Mesmerized, I hovered, an eagle watching as crystal blue strands flowed to several deltas, then upward. Bordered by pallid banks, the drowsy tributaries remained silent in their journey. I studied each arc of motion vigilantly, managing to distinguish each stream, as well as the entire parcel of terrain. Peaceful as it seemed, something felt out of kilter. This fleeting notion was dashed when transformation of blue crystal gave way to an earthquake.
Ripples from the tremor did not alter the appearance of the stream, only the body of land they flowed through. A minor convulsion of unknown origin made the scenery quiver for a brief second, and then everything was still. Gently hushed, the lucid waters now darkened.
Following the banks downward, I could see the mountains begin to deflate, some unseen support below destroyed. Initially, the mountains had been an unnoticed feature, since my memory had until now never seen the land scarred by veins of blue. There was a vague recollection of nestling among these mountains, comforted in their warmth. Yet, nowhere could I remember anything but a barren blanket north of the mountains. The features were powdery curves, joyful and beaming always. No menacing crevices marred the landscape, no place of concealment from which threatening hordes could mount an ambush. This panorama was always tranquil, a placating harbor to depend upon, which I often did.
When and where the river began I did not know, which accounted for my temporary enthrallment. Their appearance marred such a wondrous work of art, yet in an artistic manner, the addition seemed a natural extension to this living creation. On the one hand, it seemed almost hypnotic in its fluid metamorphosis, while on the other, a familiar friend was now being changed. Jagged blue lightning had threaded this formerly tranquil canvas not unlike a shoe=s eyelets. I was at once engrossed and perplexed, not able to decide how to react.
My desire was to reach down with an appendage, one of my frail claws, perhaps erase the damage done; to wipe clean the scourge these streams had visited upon this countenance, return the horizon to its glorious glow of serenity. Frozen with indecision, my limbs did not receive or process these thoughts. And who would care, should I decide on a course of action? What matter would anything be that I could have attempted? What could I do at all? Insignificant novice that I was, there seemed to be only one line of reasoning, and that was to observe.
Troubled by the sudden arrival and even more abrupt cessation of the quake, I hovered in secrecy, cloaked in the physical darkness that filled the space around me and within me. As the waters darkened, so did my thoughts. Fear tinged with bewilderment, awe mixed with curiosity, my ability to act was drowned. I maintained my observation aloft, soaring aloft, unaware of time=s passing. A second could have been a year, and a year a moment.
As I stood between the moment of origin and end, all that ever we had shared raced within my thoughts. Youth may be wasted on the young, but my youth never blossomed when this home away from home was laid desolate. Anger is not what describes the moment, nor some sense of unrequited emotion. It is what it is, and I simply state how I felt.
Somewhere I imagined chanting mystical incantations, gesturing wildly, and having everything revert to how it had been. Before the quake had stilled the land, even before the rivers had formed, some time when I could look up past the deltas, and gaze at those hazel ponds. I could then see ducks swimming again in those green puddles, a sly smile ruffling the banks, hear clouds of laughter perfume the air once again.
Fiddlesticks! Dreaming again. I have to remember correctly.
What is it mother would have wanted me to think of? What would she have told me to do? I know she would not want me up at two in the morning, bothering anyone, especially for a drink of water. How ridiculous. Six years old, and unable to fetch a glass from the bathroom on my own? Unthinkable. Yet, I continued to hover, mystified.
A raspy sound, like a scream from several villages away, erupted in the midst of the burgeoning streams. Or was it lower? I heard it faintly, and the emerald pools seemed to widen. A towering oak on the fringe of this scene wavered in the shallow breeze, and caught my left side, clutching it. And it was then that I understood what was screamed, and knew all at once that it was only a whisper. The whisper of a dying dove, yearning for something that it cannot put into words, yet expresses with the chorale of earth, sky and water. And I knew there was peace. The land remained unstained.
I was no longer afraid, mystified, uncertain or unloved. She has not left me, nor have I left her. My ancient acquaintance is always with me. As long as I have breath, I will remember her beautiful face, her tender disposition, and her ability to make all right with the world.