I knew it was coming, but there was still resistance. Isn’t there always? The pull to keep those we love here with us fights against the letting go.
The news of her passing was brought through the soft waves of a song weaving through the space between dreaming and waking.
All is calm
All is bright”
It took the repeat of this refrain, over and over again, and me growing irritated by its interruption, before the dawn of realization broke. She is gone. Her soul released back into the union of light.
“All is calm. All is bright.”
Somehow she knew I needed to hear it from her, first. The delivery, perfect, as only she could create.
“All is calm. All is bright.”
I am holding onto those words as the hours pass into this first day without Sue in physical form. I am holding onto the memories that filter through the minutes to remind me of her love. Around my neck I wear one of her gifts, a symbol of the “Feathered Seer,” knowing there is a comfort that she has found reunion with the magic on the other side, and that already she has threaded it back to us.
“All is calm. All is bright.”
I need to hold onto those words, and so I do, because I am still not ready to think about the days ahead. And I know all of you who were graced by her presence will understand. For a tiny, “hobbit-sized,” woman, Sue had the capacity to hold an infinite amount of love in her arms. She was, and I know she knew this, an embodiment of the mother archetype many of us long for. How lucky I was to experience her unconditional love and grace, if only for a few years. How lucky I was to feel the embrace of her hug, knowing I was beloved in her eyes.
I wasn’t going to go. Well, I was, and then I wasn’t. As typically happens, I opted for family before self, and my daughter had wanted to see a friend’s performance in “The Nutcracker.” The only show happened to fall on the Solstice, and so I decided I would miss my friend’s gathering last night.
When I picked my daughter up from school yesterday, she got into the car and announced, “I’d rather go to the basketball game tonight.”
“Are you sure?” I could hardly believe it. Suddenly, I was free to go to the gathering. I had no excuse not to, except no one really knew I was coming.
By the time I walked through the threshold and into my friend Deb’s home, I had no doubt I was where I was supposed to be for the evening. Three had became four.
“I didn’t know if you would be here,” Deb smiled as she embraced me.
Neither did I…
“The fairies said you might not come. That it was uncertain,” Sophia announced. “I drew a card for us before I left,” she told all of us. “It was called ‘Ancient Wisdom’ and it had an image of a stone circle.”
I was not surprised.
Minutes laster we are gathered in Deb’s yoga room, surrounded by the crystals of Earth. Four women seated in the four directions. I, positioned at Earth. In the center, our small altar is filled with offerings and candles. Hovering in a circle of energy around us are the ancients, holding space.
I nestle the rainbow goddess I have brought into the well of my throat and ease into a supine position on the rug. My mind follows the pulse of Sophia’s drumbeat down a stairway into Earth. I am in the ground below Castlerigg.
Minutes pass. More than I am comfortable with. Inside the canvas of my mind scenes morph and disappear. My body grows warm and restless, then cold. It wants to dance. To move. I know where it wants to go.
We are waiting for you, I hear before I return to the room.
It was an impromptu decision. I was desperate for something to do, the kids bored and magnetized too long to their respective screens. We ate a hasty lunch, took the dogs for a quick walk down the road and threw some snacks and water bottles in the car. The three of us were on our way to the Polar Caves.
Even though we were driving to a waterless destination while the temperature was rising closer and closer to unbearably warm, I was simply happy we had all agreed on something to do. I hadn’t thought too much about the significance of where we were going, until hour later, not even when I saw the feather.
It was in the truck in back of me. Looming large and proud, the feather pointed toward the sky and nestled up against the cab in the back of the truck. Wow, that’s a large feather, I thought to myself, How odd that it’s in the back of that truck. Still, I thought Isn’t it beautiful. I marveled at the detail, how I could see the individual veins, and the way the white gave way to a crest of gray-black. It looked so real!
What I strange thing to have in the bed of a truck I thought as it pulled into the left-hand lane to pass me, A fake feather, like a flag. I looked at the truck again, now in front of me. Two narrow, brown cylinders rested against the cab, bearing no resemblance to a feather whatsoever.
I put the feather out of my mind as we pulled into the Polar Caves entrance and tumbled out into the dripping heat. I had, after all, two kids to watch and a series of caves to crawl through that would test my endurance for confined spaces. It was a quick trip, the three of us making our way through the loop of caves in the cliffs in just under an hour in our effort to compete with the crowd and the heat above ground. Ironically, there was still, in the middle of July, a thick slab of winter ice slowly melting in one of the caves. I could have stayed down there all day, if not for the kids, the line of people behind me, and my claustrophobia threatening to consuming me if I lingered more than two seconds without moving toward light.
It wasn’t until hours later, when I was back home walking the dogs around the block after yoga class, that I let the feather return to me to be mulled over in my mind, the mind that appeared to be playing tricks on me. The feather, I realized, had been pointed up as though in a headdress. I thought back to the Polar Caves, and then it hit me. It was a sign, even if its message was illusory. I thought about how the mind sometimes sees things that aren’t really there, but rarely by accident. I call these images, messages from the world of Spirit, or our Higher Selves. I had, I realized seen a feather for a reason, and seemed fitting that I had been on my way to an old Native American site. I was pretty sure I knew which of my guides was trying to reach me.