Tale of the Turtles

Once upon a time in a rampant little town tucked deep in a valley floor, there lived a witch. She would have told you then she was happy with her lot, her loves, her life as she bustled about her cottage, her place in the world set and sure.

The gods smiled knowingly upon her and placed a turtle in her path, as the eclipse still rippled through the worlds. Champion of the hard shelled and softly underbellied, she leapt to its rescue as they knew she would. Her hands and eyes fastened upon its enchanting shell as the pond glinted through the reeds. She didn’t see the hole she fell down, breaking her stride and hobbling her best laid plans.

In the months that followed, her broomstick languishing in the corner, she had to limp back to life through a graveyard of old bones. The sky turned dark and the thunder rattled her roof. Lovers and friends turned to monsters before her frightened eyes and she found herself alone in the dark. Her familiar crippled, life seemed to still and slow until all she could hear was her breath and her blood.

Her gaze shifted irrevocably through the cracks of her very bones. She stared down the monsters and walked on by hoping they could not see her aching, her shaking. Through the fog seraphs emerged bearing kindness and comfort, soft hands and gentle nourishment. Ancestors held the gates and gently shepherded her passage. Her healing had a momentum of its own that defied her panic and too her pain until it faded back inside her and found its new home.

Seven moons later she passed a turtle in the same spot. Still she could not pass by. Her gaze sharpened, she chose her steps carefully over earth cracked by fire and drought. She laid her precious cargo upon the water and nodded to the gods as she made her way home.

The elegant symmetry to life is not obvious. Nor for the feint of heart, it only shows up to those who dare to look and meet the hammering in their chest when it reveals itself. It hides in dark unlikely places and invites the few who aren’t scared of the shadows to walk through its fire and emerge forged by its flames.

Keep going, darklings.

Artist unknown
Words © Kerrie Basha, 2018