Monday, August 17, 2009

22 Sylven Dove

Friday August 14, 2009:

Soundlessly and carefully we walk across the damp grass to the central fire. The rest of the camp sleeps beyond their tent walls. Stiff from lack of sleep and damp camping, I am tottering, rocking from side to side as I put one foot in front of another. Finally, I stand by the crackling and snapping fire, a centre of comforting heat against the chill morning air.

We’ve gathered to meet the folk of the land and in particular to communicate with beings who have revealed themselves to one of our party. More naturally a lark, I am happy to be up at this hour, even if my body protest. I am eager to know more of the spirits of the land.

WE walk into the other field, it is empty of tents bar a shrine and the workshop yurt. It feels damp and cool, solitary and a little bit unwelcoming. WE stand in a circle as one of our party speaks of his experience and invites us to call to the folk he has met.

His folk are an ungentle people, fierce and earthy. They are noble too. Tall and horned, through him they dance and stamp, growl and snarl, and we do the same.

The circle we have made breaks as others rush off in all directions. I stand still, beating a tattoo with my feet on the ground, growling a welcome and an invitation to these folk to come to me.

A presence stands before me. He or maybe it is a she, is tall, very tall, perhaps about twelve foot high. I crane up and see the face, lit by the grey morning sky, pale and thin. Wild hair or a main frames it, horns poke through from amongst the hair. We gaze silently at each other and I am transfixed. I stop growling and hold my breath.


Suddenly the being strides off across the field and scales the fence. He disappears into the woods beyond. I wait, for I don’t know what else to do.
I can hear a wood pigeon cooing. Another answers and then a wren trills in the hedgerow to my left. From the woods I hear the caw of a crow and in the distance the insistent cocadoodledoo of a nearby cock.

I stand on the earth, soft yet unyielding, the tuffety grass rough and hummocky under my feet. The green freshness of crushed leaves wafts softly on the cool morning air and I breathe gratefully their sweet perfume.

From under my tongue I begin to coo, piping and round, soft and tremulous. High up in a tree an answering coo comes. We duet for a time as I stand waiting for I know not what.

The grass whispers, the presence stands before me. The cooing is close, I stop and hold my breath. I focus on the sound and see ,held in long gentle hands, a quivering soft grey pigeon. She sings softly and I sing back.

Did the being stride up to her in a tree and just pluck her out? I imagine him selecting his bird like picking an apple from a tree. I wonder if the bird had any say in coming along.


The hands come closer to me as the presence leans over and offers me the bird. I reach out cupped hands and receive the soft warmth. I bow my head in thanks as I bring the pigeon to my heart.

The pale face with its matt of hair and shiny horns watches me. My heart is warm as the pigeon nestles against me and seems to melt into my heart. I am overwhelmed with a sense of love. I sigh deeply for my heart is full. I hold my hands over my breast and rocking gently, begin to coo.

“Droo-droo-droo-droo-droo” I coo. I rock gently and the being watches me silently.

“Sylven Dove” something says in my ear. “Sylven dove”, I say to myself, “Sylven dove, welcome,” I whisper softly.

I raise my eyes to the level of the beings face, but he is gone. I have a new name! I know not yet for what purpose, I know not if it replaces any other name I have, I roll it around my mouth repeatedly, as though savouring a tasty morsel of delicious food.

Sylven dove, tree dove, wood pigeon perhaps? I speculate upon its meaning as I repeat it over and over again. I smile. It’s beautiful, it’s loving, it’s gentle, I like it!

The circle reconnects and we link hands and stand quietly, holding our experiences and dreams as we give silent thanks. The field is quiet and still. The wind rustles the trees and only the occasional call of a wood pigeon breaks the tranquillity.

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