There is, I think, an old, white-bearded man who has taken up a place in my soul, like a seed of light or a hermit’s lantern held up in the surrounding dark. His staff is heavy, planted in the ground. His brow is bright. In his dark eyes, that have seen such sorrow, there is still a star, a gleam like wisdom or stubborn joy. And he is a leader of a people, and he would lead them into the wilderness, that they might make of themselves whole constellations with the patterns of their dancing.
That darkness is my body. That wilderness is my spirit. That constellation is the soul-song rising, woven from the sound of my breathing and the blood turning through my gnarled, twining veins.
I am not alone in the forests and the mountains. They have their families, too, shining ones who rock the winds and rise at dawn with the birds’ shuffling chorus. My body is like the woods, and we are kin to each other. I am not alone in the poet’s cave. The small, white stone lays heavy on my chest, damp like dew and glimmering ghostly in the dark like the weight of inspiration on a trembling heart. I am not alone in the halls of power, under the gaze of kings or mightier men. Even there, the earth upholds me, the vaults of the skies overarch and protect me, and the deep currents of the seas nourish me and call me home again to patient, far more ancient truths.
Even in my loneliness, he is there — the old man who has seen suffering and death. His white beard like the path of moonlight over the waters, beyond the ninth wave to the land of summer. His white robes now the color of bone, now shifting again to seem like a cloak of feathers, the swan who opens her wings against the night sky, scattering stars, a swift traveler between the worlds who moves on sleepy melodies, sometimes laughing, sometimes weeping.
I take up the light within me. I carry it into the darkness. The dark, wild lands that embrace me are my home; the light itself, my path.
This post is part of the 30 Days of Druidry creative writing project.
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