Thursday, July 26, 2012

Long Pig II

The proofs for Solstice Moon Solstice Sun  arrive tomorrow!!  In the meantime,  I'm submitting a bunch of my short stories to the Delaware Division of the Arts for an artist fellowship.

Here's the second of the Long Pig shorts.

Long Pig II
I stretch my consciousness across billions of galaxies wheeling and pulsing with energy and life --with void and death.  I count them as a hen on a planet yet to be will count her eggs.
The one we call Trickster snickers and remarks, “You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.”
 But I take my job seriously. I am Death. I am Change. None deny me my due.    
On the still non-existent Hen planet, some will call me Cerridwen, Hel, Pele, Kali, Tiamat, The Stern Mother, and The Crone. I am the ravening sow who consumes her young.  I am the liberator of souls who dances the rhythms of life and death until love and rage are one. Adorned with a necklace of fifty severed head, I dance upon my husband’s corpse, upon your corpse, and the corpse of every being who was or will be.  
Time and space are running out for this here and now.  It is stretched to its limit and touches the realm where myths are made.  I number each existence on planets that have been, are, and will be.  Rage rises against the cruelty unleashed and the lessons unlearned until I am consumed--taut as a boil ready to burst.  This universe quivers—suns sing their death songs.  I strain and roar. Mass collapses into mass. Each dying world becomes a bead upon my necklace.
. The dying universe surges in its death throes as  I devour dark matter, suns, nebulae, planets, satellites, blood, bone, sinew and  atoms until all that’s left is a conflicting silence---hot and throbbing with potential.  
     Eons pass. Bound to their galaxies, suns and planets form. Life evolves.  I am imagined on the Hen planet and worshipped in many forms.  Right now, it amuses me to incarnate where my worshippers are (as yet) unaware of my identity.  I survey them upon a reviewing stand   beside a lovely young woman crowned with a rhinestone tiara.  A satin sash draped across her chest reads, “Pork Princess.”   She is my handmaiden, for I am Cerridwen, the Great White Sow.  Humans admire my solid majesty—the long thick muscles of my groomed length. My pungent female scent attracts and alarms them. They cannot resist me.
The satin sash draped across the wide barrel of my torso reads, “Supreme World Champion.”   The crowd clusters—one bears an offering. I raise my huge head and grunt a deep, guttural warning.  He backs away in reverent fear as I thrust my snout into the cauldron of mash and turnips.   Fourteen pendulous pink teats hang beneath the swag of my belly where my unborn children squirm—waiting to burst forth.  All of the energy and potential of life is coiled within them—within each being.  It will erupt and will be stretched to its allotted limit, before I consume it so that the cycle continues. 
In this moment, I am inclined towards clemency because these beings appreciate me and because my body teems with life.  Besides, I do not wish to harm my handmaiden who smells of sweet lavender soap.  For now, she is The Maiden.  But I will always be the Stern Mother and the Crone. All will know my rage and my fierce consuming love.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Our author/illustrator page!  Good things are happening today for us.  A steady rain has given plants and animals the water they so desperately needed before the next bout of 100 plus weather,  AND,  thanks to my wonderful niece Lauren (graphic designer extraordinaire), Solstice Moon Solstice Sun is  formatted  correctly and is ready to go to the printer!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Summertime Blues and Blessings

Although it is slowly losing ground to the darkness, the sun is still almost at the height of its strength.  , The brutal heat in the Brandywine River Valley and up and down the entire East Coast of the USA  leaves us in no doubt of Sol’s influence upon Earth's climate.  The violent summer storms that took lives and  left millions without power while temperatures soared, remind us that (despite our technology) we are not the rulers of this planet—that we are all subject to the forces of nature.

The cicadas have begun their buzzing crescendos.   The pea plants are shriveled, faded parchment.  The ground is hard and cracked, and the local corn crop is in trouble. Ironically, the air is full of moisture and our squash and pumpkins are thriving--which just proves that what defeats one thing makes another thrive.  

This Saturday, was the worst for the sheer intensity of the heat but one of the best for bringing people together.  Hundreds of people crowded the banks of the Brandywine River around Smith’s Bridge picnicking and looking for relief. The river was so low that waders looking for relief stood knee high where the current is usually fast and the water several feel high.  Even the most reluctant, waded in. 

Just down the road, friends and family got together for a pond party at a local farm.  We all went for a dip, enjoying the  the water's refreshing embrace and the laughter of our children as they clung to the rope attached to an old Sycamore, launched themselves, and drooped (whooping) into the welcoming water.  When we emerged, the air was pleasant against our wet skin.  We shared our picnic food, laughed, and chatted as a quickening breeze brought in cooler weather without the violent storm that we feared.  This is the best of summer and of life-- laughter, togetherness, and finding a way to embrace nature even on a hot hot summer afternoon.   

When the heat index is over 100 F and the sky is a blue-white haze, it’s understandable that we yearn for cooler weather;  like maybe a blast of wintry polar air to cool things down.

But if you’re prepared for the heat and have water to drink and to play in, getting out even on a very hot day can help us  appreciate the intensity and beauty of summer.

 I hope that you are all enjoying a beautiful mid-summertime.  And if you’re still yearning for cooler weather, here’s a sneak peek at an illustration from Solstice Moon Solstice Sun to help you cool down.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Rose Walking

I have a bit of Rose in me. Though I haven't put a ball of yarn in the fridge...yet.

Rose Walking

Springtime in the farmlands was sunlight, soft showers, the rich scent of newly turned earth, and robins searching for worms. Rose walked the trail she knew so well. Purple and yellow violets, delicate wild geraniums, and comical Jack in the Pulpit hemmed its border.  She paused. Just here was the spot where she and Adam, her high school sweetheart, had made love on a plaid blanket before he was sent off to Vietnam.
She rubbed her back.  That pain was starting to shoot down her right leg again, but the farmhouse was just ahead.   She hurried up the gravel path, stepped onto the wide green veranda and opened the door with a sigh of pure pleasure.  She smiled and inhaled the soothing scent of dried lavender and Murphy’s Oil Soap.   She was safe.  She was home.
`           Peace flowed from the old polished floorboards, the plaster walls, and the big oak beams that supported the ceiling. Cozy, her calico cat, purred on an old cushion in shaft of golden sunlight. The grandfather clock ticked like a heartbeat, while a mockingbird sang arias from the weather vane on the roof.  She hoped a lady bird was listening.  She hoped she would pick him the way she had picked Adam on the dance floor in 1967, the week before he left for boot camp.  The summer of 1967 had been a good time, a good vintage and one she would always savor.  She’d had her share of lovers; there was Adam--her soldier boy, a hippie named River, and that young professor of philosophy…Larry.  They had all been beautiful as she had been beautiful. They had been so in love with being in love, in that fragile and wild time before Herpes, AIDs and Hepatitis C crushed the juice out of free love.
Then there was John, her other young professor--so witty and cynical.  At the party, everyone thought that he was brilliant and talked about his book on Adam Smith and the Wealth of Nations.  Academia wasn’t her bag. She’d dropped out of college to run an organic farm.  He was a practical Capricorn. She was an Aries—impulsive and adventurous.  But they had wanted each other from the first look. They talked, argued, and laughed for hours.  Just before dawn they found an empty bedroom and made love, while a June thunderstorm shook the house.
Afterwards, she shivered with delight as he stroked the curve of her waist and murmured, “Your skin is as soft as rose petals.”   It was a romance novel sort of thing to say, but he’d meant it.  He had served her breakfast in bed and given her a bouquet of Tiger Lilies.
One autumn later, she’d made her own wedding dress and had twined the garland of flowers she wore atop her long auburn hair.  Trailed by the wedding party, they walked to the edge of the cornfield where the Unitarian minister married them before God, Goddess, and their Presbyterian and Jewish Parents, while Indian summer heat raised beads of sweat and the ladies’ high heels pushed into the dirt.
`           Within a year she was walking and walking, up and down the hallway as her contractions grew closer and longer.  Then, she was walking up and down the hallways of this house year after year jiggling each of their five children.  Soothing, singing, rocking them back into a gentle world of dreams.
Now the kids were grown, flown away.  Busy with their own lives.  And still she walked in the woods and farmland where she and John had raised them--tracing the paths of their lives, wandering along the banks of her memories. 
She began to forget things.  She lost her neighbor’s name and groped for specific nouns—unable to topple the high blank barrier and grasp the term “parking meter.”  They had both laughed the time she’d put the ball of yarn in the refrigerator, but she’d seen fear flash from John’s eyes.  Now, she saw sadness in his eyes when he thought she wasn’t looking.
Rose glanced at the clock and wondered why the polished brass pendulum had stopped swinging.  The mockingbird had stopped singing and the room had grown dark. She groped for a switch. Her chest tightened.  Who the hell had moved all of the lights?
She called for him then.  ‘John?  John!”
The door burst open. 
“Rose!  Damn it!  You can’t take off without telling me!” 
He cupped her face, tilting it so that she had to meet his eyes.  “Don’t you know how frightened I was?”  He kissed her forehead, “You can’t just wander the whole way over here in your nightgown in the middle of March!”
He made her feel oddly guilty—like a little girl caught with her hand in the cookie jar. “My goodness! I was just checking on Cozy.”  Her brow creased, “Cozy? Now look!  You’ve scared her off.”
     Jon gathered her into his arms.  “You’re freezing.  We have to go home now Rose.”
“But Cozy!”
 “Honey, Cozy’s been dead for ten years.”
Rose stared at him blankly. He sighed.  It was no use.
 “Tell you what. You pick Cozy up, and we’ll bring her with us. Okay?”
            Rose beamed and sighed with contentment as John slipped on her coat.  
Then, she lifted Cozy as John opened the door for her. 
“Come on sweetheart; it’s getting dark.”
She paused. “I don’t think I want to go on this walk.  You go.  I’ll stay here.”
The arm encircling her waist tightened slightly. “I have a surprise for you.  You have to come with me honey.”
She looked up into her lover’s face.  “Where are we going?”
            Pain flashed in John’s eyes.  “For a walk, honey; just for a little walk.”