Sunday, July 12, 2009

Riding the dove

Tuesday July 7, 2009:

At about09:20 on 7th July 2005, the last of four bombs went off in London. Today, four years on, the moon is full at that time on this day.

I sit down amongst the caster oil plant in my usual place and prepare to mark the moment.

I am kneeling on something soft yet muscular. It is silky and it moves under me.

I reach down and stroke it. It is the great soft feathers of a huge dove.

We rise slowly into the sky, high into the silver-blue of a fine July morning. Below, the green trees turn and as the earth falls away, the patchwork of green, grey and brown becomes indistinct.

The sky darkens around us as we soar high into the emptiness beyond it. Below us, the earth spins, glittering against the black. Flashpoints of brightness, points of conflict burst in red, yellow and gold from it’s surface.

Down there, people are fighting, hand to hand, with explosives and with weapons of mass destruction. I despair to see it. I vainly search for something which will tell me what to do, but I don't know where to turn.

Astride my dove, we circle and circle. I'm looking for a green light, but I don't know what that means. We ride on around the earth. I am filled with a huge sadness.

The anti-war chant by Goddesses Against Armed Aggression suddenly pops into my head and, clinging to my dove, I begin to sing:

“War is not the answer.
The answer is to change.
We stand in her power and call out her name.
Gaia, Gaia.”

We are soaring high up in the blue sky above land. I feel the power of the muscles beneath me. My head spins. I cling on with my knees and hands.

Land is hurtling towards me. I hold my breath as we alight with a flutter of scirring wings safely onto the ground.

I am still. It is cold. I feel the loss of the warm soft feathery heat of the great dove.

In the quiet, a cat walks heavily along the fence. It climbs down amongst the apple tree and stalks, velvet paws step carefully amongst the flowers. They shake with its passing.

Something else climbs over the fence and stands by the shed. It is tall and still, standing to my right. It just watches, stands and watches.

Somewhere to my left along the Parkland Walk, a wood pigeon coos softly, gently, comfortingly. I listen and feel again the soft silky feathers and the strength of the muscles beneath. I imagine what it might be like to shelter underneath the great wings.

With a burst of mellifluous sweetness, a wren begins to sing. She sits in a tree just on the other side of the fence. I feel she is singing for me and to me. I allow the silver shining arpeggio of sound to wash over me, touching my cheek with its coolness, like a tender breeze.

In stillness I wait, the presence to my right still standing, still watching, unconditionally witnessing me.

Like a shaft of sudden sunshine, the blackbird begins to sing. His song, a deeper more resonant bell tolls the day as it spirals and pirouettes in the quiet morning air.

Behind the blue sky, the moon moves to its height. The blackbird stops. The pigeon takes over. The wren follows on. The trees shiver in the gentle breeze as the air clears.

Back and forth across the garden, the caressing tender scirring of the birds gives shape to the spaces between the trees and plants. I imagine them drawing silver threads across the garden, shaping the space with gracefully moving wings as they brush against the leaves shaken by the prowling cat. What shape do their silver threads make? What is their message?

In the corner of the garden, the presence stands and witnesses. I breathe with the winged ones, with the breeze and with the stalking cat.

The day makes itself felt. I hear a car purring along the road on the other side of the house. My neighbour starts to sing to her little boy. The moon is rising invisibly in the sky.

Slowly I get to my feet, turn and bow low to the presence and blow a kiss in its direction. I turn to wave at the birds before padding as slowly and as quietly as the cat, back to the house.


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