Little Bit, shadow of the crane

Days of recuperation have not brought the resilience I’d hoped. The work week dawns and I balk at the gate. This won’t do. I go looking for something to rally me.

I find Little Bit tucked up under an eave in the attic, pressed up sideways to the window to get a view of the stars. “There’s so much room up there,” she explains. “It’s a comfort to me.”

There is something faint and fading about her, I’m afraid she’s slipping away from me.

“Come on,” I take her hand, fling open the window and go out, pulling her through after me, out into the air, up onto the roof. We clamber laughing up the tiles to the ridgeline. I settle in against a chimney, straddling the peak. Little Bit leans back against me, I fold my arms around her.

We watch the sky. We watch the moon rise into the black. “Some people love the moon best of all, don’t they?”

“Some people do,” I agree.

“And the moon, she loves people back.”

“Yes. I believe she does.”

Little Bit gets up then and walks the ridgeline. We are both dressed in black, black skirts, black stockings, black shoes. She looks like a parisian dancer, walking that line, like a circus performer, lifted up by some deep confidence. “I believe from here, in this light, I could fly,” she declares.

“Let’s not test that theory,” I laugh, not ready to commit everything to that confidence.

Little Bit reaches the next chimney and climbs up, perching on the top of it. “I could be a stork or a crane, one of those birds with long legs, long necks, long beaks and a wingspan broad as houses.” She opens her arms.

“I don’t believe I ever saw a black crane.”

“I could be a crane’s shadow, skimming the rooftops. I could be the shadow of a crane.”

“You could.”

“Did I mention I was tired?”

“You did.”

“Because I am.”

“I know,” I say. “Come here, Little Bit, let me hold you awhile. Rest here. I’ll hold you safe.”

Settled back into the cradle of my lap, she breathes her council into my chest. “I know that you’ve been feeling pressed.”


”It’s important to make as much room as it takes. Don’t accept the given expectation of speed and the need for more, always more. Take the time it takes.”

“I just want to sleep,” I confess.

“That’s ok,” she whispers, “sleep.”

“Sounds like depression, doesn’t it?”

“It’s not depression. A lot has happened. You’re processing, digesting. You are as full as uncles at thanksgiving. It’s ok to take your time. Take the time it takes. You’ll know when you’re ready.”

“And then?”

“And then,” she murmurs, almost asleep, “the light will be in your bones and it will raise you up and you will remember.”

“Remember what, Little Bit?”

“Lift,” she says. Lift.


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2 Responses to Little Bit, shadow of the crane

  1. I love this line, ‘As full as uncles on thanksgiving.’ So cute. And the moonlight. What is moonlight? It is simply the knowing I get when something feels right. Keep lifting up – keep lifting up. So funny I have been working up a piece of writing in my head called Looking Up. We’ll see what roofs or chimneys it takes me to.

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