Suddenly

It all happened so suddenly
A windstorm of magic
That threw open the doors and windows to my world
I had never seen the sun shine so brightly
Or the moon beam on me so lovingly
Even the rain I adore tasted sweeter
Now, in its wake, fallen leaves that crunch beneath my feet
Tiny twinkles of light that dance on drying puddles
A dying wind
And I wonder…where did my magic go

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My summer of ‘79

“I told him to fuck off”

“Why?”, my brother asks shocked.

“He wouldn’t let me go”

It’s only a few blocks from our school to our house. We’re walking back home from another summer camp day. Summer camps at the school are fun. Crafts, sports and no math. The programs are run by student teachers that need practicum hours. That’s what I’m told. They look too young to be teachers, but what do I know. I’m just a kid.

I know I shouldn’t have said the ‘f’ word. I’m surprised I didn’t get in trouble, but it just came out.

Class is over. I’m gathering my things. Everyone has left. It’s just me and the teacher. He’s a good teacher. Everyone likes him. He’s funny. He makes us laugh. He’s more like a friend’s big brother.

And then he’s the scariest person I know.

The guy I thought was so cool has me trapped. I’m caught between his outstretched arms. I can feel him staring at me. Smiling. His teeth and breath are coffee stained. The smell of adulthood. He’s waiting for me to move. Moving means touching him. That’s what he wants. How do I know what he wants? I shouldn’t know this. I’m too young to know this. I’m nine. And now my nine year old brain is wondering…did I do this? I want to cry.

Time passes slowly as if to make sure every detail of this moment is forever kept for some other time when I can process better. I need to get away. My fear gives me the tiniest bit of confidence. My tiny voice shrieks FUCK OFF, and my feet finally move. I’m trying not to run. I don’t want anyone to know what I just did. I can’t get away fast enough.

His laughter follows me down the empty corridor.

“You did what?”

My father fumes slamming his fist on the table. Utensils and food jump from their plates.

“Pappy”, my mother says to quiet him. It doesn’t work.

I look at my brother. He is seven. He knows nothing of keeping secrets or loyalty. Still, I am mad at him for telling.

My attempts at explaining are useless. My father can only see my actions as disrespect towards an adult. I am fully responsible for what has happened. I need to be punished. I am grounded.

The next day I am escorted to school. My mother apologizes profusely for my behaviour. I am forced to apologize too. He accepts. Of course. It’s unnecessary he claims. Just a misunderstanding. He is staring at me again. Smiling. My mother doesn’t notice.

We walk silently back through the halls. This place will never feel the same again. I will never feel the same again. I will never forget this place. My elementary school. The place where some of my innocence was lost.

And when I remember, many years from now, I will still hear him laughing.

My Red Tent

In another time I would have known that I am sacred. I would have known that I am at my most powerful when I bleed. I would have known because my mother would have told me. As her mother had told her. As her mother had told her.

We would have gathered together at our moon time, away from the world, to rest and dream. We would have been respected. We would have been revered.

Instead I have denied what I am for most of my life. A woman. A giver of life. I have complained at the inconvenience. I have masked the pain. I have hated my body. I have hidden the proof.

It is only now, as I near my Crone years, that I honour what I once called a curse. In my Red Tent I honour this gift with ritual baths, nourishing food, dark chocolate and tea. I cry for what I must leave behind and I cry for what I am about to receive. I spend time in introspective solitude. I meet with the Mother in her church. I create. I dream. I intuit and I prophecise. I give my blood back to the Earth.

I experience a rebirth once again.

I am a ceremony within myself.

As are all women.

ISO

I’ve never wanted easy. In my life or in my men. I’ve never wanted worship or fawning. Gifts? How trite.

I prefer questions and conversations.

Heartfelt words written and delivered during the dead of night.

Capture my image. Show me what you see.

Sing to me.

And if all these fail you, speak to me in body language.