Weaving Gold

Mokosha, Anastasia Sophia, and Me, Natalia . . . while the books are written

Called Home

 

IMG_9467.jpgI am on my ancestral land. I recognized it in my bones and in my soul yesterday, as the taxi careened over a pot-holed road that brought me to my long-dead grandfather’s village. Relatives I didn’t know existed invited me into their home — and I KNEW them. Our shared genes vibrated in recognition. Our hearts rejoiced in reunion. An undercurrent of joy reverberated through the valley as we exchanged comfortable awkward words and began to know one another on this, here and now, plane.

When I woke today, my hosts were up and about their chores. I stepped out quietly and walked to the cemetery. Misha (my fourth-cousin-hostess’s husband) had taken me there yesterday (while she pulled together a feast, pretending it was no trouble at all), but I wanted to visit alone. I yearned to BE there.

IMG_9485Half the tombstones in the yard are marked with familiar names, for they appear in the nine-generation family tree my uncle prepared. Many of the dates are recent-ish, but I sought the older graves and found my great-grandmother’s marker. Perhaps the remains of earlier ancestors lie deeper, or nearby. I want to hear them. I want to feel them. I want to know their stories.

Leaning against the base of my great-grandmother’s monument, I gazed into the distance, wondering if my lifelong fancy for hills, mountains, and streams originates in my DNA, if some genetic code, passed from mothers to sons to daughters, dwells in me.

Movement disrupted my contemplation. A woman walked toward the church. I saw a flame burning in her chest, blinked, decided the sun must have been reflecting from a medallion, and turned, to avoid staring.

Most of the villagers gave me wide berth, though I knew they were curious about me, a rare visitor from the States. This woman walked directly to me. She nodded and, as I greeted her, lowered herself to sit beside me, so that our shoulders touched.

“Finally, you have answered the call,” she said.

I don’t like to be touched by strangers and tried to move away, but I was stuck, as if bolted to her. Normally, such a sensation would have led to panic, but I felt strangely calm.

“Your mother pulled our thread to the new land, as was required, but she believes the ties have been severed. They cannot be!”

The woman turned toward me. She placed two fingers at the base of my skull, two between me eyes. The world tilted. I felt myself falling and spinning. I was filled with light, then with darkness. The voices of multitudes reverberated in my head. “Щедротами,” they chanted, over and over.

Then, stillness. Silence. Me, collapsed in the old woman’s arms.

“The ancestors bless you with bounties.” She lay me on the ground in heap, and rose.

“Babusiu! Tell me one last thing,” I said. “Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?”

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Anastasia, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”


 

FRIDAY FICTION with RONOVAN WRITES Prompt Challenge #13

  • Word Count of 500. (SUGGESTED)
  • Take your favorite quote from a movie and use it as inspiration for your entry this week. If you want more direction, make it the last sentence in your piece. (REQUIRED)

I welcome comments and feedback.

I love these words that Professor Dumbledore says to Harry Potter at the end of The Deathly Hallows. I changed the names to make it work in my story above.

“Professor! Tell me one last thing. Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?”

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

Video Clip

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Always Searching for Something

brahmaputra-river-photography-sunset-assam-india-travel-tourism-3

Photo from Global Safari. Click to read about the image.

In the middle of the night, I am walking. My heart thuds and my limbs are lead-filled, hanging and dragging, as if detached from me. When I snap my head in the direction of errant noises, I see only trees shrouded in green mist.

I stumble through the maze of trunks. Branches snag my kirtle. I pull a long-bladed knife from my belt, and use it like a machete, slashing twigs and vines. Strands of cobwebs cling to my face despite my efforts to clear a path. An owl hoots and swoops over my head, swatting me with its wing. Forest rodents scamper over my feet. A lone lightning bug flashes its light, and the glimmer saves my dissipating sanity.

Urgency to identify my prize pushes me. I increase my pace. Almost running, I am suddenly slashing at nothing. The trees are behind me, and I see an expanse of water. The river is too wide to cross, and I know: what I search for is on the other side.


Written in response to FRIDAY FICTION with RONOVAN WRITES Prompt Challenge #11

  • Use the first line of one of your favorite song and begin your story with that line. (REQUIRED)
  • Word count of no more than 300.

Inspired by Billy Joel’s River of Dreams.

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Remembering the Ancient Past

old_clock_by_ami46.jpgI love Lizzy, but I hate when she speaks cool-girl vernacular. Yesterday, I risked looking foolish and relayed my swan goddess dream for her. She did not laugh at my grandiose idea of being a sacrifice. She nodded along, riveted, as I spoke, then said, “Ticks and tocks of eternal time, sink the spirits lower than wine.”

I’ve never understood idioms, colloquialisms, or clever phrases. My vocabulary base is sufficient, but wittiness baffles me. Worse, the confusion embarrasses and torments me. I can’t get her cryptic comment out of my head, especially since the bizzare dreams are intensifying in frequency of occurrence and sensations of realness. I recognize the authenticity of the events in my aching bones and racing heart. I can no longer deny what I’ve long suspected, but have been afraid to voice, even here, in the pages of my super-secret diary. The dreams are memories. (I shudder as I write the words.) They replay my evil deeds, force me to acknowledge the weaknesses that dwell within me, that are me.

Tick, tock. The hands of life’s clock move forward in daylight. In the night, they reverse, pulling me into my shameful, pathetic past. I am helpless to correct their direction.

I like to think that I am strong, but my past behavior reveals the truth: I am a coward. I act compassionate and kind, but I know that when tested, I will put my standing before the well-being of others. I want to believe that my actions and efforts drive my life, but I am on a run-away train piloted by destiny.


in response to FRIDAY FICTION with RONOVAN WRITES Prompt Challenge #9

The voice of Anastasia Sophia, writing in her Super-Secret Diary. Excerpt from Spinning Stardust.

 

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Stairway to Heaven

img_5954“I dare you.”

I ignored Amanda’s hot breath in my ear, swung around the corner, and stumbled down crumbling steps.

She grabbed my arm. “Don’t! I was kidding.”

I shook her off as old, stone walls yielded secrets. I rested body and cheek against the damp, rough wall, turned my face toward it, and licked. A cool wave of moss, soil, and wet rock enveloped me.

Amanda lunged, but was prevented from proceeding by the same magic that drew me. I remembered: a crevice in a dense forest, entrance to my cave; love lost; a lifetime; dying and resurrecting.


99 words toward Spinning Stardust, inspired by the photo prompt for Friday Fictioneers.

 

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Talitha Emerging

Center-of-the-Earth-1000.jpegThe time to resurface announced itself when a draft pulled the smell of loam into the cavern. A tendril snagged my hair and a low whooshing roused my heart. Elation and trepidation reverberated through my being.

Darkness, silence, and solitude had saved me. The prospect of returning sunshine, noise, and people exhorted me to run, but a root slid under my feet, elevating me enough that I paused, and inhaled. The aroma of leaves and needles and life wafted through my nostrils, filled my lungs, stirred memories. I looked up, covered my eyes against a sliver-shimmer of light, reached for a sturdy root, and stepped up.

Moving slowly, I hugged great roots. I rested my cheek against them, thanked them with tears, licked them in awe. Brightness gently intensified. Sounds amplified: insects chewing wood, chipmunks scampering, birds tweeting.

I climbed faster, hoping to hear the cry of an eagle. I did not know if Garett lived, but I dared to hope. I did not need him to save me again, but I longed for the comfort of companionship.

I reached the surface inside a stately, safe hollow of a massive tree. Eighty days had passed since Iljan’s death, forty since I entered the cave. The sun was graciously, mercifully setting, muting its brightness, infusing my sanctuary with diffuse, pink light. I inhaled the beauty, then stepped back into the world.

boab

photo prompt: boab tree

FRIDAY FICTION with RONOVAN WRITES Prompt Challenge #8

I used Ronovan’s prompt to write a passage for my WIP, Spinning Stardust.

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The Hummingbird and the Falcon, Anna’s Nonet

Hummingbird by Selkey Photography / Animals, Plants & Nature / Birds©2007-2015 Selkey via DeviantArt

Hummingbird
by Selkey
Photography / Animals, Plants & Nature / Birds©2007-2015 Selkey via DeviantArt

I knew my life could be sweet and bright
I’d tasted honey, bathed in light
Time passed — I forgot it all
One slip became a fall
Tumbling through darkness
Grasping starkness
Helping hand
Granted
Peace

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I Am That I Am (Talitha)

I am Talitha, of starry byways and golden rays. I lived on your planet, which became mine, for tens of thousands of years. This is the story of the girl part of me once was, the woman I became, and the golden web I wove into and through the Earth. It begins in a time and place so ancient that scientists will never find evidence of its existence, though I plucked it from the dusty soil myself after manifold millennia. Of course, absence of remains does not preclude actuality. Echoes of our coming abide in stories of people surfing the Milky Way in great canoes, of goddesses cloaked in stars, of gods as planets and planets as gods. Pick up sacred texts, ponder the carved stones of old temples, contemplate legends. You shall find evidence aplenty of truths you harbor deep within your memories. The Illiad was thought to be fairy tale until Heinrich Schlienmann considered the text as a literal map and excavated nine layers of earth to unearth the city of Troy, called ancient, though young, so young, in the history of Earth. What else will be found when you remember, when you acknowedge what you know? What will be known when existing authorities have been reconsidered and the debris of obfuscation swept out of the way?

Florida Winter 2009-2010 168.jpgI urge you to take care, for in denying our origins lies the source of disempowerment of humanity. The evolution of human consciousness stretches back long before my time. My story tells of one ray emerging from the subtle, hidden, and unseen into the material, visible, and physical. Mine, is one of many emanations, many threads, many stories. My genes intertwine with those of homo sapiens. That was, after all, our reason for coming.

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Dragonfly in Amber (Talitha)

a32527a4b657e59fb3fb174290a84368When you are seven, skipping in the rain is as luscious as rolling in the grass on a sunshiny day. When you are seven, chores are small, and duties trivial. When you are seven, play and reckless abandon are birthrights. Unless, you are me. My seven was weighted by an invisible crown and a mantle of responsibility, which culminated the day I stepped toward high table in the cave-sacristy. I wore a sunshine-yellow pallium woven from the silk of thousands of golden orb weaver spiders. My people fanned out behind me, watching the graceful flowing of my robe as I lifted my arms.

“Hohm. Hohm. Hohm.” Their droning strummed through every cell in my body, pushing outward. I reached into the oblong well which ran the length of the altar and sifted sand through my fingers, extracting pebbles and impurities, and setting them aside.

“Ahllhi. Ahllhi. Ahllhi,” the people chanted with escalating pitch and volume. I had to command air to flow in and out of my lungs, as I selected tawny nuggets of amber from a glazed bowl and carefully arranged them in spirals on three narrow, charcoal boards which served as foundation and fuel for the sacred fire. I had practiced twenty times, but the cave’s darkness and the sound bouncing from its walls befuddled me.

“Uugalaghi! Uugalaghi! Uugalaghi!” the words billowed around me, faster and louder. Guided by training, following the urgings of my soul, I placed more amber slivers on the planks to complete the patterns. The crowd’s excitement threatened to squish and smother me.

Tears gathered in my eyes when I placed the final stone. My distinction within the tribe announced itself as a torrid wave in my bowels, but I continued without pause. Bringing my palms together in front of my thudding heart, I bowed, and withdrew from the altar. Three steps back, and two steps left, brought me to the waiting spot. One breath in, two, on my third breath, Tomas stepped forward. He extended his arms fully. The small torch in his hand cast a pool of pale light on the ceiling. He dropped to his knees, bringing torch and forehead to the chapel floor. He waited sixty heartbeats, then rose, touching the flame to the charcoal, and coaxing it to kindle.

As grey smoke curled up, the first drummer struck his instrument. A deep tone reverberated through the space, then more rhythm-makers thumped and rattled their instruments. My body tingled and sang, expanding beyond the confines of skin, weaving and dancing with the congregation.

Mara, resplendent in her shimmering gown, raised a fist-sized chunk of amber over her head. Inside, a dragonfly was preserved, mid-wing-stretch. The percussion ceased abruptly.

“The Essence of Life,” Mara intoned.

“The Essence of Life,” the people replied.

Lowering her arms to stretch straight out from her body, Mara continued, “The Mystery of Life.”

“The Mystery of Life.”

“Transformation. Transmutation. Release.” Mara turned and lowered her hands into the through. She opened her palms, and let the resin-encrusted dragonfly drop onto the glowing boards. She kept her hands domed over the creature, contained for millennia in hardened sap, until the honey-colored lump warmed, smoldered, and turned to ash, releasing a gentle scent of pine. Mara maintained her position without flinching or swaying. The pregnant silence was shattered by the crackling and hissing of hot-burning wood.

I had mentally recited the names of the stars and constellations, weaving a path from east to west, and was halfway through naming every color frequency I knew, when the heat reached the dragonfly. The insect flared in the fastest, most intense sequence of changes I had ever seen: fire orange, a yellow burst that went bright green, and a flash of violet-white.

“Transformation! Transmutation! Release!” the people shouted, then clapped and stomped the meter of the words: clap-clap-clap-clap, clap-clap-clap-clap, clap-clap.

Mara faced the gathered, and raised her arms. Peace streamed from her palms, restoring calm. Some people panted, others sighed. All focused on Mara and the tendrils of smoke that curled behind her. I gazed, mesmerized, at the clear crystal pendant swinging from the long chain around Mara’s slim, bronze neck. Back and forth it moved, hypnotizing those receptive to being swayed. In this group, every person was willing, and soon we breathed in easy synchronicity. Mara pointed skyward and traced a circle in the air with her forefinger. A ring of stars materialized, twinkled for an instant, then began spinning.

“We come from the Sun and the channel of connection is forever available,” said Mara. A column of iridescent light poured from the halo. Several young children reached for it. Their parents permitted them to pull their fingers through the shiningness, but held the younglings firmly at their sides. “You chose to come,” one mother whispered, restraining her toddler from lunging into the light. “Stay a while longer. You are too young in the Earth body to choose to return. Feel the Earth.”

“Accede your communion with the Light of Heaven,” Mara commanded. The Sun Tribe swung their hands skyward and down three times, then each reached into the tube of brightness, pulling a filament of light into his or her heart. Each left hand was pressed into the center of the chest, each right laid over the left, shimmering tendrils stretching between people and light column. All eyes remained fixed on the fading light. A few of the oldest Sun Tribe dropped their hands and opened their palms, releasing the sparkles, preparing for The Return.

When darkness and tranquility settled in the room, Mara chanted, “Hohm. Ahllhi. Uugalaghi.” The group echoed the sounds, then dropped their hands. The ceremony was over.

 

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