Old Nettle Woman finds me.
She comes to me in my deepest sleep.
She fills me with chlorophyll dreaming.
She whispers strength that flows from her fibrous roots,
and smiles the truth in the sting of her tiny needles.
Old Nettle Woman leads me to the creek side.
Her skirts rustle softly as she walks,
a delicate breeze in dark green leaves.
She settles on the bank beside me.
Her slender hands pull her prickly shawl closer,
and she gazes green on flowing water.
I bend my head to hear her soft voice,
and she spins a story of her lover the sun who courted her in the spring
by kissing and warming her tender maiden leaves.
She hums of crystal incandescent green and how she became so full of love for the sun,
that his light filled her and she unfurled her leaves,
And stretched her stems to reach for him in the deep blue summer sky.
Old Nettle Woman sits up straight while she sings of growing taller.
And then she smiles wickedly,
and weaves a tale of summer days when she pulled the sun so close to her
that the heat of their passion
burnt the tips of her leaves and left her panting in the dry dusty heat,
until the autumn rains came
and tiny droplets were succulent on her thirsty foliage.
I feel her scratchy seed clusters brush against my cheek,
and I strain to listen more closely.
The heat of their passion is singing in the dusty mist of pollen as it is released.
Her tiny black baby seeds dance around her in the breeze.
Some settle around their mama and others fly across the creek
to live and grow in parts unknown.
All her children are beloved equally.
And I realize that she and I are the same.
The sun loves us and
our children fly in the breeze.
Old Nettle Woman bows her head.
She is of the water and the soil and the air,
and though her roots have begun to pull her back,
it is her passion for the sun that will most sustain her
when the winter snows begin to fall
and she sinks and settles into the earth below.
Shuffling along a broken path,
Arms swaying limply,
Matted hair hanging around her face.
She trudges from emptiness to emptiness.
Bereft of pattern.
Lost without purpose.
Lonely without comfort.
Empty of reason.
She finds nothing to nourish her soul
As she moves into, around and through.
Within and without,
Over and under, outside and in.
She cracks branches and bumps against tree trunks
Deep in a forest that is empty of perception.
Stumbling and shuffling,
Grunting and grumbling,
Her heavy feet dragging step by step.
Moving ever forward through lifeless leaves and brittle bracken
Littered on the ground below.
Her heart is empty and yet she is full of selfish sorrow.
Mumbling and moaning as she is swayed by forces
That buffet and push her in another direction,
She hears a sound or catches a light in the distance
And turns to move towards it before it flickers out
Or is snuffed by the will of another.
On and on she trudges and turns and stumbles and drifts
Ever moving, ever shifting in
A state of unknown and unknowing.
She is empty.
She is struggling in the darkness of her soul.
Slowly moving from one earthly matter to the next
With an empty passion that is so full of naught
That it is easily shifted by the desires and the wills of others
She is tired. She is rotting.
She is ready
to find a glade where she can pitch forward on the soft moss
crashing down to hit the earth below her,
solid and safe, warm and still.
Where she can settle
To listen to the whisper of the leaves
As they turn to face the sun,
As they grow from bud to leaf to green to yellow to orange and then
Fall on the ground around her,
On top of her,
In their comforting decay.
I am ambient.
And I blend
As I move forward into the past and back towards the future.
My life is a chance
A shared expression of all that I wished for and can never be.
In through the out door, back through the front door.
Over and under
Outside and in
I am recreating I am digging and rooting I am
Reinventing myself as I move
Under and over.
Outside and in.