The great warm-green expanse of the river runs beside me, arms narrowing to silent pools of sunlight, shadows curled like close-petalled flowers along the moss of the shore....
chill hand of fall crisps the air, tapping fingers of persistant cold beneath the comfort of my cloak.
Tangled trees, fragile willow holding to slender beech, portal the path, twining darkness to light.
Tiny-eyed flowers, caught about by the sharp-bladed green of crystal-strewn grass, wink in startlement.
Hesitant, low-throated, a thrush, hidden, sleep-dulled, sings....
a white-crowned kite answers, eyes fierce with searching, turning upon every shift of wind.....
this simple road, ribboning the hill with deepest brown, leaves drifted from age-gone Falls pillowed upon its dust-strewn face.
Its wakening warmth smells like tea....
and clover'd honey....
and things grown with care beneath the sun.
It smells like Home.
Just over the horizon, already grey-red with misted-opal dawn, it lies,
inside the circle of the World.
My breath halts.
Home: tiny eyes of hearth-fires fret in the roundness of windows open to harvest winds:
smoke curls welcoming fingers from chimneys close-hidden within the Hill.....
imagined laughter pours like ale, golden, sunlit, through the door of the Dragon.
I bend my knees until they touch the dark face of the road.
Time spills with endless ease into my lightening mind.
My fingers hold to the sweet richness of the earth, my hand lets the slow pull of the stream draw upon it.
It looks whole and yet fractured, turning in the shadow-dapple of the familiar cold.
There is a sudden presence at my side.
Bemused eyes, as warm with earth-wisdom as the wide river himself, take my measure.
Silently, sturdy legs bend to the ground next to mine.
It is not shame that compels me to bow my head beneath the eye of the Sun.
Rather, a quickening joy, running through me like song, like the music of the Sea....
like the voices of the streams that whispered to the silver-clad stones in the dawn of the First Morning.
that, in the very largeness of the world,
I am granted
beyond all thought, beyond all reason,
beyond all hope
to see this dawn.
Unlike that other dawn, within whose dark arms I lay and wished for death,
unlike those final moments when you carried my body and all else that I am,
we rise, together from the glad dust of the road.
Like unto that other dawn, your hand clasps mine,
like unto those final moments, we share the last few steps of our journey.
The Sun rides fiery in the East,
grey fog fleeing before Her.
The same Sun that washes the waiting fields with gold lays a path of gentle light before me.
I smile and set my foot to the last turn of my Road.