The boy walked up to the angel. He was quiet, mystified, and reverent, though a little unsure how to approach her. The dress the angel wore was bell-shaped, and her wings stretched out wide behind her. A quiet smile graced her lips.That is how I envisioned the conversation between boy and angel yesterday in class, where Dr. Jones showed us a picture he had taken in a four hundred year old cathedral that had Mariachi Masses.
The child whispered something. Though I couldn't make out the words, I could tell it was an introduction of sorts. "Hello, I'm Juan," I imagined him saying. "Will you be my friend?"
The angels words were not meant for my ears, so if she responded, I never knew. But by the boy's reaction, I knew that she was speaking to him. "Of course, child," she said back. "I already am, and always have been."
A blush rose in the boy's face. His hands worked together, alternatively wringing and twisting in each other's grasp. He leaned in and whispered something in the angel's ear, one hand cupping so that no one else could hear the secret.
And so last night, as I left singingwren at her door, I found myself with a sudden, strong desire to converse as the boy had done, to see what might be said and whispered in the cold wind.
I dug out my hat and my gloves, and buttoned my jacket, and pointed my car toward the Chadwick Arboretum and the labyrinth there.
It is twenty steps from the edge of the pavement, between the standing stones, and to the edge of the labyrinth. It is a further twenty around the edge of the paving stones to reach the entrance. As I walked across, the frozen ground crunched loudly beneath my feet. Each time my foot touched the ground, a series of satisfying crunches would great my ears, and the feeling of uneven ground would meet the sole of my boot.
I stopped at the entrance to the labyrinth, unsure exactly what to do. I had come with visions of flopping down unceremoniously into the center of they maze, my ear against the cold stones, my palm flat against the earth. I had wanted to hear the beat of the earth in my ears.
But no more. Now that there was a path in front of me, I longed to take it, and yet I did not want to be stuck in it.
I pushed ahead, into the labyrinth, and let it swallow me.
I walked past a few turns, thinking of things I'd done there: rituals I'd attended, girls I'd kissed, trees I'd climbed. Suddenly, the feeling of being stuck in a path grabbed hold of me, and I wanted to walk out. Just stop walking the path and walk straight to the edge.
But I held on.
This was not like Wellspring, where I had spent an entire ritual saying to myself, "Not my ritual. Not my ritual. Not my ritual. . ." It was instead a feeling of right, torn by a feeling of something being more right, that I was now experiencing.
I slowed down. I stepped carefully. Which was right, and which was more? I challenged myself on this. I walked forward around the gentle curves, and turned the corners. Which path?
The walking of the labyrinth, I finally decided, was most right.
I continued around the path, looping and turning and twisting, until I finally reached center.
And I didn't know exactly what to do. How do you start a conversation with a place? How do you open yourself enough to ask a question, much less to request an answer? I didn't know, and I'm not sure I know now, but I did manage.
I closed my eyes and felt the cold air flow around me. I held my palms up and breathed deeply. I tilted my head back to the sky and my eyes fluttered open.
I looked at the tops of the tree that stood in the direction of the entrance. I turned to my left, where an old red oak stood. I had climbed that red oak before, and loved it dearly. I watched it sway, leafless, in the cold night air.
And then, I lay down. I put my back to the ground with my head in the center of the labyrinth.
My gods, I thought. The stars. . .
I looked up at a sky full of stars, more than I had ever seen while inside the city limits. I recognized minor constellations, and then found Orion, always one of my favourites. There was his three-starred belt; there was Betelgeuse. I followed the flow of the lines between stars, and they became the flowing muscles of the hunter. I could see his arm ripple as the club was held high, and I followed his gaze.
There, I found the Pleiades. Their light was shining down as it always had, and I counted them, time and again. I know the constellation well, and I have never failed to see Sterope when I gaze upon the Sisters. She is the shy one, the one who hides behind her sisters.
I gazed at the stars for a half hour, whispering my own questions to the labyrinth, the red oak, and the stones who were just beyond earshot. I questioned Orion and Alcyone, and winked at the shy girl who oh-so-lovingly winked back at me.
The promises and the wonderful things whispered in answer are only for me, though.
But they can be gathered if you simply ask the right question at the right time. Seek the proper thing to ask the question to, and you will get the proper answer.
Is this entry true?