Soon he would say goodbye, doubtful his first taste of love would wait; boarding on the longship would begin at sunrise after two more nightfalls. He was not at ease nor feeling dutiful to set sail, his rough, calloused hands had been assigned to row, his grey eyes already set on defeat. In the chilly night he and his lover kept warm under a sheath of tanned hide; a warm fire encircled with stones lit up their faces. His lover was cold, she had been sweating earlier and she shared with him that perhaps she was carrying his baby. It had been two moons since her last cleansing. He held her close and rubbed her hands in his own. All night he stayed up, keeping the fire crackling and he called for a wise woman to look at his betrothed. He was given garlic for his neck and a tonic that tasted bitter as nettles to sip. He must prepare to board the longship and not fall ill. The woman wiped carefully with cool cloths the forehead and the nape of his lady’s neck and said she should be moved to the women’s tent so he too might rest. He was reluctant yet never questioned this miracle of her gifts from the God’s and believed in the sunrise of his departure his love would encircle him with the other strong women and sing a prayer to the heavens. At last he fell asleep and the fire dwindled. He was a large man, of long height with a wooly red beard; for years he had been called to help others lift heavy logs, roll stones and fell trees for boat building. His stomach grumbled and his dreams brought him no peace. His eyes closed, his mouth agape, a gurgling snore erupted. Deep within his dream state he saw his own mother, her pale white face, her eyes weary yet loving; she spoke. “Son of Gudrun, son of Ove, lift your spirit up to see. It’s been eighteen moons since we saw you. Your sister Ulla is here, too. Their faces were like a portrait in beautiful pastel inks. The heavens were soft as the first spring day when the sight of white and purple forest flowers burst through the edges of the footpath, gay as the laughter of friends when the sun was long in the sky, days were easier, their heart’s lightened by the dark winter’s end. Time for merriment and the smell of baking bread, the homecoming of the longship, strong fermented ales and hearty stews and loaves of bread with berries he could taste so sweet; stirred he woke with a gasp. One sunrise had come. He stood and walked to the women’s healing tent and the flaps were sewn shut with thick leather. “Naaaaay”, he screamed and he ran to the morning fire keepers boiling coffee and sharing porridge. Breathless, he asked if his lady was in the tent still. Blue eyes looked at one another and down. He knew the answer. He kicked the first iron pot and it swung from it’s iron chains molted flawlessly by the black smith and his apprentice. Hot scalding water splashed and the men jumped back. An old man who laid on sheep skin by the fire called for him to sit by him. His heart rapid, his cheeks red with rage, he succumbed to his elder. ” What can you say to comfort me?” The man, thin and weak voiced motioned for the giant, frightened man to sit beside him. “Are you the son of Gudrun and the sister of Ulla?” The old man already knew but asked even so. “Ya, I am.” Do you think, son of Ove that your father created such acts of arrogance when the God’s called his wife and daughter up?” Silence. “What name did they leave you?” “I am Per Ove’s son.”Well Per Ovesson do you dare to guess the will of the heavens? Are you in fear of the sea and hunger? Are you a messenger or do you serve?” ” I serve.” The so very big man, Per, son of Gudrun and Ove, brother of Ulla wept. The elderly man handed Per a smooth stone to rub and called for porridge. The big man, the thin elder and the fire keepers stood close. One by one they placed a hand on his shoulder and walked on. Night fell again and he laid by his fire alone sipping the bitter nettle tea. He did not want to dream and the silence soothed him. It had been nine cut logs when a woman he’d never seen came to stand before him. “You may see your lady now”. His lips felt numb, his eyes ashamed and he said, “Why do you want me to feel more pain?” The woman outstretched her hand and he stood. When they came closer to the tent the woman lifted the flap and there lay a clump of deep red flesh upon his lover’s abdomen. He moved closer and felt confused. Take the flesh and all of it’s blood and bury it deep in the forest. His lady did not breathe and small stones were on each eye. He did as told by the healer. Without sleep and it being soon the second sunrise he fought to keep focused on his task. Big tears from a big man with the heart of a child fell steadily down his face. When he returned he went to his fire to sleep and there sat the woman again with a white bundle of heavy fur. She stood and handed him a baby. “How can this be? My lady only missed two moons.” The woman smiled and said, “the God’s were good” and asked him to bestow a name before he sat sail. In a state of both sorrow and beauty he said, ” this is the son of Per, the son of Lea. He shall be blessed with the name of Liam.” The woman promised him the babe would be well fed and when he returned the baby would be his comfort. Per kissed his son’s forehead and slept with him in his arms until sunrise. The healers had prepared Lea’s body to be sent to sea where she would be taken up to the God’s quickly. He held one side of his love’s canvas and birch sewn raft. He did not weep for she had left him reason to believe that more would come to be good. The women sang as the longship prepared to launch. The sky was yellow and afire with sunrise. The horns blew and he pulled in unison with his mates. By sunset they placed Lea on her raft and she floated away from the boat, away from the father of Liam, the son of Ove, the son of Gudrun and the brother of Ulla. In the night the high waves plunged over the stern and wailed upon the starboard, the longship albeit strong rocked with brutal fervour. Per was the lead, each pull he thought of Liam, each horn he heard his mother calling. The God’s were trying his strength in a way he never had experienced, he was not only strong in his body now but also in his soul. The storm settled and he was sent to rest. A cool wind soothed his sweaty bruised hands and his lips cracked from the salty winds from the North Sea leaked sweet bits of blood. His thirst was mighty and he was given water with herbs to keep him quiet. His cough came on fast, deep and he heard other’s coughing, too. He spat green, thick phlegm into the sea. He hung his head over, the winds cooling his dizzying state. The head of the ship was also spewing a sickness from his body over board. Few men could guide the longship, and one by one they fell, coughing, wailing in pain, and now hope had no place for them. Another night would come, a morning with many deaths and each one was set free to float amongst the creatures that both fed on them and nourished their loved ones. Per Ovesson would be the last man to go. He ensured all were met by the God’s who knew better than he the true meaning. He would fall into a deep, long sleep, he would dream of Lea, mother of Liam and he would die proud as his father had bravely done before him. He drifted off further to sea and the sky above would open it’s arms and his soul would rise up, up, up into the arms of Ulla.
In the middle of my night and the morning light I often feel my heartbeat’s whisper. In the black starless sky I know now that I am healing, heading for a choir of unbroken bonds, true meaning, countless moments of Love that’s mine. I shake loose the shackles of my past, I no longer need to remember him, the One who was to be my lifetime protector. I lay BaDDaD to rest as my father. I see beyond my physical ability into a rainbow of shimmering passion, a place so blessed and perfectly mine. No longer will my heart be full of muddy trenches and unfathomable pain. He is gone now. He is a good story for someone else to tell. Like a child I make a wish and toss my golden coins into the sea. I know it will take a very long time to sink to the bottom and perhaps they will become lost treasures among sea glass and pebbles in wavy sand for some one new to find. I ask the spirit of innocence, the power of genuine trust to comfort me. Lay beside me now. Let my heartbeat’s whisper belong in good hands, sister to sister, teacher to child, mother to daughter and lover to lover. May I save the rest of me and float softly into my dreams without fear. Amidst my sleep I beckon no fear to wake me, shake me and remember the lost One. Come, lay by me. Gently sing my heart to rest; Gently Lay By Me my Love, your devotion is my breath. If a star should shine tonight it is just for you, the love who stayed steady when I was almost through. The air is cool with springtime winds and following my heart always wins. Goodnight my love, my lifelong friend, let me sleep beside you once again.
Words form and stop, quivering at my lips I say nothing. A rush of warmth rises inside my throat leaving me choking on my own emotions. A battle ensues between my psyche and my gutteral instincts. I divide my shivering heart into portions like raw meat and pack them away making sure they are placed so far away from resurfacing, breaking free and falling out of my mouth. I am the keeper’s key, the guardian of truth and I am aligned with no one, not even my own conscience. I see from behind, from above, below and further within Her, that is, Littleme. I see in my mirror ROCK and turn away in denial, never wanting my scarred outer skin to acknowledge it’s own shedding. I have heard among many other words of advice to let sleeping dogs lie, a rolling stone gathers no moss, somethings are to be put to rest; I lick my lips drenched in salty tears and feel sewn up with my secrets. I know that my only chance of survival is to let go of the words begging to be spoken, to follow in the steps walked before me and keep my head down. To be truly seen is not going to happen. No magical wand will be given to me so for now, for Lm I raise a white flag and surrender to the unresolved, the pointlessness of words that are chained within.
ROCK knows Lm needs attention yet he forces her to grow, not dwell on her past. She is indeed sprawling, like ivy across an old doorway leading to solid stone paths. Above the sky is blue and she knows that real people suffer and others are indifferent. She sees the careless, haplessly self-absorbed humans as beige. How can anyone not care about the whole damn picture? Who are those that see blood dripping from the heavens and go about their lives with normalcy? People are screaming for help in our neighborhood; Ukrainian families embrace fear and the beige people are shopping for more, more, more. The neighborhood is all inclusive, a package deal. What happens in the Ukraine is happening to all of us. Part of Lm is always thinking, worrying, sorrowful and broken, yet when she sees the same in others she stands up on the top step and pushes her way to the front lines. She will not tolerate the deficiencies in other’s consciousness, she will use a loud speaker, bang on drums and pipes until she is heard. She cares very little about beige people and their circles of chatter. Blue skies are hanging over the whole world right this minute, not at all like the blue in Thailand’s resorts, or on Miami’s most popular beaches that have beige people with pink cocktails. Blue skies are singing deep and low old spiritual songs from the warriors, slaves and feminine fighters before us. The air is thick with fumes spewing the cries of innocence, the children deeply weary from moving place to place for their own good. Who is running to help them up or out; is this real at all? This war is not a test, it’s real life, real stuff and how can anyone, anything matter more than this now? No broken porcelain doll, no dreary childhood, no stack of dirty dishes, no movie star, no religion, not NOW! Prayer has brought Lm to her skinned boney knees repeatedly for 59 years and nothing changed. Beige people walking like zombies pushing strollers full of new life in a world of blue skies that are truly full of broken hearts. The moon, the sun, the unnamed stars are all watching the game below. We ARE in the real world reality show and we aren’t winning. ROCK knows that as long as Lm is focused on sending out SOS signals to save others she forgets her self. She is selfishly entwined in her own pain otherwise. ROCK knows she is soon ready to push through the door that he guards. He also knows, even if she defies her own needs she will return to him on lonely nights, when the memories keep her awake, when she remembers her BaDDaD and can’t get passed a memory. She will come back to ROCK and as always he will calm her grief, even if it’s a repetitive move he will know how to protect her tender soul.
Where are you? Woman2woman, war2war ; are we joined in witness to our crisis now? Is your wild and ancient spirit stirring up old hearts and graves of lost lovers? Will you whisper sister2sister and save our children tossed in the air by the same God that damned you, not once but over and over again? Shall our wisdom remain sacred or are we just comforting our egos with mythos and buying time against a world turning inside out. Did our feminine power ever reroute greed and spare room for the meek? I am ready to sacrifice my vanity, security and comforts for all of the suffering arrogant men who have bestowed division upon us. I will howl at the moon, drink from the battlefield’s trenches full of blood to save one true Varalisa. Our seeds are sown, yet our fields remain barren until peace and solace is restored. We were one in another time. Can we become together now and face the new world with keen eye to eye contact, hold the reigns of our villains and prevail. Oh, Vasalisa guide us to stability and give us back the stars to show us where we went wrong. Can we restore Unity? May our bravest of spiritual warriors tackle the beasts that rapes our own.