Beyond the Dream
I lie awake under the cover of the large mosquito net
moving silently in the gentle breeze from the open window. In the distance an owl hoots
his welcome to the moon, or maybe to scare an unsuspecting mouse out of hiding. I turn,
feeling the clean cotton sheets brush sensuously against my skin, wondering where he is.
He always appears on nights like this. Tall, his long
flowing hair glowing silver in the moonlight, a look of unearthliness about him as he
silently enters my world and turns my life inside-out. Slowly, as if I have summoned
him by my thoughts, I feel his gaze. Shifting to look at the open doorway, I see him
leaning almost nonchalantly against the wooden frame.
"I've been waiting for you" I say, before I even
realize the words are out of my mouth. He slowly smiles, like the sun rising through
the trees and extends his hand to me.
"Come." It is a statement, a fact, not a command, but
I know I wouldn't argue, even if I wanted to. Slipping out from between the sheets, I
throw on a discarded shift and pull on my rather ungainly hiking boots. He makes no
comment, just watches, as I hurriedly dress. Sensing that I am ready, he steps out of
the doorway, knowing I will follow.
Our walk through the trees is leisurely and without
conversation. Despite his size he walks so lightly that no twigs are broken, no leaf
crushed. I, on the other hand, despite my best efforts, cannot seem to emulate his
grace. Sticks snap, leaves crunch. I often wonder if he is amused by my efforts to
copy his gentle stride, but there is no indication from him that this is the case. He
walks beside me, helping me over the more difficult sections of the forest floor,
silently pointing out a protruding tree root or fallen branch, and all the time I am
so very aware of his closeness, his presence. Wild, untamed and yet almost gentile
he is an enigma that I know I will never truly understand.
Finally we reach the clearing. I nod to the Others who
have gathered there, all familiar faces. Some respond in kind, others also flash a
smile. We walk to the centre, under the canopy of the dark trees above and he raises his
hand for silence.
Even the breeze obeys his command. The clearing is
still, breathless, waiting. Finally the sound of the horn echoes through the forest,
reverberating through the trees and felt to the very core of my being. It is time.
Without conscious thought we have all moved to stand
next to our partners. Paired in a circle around the open space, each couple joins hands
looking into each other's eyes. In the centre of the circle, I turn to face him and
feel the familiar momentary thrill before he reaches for my hand. He smiles.
"Antaguar," he whispers, using the name he gave me,
Closing my eyes, I feel him enter my mind, placing
images of wonder and amazement, magic, beauty, desire, love, enchantment, joy. A part
of me regrets that the only things I can give him in return are fear, anger, pettiness,
un-enlightenment, drabness and materialism, although I know we both give each other
the knowledge that our worlds need to survive, to balance, to understand.
I feel him lean into me as the onslaught of my
knowledge hits him. I can feel his pain and begin to withdraw my thoughts back into
myself, to protect him.
It is a quiet reassurance. I know that this is why he
comes to me, to learn, to re-acquaint himself with the human world, but the pain it
causes him each time distresses me. I open my eyes to plead with him, only to find him
looking at me with a gentle reprove in his eyes.
"I come to you to learn" his voice is like the rustle
of leaves on a Spring day, "but I also come because I love you. We are as one, two
halves of a whole. As we have been many times before. And to comprehend the whole, we
must know each half. Do you understand?"
Looking at him through the sudden tears stinging my
eyes, drinking in his beauty, his pure magic, seeing the moonlight glint off the sheen
of his antlers, I smile.
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