Excerpt – One Crow, Joy

A soft, grainy-grey winter morning it is, and I am standing, facing south, looking out from my bedroom window at the sleepy little blink of a village called Rupert. Really all I can see behind the thicket or brush and trees, are a few scattered lights, the hint of some dwellings. Directly before me is my own scrubby yard, filled with elder and balsam poplar and goutweed; a little farther down, a clump of young oaks and cedars, and that towering white pine who stands guardian to the south. My friend and ally, I feel this tree forms a barrier between me and the world “below” – the towns, cities and world outside of Rupert – south of the village. Not far behind him, tucked into the small valley formed by one of our myriad rocky hills and outcroppings, is the Community Centre – a humble place indeed to locate one’s spiritual transformation, and therefore all the better. There is a stream in there, very small and red with iron; the yard itself was once tended to with great love and care, but since I have been here has fallen to great disarray. The loveliness closeby  is marred to the point of absurdity by the presence of the World’s Ugliest Fence, thrown up with a minimum of effort by someone who cared not for beauty of this world if it meant some extra work and expense. Still, there is much loveliness remaining; the trembling aspen, whose song brings me more peace than anything I know in the outside world, the wild roses, the willows across the road, framing Indian Creek. My Libran Ascendent cannot but focus on that fence in the midst of the verdant beauty here. ..still, this is not a story about discontent; this is a story about redemption. And so, I will not talk about the fence, but rather,the spirits who lived within it’s confines; the sweetness and joy it contained, and still does.

On quiet, hushed mornings such as this one, it is as though I can still see them behind the Ugly Walls; his face impassive, somber and alert, those old, old eyes; and then hers, alight with the ever-present smile, the seal-like gaze only apparent when her cheerful and  animated meandering finally stopped a moment. I can see them,milling, watching,  wandering – and they are there.

Nothing is ever lost or forgotten.

I stand looking out this window on a softly snowing weekend morning. There is much to do; there always is, but I need this space apart today. My eyes glance down to the old vanity table in front of me, at the items placed so carefully there. Most of them, I recall from where they came; the chunk of crystal on the left side, for example, was the very first  I ever purchased, at a New Age store in Toronto, probably 25 or 30 years ago. The terra cotta candle holder with the angels painted on the side was a gift from an old and cherished friend, one who got to travel everywhere while I just stayed in my room, as the song goes. The amber candle holder I bought in honour of one of the many gods I love, but then it migrated to this space, a shrine in it’s own way too.  The stone angel – I don’t remember her, or rather where she came from.  She’s so perfect though, I am glad for the inspiration that moved me to bring her home.

The heart shaped stones, now those I found on one of my many walks through these hills. And they too are perfect, sitting as they do in their neat and rustic symmetry, in front of the main items on this table; two funerary urns, one periwinkle blue, tall and sleek; one sandstone and sturdy, shorter but somehow more solid. On the blue urn, a Christmas tree ornament sits waving her magic wand; a gossamer fairy, ethereal, beautiful and full of gentle magic, much as the soul she decorates was in her time on this earth. The Sandstone urn has no decoration save an old silver locket draped around its neck, a locket which, if opened, reveals two kinds of fur tucked inside, one short and golden, the other longer and soft black. The fur of the beings whose ashes lie within.

On the left, Lila, and on the right, Luke.  My dogs, my spirit-friends, loves of my heart,  my teachers.  In this silent, soul-filled and timeless morning,  I take a moment to pray for them, only to send love, only to remember. To look back, to where – perhaps – it all began.

It starts, and it goes on forever, with Lila.

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