III – The Empress
The cold wetness of a tongue awakens me. The dog is jumping up and down, but all I see is barren land. Just dirt. Within myself, I know instinctively that this land isn’t sterile, just dormant with potential. Someone or something has stomped out all the dreams and just abandoned it. I stand up, seeing myself clothed in a skirt of green leaves, and a top made of red flower petals, the only spot of brightness here. But I am sad; I don’t belong in this place that is so dead.
I walk around the dirt in the pale morning light of dawn. There is nothing for miles and miles.
Even the air smells like dust.
I am tempted to walk away. To find my real home, because this is not it. I belong with lush greenery and humming insects, not this dead land of nothingness. But even as I turn to go, I can’t. I can feel the pull of the land, the potential it still holds. Knowing that it has been abandoned again and again means that I can’t abandon it now. Not even for my true home.
I hunch over and cry.
I cry for all the lost children, all the abandoned pets, all the gardens gone to fallow. I cry for those who’ve lost those things, too: the parents standing at too-small graves, the little boy crying out the window for his cat, the woman in the nursing home watering a single plant every day with the same attention she once paid to a huge vegetable garden.
As I cry, I notice something. Under my hand, where the tears fall, a small sprout has timidly peeked its head up. Maybe that’s all this place needs: someone to care.
I feel the watery pools behind my eyes as I take in the world’s sorrow.
I just let it all rain out of me. Rain, rain, rain nourishing the land.
In no time, this once barren place has become home, my real home.
The dog yips and dances around, then disappears into the undergrowth. I am alone now, but no, never alone.
My tears dry and my face lights up in joy, as I once more stand straight and tall. I smile at a bud of an iris, and it slowly blooms, proudly presenting its golden beard against its deep purple petals.
I whistle to a bee, and it begins to dance. As I watch and continue to whistle, hundreds of bees join the first and follow a choreography brilliant enough to dazzle the world’s most prestigious ballet company. I sit on a stump and a shy rabbit hops up to my feet, then settles in my lap. A butterfly flutters over and kisses my nose, then kisses several of the most upstanding gentlemen flowers, then flies off again, coquette that she is.
All this land needed was compassion and tears and feeling. A mother. I have come home again.