Fifty-Seven

It was a field marked by the smells of summer. The sun had already set. The world was violet, bluish green and soft red. There was a woman standing in the tall grass, with her back towards me. She started to walk slowly, her movements suffused a scent of hay. A wind of whirling colours rose in her steps. And she kept on going.

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Thirty-Four

I was in a cave with the Siberian man. There were small fires everywhere, giving warm light. There was a lake in the middle, fire dancing on the water. “How can this be?” – I asked the Siberian man, but he didn’t reply. Then the cave opened into a night field, but the grass was not grass, it was water. It was neither liquid, nor frozen – these narrow spades were long, soft and supple, almost transparent, moving in the wind. The watery vegetation was glowing in a soft shade of turquoise, and when I looked up at the sky, I saw tiny bursts of fire in place of the stars.

As I moved further, slowly walking in the field, letting the water-grass stroke my hands and legs as I went, I noticed a different, harsher kind of light to my right, to the West. I knew something was on fire but could not make out what it was. Its shape was indistinct.

Then  I saw butterflies darting up over my head and into the dark, their wings on fire. I was saddened, wondering whether they could feel pain. Then a bird took off to my right, to the East. Whatever it was above us, it seemed to have pores and wrinkles, like skin. The bird tore it up in her flight, and the sky was slightly bleeding, a watercolour red gently melting into the dark blue. And the turquoise water-grass was still glowing, still billowing. And the sky was still mixing its red with its blue, gently pulsating to the same rhythm, spreading all shades of translucent purple around.

Five

I wondered, what would it be like to meet Jupiter? I thought I’d ask the bee. I found myself in a narrow boat,  like a canoe. There was somebody sitting at my head, rowing. I was lying on my back, staring at the sky above me. I saw some spots of light shooting by, they looked like fireflies, except the bee who was flying very close to me. Then I realized they were not fireflies but stars, and that even though it felt like we were hardly moving at all, we were in fact gliding so fast the stars seemed to leave a trail on our breaths…

It was a small river, and we were going upstream, the landscape changed from summer reed to autumn meadow to snow covered field, and the river got more and more narrow, until the rower had to step out and pull the canoe.

At one point, somewhere in the midst of autumn, we stopped by a field of harvested corn. Barely visible beings wrapped me in a large piece of white gauze, as if I was a newborn baby (I still couldn’t move). I saw my mother as a young girl, maybe seven, they also put a sheet around her shoulders, like a shawl to protect her from the cold. Then I saw another girl, about the same age, on the other side of the river (to the right) and they dropped the cloth on her head and tightened it around the knees, I was frightened for a second that they would suffocate her, she seemed scared, too, but didn’t move or give a sound. They loosened the gauze, and then my canoe sped off, leaving me to wonder if the girl took it off her head in the end or stayed under it…

Finally, the rower stopped pulling me across the snow, and I wasn’t sure whether we arrived somewhere or she just got exhausted. Then I heard a drum, two reindeers came to meet us, and I could feel a new presence welcoming us without words.

.


Note:

Going upstream the river to the north reminded me of the tree of languages, my mother tongue belongs to the ugric family, one of only three languages. The other two people are both native to Siberia, they are mostly nomadic reindeer herders – the drum could have been a shaman’s drum.

Four

I was on a wheat field, lying on the ground. It was sunset or dusk, and there were some people moving around, as if covered in colourful vapour. One of them, an old woman, came to me and sat behind me, by my head. I could not move. I was waiting for the bee to come, but she wouldn’t, and I was disappointed. The old woman put her hands on my head. “you are too willful” – she said gently, “let it go”. She pulled my head a bit towards her, my neck felt very long, and she gently tucked in my jaw towards my chest. Then she put her thumb on my chin and pressed it down so that my mouth opened, and a bird flew out.

Then she started to press a point at the very top of my head, and some other points, mostly on my face; between the eyebrows, under the nose and under the lips, under the eyes… A warm flow started to circulate in my head, gently pulsating. At one point, I saw a spiralling path of pebbles glowing brightly in total darkness, and I started to jump from one to the other, and clapped my hands joyfully, like a child. Or maybe I was a child… Then I could smell the wheat, and saw the field again, gently rocking in the sunset. I felt so relaxed when I opened my eyes, I didn’t even realize how tense I had been…

Three

I was in the forest. I recognized it from a series of dreams I had some ten years ago.  They were powerful and scary dreams, but I only remember the last one in detail: I was facing an army of the dead, and in the end, I buried them all with water, fire, soil and Sun.

This time, though, I was just there, not sure what I was, man, bug or stone,  lying in the grass. I saw a huge yew tree, but I was not sure whether to visit… so I just stayed there, in the grass, the wind gently blowing, and the days passing fast, evening, night, dawn, morning, afternoon, evening, dusk, night, and so on, a day in a few seconds, I don’t know how many weeks. Then I was in a field, it was the field where my mother took me a few times to harvest cucumbers, from morning till evening, hard work. But now it was just me there,  nobody else, there were no cucumbers, either, the clouds sweeping fast in the sky, and I could smell the soil. Then I was in another field, where we harvested corn when I was a kid, and I remember playing hide and seek with my cousin in a haystack when the adults were not watching. This field was empty, too, it was just me, the grass, the sky and the smell of hay… Then I was in yet another field, this one in France, where we once stopped with my husband to have a picnic and stayed for quite a while, just enjoying nature… now I was alone here,  too, surrounded by  wild flowers, feeling the Sun on my skin and enjoying the smell of wet grass…

Then I was in yet another field, one that I did not recognize. And, lying in the grass, I noticed a young woman stretched out not far from me. I saw her from the corner of my eyes, her skin was very pale, her hair long and reddish, and she did not move. “Is she one of the dead?” I wondered, and started to feel uneasy. I could not turn my head to see her properly. “Don’t worry” the bee said. I didn’t realize she was with me, until now. I wanted to perceive more of the woman, but she did not seem to move. I tried whether I could smell anything, and there was some bittersweet smell, I could not tell what it was… the bitter part reminded me of moss, I did not recognize the sweetness, though… I wondered whether it was some flower nearby, but I could not look around. And that’s when I realized that I could not move at all. I felt puzzled, but not scared.  “it’s okay” the bee said, and I opened my eyes.

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