Newly awoken, we come to you broken
In the afterglow, the afterlight of neverending day.
Holy, wholly, the fire turns us round
'til like whips of blood
we spin off to the skirting bales of hay.

Thrashing, crashing, til helpers bring us water
And we drink up while they watch our eyes for signs of failing life
After water back to fire and we spin like wooden spindles
twisting yarns of fate around us
in a web of colored light.

Slower, Faster the drums push us to dance.
Ev'ry face is bent intently to the mawing gaudy spit
Eat a cracker, eat an apple, drink another sip of water
Do it faster, longer, brighter just to get back to the pit,

And the sun shows us his edges at the fringes of our mother.
And the sky accepts his gift of softly growing purple light.
And on Earth the children dance, can't help but stop to see the orange
Of this warm not-quite-intruder who has shined away the night.

Opening up that dawn we sang to the bounty of the earth. We looked at each other and smiled, every morning of the trip began with hugging, and promising that we'd see each other soon. We felt that detached sadness of the priviledged when one of our elders spoke of sending our energy to places where it was needed, where people were cleaning up after an earthquake, a tsunami, a war. We felt the fear of children on the last morning, when one of us mentioned that we could "keep this brightness, this warmth in our hearts through the dark winter ahead," and that "We must all come back whole next year."

It can't happen that way of course.

Have I ever been whole?. I can't remember. The fire circle exists in my memory as a dream, the way that childhood exists there, and in the same way, life since then has detached the place where my memories live. There's nothing so unbelievable in New England winter as the promise of spring, of August, and every year like clockwork, we recede into our ground hog holes, burrow in for the haul. In December it's pretty, I can't wait for snow, and people are giving us presents, even grouchy people are forcing smiles. By the time my birthday gets close, I always lose hope. But then...a card comes in the mailbox, telling me to register early for my yearly "camping trip," and then I start seeing snowdrops, and thinking about crocuses, and buying seeds to start in my greenhouse window, putting my potted kitchen herbs out on the patio on especially warm days. The world starts to become greenish. Not green yet, but a suggestion of green. There are birds, making noises again, I am struck with the realisatin that I missed them. There is light when I wake up in the morning, there is scent to the air, not the familiar hard dry cold. My senses delight in the change. Rivulets from melting snow form pathways in the dirt, and the once hard lawn now swallows my high heeled work shoes. When I'm not at work, I try to go barefoot, and freeze my toes, but they're wet! They're in the dirt! and I'm growing myself down into the dirt like a seed that's been floating the winds, searching for a soft landing spot all winter.

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