“The stars are closer than you think.” The shaman left me with this admonition, hobbling away with his stick of gnarled ash. There was a look in his eye, glint of a star — his soul, still stalking this barren land. As the day began to break, blue shafts were piercing orange and red, a warning; creation speaking and thought becoming instant form; a mounting cumulus cloud, shape of a lion’s head. “The world is mind,” he’d said, “dreaming us into existence and what we may be.” The cloud soon morphed to show a crescent Moon, then Venus, morning and evening star, companions for my journey home.
Brigid, we parted one February, an ending for us as the swelling of spring began. Your name was not Brigid; the Irvines were lowland Scots, after all, but you resembled that Irish princess with the auburn hair, the green eyes, that cover of the paperback you had lent me which had entranced me so. What is it about chemistry? Or is it music, the way cello and violin complement one another? Does the body reflect the soul, or is flesh mere pretense to mask the true intention? Things are clearer now — weren’t we in love with love? So much easier to bear than with each other, where loss, pain and misery are set off, the ticking time bomb of this duality. And I didn’t say… but I saw you the other day, older, wiser, a family of your own but with the same look in your eyes, so green. Brigid, though decades now separate us, I am glad of our anonymity, the memory of what love might be.
I must have strolled this ancient shore, leaving no footprints in the sand, seen the infant sun spill his light over jagged horizons, the glowing Moon ascend into sparse sky to ride the assembly of stars, a firmament at once remote and intimate. If you talk in eons — I see in seconds; new life’s struggle to be born, a fossil falling to the sand from a cliff’s crumbling edifice. For as I exist at the beginning so do I persist until the end, though I am not made of stars, I merely follow the word and the breath.
The shark’s reputation precedes him, demonized in the minds of millions, movie-goers jumping, or hiding behind their darkened seats. Predators must hunt, unsmiling and relentless, the prey must die so they can live; for nature’s complexity is for us to understand — not judge. A greater power than Man put this realm together. And as a poet once said: ‘…one may smile, and smile, and be a villain–‘ So step back, you silver-tongued fiends, those who think they know better; Your power is temporal, so brief, whilst the shark’s honest instinct is ageless, only taking its due.
*Quotation from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 5, line 108.