked form, now
Speckled with bits of mud and bits of dead grass and gravel.
“Oh yeah!” he squealed!
“You’ll bring a pretty penny for old Duroc!
Oh, yes, you will!” he finished by putting a nylon rope around my neck.

Chapter 7

Duroc unloaded me from the back of his truck
Across the hi-way, at the very shopping center
That I had thought to visit.
But I was no visitor.
I stood, my wrists still bound by dirty rags
And a filthy leash around my neck
In the market square.
A crowd was now starting to gather,
And I could hear snickers, and gasps
As I watched the haggard faces of the people
Stare blankly at me, as if I were a piece of furniture.

Everyone had something with them to barter it seemed,
And I was Duroc’s bargaining chip for this swap session.
He motioned to one of the old men in the crowd
Who came gimping up toward me.
His eyes were cold and hard, and he had not a shred of sympathy in his glance.
“What has happened to the human race,” I thought,
Not daring to speak a word.
This village seemed to have resorted back
To some previous stage of evolution.
The old man stuck his grimy index finger in my mouth
And pulled my gums up hard.
Then without saying a word he poked my lower abdomen
And ran a finger over the marks where my skin had stretched in pregnancy.
“She’s definitely not a virgin,” he said critically,
And I’d say she’s about 40.”

“Well, she’ll still bring a good sum for Old Duroc,” Duroc grinned
With brown spittle flicking from his teeth as he spoke.

I wondered why they just didn’t ask me how old I was,
Or if I were a virgin, of all things.
But since they hadn’t, I remained dumb,
Not sure if I could have uttered a word anyway.

I suddenly thought about myself and not so long ago.
I wondered how that self would have handled the current state.
I might have melted into hysteria.
I might have screamed or kicked at them, or tried to run.
I know I would have slumped and crouched and tried to hide myself in shame.
But here I was,
Standing before these strange and cruel human brothers and sisters,
And I felt nothing but utmost sympathy for them.
They had no humanity.
They had no soul.
And so I stood,
Completely bare and unashamed,
I held my shoulders back straight,
And stood serene and filled with grace and peace.
My body was an open book to them.
Some of them began to stare responsively at me
As if I were a statue created by some ancient Greeks.
I held my head up, not in pride,
But in dignity,
And I breathed deeply.
I opened my mouth and spoke
In quiet strength,
“My name is Hebrides.”

Chapter 8

The crowd froze as if the name held some magician’s spell.
For a moment nothing moved in time or space.
Then a tall, good looking man strode forth,
Clothed in clean denim and kemptly bearded,
“Duroc,” he said, all business-like,
“How much do you want for the hand maiden?”

Duroc looked at the prospective client hard,
Sizing the potential of the forthcoming profits.
“100 gross,” he said without blinking.
Neither did the patron wince, but without hesitation,
“I have a yearling mule, and two hens,” he offered.
Duroc grinned a wide crude smirk,
And handed my new owner the end of the soiled leash
Which kept me tethered.

He led me without speaking a word,
Just nodding at a few of the lookers on.
But he gently touched his hand to my shoulder
As he opened the door of an old ford
To let me in on the passenger side.
He whispered quickly to me as he went to shut the door,
“Please. Sit right there, for your own safety.”
Then I heard the crowd going wild,
Howling lewd shrieking suggestions.
I sat with face straight ahead,
And no expression on my face,
But watched this individual, peculiarly more humane than the rest,
Continue to nod and wave at them, and smiled the same quiet smile,
As he hurried his gait around to his door on the driver’s side,
And quickly got himself in and shut the door.

“Please start!” he muttered half to himself and half to his old pickup,
(And if there could be another half, toward some of the unknown gods.)
The ignition whirred and sounded bleak, but finally turned on over.
A noticeable sigh from him, as he put his hand on the back of the seat.
He turned to look behind to back out of the market, and then we headed forward.
He left his hand for just a moment on my shoulder again,
Before he took it then, and moved it down
To change gears on the standard transmission.
Then he moved it up to my neck, where he gently removed the leash
As he shook his head in disbelief.
I could feel his solid touch, and sat quietly, waiting for him to speak again.

“My name is Appen,” he said looking softly into my eyes.
“I mean you no harm,” he continued quickly.
“This is not a safe place to be alone,
But I hope it doesn’t offend you—
This manner in which I have secured you?

My family came here from Scotland,” he continued,
“And when you said that your name was ‘Hebrides,’
I knew that I must help you.”

Chapter 9

We drove for quite some way,
Until we reached a tree lined lane,
And there we turned in and bumped along
Down a rough path toward his homestead.
I noticed an old barn with the doors both flung wide open,
And two very nice, modern cars parked there.
One was a sedan, luxury type, the other a Ferrari!
Much in contrast to the old ford truck,
It had to be 30 years old or more.
But I would always be very fond of it
For it and he had whisked me in a nonplussed way
Out of a situation that might have been anything but good.
I still wasn’t sure now what to expect, or what might happen,
But as he pulled to a stop at the grassy yard in front of the house
I saw a door open in the front, and four young children appear
Furtively peeking out at us.

Appen turned to me and said,
“If you will wait here just a sec,
I will go and get you some clothes.”
And before I could tell him that I really preferred not to have them,
He was bounding up the steps,
The children grabbing him around his knees
And lavishing him with kisses and with love.

Probably he did not want the children to see me nude, I figured,
And so I decided that I should not argue, but go ahead and abide
By his wishes, after all, he had redeemed me from a pitiful situation.
And so just as quickly, he was back, with a fluffy robe type thing,
And I wrapped it around myself and followed him into his home.
“Would you like to have a bath?” he asked me.
I touched my face and could still feel clods of mud
From the ditch where I’d been captured.
I thought about the smear of slobber
From Duroc’s filthy mouth,
“Oh yes. Please,” was my simple answer.
And so he led the way to a cozy bathroom
And left me alone in there.

I couldn’t remember the last time
I’d soaked in nice warm bubbles.
It felt spiritual to me to let the suds
And the heat penetrate my pores.
I took my time, and finally emerged sparkling clean from the bathtub.
I put the fluffy robe back on, and stepped out into the hall.
Appen met me there, and had a stack of other clothing.
“Why don’t you see if there is anything
In here that fits you comfortably?”
And so I did as he was asking.
I looked through the clothing and found
A dress that wrapped around me.
I tied it with a sash from a skirt,
And stepped back into the hall.
I thought I saw a tear in Appen’s eye,
But he smiled stoically, and said,
“That looks very nice on you.
We are finding ourselves some dinner,
Won’t you come and join us?”

Chapter 10

As the days went by
I came to know more and more
About Appen and his little ones.
The oldest was a beautiful little girl
About seven years of age.
Then there were three boys.
I didn’t know their ages, but they were
One right after the other,
The younger ones so close in age that
They even could have been twins,
But I don’t think they were.

But, there were things I didn’t know
And didn’t dare to ask,
Like, where their mother was,
Or what had happened to her.
I wondered if, like me, she had been
Separated by the quake, and hadn’t found
Her way back home yet.

Apparently, this part of the world had remained
At least a little bit intact,
Enough so that travel was permitted
Up to that little town.
Nothing electrical worked anymore.
Refrigeration wasn’t possible.
And many of the newer cars also couldn’t go.
But the older ones, without all the computerized
Electronic stuff worked fine,
As long as someone knew what they were doing,
And could find the fuel to run them.
And many people had found strange things
To put in their engines to make them go.
And even knowing that they might not get back,
Or, that whatever it was they were putting
Into their engines might actually wind up ruining them for good,
Desperation to get wherever it was they felt they needed to be
Made people very inventive.

Appen had figured out how to get drip gas
From some of the gas wells on his property,
And he had also been able to plumb his stove to run on it,
And he was using the ‘hooch” to power his old Ford, and a very ancient tractor.
He had chickens, and pigs, and a few head of cattle,
So he and his children had actually fared along fairly well.

I guess he had also owned a mule, and a few other pullets,
But now instead of them, he just had me.
And so I wondered at what value I was to him.
A mule would be very valuable indeed right now,
And so would the laying hens.

I shouldn’t have, but I couldn’t help
Comparing my worth to theirs.
I didn’t know what it was exactly that I could offer him,
But felt pressured by my own self-lack
To do as much as possible,
And there seemed to be a LOT
That surely needed to be done.

I began by seeing how I could help with all the children,
Trying to tidy up a bit, and see how they were accustomed
To getting their victuals, and helping with that.
I watched Appen very closely,
To try to see what he was aiming to accomplish every day,
And I would do whatever I could to make his burden lighter.

All this was a constant vigil.
And in honesty, it was exhausting.
I felt myself growing gaunt and more spiritually hollow every day.
A slave mentality crept across my heart and soul, and face.
And I saw myself in the mirror of the bathroom finally,
And thought, who is that?
The person looking back at me seemed to have no life,
No color, no happiness.

And so I went outside behind the barn,
I sat down and had a good cry.
I couldn’t control the large, intense sadness
That poured out of my heart.
Huge tears washed down my face
As I thought, that a mule would be far better than I,
For who had ever seen a mule melt in a pile of tears?
And as I cried, I began to sob uncontrollably.
I couldn’t stop gasping at the air,
Even when I saw Appen appear around the side there,
Looking at me with great concern.

He came and took me in his arms
And simply held me until his strength
Had comforted me in ways that I could never put to words.
He smiled at me and shook his head.
Finally, he asked me, “Whatever is wrong?”
I couldn’t really speak, but managed to blubber
A few incoherent sentences,
Something about being his slave,
And not really being worth more than a mule,
And not knowing what it was he wanted me to do,
And that sort of thing, you know, until
I was able to quiet down,
And was able to look at Appen, eye to eye,
And hear what he would say.

Hebrides,” he said, “I never intended
For you to be a slave.
In fact, nothing here is chaining you,
And you are ever free to go, or to stay
As long as you good and well please.”

I looked at him as he continued to speak,
Encouraging me, and thanking me for all my help,
And telling how he wished the best for me,
And didn’t want me harmed in any way.
He continued by saying that he had never expected
For me to work as hard as I had,
And that he had wondered why I seemed
So plagued by guilt, so driven to perform.
And as he spoke I watched the light play in his golden hair.
I saw the strands of ruddy auburn, deep browns, among the sunny yellows.
His hair was thick, but looked so soft,
His blue eyes deep like a patch of the sky at noon,
He was one of the most selfless people
I had ever been around,
And I found myself drawn into his words
And into his world.
A thought crossed my heart
That maybe I wanted to stay here,
At least for a little while more.
Maybe I wanted to help him;
I wanted to be around him?
I wondered if I loved him,
If this feeling I had was maybe some other type of love?
It was hard to tell in many ways, but
I needed to settle the confusion I had in my mind,
For he had rescued me from a fate that likely
Would have been worse than death, itself.
So maybe what I was moved by, was the most extreme
Gratefulness that I had ever felt,
For truly, I had never been so thankful to someone
As I was to him.
I had never pondered the debt one would owe
To another who had spared one’s vital essence,
And then handed it back intact somehow,
Without wanting anything in return.

Chapter 11
He put his arm around my shoulder
And walked me back up to the house,
And drew another bath for me,
And said, “Please, relax yourself, and be at ease.
Let us begin again, and this time maybe on the same page.”
“What is it that you want me to do?”
I asked, honestly wanting to know.
“What do you want to do?” He volleyed back to me.
“I don’t know.” I said, looking at him in wonder,
Considering what it really was that was driving our conversation.
“Do you want to stay here with us?” he asked,
“Or would you prefer to go back to where you came from?”

Suddenly I thought of you, and where you were,
And what you might be thinking.
I never knew just what you were up to
Or when I might see you again.
But I preferred to be with you,
I preferred the chance, for any given length of time
That might present itself, for us to spend together.
Then I looked at Appen, his strong hands on my shoulders,
I thought of his little children there,
And I remembered how he had stepped up for me
And snatched me from the likes of Duroc.
“I don’t know,” I mused, “I just don’t know right now.”

“Well,” he said, “Just take your time.
Let’s just begin with a nice warm bath and go from there.
Go and wash away the tear stains from your face,
And let’s have a fresh slate to start from.”

I took a deep breath, and thanked him again,
He gave me a friendly hug, and then I went on into the bath.
As I soaked, I pondered my fate,
How I had wandered into such a situation!
Was it some predestined lot?
Had my choices caused it to become so?
Was it all part of some scripted play,
And I, with a tragic, or possibly a comedic, role?
Hebrides,” I whispered. “Hebrides.”
I wondered what my better self would say?

Suddenly I felt that there was a cosmic need for me to be there.
There was something of my better self that I could here impart.
And so I would think of what my better self would do, and do that,
And leave the rest as completely unimportant to my goal.
My better self would find, even here, the “constant state of arrival,”
And act the part of the Heroine, and certainly, she would be.

And so I submerged myself completely under the water.
I washed my hair, and all my body, and came up back into the air.
I dried myself and called to Appen, to please, if he could, come to me,
And when he had come into the bathroom with me, I asked him then and there:
“What is the most important thing that I can do to help you?”
Appen looked around the room, and spotted my borrowed clothes.
“Aren’t you going to put something on?” he asked a bit distracted.
“Well, that is another thing I wanted to ask you,” I interjected.
“Is it a terrible problem if I don’t wear any?
I just have come to be more myself if I don’t have to put on any airs.”
“Well,” he said very slowly, thinking very deliberately,
“I don’t suppose that it would be a problem.
The children are young enough not to care.
It’s just that it’s a little different, I guess, than what I’m used to.”
“Okay,” I said, settling the matter, “Then back to question Number One.
What is the thing that I can do that would help you most importantly?”

Hebrides,” he said, with his voice so sincere.
“You do not have to do anything.”
“I know,” I said, “But I want to.
So if you will please think of what that help might be for you,
Will you promise me that you will tell me,
And give me a chance to be whatever it is that I can be to you?”

Chapter 12

That night I lay out under the open sky.
I closed my eyes and tried to picture this home without me here.
They had managed fine before I came
And would continue on after I went.
I was certainly not indispensible.

I had seen times in my former life
When certain people would enter a peaceful room,
And hustle and hurry and order others about,
And I often thought that if they could have seen
How happy the people were before they came in,
They might have stayed outside, or home,
Or surely they would have come in with a better manner.
Surely they would have tried to contribute something wonderful,
Rather than storm in, and cause a commotion and leave,
And have everyone else no better off,
Or maybe in a worse frame of mind
Than if they’d never come in the room at all.

And then I pondered my own strengths.
I thought of things that people had said about me
That actually made any sense.
I considered the times in my existence when I felt happiest.
I suddenly remembered a conversation
With a love that almost was—
How he had begged me to stay with him;
He said he’d never felt so free;
He said he’d never had so much fun.
He told me many other things as well,
But I think they may be better off unsaid.

But I did think that deeply embedded in my DNA
Was a keen sense of Joy, and a knack for bringing out
The abandonment of the moment,
Like the fine dishes that many use only on special occasions.
To me, Joy can be for the everyday.

Then I thought of wise words I’d read from great philosophies,
How one can not be a slave if one is doing what one desires.
I also considered some words I’d heard:
“Owe no man anything but to love him,”
And, the great wisdom found within, “To thine own self be true.”
It seemed to me that my presence at this particular act and scene,
Was to play the very part of Joy, herself,
And to simply enjoy the children,
And to enjoy Appen,
And to be a grace to them, that oiled the doors of Joy to their own hearts.

And so rather than sleeping in the guest room that night,
I slept right there in the grassy lane til morn.
I rose at dawn, and celebrated the glorious sunrise,
Simply because it made me happy.
Then I went inside to greet the children and their Dad.
We took our time at breakfast, and I told them silly stories,
We went outside to play, and there I listened as they told me
The dreams they had, the fears they held,
And funny things they’d seen before.
And I loved them. I loved them as I love you.

In their shining faces, I could see you as a baby.
I could see you in their childhood.
I could see you in their eyes.
And I treated them with loving kindness,
The same as I would if you’d been there,
The same as I would treat you at anytime,
As if you had been there inside them.

That night I tucked them all four in,
And wasn’t the slightest bit tired myself,
But they drifted off to sleep before I made it to the door,
I looked up just in time to see Appen smiling at me,
“The children have had a wonderful day,
I thank you kindly for that.”
“And what about you?” I asked him.
“Has your day been satisfactory?”

I caught his eyes fall to the floor for just barely a noticeable second,
“Oh yes,” he said, shrugging his shoulders and shaking his golden head.
But his body language told me, that he really didn’t know
Whether he’d ever had a good day in his entire life,
And the shaking head was yelling louder
Than the words he would never speak aloud;
“I’m glad my kids are happy,
But no, I personally could be better.”

And so I took him by the hand and said,
“Come with me for a moment.”
He followed my lead and went with me out the kitchen door.
“What would burst your heart with joy, tonight,” I queried,
“If you could have one wish right now?”
And like any silly farmer,
He said, “I could really use a rain?”

For just a moment my heart sank
As I stood there naked before him.
I had hoped that maybe a kiss or a dance
Would cause his soul to leap.
Instantly my own insecurity clouded
The realms of possibility.
I remembered the cruel old man’s critique in the market square.
Maybe my 40 year old teeth didn’t appeal to Appen.
Maybe the stretch marks across my thighs
Or the report of my “not being virginal,”
Had built a boundary line around me
That he just couldn’t cross.

Or maybe he just really wanted it to rain?

Ah, the voice of reason,
Clearing the fog of doubt and negativity away.
And as it cleared I had a thought.
Maybe a dance was what he wanted.
A certain kind of dance I knew might do it after all.

But would I have the courage to tell him before so he would know it?

I would! And so I leaned close to his ear,
So close I could feel his soft blond hair on my lips.
I could smell his musky cologne worn thin from a hard, hot day,
And I told him, “You, my dear Appen, you, will get your rain now.”

And then I spun him around and sat him on a crate,
And I began to dance for him,
And for all of the universe waiting there, too.

Chapter 13

The rains came very fast that night—
That night I danced for Appen.
I hadn’t gotten more than, maybe,
Three quarters of the way.
But I was so attuned to the dancing,
I lost myself completely—
The farm was gone—
The house—
The old ford—
And even Appen, too.

But a smashing, thunderous crack
Snapped me back to this reality,
Although I rather liked the one
My dance had whisked me to.
But just as my eyes began to come
Back a bit into focus,
I felt a drenching rain begin to pelt on my naked skin.
Appen stood and tilted his head right back to look straight into it,
Shaking his head again,
But this time for other reasons.
He held his hands out at his sides,
Palms up to catch the rain.
He began with a little chuckle,
So low I could barely hear it,
But it opened up into a roaring, contagious laugh!

I was standing about ten feet away,
And looked up into the clouds as he had,
And just as I brought my face back toward him,
He had me in his arms.
He swung me around and around in the rain
Then set me on my feet again,
He hugged me and he began to dance a bit himself!

The summer storm had brought the man
To a place in his inner childhood!
His inhibitions completely gone—
Washed out with the sheets of the pour!
We both danced with joy,
Splashing like an ancient fountain,
Until he slid himself back over to me
And took me again in his arms!

Hebrides!” he breathed!
“Oh, crazy, wonderful Hebrides!”
What have you unleashed tonight?
Out here on the desert plains?
Oh the unspeakable things
I want to say to your dear spirit!
The love that I have in my body and soul,
The joy that I have in this rain!”

Ah… he was waxing poetic with me!
But what did he mean by ‘crazy?!’
Well, I had never been accused of
Ever being too normal!
Why should I attempt such vanity now!

So we continued to dance together,
Me, completely naked,
He, thoroughly soaked by now
All the way to the skin.
We danced and laughed and were present together,
Fully engaged with the other,
Our eyes never leaving the other one’s eyes,
Until a chilly wind
Made us think to go inside
And, perhaps, dry off just a little bit,
And so we did, and I was cold,
And so, put on the fluffy robe.
He came out from the back
With some small towel around his waist,
As I was trying to start a fire,
In the hearth of the great open room.

“Looks like you are better at starting rains,
Than you are fires,” he raised an eyebrow playfully.
“Ha ha,” I played right back at him
As he drew near to my right side.
“Let me show you how to get a fire going,” he said, suddenly sounding serious.
He leaned back on a blanket on the floor, and pulled me down close to his side.
Slowly his mouth was on my mouth, his shoulders on my shoulders,
But we found that we had some extra parts that weren’t exactly the same.
We found that very interesting, and continued the investigation,
Until he brought his mouth close to my ear and whispered coyly to me:
“You have a funny sense of timing,” he said with sweet sarcasm.
“Suddenly ‘putting on airs,’ wearing this fluffy robe.”
“Well, if there’s one thing I can’t stand,” I said, with eyes intently on him,
“It’s snobbery, so help me please to get off these silly airs.”
He slipped the robe off my neck and breasts,
And began nuzzling my upper body and face with his.
He groaned the word softly into my neck,
“Sweet Hebrides,”
He moaned as he caressed my body with his.
“Oh, Hebrides.”

The rains came very fast that night—
That night I danced for Appen.
I hadn’t gotten more than, maybe,
Three quarters of the way.

Chapter 14

It is fun to play house for a little while,
And Appen and I enjoyed a wonderful togetherness.
I decided that I should teach the children to read,
And so we played school in the sand by the garden gate.
We would draw our letters, and learn what sounds they made,
And make other pictures there in the dirt.
We learned some basic math and counting, and
We also planted some seeds for a fall garden.
I found some paper in the house,
And wrote out a few poems for the girl to read.
And Appen and I would laugh at the children during the day
And love each other at night.

But one day, after I’d been there about a month,
Appen came home with an ashen look on his face.
He’d been to the market that morning,
And someone told him they’d seen his wife.
She was at a makeshift hospital in a village nearby,
And was finally recovered enough to be getting out.

“That is wonderful,” I told him blankly.
“But this has been wonderful too,” he said.
“Yes. This has been wonderful,” I echoed back.

We decided that he would take me back to the other side of the highway,
And then he would go and retrieve his wife from the sanatorium.
So I told the children goodbye, and that
I would always love them and remember them,
And they didn’t really understand,
But they hugged me close, and then went back to playing.

And I hopped into the old Ford with Appen,
And we headed back to the place
Where I had emerged from the woods.
There we said a tearful au revoir,
And I stepped out of his truck and trotted away
Into the deep hollows of the forest.

So many things ran through my heart
As I ran through the patches of light and shade
That flickered with the sunbeams through the trees
On their way to the forest floor.
And yet, nothing but time ran through me myself,
And as I cut and dodged along the path, and then the no-path,
And up to find another path again.
I could almost swear that none of it had ever happened.
I had no feelings of remorse or lack, no feelings of missing anything there.
No feelings of wishing I could be back there.
No feelings of wishing I had never been there.
The running, and the woods seemed to be erasing everything from me except
The present sentient moment, and I only knew that I felt hungry.

Chapter 15

Next morning I awoke with a start.
I had one of those feelings, waking up in the dark,
That I had no idea where I was.
I guess I had gotten used to waking up
With Appen’s arms and sometimes a leg
Thrown around me.

Today I was alone.

I had wanted to make it to the little farmhouse,
But had gotten tired along the way,
And had decided to sleep out in the woods for a night.
My mind had tumbled around all night,
Trying to catch up with my body
Which had run the woods.
I guess my brain had finally caught up
Right about then,
And I woke from the inside out.

It is a strange feeling to drift off to sleep without one’s brain,
A little like being left at home for the first time
While your parents run to the store.
You feel like a free moral agent adult
Until they come home again,
And suddenly you are back to being a child.

My brain was trying to tell me something—
That something was decidedly different.
But my body was having nothing of it,
It just went searching for food.
I found some blossoms, and some wild wheat stalks,
I rubbed them in my hands to remove the chaff,
And ate the golden kernels of the cereal.

Slowly I meandered the way that seemed right,
Still really just looking for anything edible,
But I hadn’t made it very far,
When out of nowhere, my stomach turned sour,
And just as suddenly, I regurgitated.
I could feel the earth spinning,
And sweat beading cold on my forehead.
I felt a sick swimming motion in my head,
But as soon as my stomach was voided, I was fine again.

“That was really weird,” I thought,
“For I am rarely ever sick.”
So I kind of trudged along
Until I came to the familiar brook.
I cupped my hands and drank the coolness,
And followed it down to the clearing
Where the old farmhouse sat waiting.

Normally I would have gone and gotten some eggs and built a fire,
But today I just thought about grabbing something quick
Out of the pantry in the old kitchen.
I felt completely exhausted, though it was only midday,
I went and lay across the feather bed
And pulled an old soft quilt over myself
And went to sleep.

I slept until almost dusk,
And woke up wanting something to eat.
Again, I just honed in to the pantry
And the dried ready food in there.
A little queasy spell rumbled in my belly,
And so I lay down again
I didn’t even feel like thinking
But my mind kept trying to speak.
Slowly I relaxed a bit,
And listened to my inner thought.
This was a somewhat familiar feeling.
I had felt it before.
Was it heartsickness?
Was I missing Appen?
Was I feeling guilt, and wondering about you?
“No,” my brain was saying, “No.
None of that is chiefly it.”

Then my heart could fully hear
My self in realization of my self.
I felt the dreadful revelation.

Pure denial came upon me
In a breaking sweat.
Fear, and terrible surprise,
A feeling of being caught in a deathtrap
With no way out.
I was pregnant.

Chapter 16

“Be Fruitful and Multiply,”
The good book says.
Yeah, funny thing about that—
Bearing much fruit is a messy business.
It seemed to me that at the end of the former age,
Most of what I saw “growing” on people as “good fruit,”
Was artificial.
It’s a lot easier that way.

First of all, you don’t have the minute by minute intensity
Of guessing how tight to push and to pull,
Of how hard to hang on, and how easy to let go,
And when it’s okay to understand, and also fine, in not understanding.
True closeness between people ultimately requires
A delicate balance of living
To the utmost point of being completely yourself,
And a hearty expression of cherishing the beauty
Of letting the person you love be his or her own utmost self, too.

Oh sure, anyone can have sex with anyone.
Intimacy however, happens in the unveiling.
If the curtains can be pulled back, one layer at a time,
If the fluffy robe of life is only there when it’s cold outside
And the rest of the time the bare self is allowed to see and be seen,
Then real conversations peel layer after layer down to the core,
And friends become lovers, and lovers become friends.

The other problem with fruit is that
The fruit itself is messy.
It becomes a thing entirely of its own.
First the blossom,
Then the little bud of a peach,
Then the growth, the ripening—
There is always, too, the possibility of
Worms, or bugs, or turning mushy.
Sometimes the fruit ferments,
And one becomes drunk on the very idea
Of being fruitful.

This was the great Law of the Universe!
Reaping and sowing!
Planting and gathering!
And I guess that the universe was trying to tell me
That with whatever one invests intimate moments,
The seeds of that one will come to live
In the womb of the heart,
And from that matrix
Will spring forth fruit
That is both part and particle of the several seeds
And of the womb.

And I was full of seeds!
I breathed a huge sigh from my heart,
Suddenly very thankful that Appen and I
Had never fully consummated our relationship.
Oh, we had come so very close,
And we had enjoyed delightful fun,
But I would be a tormented soul
If there were any confusion
About whence exactly the seeds of this fruit had sprung.
But I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt
That you were the father,
For not only had our bodies gelled together
In a complete and wonderful way,
But your weighty delightful words always
Dropped heavy into my heart and soul,
And the word seeds had already begun to grow in my life
And bear incredible fruit.
And now the heart of the universe
Had seen fit, that the matrix grid should shift
And that we should produce
After our own kind.

Chapter 17

Funny how once something has been conceived,
It takes on a life and mind of its own,
And one cannot really fully control it,
As much as we’d like to try.
And maybe we really shouldn’t attempt much
To force it into our concrete forms,
For maybe the abstract creation itself
And it’s new generation of life
Would develop into something so much better,
Something fantastical,
Something beyond all our pathetic boundaries
Of what we could imagine or drive or control.

I admitted that I was completely powerless,
For I lost the reins, and had no control at all
Of the budding cosmos deep within me.
At least I had thrown the reins down of my own.
I didn’t want to guide or regiment.
I thought of the other times I had conceived,
And how the systems of the day
Had swept me along against my will—
The uniformly scheduled visits
To my healthcare providing professionals,
The drawing of blood samples,
The various medications that I “required,”
The incredible, if somewhat opaque visions of the fetus
Growing inside the folded tissues,
The educated guessing as to its sex,
In some ways took all the fun out of the sacred enigma,
And prohibited the natural wonder and timelessness of it.
And woven tightly throughout the artifices were
The drudgeries at home preparing the nest,
In ways that would appear to be normal to others.
I laughed to myself and rolled my eyes
Trying to picture something similar in my former life
To compare this current adventure to
And came up with nothing that even came close.

There would be no doctor visits,
No prenatal vitamins, no lactation classes,
No god forsaken baby showers—
It might very well
Possibly be only me
And the Universe
Delivering this succession of life
Into existence,
And that was fine with me!

But something about the originality and the creativity
Of this situation thrilled me.
The initial fear and dread I had experienced
On a gut level of reactionary impulse
Melted away under the pure lightness of it
And the beauty,
And I realized that the part of myself
That had always hated being pregnant before
Had somehow been overcome.

I think before I always felt
That I’d been caught being naughty,
Or been exposed as a fraud and a liar.
Maybe I worried that I hadn’t found the only true love for me,
And the paradox of life
Would somehow bring that one to look at me
Right at a time when I was undeniably fat
And conjugated to someone wrong
With no way out.
Or maybe the pressure I felt early in life,
That I had to find a way to exist in a
Perpetual state of perfection
In order to win the approval that I so craved,
And in anguish never seemed to receive,
Caused me to feel that I pressure to portray
An immaculate image of virginal purity
Forever and ever amen.

Whatever had formerly been the case
Was now completely overshadowed
By an intense, liberating sense of relief.
I was in much better care
Under the approving eyes of the moon,
The sophisticated experience of the stars,
And even the warmth of the golden sun,
Drinking my sparkling water pure
And close from its mysterious source.
I never wanted a baby shower!
Participating in this experience for me
Seemed free from many of the “musts” and “shoulds”
And that openness gave new winds to my lagging sails.

And so I breathed deeply
And began to enjoy the next phase of
The creative process.
I wanted the creation to be what it was,
To flourish into the height of its climax
And to become the pinnacle of whatever its DNA
Would fully allow,
And so I surrendered completely to the process,
I let go of every preconceived notion,
Yielding to the validity of the conception that was,
And permitting myself to thrive as a part of its progeneration,
And waving the white flag to all my anticipations,
I opened my heart and mind to loving the essence
Of all life’s possibility growing in the womb of my life.

Chapter 18

The sea came back today.
I kept thinking it would, and
Thinking it would,
And then finally I gave up,
And decided it would never come back,
And then I didn’t think about it anymore.
But today the sea came back.

I had imagined a major catastrophe—
The unpredictable rage of an angry old drunk
Coming home after an unproductive night’s search
For a new love to make him feel
Wanted and cared for,
Someone who really didn’t know him at all
But would fall for his superficial wit and charm
And allow him to sweep her off her feet
And wrap her up in his night,
Someone who would welcome his rash advances
And let him feel young again,
And strong for once in his natural born life.

Alas, his gray head is getting harder to handle,
His big gut— too much for the easy ones to welcome,
And so he just drinks, and hates all the women
For being so smart to avoid even his glances.

Then when he comes to his own home and hearth,
To the ones who truly know him, and somehow love him anyway,
He hates them.
They are stupid to love me, he thinks,
For I am not worth loving at all.
They don’t know me like I know myself.

And so he roars, and destroys, and rages,
And smashes precious things like delicate glass mementoes
And the trusting bonds of hope and concern that keep trying to reach him.

Yes, the sea always returned that way, didn’t it?
After an extremely low tide in the former age?
Especially after a tide so low that only a tsunami could follow?

Ah, but this was not the former age,
And more than one possibility seemed to exist
In any given circumstance.
Things could and did change here—
Things that could be imagined, and things that, frankly, could not.

And so as I walked the woods today,
Foraging briar blossoms and pecans and wheat tops,
I heard the roar, alright enough
And my first instinct was fear of death itself.
But I stood very still and breathed very deeply
And listened.

I could hear the voice of many waters.
I could almost hear them say to me,
“All will be well,
For all is well.
Peace, sweet peace.”
I closed my eyes
And allowed the largeness of the words to still.
The universe and the heart administrating there
Wanted good for me.
Suddenly in the overwhelming sounds,
My eyes glazed in a seizing daydream.
A vision came to my heart
Of a favorite teacher recommending me for the next level,
Telling me all the wonderful things I’d ever done,
Many of which I did not know or had never realized,
And showing me my secret file.

I listened as the waters poured,
Filling me in, building me up,
Relating to me my strengths, and
The things that we would call, weakness,
As really things that I should avoid,
For they were things I would not enjoy
Or have any passion regarding them.
I stood in awe, as the teacher went on,
Telling me of my special gifts,
And of the things that I could pursue with
Nothing but confidence,
For the specialty of my unique nature
Was exactly created for such a time
And such a place, and if I could but
Rise above the shallow plane,
I would see clearly from a more complete perspective
How all the traits I’d deemed peculiar
Were designed for a purpose in me.

How thankful I was
That I was not limited to the negative pictures
In my mind,
That we don’t always get what we expect,
But often we get much better.
For as the sea came roaring in,
It brought with it incandescent gifts,
Treasures from far, exotic islands,
Beautiful nutritious tropical fruits,
Silks and cottons and precious metals,
All the stuff that could ever be wanted
Or needed to exist in a glorious abundance,
And more than all the physical accruements added together,
Was the treasure to my mind and heart,
Receiving the vision of my universal report card,
And the blue ink across the top, “Superior Student,”
And the heart felt words of my teacher in rapt approval of my life.

Then a huge yawn and a stretch, and the air filling my lungs
The light of the present coming back into my eyes, focusing again
On my surroundings,
And I saw that the sea was back, and the water had carefully poured
To the exact line and point that the universe desired,
And I was on the beach again.

Have I ever mentioned, I love the beach.

Chapter 19

Today as I walked along the shore,
I saw another pair of footprints
Striding off away through the sand.
I stopped and peered down into one of them,
Trying to glean whatever I can
From the depth of it pushing into the earth,
The size and shape of the toes.
I was hoping they were marks from your feet,
But it was very hard to know.
I put my hand into the imprint
Seeing if I could feel anything there.
But I couldn’t.
I couldn’t feel any left over vibration
I just knew the foot had been bare
As it walked along the sand,
And the pace seemed very slow.
The prints were fairly close together
And you could clearly see every toe
Without a blurring into the ground,
As it would be if the person were digging in at a run.
I tried to picture the mysterious person,
What they might look like,
Just for fun,
And as my brain spun through many options,
It landed on a familiar face.
Perhaps these were from the feet of the medicine man.
I decided to track him and trace
His steps to where he might be now,
To visit and see if he’d found
That someone he sought to assume his position
And to hold the sacred ground,
Of the formulae and the ancient lore,
The magic and his knowledge as shaman.
But suddenly the thought occurred
That these were the tracks of a woman.

I stopped again to consider
And give it a second glance—
Another female out here like me,
Alone, facing fate and chance.
My first thought was to turn around
And go back the other way.
I had not had much in common
With many women in my day.
And found the conversations boring,
To say the least,
Hearing about hair-do’s and bloating and cramps
And meatloaf and candles and yeast.
But something in my spirit stopped me,
And I felt a door deep in my heart
Open just a tiny smidgeon,
Allowing my brain to start
Its gears rolling afresh in a new fresh direction.
My instincts had often been wrong.
As I stammered along in my former life,
The things I thought right had often been wrong.

And so I allowed my natural curiosity
To burgeon into a loving lure
For another human out here on the shore
Who might also be looking to cure
Old wounds from the older age,
Old memories from the past.
Maybe the least that I could do
Would be to follow the prints
As long as they might last.

And so very carefully
I began to trail them,
Hoping that is wasn’t a Duroc type creature
That I would fall headlong into.

Chapter 20

Tonight as I followed the dainty tracks,
I wandered along, meandering the trail this way and that,
And just as the sun was beginning to set
In, what I suppose, is still the west,
The path turned back the opposite way,
And I saw the moon, full and wonderful
Already about 45 degrees up in the twilit sky.
The sun offered a relaxing glow,
Ripened peach with a gleam of rose amidst its playful yellows,
And the light of it mingled with the
Silvery streams sparkling from the moon’s almost imperceptible beams.
The magical lights evoked a metallic coral from the silty sands
And a rusty iron from the flaking rocks to the side.
I came to a little bend in the beach,
And I saw the type of place where mussels like to hide,
So I thought to camp there by a large flat rock,
And after I had eaten well,
I gathered some leaves and made my bed
Upon the stone.
It had rested all day long
Under the heat of the sun’s warm rays,
And it felt heavenly to me
To lay there on it as the night air chilled,
With leaves covering me all about
And hearing the rise and fall of the waves
Back on the shoreline where they belonged.

I lay there drowsy, on the rock,
And as I closed my heavy eyes,
I heard an ultraviolet deepness
Just outside the sonic realm,
Singing sweetly to my heart,
“Hebrides, Sweet Hebrides,
All is well. All is well!”

Presently, as I drifted off to sleep,
I heard a gentle splash just out
A few feet into the shallow surf,
And I sat up, just in time to see your smile,
White and beaming in the silver night.
You came running up to the rock where I lay,
And we hugged each other, and held each other
For what felt like a very long time.
Then finally I asked you,
“Tell me all about your adventures,
And I will tell you about mine.”

And so you told me of far away places
That you had discovered on a kite board
That you had carved out of a tree.
And of different people that you had seen, also,
And, of course, we talked philosophy.
Then you told me that you had even seen
An old love from a time now past,
And you had also found your wife.
There was a lot of that going around, I thought.

But none of that really bothered me at all,
As long as you didn’t talk philosophy with them.
And if you did, you didn’t tell me about it,
For you were a large enough person
To transcend the norms of anything I had ever known or felt.

And then I wondered what to tell you.
I felt a little strange reporting to you that I was pregnant,
For I really was worried about how you would take it.
Some men are elated to hear
That their seed has penetrated the walls
Of the future into the hereditary state,
Guaranteeing a posterity for their DNA.
Others are terrified at the thought of being a father,
And question paternity immediately,
Pulling away in denial and causing the possibility
Of what could be a joyous moment, to fall stagnant and painful.

About then, you told me how beautiful I was—
How I was positively radiant in the moonlight.
You caressed my body from head to toe
And whispered how perfect I was
As you slipped your body in and out of mine.
And I was so lost in the ecstasy of your love,
My head was swimming as I heard the waves crashing,
My body reeling with the tension and intense release.
Time slowed to a pendulant pause,
And then complete overflow of loving sensations
And bursts of light from my heart.

We fell asleep together there on the warm rock—
Leaves scattered over us and all around,
Entwined together for a little rest
And fullness of peace, fully satisfied of the reality
Of love as a true force in the universe.

And sometime in the night,
As the swollen moon pulled hard on the tides of the seas,
It pulled another monthly cycle out of my watery soul and flesh.
I woke in the early morning dew
With drops of blood trickling down my inner thigh
And realized that I was not physically pregnant, after all.

Part of me felt very sad,
As if I had failed somehow to conceive,
And yet another part felt so relieved,
But most of all
I sensed within
That all of this foreshadowing was to prepare
Me for a greater sense of what it meant
To surrender in love in a spiritual way,
To allow the great seeds of transcendence
To permeate the womb of my heart,
And to let them lie there and to be at peace
With whatever form in which they might develop,
And to eat and rest and exercise and think and pray,
And give them time to fully grow,
And then to labor to deliver them into the world
To be light and burden bearers,
And to be hope for future generations.

Chapter 21

This morning you went your way,
And I went mine,
But we planned to meet in a day or two
At the old abandoned farmhouse.
I continued following the tracks,
Now more faded than they had been,
But still perceptible enough to get the idea
And as I wound around a bit,
I started to get a familiar feeling
And remembered the bamboo hut
And the five little bonsai trees.

Sure enough, even though the footprints faded out,
As I stayed along the trail I seemed to know,
I saw the little hut, shining in the sun,
But this time it didn’t look so empty,
And really I couldn’t believe I’d missed before
Some of the clues that I saw now and recognized as signs of life.

About then I saw a woman pop out the door of the little shack,
Looking perturbed and shaking her head.
I stepped quickly behind a tree
To watch her for a moment and try to discern
If she were friend or foe.
She looked for a minute at the five trees.
Two of them were already taking root and thriving
And growing large.
She pondered another one, still somewhat stunted,
And grabbed the shovel from the side of the hut
And promptly began digging it up!

“Hello!” I gave her a friendly ahoy stepping out from the trees.
She brought the shovel up in a defensive stance,
“Hello?” she said, hesitantly.
We stared at each other for long minute.
We were about the same size,
And probably about the same age.
I guessed that she might be a bit older than I,
But not much.
Her hair was a sandy blond like mine,
And her eyes were a blitzing blue.
They stared a hole through me,
As mine probably were hers.
Finally I laughed
And told her,
“My name is Hebrides.”

She chuckled a bit herself
And put her shovel down,
Holding out hand out toward mine to shake
And said, “My name is Sigma.”

She had a pot of tea a brewing
And offered me a cup.
It tasted absolutely wonderful,
And she showed me the wild mint she was cultivating.
Then as we sat, she noticed that I was bleeding.
And I told her that it was nothing, but
She said, “I was a doctor in my former life.
Maybe you should let me take a look at you.”

So after a few questions on my part
To see if she was any kind of a doctor I might trust,
I allowed her to take a look at my insides
And she informed me after a few basic tests
That she felt I was indeed still pregnant.
And she made me more tea, this one with
Other special ingredients that she said would help me
Then she came out of her hut with some kind of mixture
That she had combined to make a poultice,
And she laid it on my stomach down low,
And then took a rock that she warmed by her stove
And laid a cloth over the poultice, and the warm rock over that.

Then she asked me if I believed in any good power from on high.
And I told her that I had come to believe
That the entire universe,
Or at least the part I knew anything about
Seemed to be for me and wishing me well.

“Very good,” she said,
Then I want you to lie here
For about thirty minutes
And close your eyes
And imagine ,if you can
The entire universe being truly for you
And the best thing that could happen
To you,
Body and soul,
And relax.

And so I did.

I closed my eyes
And I completely let go
Of any preconceived notions
Of good or of bad,
And I thought about life
And how miraculous it all is,
And I was thankful
For the warm poultice,
For I hadn’t realized
How cold I truly felt.

Chapter 22

I lay with the stone upon me
And felt my Soul slipping away.
What was this strange sensation of sleep
That I was drifting into?
This was an unfamiliar place.
I’d never visited here,
Tho my dreams had often carried me far and wide
In various travels at night,
But maybe this wasn’t a dream.

Oh! How cold!
A chill crept through
Chasing my Soul away.
I felt Her step out of my body completely,
Being so grieved by the inclement feel.
And I stood, and looked down at my Self lying there,
In rigor from the poultice and stone.
I didn’t look right to myself somehow,
So chilly and so alone.
Signa had her back to me
And was busily grinding more potion,
And my Soul went and tapped her shoulder
To try and get her attention,
To tell her my body was needing her help
But the hand of my Soul
Went right through her.
She didn’t notice a breeze of a feeling
But I perceived and could see right through her.
I could see her inner intentions
And read the desires of her heart.
She was preparing a strong poison,
And that was just the start.
She meant business with me here,
Premeditation to kill
Not only the child I carried within me,
But murder for me, as well.

I tried to fold myself back in to my body,
But I could find no way in,
And another force was pulling at me
To come away with him.
Resistance seemed so futile
My wispy countenance, weak,
But the strange force of death couldn’t
Get a good grip on me,
And then I heard him speak.

“You can fight me now or later
But all will come to my door eventually,
Laden with the baubles and dime store trinkets
You’ve prized in your time on earth.
Pittance of moth eaten rags and filth!
I will weigh them and they WILL be found lacking,
Wanting in the balance,
And nothing to the scales of justice required,
And nothing compared to the weight of the world you carry
Your own guilt, your own shame,
The burden you have chained to yourself
Will drop you headlong into the depths
And I won’t have to lift a finger!”
And then he laughed, a horrible fatal ridicule.

“You’re wrong!” I shouted back at him!
“You’re just a shadow of my distant past!
I don’t have to listen to a word of this,”
And my Soul turned and soared away,
Quicksilver flowing across and up,
Over the forest west.

Chapter 23

As I flew the familiar forest,
I couldn’t help feeling that something else was amiss.
These were the woods that I had called home,
And yet it was not the same,
Like some strange dream where you know the person
And yet their look is all wrong.
It was too shadowy here.
The light that used to play and fall hard and fast on the forest floor
Was muted here,
An umbric version of the place I used to know.
I looked above.
There was no sun.
Yet, it wasn’t merely a clouded sky,
But just, very plainly, a sunless one,
Although a grayish light
Seemed nebulously to illumine all at once.
There! I saw the old farmhouse!
There! I saw you standing in it!
I flew right through the wall
And into your waiting arms,
But my Soul crashed right through your body
Falling out on the other side.
You stopped for a minute and stood very still,
But you didn’t seem to feel my presence there at all.

I tried to speak.
I called your name,
But, of course,
You couldn’t hear me.
My voice must have poured out in a pleading way
Into some other dimension.
And so I sat unknown, undetected in your Reality.
I beheld your composition,
Seeing past and future within your very heart,
Seeing what I’d known all along,
But was always afraid to admit to myself,
That I was too much in love with you.

And I wanted to cry,
But I couldn’t,
And I felt another pulling,
And so I turned quickly
And soared again
Through the farmhouse wall.

Was I truly dying? Was I already dead?
Had my Soul separated for good
From the ties to my poor helpless body?
Or was there any chance for me?
Did I even want another?

Suddenly I thought about my home and my dear children,
And as quick as the thought itself had come,
I was there where they were.
I saw them playing in the yard,
Happy, healthy, wholesome.
I saw their lives flash before me—
The troubles they would see
And the joy.
I saw my husband working there
And saw his thoughts and future.
All was well, and would be for him
With or without me there.

Then I began to swirl like a sudden, summer vortex,
And slowly lifted up,
Far into the atmosphere,
Viewing the earth as it spun.
I saw the world, the sun,
The galaxies, and the nebulae,
The mysterious forgotten epochs
The Truth, historic reality.
I saw the cycles of the future and past,
Ebbing here, and slowing,
Speeding there and flowing,
And revolving back around.
I felt the primal pulse of Myself,
A vital part of the great living universe,
And as I hovered high above it all,
I desperately wanted to feel the intense love
That I had for it
Resounding back to me,
But I couldn’t.

Chapter 24

Suddenly something pulled my focus down hard
And fast toward the old farmhouse.
It was Sigma.
She was skipping gleefully toward the front door.
She had donned my particular brand of nakedness,
And the way I had of letting my hair hang down and loose.
She looked just like me
Standing there on the porch,
And without even having the courtesy to knock,
She brazenly went right on through.
I saw her embracing you.
Then I watched as you chatted together so casually.
I kept waiting for a sign on your face,
A slightest hint of “non-recognition,”
That maybe something she would say or do
Would make you wonder
If that were really me.

Suddenly my heart couldn’t take anymore,
And my Spirit flew with a vengeance
Right there where she stood seducing you.
I tried to knock her down
To no avail.
I tried speaking to you so very calmly.
I quoted your favorite philosophies and Shakespeare,
And suggested questions in your ear—
Ones for which no one would know the answers but me,

But Sigma had made a caricature out of Me.
She was not only stealing the deep seat of my affection—You,
But, in fact, had managed to steal Me,
And most of my known identity
From my very Self.

I watched in dread despair and disbelief
As you fell with her into the deep softness of the old featherbed,
And as you began to give the love that should have been mine
To her.

Flying again, pushed by desperate misery,
Separated from every familiar thing,
I finally allowed myself to stop—
My Soul, running at such light speed,
That it coasted on for at least a million miles.
Hovering again,
High above the planet
That didn’t even seem to know that I was gone,
Or cared that I ever even existed.
Everything, including the shell of my former love life
Was turning and moving and carrying on
Just as before,
But I was powerless to cause any effect.

And so I sat on a proverbial park bench,
In some unknown outer distant galaxy,
So far, so far, from any of my so-called homes,
And a heavy covering of self pity
Settled around me,
Trying to wrap itself tight around me
To choke what was left of me out.

But as I sat in that place,
My eyes began to grow accustomed
To the strange multifaceted darkness—
The strange dark energy moving there,
And I shook the cloak of self pity from my Self
And began to look to see,
What was the nature of my new Reality?

Chapter 25

Time had never meant much to me,
But I can tell you that now, it meant even less.
I don’t know how long I stayed
Just resting out there
In the dark swirlings of the outer Universe,
But it felt like a very long time.
It seemed to me that my mind was beginning to detect
Delicate and intricate patterns developing there,
In what I had first perceived as merely formlessness—
But as my thoughts engaged in my present emergence,
A slight ultraviolet design flowed silently beside me
An infra red type matrix of tiny dots flashed quickly by.
I could see patterns in the streaming movement.
I could see the beauty that was out there,

And as I sat there so still,
I began to feel something.
I began to feel that I was,
As I had always wanted to believe,
A vital part of the universe, too,
And that me being there
Was affecting the patterns.
I also felt that there was a dynamic force in that,
And it was having an effect on me.
I wondered if the curious warm stuff that
My soul seemed to breathe in and out on
Could possibly be the love that I had been so driven to search for,
And that I had always found so elusive.
It was a very unnatural, awe-inspiring phenomena,
And I had certainly never felt anything like its magnitude.

And as I continued assessing the sensation,
I suddenly felt a presence of someone,
And when I turned to look,
I could see
It was the medicine man.
He came and he stood beside me,
And he smiled at me,
And in this place where bodies were gone,
And only the intents of the heart could be seen,
And there was no deception, there was no trickery,
There was no controlling of other people’s wills,
Nor was there any desire to manipulate such things,
We held conversation together.
And as we sat there,
We became incredibly close friends
Or if a deeper word could be found for it—
Comrades, or highly committed team workers.
He understood me.
I understood him.
He knew the places of my heart that lay broken,
And he could sense the cosmic aims that I had yet to fulfill.
I suddenly comprehended the necessity that compelled him
In finding his own successor.
And because he was wiser than I in all these soulish matters,
And he also had more experience in many levels of the dimensions,
I deferred to him, and he assured me with his own soul,
To the full extent that he was able,
Of what had occurred and what was currently happening.

Finally the thought presented itself to me
That I should ask the medicine man
How he was there!
Was he dying too? Had he died?
What had enabled him to get to this place where I was, too?
And as I had that very thought,
He looked at me,
And I could see in his eyes and his heart—
The answer was, that he came here quite frequently
Thru his own spiritual means,
And thru his meditations and thru his prayers,
He was able to travel far into the universe.
He was quite alive.

And so I asked him,
“What about me?
Am I dead?
Am I alive?
What is going on with me right now?”
And he told me that my body was in mortal jeopardy,
And that I was in kind of a suspended limbo— a coma,
And that it could really go either way for me,
And that there was more to the universe that I wasn’t quite able to see
Because I did still have a very tenuous connection to my body,
And it was holding me and had not given permission for me to leave,
And because of that, I couldn’t really go on
And be a conscious part of the beauty of the other dimensions,
The other parallel states and the other things of existence,
Until something tipped one way or the other—
That either I was fully alive
And opted to visit these places thru meditation and prayer,
Or whether I was fully separated from that body for good,
And was released and fully free to go into any realm that I chose.

I sat wondering what to do,
And I sought his wisdom.
He didn’t seek to give me any unsolicited advice,
But he knew I was searching for answers,
And he told me, he said,
“You know, in my opinion,
You’re not completely done with what you need to do,”
And that, “You,” he said, nodding. “You should go back,
And try to rescue your body,
And try to fight this injustice that is happening to you.
It’s not your time to go.
There are more things for you to learn
On the plane of the planet earth,
And when you have them fully under you,
You will have more freedom,
And you will become larger in your
Spiritual ways,
And you will be able to understand more,
And explore more,
And be more at peace.”
And so I told him,
I said, “I need your help,
Because I’m powerless.
I don’t understand these things, and
I’m powerless against this woman who’s taken over my body,
And she’s taken over my identity!”
He said, “Yes, I know.
I will help you.”
Then he said, “Let’s go.
Let’s travel to your body together.
And,” he said, “I know some ways
That can put you back inside your body.
And with you inside and me outside,
And us working together for that common goal,
We will succeed in it.”
And so I agreed.
That is definitely what I wanted to do.
And so we took off together.
He led the way,
For I had already given up most of my hope,
And had really pretty much forgotten the way
Back to the body I had left on the earth.

Chapter 26

The medicine man and I started back toward the earth,
And it seemed that we were traveling very slowly,
But I could tell that, really, we were travelling in leaps and bounds—
Over galaxies and planetary systems
And over huge, immeasurable,
Entire amounts of space were we covering!
Just gliding over them so easily!
And we finally came thru all the darkness of the outer realms
Into a place where I could feel the familiar sun,
Warming me and going thru my spirit,
And the atmosphere seemed to lighten up a little bit there.

And then we came to a place where we needed to walk together.
There was a type of bridge that we had to cross,
And the medicine man slowed way down for me
So I could stay with him, and
We walked across this wind of this bridge
In this beautiful, majestic place.
There were intense waterfalls on either side,
And yet, it wasn’t water.
I don’t know what was falling
But it was this unspeakable, incredible mist.
It must have been ethereal stuff,
Or spiritual, I don’t know,
But it was wonderful,
And we walked this bridge together
And we came back close to the earth’s atmosphere.

We stopped before coming back entirely through,
And stood together, and the medicine man began to tell me
What his ideas were, what his plans were,
For getting me back inside my body,
And then also, what his plans were for after that,
So I would know how to work with him,
And how to listen for his voice
And be able to hear the words,
Because he was going to say some very important words,
And I needed to really hear them,
And I needed to receive them thru my spirit
Into the deepest places of my soul,
So they in turn could flow out and
Become a part of the bloodstream of my physical body,
To give them every chance to work, to begin to reverse
The processes that this evil witch-type person had done to me,
And so I listened carefully to all that he had to say.

And then we went ahead,
And with me following him still,
Right beside him,
We went to the place where my body lay.
I looked at it, and it just looked so foreign, so alien to me.
It was so lifeless—
So gray, so blue,
And it was just really difficult.
It was a hard thing to look at, and a hard thing to think about.

I was thankful that the medicine man and I had stopped on the wind bridge,
And that he had given me all the instructions there.
He said he was doing that because he was still out of his body there
And we would be able to communicate so much better.
There would be no chance for misunderstanding or misinterpretation
In that realm where we could speak and communicate thoroughly,
But once he was back in his body—
Which, he would have to resume that state
To be able to have any authority to minister to my body,
Then the chance was always great for miscommunication
And misinterpretation,
Because in the physical world,
Communication between spirit and flesh always comes thru a veil,
And no matter how close we may be to someone,
Or how badly we want to understand them,
There is always that chance for messing it up.
And I was so glad he had explained this,
Because once we got back,
And I saw him taking the shape of his earthly self,
It was this mysterious and unimaginable event to me.
It would have been extremely hard for me to recognize him
Even after all we had been through.

The plan was, that he was going to build a fire,
And he was going to lay certain herbs and wild plants on this fire,
And it was going to make a very special and sacred smoke,
And he was going to breathe the smoke into his own lungs,
And then, he was going to place his mouth on the mouth of my body,
And he was going to blow this smoke into my lungs
And fill them with it.
And then he planned to remove the stone and the poultice,
And then he would wash that place where it had been with a water he had
That had been infused with lavender and hyssop flowers and basil,
And some other things that I couldn’t really understand what they were,
Those were the things I recognized.
And so I could see him beginning to do all this.
I was helpless to assist him in any way.
I saw him picking certain plants from the wild overgrowth there,
But for one thing, I really didn’t know what to pick for him,
And for another,
My spirit could not even stir a breeze in the material world.
So I just watched him.
But, he had said that he wanted me,
On the second time around,
That when he began to inhale the smoke again,
He wanted me to get into the fire,
And to allow myself to meld with the smoke of it,
And he was going to breathe me into himself
And then breathe me back into my body.
The catch, he said, was
That we would be connected for life
With this ritual he was going to do.
There would always be a part of me that would be inside of him,
And he said that he was very okay with that.
He really felt very connected to me,
And he said that there were things that he couldn’t tell me yet,
But he wanted us to have that connection,
And he asked if that was okay with me,
And I said, “Yes.”
I trusted him, somehow,
And I did already feel a connection to him.
I understood him more now
From our time we had together out of the realms of the earth,
And I wanted to be there to support him and to care about him and to love him also.
So this was our agreement,
And this is what we did.

The medicine man had also told me
That he would not be able to see me
When he was back in his body,
And so I would need to really watch him,
And pay attention for the second time,
And for his signal—
That he would raise his hands up to the sky,
And he would beckon for me to come
And get into the fire.
And so I did that.
I watched very carefully
As he laid the herbs on the fire—
As he did what he said he was going to do.
He took the first deep breath, inhaling the smoke into his lungs,
And he put his mouth on the mouth of my body,
And then he filled my lungs with the smoke of it.
Then he removed the stone off of my diaphragm,
And I could see my breathing was trying to come back.
I saw myself exhale very faintly of the smoke.
I could see smoke come out!
Then I saw him wash my stomach with the water that he had.
I saw him stand up, then, and raise both hands up,
And he beckoned for me and said, “Come.”
And so I stepped into the fire.
I stood there in it,
And the fire had a quality to it,
That, of course, I couldn’t feel it physically,
But I could sense the energy of it,
And the power of this force of life,
And I stood there,
And I began to move in the rhythm of the fire and to become one with the fire,
And as I did, I could see part of me becoming one with the smoke that was going up,
And so, I felt compelled to pray for myself,
And to say:
This is me
That you have brought forth.
This is me
That you gave life.
I want to live it.
I want to live the fullness of the possibility of life on this planet.”
And just as I was completing that prayer,
I saw the medicine man breathe a huge,
Colossal wave of the smoke into himself,
And he bent down very low,
And put his lips on the lips of my body again,
And he breathed me
Back into myself.

Chapter 27

Being back inside my body
Was the most foreign and alien thing
That I had ever experienced.
To be very honest, I had felt more at home
In the dark outer swirlings of the distant, space of the universe.

But inside my body, as my spirit tried to come to rest,
I could see so many of the same patterns that I had seen out there.
I had never noticed them before.
I had never been able to look inside myself and see what was there,
And so it was good for me
To see that, really,
Even though I felt so out of place in my own skin,
That there were these striking similarities in the patterns
Of stardust and the energy of space,
And that even within myself there were places of lightness,
And what we would call, “normalness,”
And then there were places of the dark energy,
And that they all worked together,
And they all had a place together,
And so something resonated with me in that,
And something clicked with me,
And made me come to myself
And understand,
That the part of me, that was a part of it
Was good,
That it was all good,
And I was very glad for that.

As I had stood on the wind bridge
Between the two realms,
I had taken a moment to come and make peace with the sun,
Because, I could see him there, in his reality, and in his heart,
And I could see that the pressure that he had always exerted on me,
And the structure that he always wanted me to try to be prepared for,
Was his way of saying that he wanted me to succeed in life and be prosperous.
And in some ways, he was concerned that I wasn’t meeting the potential I had,
And that I wasn’t fulfilling what I had before me to do.
And in fact, I wasn’t.
But, in some ways, it was a very selfish motivation on his part—
That he wanted me to succeed,
Because I was a piece and a parcel of him,
And he was concerned that I might make him look bad in some way.
And standing on the bridge there still in limbo
Was something that enabled me to see all of that,
And to understand it.
But, it also enabled the sun to see me better,
And to understand that I didn’t respond well to that type of structure,
Nor to the type of motivation he had been using,
And in that moment he was able to see
A better way to motivate me for the future,
And that all of this would be a big step
In helping me to reach the destiny,
If I could,
That I potentially held in a “best possible” reality.

And even now,
Thinking of the Sun,
And how all of its vibrant colors were visible to my Soul out there in space—
Not just the gleaming rainbows of yellow
That had always fascinated me here on the earth,
And thinking of the grasp that we had on each other now, after our understanding,
Opened my mind to it shining on me literally now.
I could feel the caring eye that it had for me, and for its desire to push me forward,
And knowing its heart was for me,
Allowed me see its light penetrating,
Even into the deeper, subcutaneous layers of my skin and my self,
And its illumination began paving the way
For my newly felt acceptance to establish a fortress of peace within.

And as I basked in the goodness that I was allowing myself to really feel,
I heard, in what felt like a far distant place,
Sounds coming softly into my ear.
I listened intently.
I strained to hear them.
I concentrated my heart to discern where they were coming from.
Was this the voice of the medicine man?
I couldn’t be 100 percent sure,
But slowly the noises formed into coherent words
That careened around on the cavernous inside of me:
Hebrides! Darling Hebrides!
You are a priceless treasure!
You are a maker of rain!
You are a restorer of paths to live in!
You are a repairer of the breach!
You will live!
Life of every kind will thrive in you,
And everywhere you go,
You will bring healing words of life with you,
For yourself and for others!”

The words were bigger than me.
Much bigger.
But they did have a certain ring to them.
But they also seemed like an extremely large destiny
For one who lay at death’s awful door,

But I remembered the medicine man saying
That I needed to receive the words
And let them settle into my soul.

Was this the medicine man speaking?
I wanted to know, because I needed to trust the speaker of the words.
I had to know that it was someone who really knew me, and cared,
And was not trying to deceive me, or lead me wrong.

I watched the sounds and syllables bouncing around
In the spaces between the protons and the electrons of my cells,
Looking for a place to land and house themselves.
I heard the words—even their echoes sounded wholesome,
And decided that I must trust myself, that the words were healing ones,
And so I opened my heart to them and allowed my body to receive them,
And watched as they seemed to have designed spaces in which to come to rest,
And saw them settle in and begin to take root within me and then to grow.
They seemed to be filling in empty vacuous spaces,
And pulling together other words from long ago,
And moving out some other sentences that I had received in error,
And rearranging and making themselves at home
Amidst the darkness and the light as they played and worked together inside me.
Chapter 28

My spirit was settling into my body.
It mirrored the growth
That the words were causing,
And it, too, started taking root in my body thru my soul.
And the first thing I became aware of
Was a dull weak pain
That I hadn’t been feeling at all when I had been out of my body.
But as I started to reattach I could feel it.
I could feel the continuous thud of it.
And I could feel that it was in my lungs and in my internal organs.
And then I suddenly felt another push,
And it was more smoke.
The medicine man had breathed another big breath
Of the sacred smoke into my body.
And I was glad he had told me what he was going to do
Because my instinct of my body
Would have been to resist the smoke and to fight against it.
But I knew that was part of the plan.
And so I just allowed the smoke to fill my lungs completely,
And I allowed the medicine man to wait until he knew it was the right time,
And then I could feel him pressing on my chest
And forcing the smoke back out,
And then after just a minute
He did that again.
I could feel the smoke poured into my lungs, filled me.
And this time I could see it permeating all thru my body—
Not just my lungs,
But I could see the sacredness and the color of it
And the life of it—
That had mixed with his breath and the life that he had
And that it was reviving me and bringing me back to life.

And so I laid there and I thought,
Ohhh…the pain!
And in a way the hopelessness of my body was fighting me,
“You don’t want to go thru this all again,
And you’re gonna have to someday!
And you’ve been free!
You’ve been free from this pain!
You’ve been free from emotion, finally!
And free from fear—of even the fire!
You stepped right into a fire when you were in your spirit!
And all that warred inside me to say,
“Don’t go back.”
But there was still a part of me,
That those words were really meaningful to that deeper part,
And I thought, you know I do have a purpose— here.
And I will be better off and more fulfilled,
And I’ll be more at peace, and more able to handle the
Next level—whatever that is, better.
And so, that part of me won out.
And I thought, I can overcome this pain.
I can over come this.
This too shall pass.
And so slowly but surely,
My spirit settled back in,
And I was fully back in my body.

Chapter 29

I remember when I first opened my eyes of my physical body,
And it was such a strain.
It was like lifting two boulders over my head on each side
Just to get both of those eyelids up.
And I remember after my eyes had been shut that long,
The light seemed very bright to me,
And yet, there was a part of me that had seen
Light without the veil,
And so there was a part of me that was saying, really this is a very dim light.
This is nothing compared to what I’ve seen
With the brilliance of the x rays that are out in space
And the different types of light that were visible to me thru my spirit

And so the medicine man saw me open my eyes,
And he said, “Hebrides! Hebrides!”
And I looked at him, and I said, “Yesssss…”
And it just came out as a whisper.
I could see smoke coming out of my mouth as I spoke the word yes.
I was just so weak,
And I remember, I couldn’t hold my eyes open.
And it was all I could do to just breathe right then,
And he told me, he said,
“You are doing well.
This is working.”
He said, “Just breathe.
 Just concentrate on breathing.
Have no fear.
Just breathe.”
And then he would say,
“In, and out, and in, and out.”
And I just breathed, and I laid there.
And I breathed.

Chapter 30

I really don’t know how long
The recovery that I was able to gain took,
But I can remember being vaguely aware
That the medicine man was there,
And that he continued to nurse me back to health,
And whether it meant that he would blow smoke into me to help me breathe,
Or, I remember at one point, he had made a really nutritious broth,
And he would try to get me to sip, even an acorn cap full of it sometimes,
Just to get some fluids into me,
And slowly but surely,
All the things that he did kept working.

And I remember that during the times that I would feel a consciousness,
That I would think about the words that I had heard,
That I was a “rainmaker,”
And I was a “restorer of paths”
And I would think about how those things seemed to fit me so well.
I had never thought of those as callings;
I had never thought of myself as those things,
And yet they seemed so natural to me that those were the kinds
Of pursuits that would suit me.
I continued to meditate on those,
And to see very far out into the possibilities of what that meant.

And then in the times that I was unconscious,
It was strange,
I would have thought that I would have been able to remember
What went on during those times—
As I did when my spirit had gone to those distant places,
But I just wasn’t.
I wasn’t able to do that anymore.

And so it was that one day,
I fully regained the physical and natural, earthly consciousness,
And I sat up by the fire that the medicine man had going,
And he came over and put something behind me
So that I could sit up a little bit for awhile
And get my bearings that way.

I would say it probably took about a week or more,
Of me taking in nourishment and getting up some,
And trying to walk some,
And then walking a little further every day,
And then at some point during that week,
We moved, the medicine man and I,
We moved to what he thought was a more hidden, safer location,
Because he did want Sigma to come back and find us there.
He said we weren’t quite ready for that step, yet,
And so we had moved to a place that he though it was better.

He continued to wait on me, and care for me,
And I guess the biggest difference that I could tell in myself
Was that I was more at ease with him, and maybe I would be more at ease with others?
I was able to share things with him—
The kind of things I had never been able to share with anybody before.
And because Sigma had not come back during that first part of the week
That we were there at the hut,
My concern was that she was with you.
And normally that worry might have delayed my restoration,
But I was able to tell him everything I held in my heart,
And it shrunk the worry down to nothing.
I told him all about you.
I told him how I was so enamored with you,
And the transcendent ways that you seemed to have,
And the possibilities of ways that we had affected each other.
It felt like it was very positive,
And that a lot of really good things had come out of it.
But I also shared with him
How I had seen you while I was in my spirit,
And how, when I saw you when you didn’t know I was looking at you,
That I had this very dreadful feeling
That I was way more in love with you than you were with me,
And that it wasn’t going to end well for me.

And the medicine man told me,
He said, “Well, you never know.
Even in the spirit you can’t see
How things are going to end completely,
And you can’t base a friendship,
Which is really all anybody should ever have with anybody else,
Off of how you think it’s going to end for yourself,
Because if you approach it in that way,
You’re going to have an adverse effect on it.
It’s not going to be the relationship that it’s supposed to be,
And it’s not going to turn out the way
It probably should have turned out if goodness had every chance to win,
Because you are affecting your own will on it—
And it is not the good part of your will.
It is the incomplete part, the jealous part, the immature part.”
And so I said to myself, “Well maybe he was right.”

The medicine man did seem very curious about you
And our relationship,
My interest in you,
What you were like,
And as I described you to him,
He had this very interested and intrigued look on his face.
Finally, one day I asked him, I said, “You do seem very interested in him.
What is it that is intriguing you about this person?”
And he said, “Well, it’s just— its just very curious.”

But at any rate,
We had moved to this other location,
And we continued to talk with each other, and to discuss things,
And he would walk with me, and as we did,
He continued to show me different plants that really were healing plants,
And he showed me some I should normally stay away from,
But that could sometimes be used to healing, but were also somewhat poisonous,
Which, they were probably some of the very ones that
Sigma had put in that tea that had knocked me out,
And so that was how we spent that period of time of my recovery—
In being very honest with each other, and sharing with each other,
And with him giving me more wisdom that he had about the forest,
About the medicinal qualities of the plants and the nutritional aspects,
And about other things that we held deep in our spirits and souls.

Chapter 31

One afternoon, as the Medicine Man and I were walking,
I felt an awareness that I didn’t have any bleeding,
Which I hadn’t had any ever since I had regained consciousness,
But I just hadn’t thought about it.
And so I thought to tell the medicine man
About me believing that I had been pregnant,
And then having all this blood issue, and then, all the other stuff happened,
And I didn’t know,
Had I been pregnant?
Or was I not?
And he got very still.
He stopped.
He stopped walking,
And he faced me,
And he said, “I want you sit down with me,
And let’s talk.”
And I said, “Okay?”
So we sat down there on the forest floor,
And my mind raced to all the possible scenarios
That he might be about to relate to me now.
But, he proceeded to tell me that he had found me,
In the far distant regions of the outer world,
Because the spirit of this unborn child
That was in me had called out to him,
And that this child was his grandson.

And I sat there dumbfounded,
And I said, guessing wildly,
“Well that means that you’re my father?”
And he said, “No.”
And I was still trying to picture how I had my father
Who was not really my father?
And how I had lived that whole thing out?
And he said, “No. No, no, no, no.
I am the father
Of the baby’s father.”

Then the Medicine Man told me
That this was why he was so curious about you,
Because he had not seen you in such a long time,
And the qualities I was describing about you were so wonderful,
And things he had always wanted to see in his own son,
And that he had never been able to see them.
But listening to me talk, he realized that they had been there all along,
But they weren’t the qualities he was looking for exactly—
They were there,
But they looked different.
They were manifesting in a different way.
But what he was starting to realize
Was that they were manifesting for a new time and a new generation,
And for the new systems that would take shape on the earth now,
And how this was so much bigger,
Than just you or just him or just me,
But that all of this interconnectedness was working for the good,
And that it was grinding out the grain
So that bread could be made from the harvest,
So it could actually be used—
Not just a few scattered, hard kernels of wheat somewhere,
But all this was working so that it could be enjoyed and
Integrated by more kinds of people in the long run.

Chapter 32

For just a split second after the revelation
Of the relatedness between you and him,
I felt very strange about having disclosed
So candidly to the medicine man
All about the nature of our relationship and so much about you.
It probably wasn’t something one would share
With an official “father-in law” type figure in the former days,
But I think that the bigger part of my self consciousness,
And the need that I had of others to approve
Of the things I did, or said, or even my thoughts,
And many of the previous societal norms and values
That had often attempted to corral me in the past,
Had died back at the little bamboo hut,
And my hope was that I could leave that part of me dead and gone,
Because it really wasn’t helpful to anyone, especially to myself.
And so I trusted that what I had always heard, and had come to believe myself,
That, “Honesty is the best policy,” was, in fact, a universal truth,
And that all of the sincerity of my perspective would bring forth the right things,
And be fine, and so went from there.

I had forgotten that the medicine man had a name,
And that he had told me the first time we met what his name was.
But one day, while I was still enduring the various stages of the recovery process,
His name came very strong to the forefront of my mind—
And so I asked him about it.
I asked him about his name and what it meant,
And about his people,
And so we sat down and he told me many fascinating stories
That were great ancient myths that his people had told handed down for
Thousands and thousand of years—
Stories of their creation,
And how they came to be,
And different things like that
And it was inspiring to hear him speak on these things.
I had a strong urge to write it all down,
And I thought, if I ever get to a place where I have some paper
I want to record these stories so people can know about this,
And especially, so this child can know about this part of his heritage,
Because I thought it was very important for him to know some of
Where he had come from.
So often the human race seems to live
As a people with both amnesia and hopelessness,
Not understanding either our place in history, or our effect on the future—
Not realizing or even being interested in our roots,
And sometimes being so wrapped up in keeping up with our culture
That we don’t see where our branches are trying to grow out to
And where they are trying to bear fruit.

Chapter 33

Tsa'ra-gi' and I continued to walk together and to talk with each other
And discuss many things together
And it was a blessing that we had this second chance
At our relationship
Because the first time we had really talked
We both had strange expectations of the other
We both were trying to characterize the other into certain stereotypes
Or make each other fit a certain mold that would be useful to ourselves.
But really both of us had gotten way past that through our experience together
And it was really nice to be able to talk
And to really listen
And to hear the power that we each other had in our primal selves just as we were.
For instance,
I had kind of pooh-poohed his rituals,
And his secret ancient knowledge and the formulas and those things,
But there had been something to some of that.
It had obviously been his knowledge of these things that
Had enabled him to have the vision to bring me back to life.
Of course, he had veered away from some of the strict application of it,
But part of that was exactly what had been able to save my life,
And to give me this new lease on life.

And he was able to more embrace the ideas that I was sharing,
And to come to understand his own modern people’s adaptation to the culture—
The later generations and some of the ways they were looking at things.
And so, together, it was interesting, some of the concepts
We were able to come up with, and to develop, and to consider,
And it was powerful to have someone to speak with
In such honest ways and such open ways.
It reminded me of the ways that you and I were able to discuss things so openly,
With the only difference being that
While you and I seemed to be redeeming the time of the present
And possibly projections of the future,
Tsa'ra-gi' and I, speaking openly about our past belief systems,
Seemed to be restoring faith each one to the other in new,
More beneficial ideas and forms.

One day the conversation finally came around to Sigma,
And Tsa'ra-gi' asked me, he said,
“What do you think about Sigma?
What do you think about her?”
And I had thought about it some at night,
When I might be drifting off to sleep,
Or other different times when I would finally get quiet,
My thoughts would sometimes come to her,
And I would think about how she had tried to kill me, basically,
And how she had taken over my identity,
And she was trying to steal myself from me,
And to disrupt and confuse my relationships,
And a part of me wanted to get really angry,
And another part of me just couldn’t.
I didn’t know if it was because of all that I had been through—
That I just didn’t seem to sweat the small stuff anymore,
And everything else was small stuff.
Even this—even life and death were small stuff to me now.

And so I looked at Tsa'ra-gi', and I said,
“I’m not sure what to think of her.
I’ve tried to be angry with her.
I’ve thought that probably I should want to have revenge against her,
And that’s probably what anyone else from my culture and position
Would say and do right now,
But I just can’t.
I can’t want to get even with her.
I don’t know why, but the feeling that I most have for her is,
I feel sorry for her,
And I don’t understand her.”

And he smiled at me
And he said, “Well, that is a good start.”

And then he looked at me—
He kind of cocked his head,
And he asked me,
“Do you realize who she is?”
And I said, “No. I –I don’t guess I do.
I had never met her before; I don’t know who she is.”

“You are sure you never met her before?” Tsa'ra-gi' asked me.

I thought about his question,
Because there was something very familiar about her,
And part of me wanted to distrust her initially,
But there was a part of me that had been fascinated my her, too,
That day we stood face to face.
I squinted my eyes together hard, and then finally shut them,
Squeezing them diligently, to try and search my memory.

“Something about her is very familiar,”
I told him,
“But I just can’t place her.
I almost think I have dreamed about her, though, maybe,
Or had some strange déjà vu that she was a part of or something.”

“Does she remind you of anyone?” Tsa'ra-gi' continued to probe.

“Well, when I stood face to face with her
That day at the bamboo hut,
I thought for a moment that I was looking into a mirror.
I was somewhat envious of her—that she had been a doctor,
And I remember having a minute or two of jealousy,
That maybe I should have become a doctor,
And, I guess, in a way,
She reminds me of myself.”

“Is that why you are feeling sorry for her?”
Tsa'ra-gi' asked me.

“I don’t know,” I said trying to dismiss the possibility,
But as I decided I needed to press on into it,
I had a eureka moment, and I said,
“I think it is—ohhh!
I think I want to feel sorry for myself,
And so I need to offer her the same “self” pity
So I will be seen as a fair person.”

And then he told me,
“I think that she is you.
She is a spiritual shadow of yourself,
And because there were many unresolved issues in your own mind,
About darker aspects of your own personality,
And because of your culture and your religion,
That would try to force you to suppress these aspects of yourself,
And because of your own ideals in your personal spirit that you had,
That you didn’t feel you yourself were meeting up to,
That you weren’t meeting up to your own demands,
She split out from you and she became a force of existence in this reality,
And she became self destructive, because the duality of real life was so threatened
By the one-sidedness of the philosophy you were trying to live up to.
Her livelihood, and the beneficial things that she had to offer you
Were being completely ignored and stunted,
And so she was attempting to balance all that
By coming down on the extreme on the other side,
By waging war against the strict moral code,
Trying to capture your entire personality—your entire identity,
And to as you say steal yourself from yourself.

Tsa'ra-gi' and I continued to talk a great deal about myself
And about Sigma,
For he said that it was very important
That I uncover every aspect of this nature—
That I had and that she had,
And it was crucial, that I be very honest and open
About everything that had to do with her.
And so he helped me do that,
And what we began to notice
More and more, was that
We would see her appear as we would talk about her.
We would see her hiding furtively in the forest looking at us,
Listening to us talk about her.

At first I would be horrified to get even a glimpse of her,
And to see myself in herself,
But Tsa'ra-gi' would say, “Don’t worry. Have no fear.
Just continue to be honest. Continue to divulge
Everything—everything about yourself honestly
And about sigma honestly, and it is okay.”

And sure enough, he was right.
She seemed to want to hear about herself.
She seemed very curious and very interested
That people were talking about her—
But not in a negative way—
That we were talking about her,
But we were also bringing out the positive things
That were in her side of her nature—
The things that seemed at first glance very wrong or amoral or things
That our culture looks down on, or that polite society doesn’t even mention,
Or speak out loud,
We would try to find if there was any benefit to it at all,
In a very logical way and a very philosophical way and a non emotional way,
And we would just notice her—
We would notice her in the woods there and along the path,
And sometimes we would look over, and see her,
And then she would just disappear.
She would just hide herself away.

And one day Tsa'ra-gi' told me,
“I have an idea.
I think we should go back to the bamboo hut.”
“And,” he said, “I think we need to sit there,
And really finish this discussion.
We have hashed this out, and we have fared this out,
And I think if we will go to a place where she feels is more neutral,
And where she is comfortable,
In her own neck of the woods there,
And,” he said, “I think she will come out there when we do that
And I think that, when she does—
That is your chance,
That you can come to terms with her,
And integrate with her, and that you, and your entirety,
And your largeness will envelop her and absorb her.”

He said, “I don’t know how all that is going to play out,
And I don’t know what its going to look like,
And I don’t know if it will happen this time, or,
We may need to try a time or two, but I think,
She is coming closer and closer,
And she is seeing that we don’t mean her any harm,
And that, in fact,
We are appreciating what she can bring to your table of life,
And I think possibly that if we went to her—
That it might work.”

So we decided to do that the next day—
To travel to the little hut,
And to confront Sigma there.

Chapter 34

That night I lay in velvet dark
And slept a soulful dream.
My better self came galloping
Into a lit part of the blackness.
Vibrant, still in her ruby gown,
Side saddle on the gallant one,
She slid down off him
Into the circle of light
That came from the fire.
Hebrides,” she said, “Wake up!
You are a queen!
And must begin to walk
In the regal way!
The coronation has been done,
And all that’s left is for yourself
To stride and take the throne.
The scepter—yours
The precious crown,
But one thing they’d neglected:
The ancient part of the ritual
Regarding the stone of destiny.

The don’t have it anymore.
That’s why they’ve written it
Out of the script.
Someone misplaced it long ago
When science gained preeminence.
They don’t believe in it anymore,
Yet what they don’t know
May kill them.
But I have a piece of it here for you—
The ancient philosopher’s stone.

And truly, you must listen now,”
She spoke as one in dreadful haste.
“Truly, it will work for you,
For your soul is now aligned.
But you must not have quarrel with Sigma.
And let there be no trickery.
Go alone and face her,
And give to her the stone.
And as your hands will clasp together
On the stone and holding to,
The lead in you will surely turn to gold.”

Then she looked this way and that,
And taking the smooth worn piece
From her bosom,
She put it into my hands and held them,
Showing me how it was done.
I felt the warmth that she had in her heart—
The love that poured through herself to me,
And as we held the stone together,
I felt an inner impartation.
I felt a metamorphic surge
Within me deep begin.

Chapter 35

Morning had barely gleamed
Until my eyes flung open wide.
I sat upright and blinked the night away.
Raising my hand close to my face,
I open it to see
The stone glimmering there in my palm
In the first rays of the light from the sun.

“It’s real!”

“Tsa’ra-gi,” I called.
He was up
Feeding the fire already.

I told him about my better self
And the times she’d come before.
I showed him the stone
As I related what she had said to me.

His face was hard.
I couldn’t see behind
To know what he was thinking.
“I don’t like it,” he said,
“But, I think that she maybe right.”

“Go,” he said,
As he took a piece of charcoal
From the night’s cold embers.
He drew two lines under each brown eye
And a third one straight down his nose.

He said,
“But I will be right there with you in spirit.”
And so I went without eating.
I hurried down the trail at dawn.

As I ran stumbling thru the forest,
The thoughts tumbled around and around in my head.
I began to remember my delightful slumber,
My enchanted visitation,
What my better self had said—
That I am a queen now!
And so I stopped and I decided,
I didn’t think that a queen would run,
Especially to her coronation,
Not even Mary, Queen of Scots.
I determined that I should walk—
In fact, that I should “stride.”
That was the word my better self had used,
And so I walked so resolutely, I strode.
I put my shoulders back and my head up,
And I thought about how most of my life
Had been spent, with my lower self
Playing tug of war with the universe,
And I had been the rope.
The universe had tried so hard
To tell me that I was a queen.
It had given me precious gifts,
And many undeniable acts of kindness,
And favors had been bestowed upon me
Out of nowhere.
In retrospect I now could see
I saw them all as little messages
That whispered, “You are a queen.”
 You are a queen of heaven.”
And so I walked and I walked.
I strode gracefully toward my destiny.
I thought of the beauty and the power of each person,
And I thought of the ways that we try
To bring ourselves down t some guttural level,
The ways that we play tug of war with the universe,
That we say, “No that can’t be!
I belong in the sewer.
I belong over here in the trash—
In the wastelands of life,
Not on the beautiful throne of the universe—
Not in the beautiful places, no not me!”

But finally my ears were open to hear,
My heart was ready, my soul was aligned,
And the message of the universe pulsed through my veins,
“Yes, I am a queen now,
And it is time for me to behave like one.
It is time for my actions to be in line
With the present sentient moment.
It is time for my behavior
To display something better—
To stem out from a heartier source.
So I continued to walk—to stride.

Chapter 36

As I walked along thru the forest,
I noticed something alongside out there.
I could see a silver streak of a Socratic shadow.
It seemed very familiar to me.
My heart leapt within me for just a second,
And for just a minute I forgot I was a queen.
How I hoped it would be you, my King.
I wanted to see you more than anything else—
Even more than my own coronation!

It was funny that I had no fear.
I had no fear at all in myself.
I wasn’t worried that this shadow that I saw
Was in any way about to harm me.
I was in no way afraid that even death itself
Would come and take me from myself,
For I had been a queen,
Even if for just a moment,
And I was a queen right now!
But no matter what else might possibly happen,
I had the realization
Of my queen-ness
Embedded deep within,
And all the authority that I had,
And all the regalia that I possessed,
And the wonderfulness that it was to be queen!

Gradually the path that I was on
And the path of the mercurial movement
Arcing toward me
Came slowly together
At a place where it seemed that they might cross,
And it was at that place that I saw you pop out from the woods
Like a sight from the blue!
How my heart raced!
And I did forget all about my queenly status,
And I ran to the place where you were.

You swooped me up into your arms
And we swung around a time or two
From the inertia of you going slightly one way
And me just enough of a different one,
And together orbited around a common love.
You looked at me with genuine concern
And asked me,
“Where in the world have you been?” and
“What has happened?” and “Are you okay?”

And I said, “Yes, yes. I am glorious!
And only going to be better!”

And then we talked for hours there on the path
And shared our own stories of all that had happened
With Sigma and all the rest.
I showed you the stone, and revealed the words to you
That my better self had spoken,

And could tell you wanted to go with me, too
To protect me and support,
But I felt the personal nature of the task
That none could or should be part of that,
And so I insisted that you let me
Bear the day alone.
You agreed, but I knew
That you were following at a distance
I grinned and shook my head at your sweetness.
Chivalry may not be dead?

And so I decided to give you something
Interesting to follow
And enjoyed walking like a queen
Along the rest of the way.

Chapter 37

Finally I reached the bamboo hut
There were all five bonsai trees
All dug up from the bounteous soil
Where I’d freed them into the ground.
They were back in their shallow little trays,
Looking tiny and stunted.
I shook my head, but remembered,
With Sigma I must not quarrel.

I saw the flat stone where I had died,
And the other stone that had laid upon me,
And I fought a bitter, distrustful urge,
And yet my adrenalin flowed.
I guess this was flight or fight
I felt, rising like fire within me,
For part of me wanted to run like hell,
And another side wanted to kill,
But neither of those instincts
Were the right ones for this moment,
And so I breathed, and allowed my mind
To feed on the better self’s words.

I am a queen now,
Filled with grace.
I steadied my hands about the stone,
The gift that I was to offer Sigma.
But, did she really deserve it?
Well did I deserve to receive it, either?
In my dream from my better self?
I was just a channel for the gift to pass through,
And maybe the other universal proverb
I’d heard of all my life,
“‘Tis better to give than to receive,”
Had a grain of truth to it.
And so I would plant that seed today
And see if it were true.

“Sigma,” I called, “Sigma?
Come and let us sit together.
Come and have a word with me.
I have a gift for you.”

The greedy part of her base nature
Couldn’t resist the thought of a present.
The childlike honesty she bore
Couldn’t resist a surprise.
I saw her peek out of her doorway,
But I saw the guilt still in her eye—
Knowing the things she’d done to me,
She wondered what I might do

I opened my palm to display the gift,
The stone glimmering like some living thing.
It truly was beautiful and irresistible.
A remarkable sound seemed to hum
From vibrations nestled so deep within it.
It felt good to hold it; it seemed to speak
Promises of hopeful resolutions and glory.

“I want to make peace with you, Sigma,” I said.
“I want you to know, that I see you today.
I see the qualities that make you, you.
And I appreciate that they are there.”

“You don’t like my bonsai trees,”
She said in a pouty childish way.
I sighed, and looked over at the diminutive plantings.
“Well,” I said, “They are unique, and they are beautiful
In their own way.
I just think that a couple of them
Don’t want to be tiny bonsai trees.
I think a couple of them want to grow,
But what do you think about that?”

Sigma looked at the little things
And then she said,
“I‘ll make you a deal.”
You pick two, or three if you like,
And plant them as you wish.”
“Okay,” I said, “That seems fair.”
Then she smiled at me.

I chucked and wondered how long
We might have gone back and forth,
Planting and digging the trees over there,
If we hadn’t had this talk.
And part of me wondered if even with this,
There could be some other digging and planting—
See sawing back and forth on other themes?

“But first,” I said,
“Let me give you this gift.
And let me say
I am sorry for all the trouble we have had.
We have wasted many years
In not knowing each other better,
And in denying each other the traits
That the universe wanted to blend.”
And she told me
“Yes, me too,
And I’m very sorry I tried to kill you.”
And then we both cried a bit, and hugged
And sniffed, and then I said,
Here is a gift, from our better self,
To me, and now to you.”

I held the stone out in my hand,
And Sigma looked at it shining there.
I told her, “I wish I knew what to tell you
To do with it, as the better told me.
But I do not know what else to do,
She just said to give it to you.”

She was so thrilled with the precious gift.
She smiled and looked so regal there.
She looked so much like our better self;
She looked herself like a queen!

She stood for a moment,
And I knew that she
Was questioning whether she deserved such a gift,
So I encouraged her,
“Sigma, take it.”
And she reached out her hand toward mine.

And as my hands were joined to Sigma’s
And both of us touching the stone,
I released it into her hands,
Giving her the power,
And as such,
Acknowledging her existence—her reality and value.
It was like every cell of both our bodies
And began to swirl together
Like a wind that whirled and whipped.
And as our cells were trying to split and to merge
And to reintegrate
You could feel the pain of it.

It was as if fire was burning,
And yet we were the fuel for the fire.
It was a nuclear fission and fusion
That went on there between us,
And as we swirled and smoked together,
And rose up toward the heavens,
Intermingling and reconnecting,
We could see
That the self loathing that she had always had for me
Was just a reflection of mine for her

And all of that was washed away and changed
In just a second
And I say that
But it was because of a lifetime
Of hard work and laborious thought
From both our parts
But we began so clearly to see
Ourselves as two side of the very same coin—
The need that the one side had for the other,
The precious balance of darkness and light,
Of salty and the sweet.
We suddenly saw how the multifaceted features
Folded together to bring a completeness
To be a wisdom thriving deeper,
Which would preserve and provide.

And the disintegration
That we had felt so painful
And the contractions and cramping twists we bore
Were working to bring about
A total change in us
And to bring forth one new whole person
Out of the severed damaged selves
Like labor pains.

There was a staggering pain within me,
And yet there was a joy,
That I knew something beautiful
Was gong to come out of this,
That this coronation
Was indeed bringing about
Something very, very new for me.

And I watched myself strain and push—
I watched myself groan and hurt and stumble,
And I watched the new creation
Begin to come out of myself.

And I began to feel the stuff—
The dust and particles that had thus comprised me,
The lead and other elements that I
Had never allowed myself to see,
Slowly began to turn to gold
And I gave birth to myself

This baby,
This child,
This inner self,
Was what I had growing inside of me—
And all of that formed
Together from all of the pieces.
And I saw the newness,
And I saw the innocence,
And I saw the humbleness,
And the willingness,
And all the sincerity.

I suddenly saw the irony
Of how little children are willing to cry to get what they like,
And how when grown we cry to forget what we like.

But I am a little child again,
And I am willing to cry
For what I truly desire from this life.

Chapter 38

The whirling ceased.
The burning whir
Of fire went out,
And with a vanishing puff of smoke,
I beheld myself,
One whole person.

I held both palms
Out and looked at them,
And looked down at my bodice,
All clothed in a royal ruby gown.
I chuckled at the sight of it,

And was really just thinking of
Taking it off,
When you stepped into my vision.

Hebrides,” you said,
“You are beautiful.
You are truly a queen.”
You stepped up into my comfort zone
And we stood for a moment
Just looking deeply into one another’s souls.

“You dropped the stone,”
You said, and bending down,
You lifted it out of the silty sand
And looked at it a moment,
And then handed it over to me.

As our hands were touched together,
With the stone between us both,
A blazing heat shot up between us,
A purifying flame.
We danced there in the fire together,
And as we moved to the liquid rhythm,
We burned together,
The smoke of us
Wafting up and out of sight.
There the universe breathed us in
And exhaled us as one great being—
The particles of us streaming out large,
And expanding into space.

We came to rest together
In another collective dimension
As one bead of sweat that formed
And rolled down a steamy thigh.
We split in two for just a second
As gravity pulled us downward.
We merged again at the back of the knee
And then vanished again out of sight.

We popped back into Reality together,
Quantumly entangled,
There with the fire still burning,
Still dancing there in the sand.
Then suddenly the fire went out
And we stood there radiantly shining.
The lead in us had turned to gold,
So we walked away hand in hand.