by Myfanwy Collins
I think of the woods and of losing you there and of the dark path that leads down to the cottage where I was walking when a half-dozen gray and silver wolves surrounded me. Some showed their white teeth in a snarl or a smile and others just stared. I was full of fear, fearful; there was nowhere for me to go.
When the dark trees cover the lawn with their velvet light and the shadows slither across the grass but high above them one can still see the blue sky and the sun shining somewhere-that is when it is time to go out into the woods and look for the path that leads to the lake; the lake that you live on; the lake that will drown you if you let it.
Do not let it drown you.
Follow, follow, follow and breathe and do not let the wolves get you and do not let the lake drown you. Just follow and follow and it will lead you.
It will lead you to where we are bom anew and we go to our new lives, where forgetting and remembering become the same thing.
We are not so much born as we are remembered.
Let’s go back to the woods. Let us go to the woods and build a garden with a rock wall. I will find the rocks and haul them to you in a wheelbarrow and you can place them one by one in a puzzle that forms a wall. Let us.
Let’s make each day a prayer that only we understand. Let us make each day a prayer. The ground there is dark, sodden with life remembering and forgetting. Life coming back again. It will never become that tar pit and it will never become that piece of coal. It will not petrify.
In truth, we don’t know how long we have and we can’t know how long we can know.
And I say this to you in my voice. This is my own voice and this is what I say to you. Let us make each day a prayer.
We will learn new words and give them meaning. We will teach each other to sing. I will show you my palm and you will kiss it.
This is the prayer today.
Let us go back to the woods
Where the path leads to the cottage
And the wolves surround us licking and sniffing
And the lake, which may drown us
Let us go there and build a wall of stone
Which I will haul for you
And we will teach each other to sing
My palm, kiss it
And we will learn new words and give them new meaning
Let us make each day a prayer
Between me, you
and the rest of the world
The mourning dove reminds me that it is not just day it is morning. The mockingbird coming home to her nest reminds me that it is time to pray.
Each day will be a new prayer with new words. You can bring them yourself or you can use the old ones. It doesn’t matter to me.
I will build the wall if you can’t fit the pieces together. I will build it from my memory of how it should be. I will forget and then I will remember again.
A rusty tree and wreath. A wraith. A life behind a fence is hidden to me. The ground molts and moulds. Sheds its winter skin and blinks at me. It is time.
Let us pray.
Here is your wall and your woods. Here is your fence and your shadow. Here are your wolves and your lake and your drowning (do not drown, you). Here is your forgetting and remembering and your remembering and forgetting.
If you will stay and not follow me there, I will show it all to you.