I am hunkered down on a mossy rock above a small creek. Below me the water flows swift and cold and dark. I am watching it, knees tucked up under my chin, rocking from heel to toe. After some time I understand that I am not alone. There is someone come for me, slipping out from the roots of the massive tree across the creek. She moves like shadow, breathes like memory.
“Are you a spirit of the tree?”
“Or of the water?”
“And the mud too. And the way the light falls.”
She is of this place. The all of it. I see that she is holding my little frog heart in the palm of her hand. I can’t remember ever seeing anyone else hold him. He is happy with her, he is safe.
I am pinched with thirst. She dips a cup into the stream and hands it to me. I am a tangle of brush, starred with an occasional unpicked berry. “How do I get out of this?” feeling thorny and unproductive.
“Why do you want to go?”
“I don’t want to go. I just want to be here better.” I’d rather be soft and muddy than twiggy and brittle.
“Do you hear the water?”
“Yes.” Small chuckle of constant movement.
“Rest in that.”
And so I do, and it is good. Eventually, all effort to be other than I am, drops away. In all that time, she never leaves me. Her name is Lily and she smells of the joy of the earth where it meets water. She is dark and weightless and tender.
“Lily, Lily how do I get back here when I need to?”
“You don’t have to get back. There’s no getting back. You are always already here.”
She’s right, I know. I know she’s right. “Sometimes I forget.”
“And then you remember,” she says, soft and certain as the next easy breath.