The skeletal moon clings to its last vestiges, falling into the days-end clouds, wearing their arcane purple skirts.
We walk into the forest together, banging our deerskin drums.
We belong to the night. We are its light.
Nothing could sound freer than our steps in unison, our hands slapping soft, stretched skins on the off-beat in between. When you are a part of a whole, voluntary and useful, and the whole believes as one forest, one moon, one round earth, one starry night above, then there is nothing more or less. True strength in number, whether it’s three, three hundred, three thousand or more.
I don’t count out my years on a calendar. There are no birthdays. Age is not a question. I don’t count my wealth — pebbles in my pockets — or how many rows of crops or containers of dry grain I have today. I am worth one of me as part of one of us — a part of a greater whole expanding outward forever. What is personal wealth. Why would that matter?
I am not man or woman. I am attracted to the ones opposite of me. My kind are softer and can make life grow. There are some who make homes with their own kind. We don’t have a word for this or judgment because it has never harmed anyone.
There’s nothing I’m supposed to do or cannot do because of my kind as life creator. Each according to their own plan made in the hollow of an old one’s knee in the month when its leaves are small, tender and pale as a newborn.
It is that time, that moon as we push into the dark without any fear. We are the light. Our hearts form an iridescent web of sticky green vapor, that same color as new leaves on an old tree that we can see as well as feel with our other eye deep within. We are sharing this thought — energy. There is also a greater vision from our people and the earth itself humming through us together and individually. One of us may hear it louder, clearer, and thought-speak that voice-plan-intention to the rest of us tonight. It is a good night of clouds opening and clearing after strong rains when the moon is giving glimpse of its next fattening.
This is the time of awakenings to the strange and powerful birthings of the deeper energy all around us. With the power of the group, we step into it, as our hands slap the skins on the off-beat, walking into the darkness we own and illuminate.
Our collective thought creates the structures around us. There is no fear of a trip, a fall, or a hole, a rock, a branch, a log, or anything that could cause stumbling pain or discomfort. We see-feel and shift the reality together with melded energy of one belief, one sky, one moon, one of us, one life, one journey, all connected but each one its own.
After we have gone as deep into the forest as we have been instructed by our shared energy-vision, we emerge sometime later. A few will spend the night with their soul tree, their log, their animal, or whatever has shared its wisdom with them.
In the meadow we will light the great fire, soaked in oils and fat, built up gradually over the course of the previous days. Some will dance and sing their freshly divine instruction. Others will lie near the fire and follow dreams in the flames dancing higher, touching the stars. Others will make warm together and a new life will be created under these new stars. But those are all just some possibilities. There are more that have rarely happened or never happened before.
We call it the first night of the world. We belong to the night. It is our release of the half-year journey under, when night is longer than day. Now comes the long, warm and fragrant days. Of course we welcome them. But we do not forget or condemn the dark, the cold, the stars and what they have taught us. We celebrate this passing from under into over, dark into light that never ceases, but goes round and round, each one giving birth to the other. We too are made that way. Light/Dark.
There’s stuff from the stars in our veins, bones, and hair. Our pupils are black, but they open and close to receive the light. Our senses beyond the five have learned to see what they see in the dark, and are blinded by the strong, insistent light of the moons to come.
I see music better with my eyes closed. I am seeing that music now. It started on our walk and is getting louder, fanned by the fire.
I will jump up and begin singing it. I have a good voice made to sing. I have not created life on my walk, so I have more of me left over to make songs and give them words. Play them with my many flutes. I take the plants at this time to keep life outside me, not building anew within me. This is my way. To each their own as part of what is needed by the whole, spoken to us all, one at a time on the first night of the world.
I would love to get up and sing it now for you as the flames reach their highest and hungrily eat the stars.
[Gary D Aker lives in Portland, Oregon, where he pursues dance and photography in addition to his usual and unusual writing duties. He has been writing and publishing all manner of work for over thirty-five years. He has two sequential crime novels published as e-Books on Amazon and most other platforms, Delusion and North of Likely. He is an avid baseball fan — the game with no clock — and his great uncle is in the Hall of Fame.]