Sometimes a buddy can come in the form of a person met only briefly…
The inchoate weeping continued for most of yesterday, and has resumed (to a lesser extent) today. I am letting my body do what it needs to release some of the huge build-up of tension and fear. Cathartic, if painful.
This morning dawned the golden-white brightness of forge-heated gold, a metallic sheen which seemed to slide off houses and trees and pool in the centre of lawns. My body was that weird combination of poker-stiff and trembling which betokens high nervous tension. I needed to be out.
Velvet Bottom was calling strongly. Jumble struggled to get into the boot and, in giving him a hand, I felt something give in my lumber area (a vulnerable spot since I wrenched it push-starting my Puch 50 way back in 1979). But, I was not going to let that hold me back and, limping into the car, set off for the familiar and much loved Burrington Combe, Rock of Ages, road.
It is a gorgeous drive, truly inspiring and so varied: One moment, goats appear sunning themselves on high rocky ledges; the next, a large cow chews the cud on the side of the road. Pheasants scurry far too close for comfort, making their weird arking noises, and rabbits peep out from hedgerows.
The sun, now more muted, was licking the track with its long spring-gold tongue, and the bluebells shone brightly in the clear morning air. It hurt to walk, and I could feel that I was listing to one side, but I did not want to give in.
And then, suddenly, at the side of the path, just as the track began to descend, there she was: The tall woman, privately nick-named Music Lady, whom I encountered yesterday. The odd thing was my utter certainty that I would meet her again; that, I think, was what propelled me in a Bottomly direction.
She was just standing there, as if waiting for me to arrive – and, again, there was something slightly otherworldly about her, though not in any sinister sense. Her aura seems to be placid, peaceful, slightly eccentric. Nothing wrong with any of those!
‘No music today?’ I asked her, for she lacked yesterday’s manuscript book.
It turned out she did have music with her: Had recorded what she needed on her daughter’s little machine, and was in the habit of coming to VB in order to practise, to learn.
I was delighted by this – and asked, ‘Are you a singer?’
‘No,’ she said, ‘a fiddler!’
She plays for dance classes and the like, and learns her pieces by either memorising the sheet music or, as she was doing today, hearing the tunes and letting the information foment via the ear. How wonderful!
Then she told me that she had come across a herd of deer making one hell of a racket. Initially, she had thought the noise was that of a sick cow, but further investigation revealed the shrieking, agitated deer. Did something spook or hurt them?
What immediately came to mind, however, was the recent Silent Eye ‘Foliate Man’ weekend, and the ritual which dealt with the three Sir Bertilak hunts, and the three Trials by Seductive Lady ‘suffered’ by Sir Gawain. The first of the three hunts centres round the stag.
This IS my time of trial. I have found my way, as Sir Gawain did, through the horrific landscape of the Wasteland – and have fetched up at the metaphorical Sir Bertilak castle, ready to be tested in a very different way: Aware that I am likely to undergo an attempt to seduce me from my path; that temptation to give up and revert to ease and the status quo will be put before me, and that the Green Girdle (in one form or another) will be dangled in front of my eyes with its promise to save me from harm.
Day One: The stags and hinds screamed and made a fuss. So can I!
But I also thought about the White Hart Tarot Card (which is the Lovers card in the Caitlin and John Matthews Arthurian deck I use) – and all the rich symbolism which comes with it.
I suspect that those deer made themselves heard for a reason, and that I met Music Lady as part of a pattern too: That the threads – colourful and thrilling – of this tapestry are being stitched and woven before my very eyes, but that I will not recognise the full picture quite yet.
Sometimes, we need to yield to forces outside ourselves, and be open to messages from beyond the obvious. Sometimes, we need to remind ourselves that the whole of nature speaks, and speaks eloquently, and that it is our set-in-stone human ears which prevent us from hearing the subtle songs and poetic utterances of the other beings we share this beautiful world with.