The Carriage Driver³ - Between the Glass and the World
Nichol stepped from the shower, bent and let her long hair fall forward. She expertly wrapped a towel around the back of her head and piled it all back on top. She tucked a towel in place around her and grabbed her toothbrush. As she was vigorously scrubbing, she heard the birds. She went to the window and pushed it up an inch or two and peeked out.
The wrens of winter swept through the opening, spun her around and around and around until she fell. They carried her soul away through the small opening between the glass and the world.
Their flight took them deep into the forest. Their first stop was in a tree near a clearing.
Darkness was pushed away, as Griffin stood at a forge, pumping new bellows, freshly made from the skin of a jackal. He was engulfed in a radiant halo and the ringing of metal against an anvil resounded. He had no appointments for three days and took the time to replace the rims of the carriage wheels.
Nuelle stood a few feet away. Her stall was clean, and she had fresh straw. She waved her tail and tossed her mane; she sensed a beautiful essence.
Accompanied by two wrens, Nichol flew and landed on Nuelle’s shoulder. “Remember this place. This is where you will want to return.” With that, they called to the flock in the trees and flew off to the land of the cranes.
Griffin turned as the flock of birds flew in unison from their place in the dark, singing as they went. He glanced over at Nuelle to check on her. She was looking at him. He went back to his work-away tune.
A hard day's flight brought Nichol within sight of the marsh where a great gathering of cranes rested. The marsh was well watched on all four sides, as the eagle and the hawk were known to raid their gathering place. One crane was no match for an eagle; one eagle was no match for four cranes. The reeds swayed as the lapping water caressed their limbs, and small frogs hid. The moon lit the stage. The cranes were alerted to Nichol's presence. The eldest began to dance, and as she did, one, then another, and another joined in the celebration. Nichol watched as all joined, except those guarding the whole. A night of dancing followed.
The sentries stood on one foot. In the other, they carried a stone. If they chanced to fall asleep, the stone falling from their grip and hitting the water would wake them. Soon another crane would take their place. The relieved sentries, would capture food and bring it to the weakest among them; then they joined the dancing.
In the morning as a low haze drifted about the marsh Nichol was able to talk to the eldest. “I am looking for a place of many moons. I have always dreamed of a red moon. Can you help me?”
The eldest having lived for many years, thought for a minute as she eyed a small water trail that surely was a frog meant for breakfast in the reeds. “Woman, you will have to reach the hole in the sky to see a place of many moons.” With a quick snap, she captured her breakfast. As the sun-splashed yellow all across the marsh, Nichol’s two companions flew back into the pines, where the rest waited.
“You are small, and may not be able to make the journey on your own. Climb on my shoulder; I will get you as close as I can. Then you will have to go through the hole in the sky on your own.” The queen of the cranes spread her wings wide and flew toward the sun. With that a chorus of song from the wrens, rose across the marsh, pleasing to both cranes and frogs alike.
On the evening of the second day, Nichol, who was always strong in body and strong in mind, was delivered near the hole in the sky. The queen of the cranes wished her well and called goodbye as she caught the wind and glided, bathed in yellow sunlight toward green earth.
Nichol hesitated for just a moment and wiggled through the hole. The sights were unlike anything she had ever seen. And the quiet was unlike anything she had ever heard. She headed toward the red moon.
She soon found herself at the Temple of Odem. There were no guards. No one stood watch. No alarms echoed through the valleys or expanses of blue. No weapons were raised or even existed. She found a perch and contemplated this world with a red moon. It was hours before someone even noticed her.
The image of a woman came for a closer look. When she was near, she raised her arm for use as a perch, “What are you doing here, little one?”
Nichol opened her wings and glided to a landing on the outstretched arm. Then hopped to her shoulder.
“This is quite a treat. Someone arriving by way of the ancients has not happened since, well since I don’t know how long. I am tempted to say for many moons.” She put a hand to her mouth to conceal the mirth in her statement.
She opened a wooden gate and stepped into a garden; flowers bloomed along her path with every step. Vines curled upward, and the scent was of ambrosia. She opened a door at the end of the path and stepped inside. The room was tiled floor to ceiling with geometric patterns. The center of the ceiling was a fountain, and a wide ring of water fell into a pond lit by moonlight. On a step inside the pond stood a stone bowl. From the bowl, flame cascaded out onto the water. The rising vapor caressed the ever changing shape of the one that never sleeps. Two leopards, tame as house cats slept outside the ring of water.
The image of the woman stepped between the two leopards close to the water.
“What are you doing here, little one?” The words, from the flame, brought another smile to the image of a woman.
“I know this place from a vision, and thought this is where I belonged. I have lived many lives and traveled many miles.”
“You do belong here, as do all pure souls. But as you saw from your perch, not many feel this is where they want to be. You are not due here for centuries.”
Nichol pondered that statement from her spot on the shoulder of her benefactor. “How will I find my way back?”
The woman turned and walked out of the door. Flowers blossomed along next to her with every step. “You will hear a signal. Follow it, and you will go to the place you are due next. Don’t worry; we will be here when you finish. There is much more for you to see. Much more for you to do.” She reached her hand to her shoulder; Nichol hopped on her hand, and with a wave she was airborne.
Nichol easily reached the hole in the sky and wiggled through.
Griffin stood by his new forge. He wanted to replace the worn rims of the carriage. With his sleeves rolled up, he pounded away with his hammer against the molten steel. The sound rang out along the rim of the world.
Nuelle waved her tail and tossed her mane.
Nichol followed the ringing of Griffin’s call.
The crane portrayed by Greek and Roman mythological stood as a symbol of joy, love, and life’s celebration.
John Denver & Olivia Newton-John "Fly Away" (1975)
John Denver....Sunshine On My Shoulders !!!
John Denver - Take Me Home, Country Roads (with lyrics)
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