Hail to the wind that blows
Alive beneath the wings of crows
Blessed be the mighty force of nature
~ Force of Nature, Sharon Knight
The Witch that Danced Upon the Shore (c) Cara Fenton @ Book of Eucalypt 2014.
Alone she stood on the shore, facing out to the water, watching the full moon rise above and cast it’s glow down upon the tide. There were no sounds but that of the crashing waves creeping up the shore trying to reach her.
As she began to walk down to the creeping tide, the wind greeted her. Catching her from the east, it ran through her long skirt and plain shirt, gently playing with her knitted shawl, beckoning to take it down the beach. She laughed as she tugged at it back, tightening her hold. There will be none of that, she thought.
It was not her intention for something complex and formal tonight. It was not her intention for anything more than a solitary walk along her beach in the dead of night, under the full moon. But while she was here, with her mind full of racing thoughts that would not let her be, she knew that something must be done.
She greeted the spirits of the land, of the water and air, of the night sky, and of the glorious moon. She greeted her friends within the wind, within the waves, and within the shore: those who she had worked with for most of her life. She greeted them like family, as they are to her, extensions of herself as in the end we are all connected.
She took the tiny shells she had collected along the shore from her little bag draped over one shoulder, and one by one gave them back to the sea. With each return, she asked for guidance and for assistance with a much bigger picture to be rectified. The waves took each shell, and the wind picked up and danced around her, letting her know that they would assist where they could.
“Hail to the waters deep
The unknown depths where selkies sleep
Blessed be the mighty gift of water.
“Hail to the land below
The fertile ground where flowers grow
Blessed be the mighty gift of our land.
“Hail to the wind that blows
The strength to allow the past to go
Blessed be the mighty gift of air.
The wind gained strength as it danced around her, and soon she danced with it’s rhythm. The waves crashed harder and harder against the shore, chasing her further and further inland, where she could feel the heartbeat of mother earth. She danced as there was no one watching. She danced for the spirits, out of joy and out of love. Her laughter carried down the shore on the wind as it ran down the beach with the moving tide.
She bent within the dance, scooping up the fresh sand in her hands, and let it trickle out between her fingers as she spun around and around. The grains spread out like a fan as the wind caught that and carried it away with her laughter.
With each grain of sand, with each turn, with each step and twirl and movement she felt lighter and lighter. In a trance she lost herself and became one with the spirits of place she had honoured for so long. Her heartbeat began to beat as one with the land beneath her feet. She became the waves crashing upon the shore. She became the night sky, and the moon shining bright. She became the voice on the wind.
No longer concerned with the concept of time, she danced until she felt as though she would burst. Once more she dipped and spun, collecting more and more sand. Abruptly she stopped and threw her hands into the air, the sand rising towards the stars and drifting back down to earth like a shower of mist. Dizzily she collapsed onto her knees, and put her forehead to the ground, her long hair flying over as if too needing to ground.
She didn’t know how long she sat like that. It did not matter. The waves returned to a calming lap, and the wind softly caressed her as she bowed to the land. Her shawl was somewhere nearby, having escaped during the dance. The wind gathered behind it and pushed it closer to her. Without rising, she wrapped it over her shoulders, fell to her side, and fell asleep.
The gulls were calling when she woke the next morning. As she slowly rose, so did the sun behind her over the dunes. As she slowly gained strength and walked to the waves, the first runner of the morning was keeping pace where she last night had called out to the land. The wind greeted her good morning, and the sea beckoned her to come and bathe in it’s waters.
Smiling, she bade her friends farewell and began the walk back home.