Not that long ago, it seems, Beloved held out his hand for me to take while he started up the music. He suggested I kick off my shoes and join him in the garden for a bit of “fun” for a few moments.
I recall the sun had yet to set, the air was warm, and he pulled me to him. We danced as the sun started to set. We danced in the pale purple of the coming night, and it seems we were still dancing when the moon was bright overhead.
Somehow during that time, I didn’t worry about stepping on an insect, our neighbors, or anything other than being with him. I was aware of the time shifting, and yet somehow, it seemed like time ceased to exist. It was just the three of us as the four-footed one switched between watching us and joining us.
It wasn’t yesterday, still the same I can recall it as if it were. Perhaps because he isn’t here now, I find these moments surfacing again. Each detail so bright and vivid.
Memory is a strange thing. I can recall that time with no effort, but ask me about time in the market two weeks ago, and I have no way to tell you about it. Selective recall I guess, which isn’t bad trouble to have
Her weathered hand patted my arm as she told me that Beloved was the lucky one in our relationship. She said it is rare for man to be able to hold fire in his hand and feel the passion of a woman who knows what she wants.
The truth is, I am the lucky one. You see, I am the one who is blessed to have a man who will put up with my stubborn ways, matched by a fiery spirit. Many others would leave, but not him.
He has weathered the tempests and the storms. He has held things down while I went off to see what I felt I needed to see. He has been the steady one, the one with the plan and a way to get there.
How many people can say that they are loved enough to follow their dreams, going where they want or turning back as they need? How many can know with confidence that their lover will be there regardless, ready to soothe any hurts and celebrate the successes?
I’m not so sure I would put up with what this man puts up with if things were reversed. He smiles when I ask him about this, he simply says, the cost is nothing compared to the rewards he gets back.
Some people say the sandwich makes a picnic. The type of bread, the fillings, even how it is prepared can all play a big part in the final taste of the sandwich.
Beloved is one of those people who truly believe that the sandwich can make or break a picnic. Sure, you have to consider the weather as well as the location. However, great food can overcome a poor location or rubbish weather.
With this theory in mind, Beloved headed off to the market to gather the picnic items required for a perfect outing. I stayed out of the making of the picnic food because I am not a picnic kind of girl. There is something wrong about eating with the ants.
He spent a few hours in the kitchen after he came back from the market, claiming the sandwich had to be pulled together and allowed to have the flavors all marry together before it was consumed. He did not explain why this included a plastic-wrapped brick being squished on top of it.
So, tell me picnic fans, how does this work. What is the magic that happens with the food that makes it great to share with the ants and the wind?
She arrived in a swirl of colorful skirts, a dark hat, and a multicolored cardigan one size too small. She didn’t so much walk into my room as she just kind of was there one minute!
She didn’t speak so much as she grunted and waved a handful of leaves at me. Not speaking the language, I wasn’t sure what she was saying or wanting me to do. She thrust dried leaves my way, pulled a cigar out of the depths of her voluminous skirts, and struck a match against her shoe.
This was unlike any doctor’s visit I had experienced in the past and I was sure it would be unlike anything I would experience again. How often does a doctor light up a cigar, and then blow the smoke on you, while insisting you fan yourself with the leaves? She continued the process until the cigar was a stub and the leaves had crumbled to nothing.
Just when I didn’t think it could become any more unusual, she scooped up some of the crumbled leaves, put them in a glass with water and swirled them around. Once she finished this, she dumped the water out and waited for the leaves to dry on the side of the glass.
The position of the leaves told her the next steps to healing me, which involved another cigar and smoke being blown around me. Healing takes all shapes and forms in the world. Not all of the way s can be understood.
The four-footed one decided she needed to see the various Christmas decorations in a local park. The fact that Beloved was talking about Christmas may have had something to do with it. Then again, it may have been the horde of jogging Santas that came up the street earlier today.
No matter the reason, the park is where we headed when she lead us on our afternoon ramble. And every tree had to be sniffed, every decoration staked in the ground had to be nosed. She found some artificial snow to get on her back and couldn’t resist running into the “gingerbread” house.
One of the jogging Santas was in the park when we arrived. Not that the four-footed one wanted anything to do with him until he held out a liver treat. Once the treat was where she could smell it, she went up to him and showed off all her tricks as if to say: see, I’ve been good and I’m clever too.
Liver treat consumed, she went back to ignoring Santa and sniffing Chrismas wherever she found it in the form of decorations, objects, and such. She can find the magic of Christmas like no one I know. And she isn’t ashamed of showing her joy, rolling in fake snow, sniffing snowflakes, and bopping up against elves. Let’s face it, she adores Christmas in the park almost as much as she enjoys Christmas day in the house. And I, well I enjoy watching the Christmas magic that both she and Beloved get caught up in.
With a lizard-like bob of his head, he motioned for us to enter the small building. It was a wattle and daub built hut with only a few openings to serve as windows. A large hole in the center of the grass roof allowed smoke to escape and light to filter down.
This was not an ancient hut; it was built to mimic those of the ancestors. The elder let the cloth swing back over the opening we had crawled into before he settled down near the center of the space. We sat closer to the sidewalls, leaving a respectful space.
Using the dim light to help build the illusions, the elder chanted about mythical beings as he tapped on a drum. Soon cups of a dark, foul-tasting liquid would be passed around. For a lucky few, they would begin to have visions of those very beings the elder had chanted into being for them. Others may fall ill, allowing the medicine to work in different ways. As for me, I would document what I could. It was hard to see in that small space. Not speaking the local language meant it would be hard to capture individual experiences, but it was enough for me to be present to witness what was becoming a dying practice.
It would take me minutes to let my eyes adjust to the natural light once I was out of the hut. And longer still for my mind to adjust to the questions that swirled in it. Such as what would happen to those mythical beings when there wasn’t a signer left to chant them to life.
There is something magical about the moments just before dawn and dusk. There is a softness that descends, if only for a few moments as if everything knows that we are hanging on the last few moments of one time to shift to another.
I love that moment of calm that happens just as the dawn’s first rays start to brighten the dark sky. I look forward to the softness of those gentle rays reminding us to slow down and get ready for some rest.
Beloved and I love to sit in the good seats and watch these magical moments be brought into meaning. How about you? Have you noticed the magic of these twixt and tween times? Have you ever sat in wonder as the first rays of the day brighten the sky? Have you ever just sat and took in the stillness of the soft rays of a setting sun?
Have you wondered about these moments? Not that they happen as much as how our ancestors placed such importance on these times. During these moments magic’s abound. The type of magic that leaves the promise of a new day or the cap on the closing of a day.