Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Beltane fire dancer

Tuesday May 1, 2007

The sun warmed me as I sat mantled by the Hornbeam’s spring foliage. I breathed in the soft delicate sweetness of the Choisier in front of me. My lids grew heavy as the sounds of the city receded.

The cool leaves stroked my skin as I crouched in the tunnel made by the shrubs. Dappled sunlight reached warm fingers through and stroked me as I moved. Hidden and safe, I explored the space around me.

An arch of leaves framed the light. Straightening up, I emerged into a shaded wood. The trees were tall and straight, the grass between them close clipped as though by goats, who were nowhere to be found. I walked barefoot on the mossy softness moving through the trees.

The orange-pink light deepened and darkened as the sun beyond the trees shifted to the West. Wood smoke drifted on the wind, laced with the sweet peachy rosy smell of garden flowers.

The clearing was filled with an orange flickering light. In the centre, a tall fire danced and spiralled yellow and red. The trees were bronzed in its glow, the shadows beyond them, deep and secret.

Drawing close, I felt an uncontrollable urge to dance. I shifted tentatively from foot to foot. I gazed deep into the fire and felt something settle within me. Mesmerised by the moving flames, I aloud my body to follow their movement and soon I was dancing like a crazy thing, whirling and leaping around and around the fire.

The fire moved and changed and mirrored my dance. Was that a figure in the flames or just a trick of the light? She seemed to be a swirling woman, robe swinging and hair flying, all orange and crimson. I revolved around and around, growing closer to the flames as I moved until, I danced amongst them.

The flames engulfed me, licking and flicking my flesh but their touch did not burn. I turned and leaped and before I knew that it had happened, the fire dancer, swirling robe and flying hair had become me and I her.

In the distance, a child called “mama, mama, mama”.

The light shifted as though the world turned. The sun streamed gold in the first dawn rays and the fire paled against its fierceness and grew small. I slowed and then stopped until inside and outside I was still and quiet.

The trees called me to return and I moved slowly back and through them to the arch of leaves. Ducking down once more, I climbed into the green and gold dappled tunnel under the shrubs, pushing against the cool soft damp leaves as I moved.

“Mama, mama, mama” the child called with more urgency.

She was louder now. Once more the seat held me. The hornbeam’s leaves tapped against my cheek. A blackbird sang in the tall tree behind the garden fence. In the distance a car past slowly.

Two gardens away, a child whined discontentedly as an adult refused its demands. I stretched and yawned, feeling the warmth of the sun on my face. Picking up my now cold mug of tea, I headed back to the house to make some more.

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