The Mystic’s Dream

A mystic dives into the clear

summer sea through garlands

of seaweed he sees

a navel of eels

spiraling upwards.

He pauses his crafty strokes

and ponders the meaning of this.

The sun flashes through his

humming ears and sharks

pull at his sorcerer’s cape.

A word immerses his thoughts

and the pit is pulled from

underneath.

He drowns with the hungry

sharks until there is no more

of his mind to eat,

and is left to circumnavigate

the sun from the surface

under the deep,

reflecting the movements

of the upward swimming

eels.

What days to come?

What days to come will run, will swim,

Will drag me by the hair?

Will flood, will dry, will crash

Into my boundaries?

All I know is that you’ll be there

To cause me pain, to lift my joy,

To take away my grief.

You are time, you are the sea of consciousness,

You are Eternity, you are me.

The Wild Woman in the Woods

This modern fairy tale is pure fiction, but is inspired by old Hopi Legends.

Have you ever looked into a pool of water and asked yourself, or no one in particular, who is that being reflected back at me, and how has that anything to do with what I feel inside?

I the beginning there was only the wild ones running about in an endless moss-toothed forest. They didn’t cast shadows, neither from light nor from darkness. One of them was called Tawa, she was silence. She beheld the world and opened her mouth to howl against the white moon. A silvery trail stretched out from her mouth to the moon and it drew all the water into her womb, and so a hurricane was conceived within her. After that, she howled every time the moon was full, to release all the wildness and all the winds growing inside her, and she was silence no more.

In 1993, The Forest of Dean endured a summer so miserable that all the tourists changed their plans and went back home to their townhouses to swim in umbrellaed swimming pools perfectly heated. They could enjoy the rain then, tapping melodiously on the thin tin sheets, without worrying about becoming the wrong kind of wet. The London pavements turned black with cold rain, and the Chelsea shops went into hibernation even with the July sales going on. Anyone who could afford to leave the city did. The Paris train was overbooked and chartered planes did not even have to advertise their vacant seats to Malaga and Crete. That was why, when the little streams in the Forest of Dean overbanked and flooded on a cold July morning, nobody even noticed. Except Goya that is.

Goya had moved with her parents to an old abandoned cottage in the forest three years ago. Her father was one of those 70s Cornwall hippie-go-lucky kids who had dreamt of living in a forest and being completely self-sufficient all his life. His motto was, quite literally, flower power – he ran a small natural remedies business. Goya’s mother had run off to India in the 80s when Goya was just a toddler, to join the Free Love Osho Ashram. Goya didn’t really think too much about her. Except for that July morning when she stumbled into a forest pool so vast it could be mistaken for the ocean.

Earlier that morning Goya had overheard the weatherman in the radio promising sun and blue sky, but the heavy grey-black clouds had once again refused to budge littering the heavily pregnant trees with more cold water, to which they sighed with exhaustion and tried to shake it off in the wind. Goya leaned against one of those moist dark brown trees looking down into the rippling pool only to spot fragments of her drenched face set against a backdrop of opaque sky. She had an eerie sense of it being someone else looking back at her, a changeling waiting to take her place. Then a shiver of pine needles dropped from a low branch and the image vanished into oblivion. “Who are you?” said a deep voice and Goya startled and looked up to locate where the voice had come from. She spotted an old woman standing half hidden behind the trunk of a huge oak. The woman was dressed in tall green rubber boots and an oil skin coat covering her entire body. Her hair was unruly and wet, hanging down to the woman’s waist in thin spidery braids. Goya was embarrassed to catch herself thinking of a perfect storybook hag. “I am Goya,” she answered. The old woman glared at her disapprovingly and harrumphed. “Are you lost?” She asked in her old crow’s voice. “No, I live just over there,” said Goya and pointed in the direction of her house. “What about you, do you live here too?” she asked the old woman. She didn’t reply, just continued to glare at Goya with her black bird-like eyes. “What is your name?” Goya tried. “I am Grandmother,” the old woman spat the answer at her, like a piece of food gone bad. “Eh….okay…..nice to meet you Grandmother. Horrible weather, isn’t it?” “Horrible!?” Grandmother looked outraged, her features darkening considerably, then she smirked and said vehemently: “The world needs a good flooding. Washes away the dirt.” She threw her head back and laughed loud and eerily as though she had made the world’s best joke. Goya shivered and looked away from the old woman. “Eh…I better get back,” she said and glanced briefly up at the woman. “Yeah, you better, or else I might turn you into a frog!” Grandmother said it so threateningly that Goya flinched. “Come back tomorrow child, and bring me something to eat, I am starving!” Goya didn’t reply, she turned around and ran, as much as you can run in water reaching up to your knees, and didn’t stop until she was safely back in her cottage and could hear her father humming and pattering around in his herb garden.

The next morning it rained even heavier than the day before and Goya , quite shockingly, found herself feeling sorry for the old woman in the forest. Did she really not have anything to eat? Goya opened the kitchen cabinets and found a pack of chips and a jar of shop-bought cookies. “Don’t we have anything to eat?” she asked her dad who was just putting on the kettle for tea. “Of course we have, sweetie.” “What?” “Well, the garden is full of vegetables, why don’t you make something?” Goya sighed. The only thing she really knew how to make was soup. So she did. She spent the whole morning brewing the vegetable soup, adding her father’s herbs and a little pinch of pepper and salt. She poured the soup on a thermos and tossed it into a Spar plastic bag.

The rain poured into her rubber boots and the umbrella she tried to hide under was rather useless in the relentless wind. The path had washed away entirely and the trees kept swishing and swooshing complainingly, undressed by the cold morning showers. Goya waded through the pool, which reached her thighs, and tried to ignore the icy cold creeping up her legs and freezing her muscles. Sure enough, when she reached the old oak the hag was standing there watching her. Somehow she looked at bit less old and witch-like that morning, and when Goya reached out handing her the thermos her face even broke into a small grin. “So you came,” stated Grandmother and even managed to look a bit pleased. She opened the thermos and sniffed the hot soup. “Did you cook it with love?” she asked and glared at Goya, a bit of yesterday’s suspicion back in her black eyes. “You won’t find my heart in there if that is what you mean,” replied Goya and glared back. Grandmother threw back her head and cackled at that. “I think I am starting to like you, girl!” she roared and slapped Goya so hard on the back that she almost fell over. Goya watched her slurp up the scorching soup. She didn’t offer any compliments and when she was finished with the soup she stuffed the empty thermos into her inner breast pocket. She gave a sideway glance at Goya daring her to object. But Goya didn’t say anything. She was NOT going to fight an old lady for a pink school thermos. “Tomorrow,” said Grandmother and smirked, “you bring something to entertain me. An old woman gets lonely.” “Like what?” asked Goya. “Like a movie or something?” “A movie!?” Grandmother snapped. “Is that all you young people can think of? I don’t want any fake play-acting, I want something real!” Goya had no idea what she meant by that, but she shrugged and decided to worry about it later. “I guess, I’ll see you tomorrow then,” she said unenthusiastically and turned away from the mad-looking woman. “Something real! You hear me!?” roared Grandmother after her. Goya had really no idea what the hag had meant by “something real”. So she decided to ask her father what he thought of as real entertainment. “That’s easy, sweetie, singing, dancing, art, poetry, something from the heart.” He smiled and patted Goya on the head. “Dad,” she asked hesitantly, “do I have any talents?” “Loads!” he replied and smiled, “but my favorite is your voice. You are a great singer.” Goya laughed at that. “Only you would ever think so, dad.” Her father smiled and shrugged and started belting out an old Beatles song. “Yeeesterdaaay, all my troubles seeeemed soooo faaar away!” “Tell me about it,” mumbled Goya and left her father singing in the kitchen.

The next morning Goya had still not thought of anything to do to entertain the old woman, so she decided to follow her father’s advice and sing. Her mother had once told her, when she was tiny, that everyone could sing it was just that some people were better at it than others and could therefor pursue it as a professional career. Well, at least Goya knew that that was out of the question for her. She landed on an old 70s tune her mom used to sing to her when she was a baby.

The sky was, if that was even possible, even darker that morning, and the rain lashed down like mad. “This is starting to feel a lot like Ragnarok,” said her father and pulled his basketball cap further down over his face. At least the temperature had gone up a little so Goya decided to stick with just a shorts and a long rain coat, that way she didn’t have to walk home in soaked jeans. The water on the path now reached up to her waist, and wading through it was much like trying to walk through a lake. “So you are finally here,” said the old woman as soon as Goya reached the clearing in the forest. “So come on, hit me, whaddya got for me?” Goya stared at the hag. “Since when do you speak street?” The croon roared out a thunderous laughter and slapped her knees violently. “I thought you were going to entertain me?” she demanded, but with a slight twinkle in her raven eyes. “Well, uh, I thought…I thought I’d sing…” “Excellent!” exclaimed Grandmother. “So, let’s hear it then, whaddya waiting for, hon?” Goya glared at her suspiciously, then cleared her throat. This was a lot harder than what she thought it would be. Why was she so nervous singing in front of a mad, probably homeless, old woman? “If you are going to Saaaan Fraaansisco, be suuuure to weaaaar some flowers in your hair.” Goya started weakly, but picked up the pace and raised her voice as she got further into the song. And then, to her utter amazement, the old woman started dancing! Yes, dancing! She lifted her skirts and tapped her feet heavily on the ground while swaying her upper body back and forth quite wildly so much so that her….ummm…..girls (or were they perhaps called ladies in the elderly?) jumped merrily back and forth. “You’ve brought life to me old bones!” she roared and clapped her hands to the made-up beat. “Come on, girl! Dance!” Goya hesitated. Dancing was definitely NOT her strong suit, but what the heck, she was in the wild woods in the rain with a crazy homeless person, why the ever not? So she relaxed her shoulders and jumped up and down while clapping her hands and swaying her hips. It probably looked ridiculous, but Goya didn’t care. When the song finished they were both panting and laughing. “Well that was fun,” said Grandmother and smiled mischievously. “But now I have to get back home in the rain and I have nothing dry and warm to wear, so tomorrow I want you to bring me some new clothes.” “What?” exclaimed Goya. “You want me to go shopping for you?” “Shopping!? Whaddya mean shopping? Don’t they teach girls to sow nowadays? To knit and weave and spin?” “Eeeh….I don’t know what century you are from, no offense, but this is 1993 and we get our clothes from shops. And there are no shops around here so I am sorry but no can do.” Grandmother studied her angrily. “I am sure you have some old rags for a poor soul in your overstuffed wardrobe. Something to mend, to break, to put together?” It wasn’t really a question, it was more like an order. Goya sighed. “Fine, I’ll see what I can do.” “See you tomorrow then,” said the old woman. Goya gave a half wave, turned around and waded back home. “If this keeps up I’ll have to swim out here tomorrow, “she muttered to herself. “So much for your dry clothes.”

As soon as Goya had walked through her front door she called her father. He was out in the garden as usual in his red wellingtons and yellow rain coat. “Daaaad, do you we have any old clothes at home? Like something mum left behind or something?” Goya’s father froze with an iron spade mid-air. “What do you want with that?” he asked his daughter. “I just thought perhaps I’d donate it to some homeless people.” That was precisely the kind of answer that would earn Goya’s father’s approval, and he came swooshing inside in his drenched muddy wellies. “I think there might perhaps be some in the back of my wardrobe. I think they might be your mum’s or my mum’s or granny’s, I am not sure, but you can take what you find. “He smiled warmly at Goya. “It is a really lovely thing to do, sweetie.” He ruffled her hair and gave her a quick hug. “Yeah, yeah, I know,” mumbled Goya and leaned awkwardly away from the hug. The wardrobe did indeed contain old female clothes of varying quality and questionable style. “Looks like I come from a long line of hippies,” sighed Goya and dragged out another neon pink and mustard yellow floral dress. It was hard to find anything that could be categorized as “warm” except for a poncho with lots of holes in it and a faux fur coat smelling of moth balls and old dried-up sweat. “Looks like I have to brush up on my sowing skills after all,” sighed Goya and set to work. It was midnight when she was finished and the result was a rather questionable poncho cum cape cum shawl thing made up of different patches of cloth, some in bright florals, other in knitted Indian cardigans and even a few in faded brown stinky fur. All perfectly asymmetrical and as far from vogue-worthy as possible. “It will have to do,” yawned Goya and went to sleep.

The next morning the rain had of course flooded the entire forest, even the garden was dangerously close to the muddy lake that used to be the Forest of Dean. Goya put the cape she had made in a plastic bag and tied it to her head. Fortunately the weather was a bit warmer so Goya decided to wear her bathing suit. She put a big towel in the plastic bag and waded into the forest. This time the water reached up to her neck. “So you came?” said the old woman, perched happily on a fat branch of a tree. How she had managed to get up there Goya had no idea. “Yup, and I brought you this,” said Goya and handed her the cape. The old woman’s face broke into a toothy grin and she wrapped the ugly cloth around her body. “This brings warmth to me old bones,” she said and touched the fur patch tenderly. “Well, it took me all night to make it,” said Goya and shivered in her bathing suit. There was no point trying to dry herself with the towel, even here the water reached above her waist. “Look, Grandmother, I better head home right away or I’ll catch pneumonia or something.” Grandmother cackled mischievously and beat her fist against the trunk of the tree she was sitting in, making the droopy leaves empty their stack of rain water right unto Goya. “Thanks a lot,” muttered Goya and gave the old woman a mean look. But Grandmother just cackled louder and wrapped the cape tighter around herself. “Well, I’m off,” said Goya and turned around to walk away. Suddenly she stopped, waited a little and turned back towards the old woman. “Aren’t you going to ask me to bring you something?” The old woman smiled and nodded her head. “Yup, just bring…yourself.” Goya shrugged, it was a funny answer, but it meant that she didn’t have to spend the rest of the day making something out of nothing, so she didn’t question it.

When she came back home, she felt weirdly empty and rather restless, so she spent the afternoon helping her father in the garden, to his very obvious delight. The next morning, Goya woke up and startled. The sun was shining brightly through her window! She ran out in the garden where she found her father humming and weeding in his herb bed. The sky was a brilliant blue and the sun teased and caressed the little herbs, the trees and the grass. The water had subsided drastically and there was hardly any sign of yesterday’s flood. Goya hurried and got dressed and headed in to the forest to meet the old woman even before she had had any breakfast. The forest path was back into visibility and the only leftovers from the flood were tiny silvery puddles. When Goya reached the little clearing the old woman was not there. She thought perhaps she was too early so she climbed a tall oak and waited. She waited and waited, but there was no sign of the old woman. Eventually Goya had to come down from the tree and except that Grandmother was not coming. Goya had no idea where to look for her, she didn’t even know if she lived in a house. Searching for her would be pointless so Goya decided to head back home and prepare lunch for her father. As she was walking slowly along the path, enjoying the warmth of the sun, her eyes wandered to a little puddle just next to the path and suddenly she startled. Hadn’t that been…..in the puddle…? Goya looked again, but this time all she found in the puddle was her own well-known reflection. She shrugged, it was probably just her mind playing tricks with her, so she lifted her eyes to the sun and walked back home.

Running with Wolves

2016-09-09-09-09-01

This story is pure fiction, but it is inspired by Finnish creation myths.

If ordinary people were interested in the problems of philosophy, wise men would be found wandering up and down the runways of modern culture eager to debate. But despite popular belief, in the beginning it was not the word, it was desire. And desire split the universe in half. And the air had a daughter. She was beautiful, of course, but lonely. So she drowned herself in the mighty ocean and had a child with him. But a bird came and stole her child away and made it into earth. The child stretched his hands towards the sky and made a bridge for his mother to cross. But from the bridge came darkness and sank its teeth into the child’s chest, and so a lake rose from the newly formed cavity, and now the child could be embraced by his father, and his mother went back to the air and kissed the child’s little cheek. But the darkness was still there, so soldiers were born from it, and tried desperately to fight it, but failed of course, and the different elements had to learn to live with each other. Not in harmony, no, that would have been impossible, but in quiet acceptance and defeat.

Mr. Lawrence folded his books away, lowered his glasses and stared directly into Gylfie’s eyes. Gylfie looked down, embarrassed. She was perhaps the most eager student, but far from the boldest. Mr. Lawrence cleared his throat and said unceremoniously, “Well, children, that’s all for today. You may read Chapter 16 about Finnish myths for next lecture.” He heaved his book bag unto his shoulder and trotted out of the lecture hall. Some of the other students got up quickly and followed him, but Gylfie remained in her fold-up seat. She had heard the story before of course (her grandmother was Finnish), but she couldn’t remember any darkness or soldiers or piercing of hearts in any of her granny’s stories. But Mr. Lawrence was a decorated professor of ancient myths and paganism, and there was no way she would ever question his knowledge or authority on the subject.

Gylfie waited until she was the only one left in the lecture hall, then slowly she got up, chucked her tablet in her backpack and left. It was a rainy day. Huge whitish droplets had settled on the Fiat’s windscreen, and the blackened concrete road was bordered with brown puddles. Gylfie unlocked her car and attempted to wipe off the rain, but as soon as the window was clear, a new shower scattered its discharge on the dry surface. It was impossible. Gylfie sighed. She hated driving in such low visibility. The roads were thankfully pretty empty of people. It was gray and gloomy outside and the few cars braving the weather were moving slowly and carefully. Gylfie followed behind a black Citroen, her tires splashing rainwater left and right. Then suddenly she heard a loud yelp! She looked to both sides to see where the sound was coming from, and there on the sidewalk stood a boy, or rather a young man, covered in muddy brown water. She had obviously splashed him. He looked so forlorn that Gylfie pulled over and got out of her car to apologize. The young man had a strange look about him. His hair was bluish black and shoulder length, his eyes were icy blue and almost fluorescent, and his skin was pallid, but with a soft glow that made Gylfie stare at it, mesmerized. “You didn’t have to do that,” said the man, in a surprisingly deep voice, “get out of the car, I mean,” he shrugged apologetically, “these things happen. It’s the rain.” Gylfie didn’t answer right away; she was too caught up in his glowing skin. Then she pulled herself together, and said to her own surprise and astonishment: “Do you need a ride somewhere?”

The blue eyed boy lifted his eyebrows in surprise; he stared at her, as though he was examining her intentions, but then nodded and smiled. “Alright, yes, I’m on my way to work, perhaps a ride would be good.” Gylfie opened to door on the passenger side for him, and walked around the car to let herself in. “I’m Ylv by the way,” said the young man and held out his hand for her to shake. “Gylfie,” replied Gylfie and they shook hands. His was wet and cold, hers warm and dry. Gylfie switched on the heating and pulled on to the road. “So, where is it you work?” Ylv smiled. “The circus,” he replied, “it’s just off Macon Street, by the old library.” Gylfie nodded, she knew the place well. “What is it that you do at the circus?” She asked. “I’m the Gorilla man!” Ylv threw back his head and laughed. Gylfie stared at him. His face changed when he laughed, it opened up more and she could see tiny wrinkles around his eyes. When he noticed her serious face he calmed down and studied her. “I’m a skin changer……a shape shifter…” He lifted his eyebrows and made a grimace, then he chuckled, “I’m joking, Gylfie, relax.” Gylfie smiled and nodded. Of course she knew that. They drove a while in silence. ” Heeeey,” said Ylv suddenly, “have you noticed that the weather has changed?” Gylfie looked outside the windows of the little Fiat. He was right; the heavy rain had turned to snow! Snow! It was only October, a bit early for snow, thought Gylfie to herself. “Well, at least it’s not settling,” responded Ylv, as though he had heard her thoughts. Macon Street was coming up, and Gylfie made a right turn towards the library. Then suddenly Ylv cried out: “Watch out!” Gylfie stared horrified into the snowy damp windshield and spotted a shadow crossing the road just in front of the car, she hit the brakes hard. The car skidded off the road and stopped abruptly before it landed in the ditch. Ylv struggled to open the door, finally got himself out and ran to see what it was that they had almost hit. Gylfie stayed frozen in her seat, shaking. What had just happened? Ylv came back to the car and opened the door on the driver’s side. “I think it was just some kind of animal.” He looked at Gylfie and added with concern in his voice: “Are you okay?” Gylfie nodded weakly. “You know, I can walk from here, if you’d rather just go home, I mean.” Gylfie nodded again. She seemed to have lost the ability to speak. Ylv shrugged. “Okay, thanks for the ride anyway, perhaps I’ll see you around.” And with that he shut the door and walked away.

Gylfie remained in her car seat for a while, staring out the darkened windshield. What had just happened? The snow had stopped and the coldness of the oncoming night had solidified the water on the windows into patterns of white shiny ice. The roads would freeze too, thought Gylfie to herself, and she started the Fiat. Better get off this increasingly slippery track before she had another almost accident.

That night Gylfie repeated the incident over and over again in her sleep, only this time it was a child on the road, and she didn’t almost hit it, she ran right over it. Ylv was there too, but he just sat passively in his seat, giving a hint of a smile each time she hit the child, then vanishing into thin air as soon as she stopped the car. When morning finally came, Gylfie was exhausted. She went to the kitchen and made herself a cup of coffee. The weather had changed again; the sun was now piercing through a clouded sky, breaking apart the ice from yesterday’s chill. Gylfie shoved her tablet and books into her backpack and headed for the car, but as soon as she saw the battered Fiat, she knew she couldn’t drive. It would have to be the bus.

The central heating in the bus was turned uncomfortably high. The bus driver sat happily in his seat in a worn out t-shirt and sunnies, while the passengers struggled to keep from sweating in their winter coats and woolly hats. Gylfie started to feel a bit queasy. The heat was suffocating. She closed her eyes and concentrated on her breathing to keep the nausea at bay. The bus was making a hopeless amount of stops. There were bus stands at every corner and the bus seemed to take every turn and sidetrack possible to look for new passengers to fill the empty seats. After ten more minutes Gylfie could not take it anymore, she pushed the stop button and waited for the next bus stand to appear. When she was finally back outside in the fresh cold air she realized that she had no idea where she was. She looked around for any clues, like a street name or a sign with a name on, but there was nothing. She just had to pick a direction and start walking. At least the fresh air cured her of the annoying nausea.
After walking for about twenty minutes Gylfie came to an abrupt halt. There was something familiar about this place. On intuition she made a right turn, and yes, she had been right, she was back, back on the scene of yesterday’s almost accident. Gylfie could feel her arm hair stand up. Why had she come here? Was it her subconscious mind telling her something? Maybe she actually had hit that animal and now it lay somewhere wounded and dying. And it was all her fault. Where would a wounded animal go? Gylfie examined the landscape. The road had dried up and was now back to the gray color of faded asphalt, on each side of the road there was a ditch, and on the other side of the ditch there was a scattering of trees. Gylfie recognized birch in their white barrenness and even dark green spruce and other evergreens she was not familiar with. Stillness emanated from the forest, as though there was a boundary of quiet between that green natural world and this gray asphalted nudity. Of course, thought Gylfie to herself, a wounded animal would have run into the sanctuary of the forest.

The trees were tall, hardly letting in the sunshine, and the path became a zigzag of shadows and withered leaves gleaming in rays of faded light. But at least there was a path. Gylfie stepped carefully over little rocks and puddles covered in black ice. It was so quiet she could hear herself breathe, only a couple of birds chanted wistfully in the trees. Soon the forest opened into a clearing and there was a lake. It was a small lake with still dark water, little flakes of sun-flecked ice floated on the surface. The banks were bordered with lean reaching grass indicating perhaps a swamp-like interior. Gylfie jumped as she suddenly heard a faint sound of water being moved sideways, not exactly a splashing, more of a quiet gliding. And then she spotted him, a man swimming gracefully in the lake. His black long hair floated behind him on the water surface making him look ethereal and otherworldly. Gylfie gave a little cough; she had to somehow indicate that he had an audience. The man, obviously taken by surprise, splashed around a bit, then turned and swam towards her. When he was quite close, Gylfie saw to her astonishment that it was Ylv.

Ylv rose from the black water and waded towards her. Gylfie was embarrassed to see that he was stark naked. But Ylv didn’t seem to mind her seeing him naked. He just smiled and came over to her, wrapping himself in a towel. “Isn’t it cold?” Asked Gylfie. Ylv shrugged. “You get used to it.” “What are you doing here, Gylfie?” Gylfie was taken aback by his obvious lack of manners, she cleared her throat and said, a bit annoyed: ” I-I came back to….to see if that animal from yesterday was hurt.” Ylv’s eyes softened. “Gylfie, we didn’t hit it, it got away, remember…” “Yes, but….but….I thought.” To her astonishment Gylfie started crying. Warm tears ran down her cold cheeks and landed on the ground. Ylv came up next to her and put his arm around her. “I could have hit it,” said Gylfie, sobbing. “I could have killed it. It could have been a child. I never thought…..I could do something like that…” “But Gylfie,” said Ylv soothingly, “it wouldn’t have been your fault. It was dark and raining and,” “It wouldn’t have mattered,” interrupted Gylfie. “I….I….am capable of taking a life….it wouldn’t have meant anything to that life if I meant to or not….” Ylv put his other arm around her and held her. She sobbed into his shoulder. “Gylfie….let me take you to your car. You need to go home.” “I don’t have my car,” whispered Gylfie, “I took the bus.” “But why?” Began Ylv, but stopped himself with a sigh. “Oh, Gylfie…” Gylfie thought she detected frustration in his voice. Who could blame him, she was being hysterical.

“Come for a swim with me,” whispered Ylv in her ear. “It will clear your head.” Gylfie sniffed and swallowed a sob. “But, but it’s so cold, Ylv, I’ll get sick.” “Nonsense!” Exclaimed Ylv loudly and smiled. “It’s just cold in the beginning, then you get used to it. It’s good for health, really. Come on! Give it a try!” Ylv looked so enthusiastic; Gylfie had to smile through her tears. These last two days had been pretty crazy, maybe she should add a little more madness to the already boiling over mishmash of temporary insanity. Ylv saw the change in her eyes, and his smile broadened. He discarded his towel and ran towards the lake, pulling her with him. He was like a naughty child let off the leash. “But I don’t have a swimsuit,” protested Gylfie. “Well, neither have I.” Ylv threw back his head and his laughter hit Gylfie right in the face. It was infectious. She hesitated. She could just wear her clothes, but then she would have to sit on the bus back home in soaking wet clothes. That did it, the thought of wet clothes gave her the audacity she needed to strip down, she had not planned to undress entirely, but when she started removing garment after garment, there was a freedom in it, an abandon that made her bold, and she followed the already splashing Ylv into the lake without a single piece of cover-up on her body. Ylv didn’t stare or make any sign of desiring her. He was more like a child, enticing her to wade deeper and deeper into the black water.

The water was cold. Colder than anything Gylfie had ever felt against her body. Little silver needles pierced her skin all over, and penetrated deep into her. She had a hard time breathing. Her breath came in heaves, desperately being sucked in in an attempt to fill her lungs with something else than cold. Ylv seemed unaffected. He swam calmly around her, smiling and teasing. His skin was still white and pale. Gylfie watched her own skin turn from an irritated pink to a bluish red. “Come on!” Laughed Ylv, “Just do it. Just let go!” Gylfie released her body into the water, and the world disappeared. She could hear noises, water surging, closing in on her, a small ringing sound and something else….perhaps breaking of ice flakes. The ground under her feet was no longer there and she sank. But no, she couldn’t! She had to swim! Gylfie kicked off and rose to the surface, desperately battling the treacherous water. As her head broke free she managed to take one big breath and fill herself with air. She struggled to keep herself from drowning. Her eyes searched for Ylv. But when her gaze met the bank her eyes widened in disbelief. Someone was standing there, next to the pile of clothes she had left behind! Something small. Was it a child? Or….no….it was a cub, a wolf of some kind or maybe a husky. Gylfie went under again. The darkness of the lake swallowed her, and this time it would not let go. It was quiet now, almost peaceful. Gylfie relaxed her limbs and let herself sink. Then suddenly, a pole of light struck the water and travelled fast towards Gylfie. It spread like a bolt of lightning and shaded her face with soft yellow. It must be a ray of sun, or perhaps starlight or a torch. In her delirium Gylfie could not tell. But she had to follow it. She was drowning! She didn’t want to die! Gylfie forced her body to listen to her and slowly she ascended towards the source of the light.

The surface broke with a slow slurping sound. Gylfie gulped for breath. Her hair was pasted to her scalp and her nose was smarting from too much water intake. Rays of warm sun basked in her frozen face, and the water reluctantly released her to earth’s waiting embrace. Gylfie waded towards the bank and her pile of dry clothes. There was nobody there. No child, no cub. Only too much silence, a complete absence of life. Gylfie shivered. She no longer cared about the child; it must have been a figment of her delirious frost-shocked mind. She used her t-shirt as a towel and hurriedly dressed herself. There was not a single bird chanting now. But where was Ylv? Gylfie looked around. She let her eyes slowly fly over the water, but there was nobody. Only silence. The water didn’t even move and neither did the shadows nor the wind. Frankly, Gylfie was glad. She was tired of this strange blue eyed boy and his teasing and tricks. He was probably hiding somewhere in the forest, laughing at her. Then suddenly Gylfie detected a sound, it was an engine, the engine of a vehicle. The bus! Gylfie leaped to her feet and started running towards the road she had come from. She was not going to miss that bus! She paid no attention to the broken branches, the busy ants or the faint prints of paws under her feet. She just ran frantically, to catch up with the oncoming bus.

Be the Wind that carries You

Close your eyes
and be the bird
upon the wind
stretch your wings
and be the wind
that carries you

Close your eyes
and be the air
that moves the wind
abandon your boundaries
and be the breath
that births the being