Thirty-Two

We were in a cave, the walls were lit by an unknown source, or maybe they were glowing by themselves. The Siberian man was behind me, and we were following a row of figures, enrobed in white, semi-transparent cloth. I asked him who they were, but he didn’t reply. “Is this some kind of procession? of whom?”

No reply.

Then I looked up at the ceiling of the cave, and to my surprise, I saw the stars.

“How can this be? How can we be down in the belly of the earth, in a cave, and see the stars at the same time?”

The Siberian man didn’t reply. The starry sky above was so vast, so beautiful, so alive, it took my breath away. We started to float, both the translucent beings and I. The Siberian man got hold of me by the ankles, and while we were flying higher and higher, he climbed up on my legs, until he was hugging my waist. I could feel his breath on my nape. We were floating among the stars, feathery, iridescent, luminous. Merging with the infinite.

“This is amazing. I want to stay here.” – I told the Siberian man.

“Like hell you will. We’re going down… gently, gently.”

“Do we have to? Why?”

“Because we are going down.”

And he was becoming heavier and heavier, weighing us down, until we arrived, feet on the ground, down in the cave. It was empty, and I felt sad.

“Did we really have to come back here?”

“Yes, we did”

Then the old woman dressed in white descended from one of the paths of the cave.

“Oh, look at you” she smiled at me “oh, the flight of the soul, beautiful, isn’t it?”

I didn’t reply. I felt sad. They exchanged looks with the Siberian man. The old woman nodded:

“Let’s sit down a bit, shall we?”

We did.

“Who were they? The beings? Did they just die, or something like that?”

“Well, they were never actually alive, you know, not the way you mean it.”

“You mean not in a body?”

“Oh” she sighed, with a little shake of the head, smiling. I understood she meant it was complicated.

Suddenly, I was in a winter forest. It was night. Snow everywhere. And wind. I saw a fox, chewing the bark of a tree. Then I saw a pack of wolves, and they started to run together, all like one, swift and quiet.

They were running through the forest, among the trees, from a hill or mountain, down into the valley. I saw an owl on a tree branch, turning its head around and around. Then I was with the wolves, running, and the Siberian man was with me. Suddenly all stopped. No animal moved, no wind stirred. The world stood still.

And then I knew why. Now I could hear it, too. A baby, crying. As if we all rushed there for this child.

The wolves gathered in a circle, and in the middle, there was a basket. The Siberian man went there and lifted it up, checking if the baby was alright. He smiled at me.

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