The wind was soft and pink when I awoke in the first whisper of the morning and it was carrying starlings -chattering, making for the sky from the rooftops; living. In my dream we were in a different season. The winter hadn't yet tightened his grip upon the expectant world, and the trees weren't fully bare; golden hues of light dripped down onto newly fallen leaves. It was Samhain, the eve when the veil is lifted and the past, present and the future can be viewed from any place along the river that flows;deep and darkening. Quicker than the dawn drags the sun back to the cold, ethereal world, the night fell and all at once I could see you through the crowds that stood like oaks on the other side of the river from where the real oaks stand- ancient and folkloric; makers of the myths of time.
The river began to fill up with reflected and refracted light; fireworks and lanterns on the still surface. You were right beside me then and I could see the crackled parts of your strong, kind hands. A huge, dark shadow appeared on the top of the water and I looked up into the night sky and saw a large, mechanical bird- higher than the tallest building along the quay but low enough to still be visible. The bird was blacker than coal, its handmade feathers dancing in the air as a long piece of willow moved the creature in dream-like rhythm. Feather tips silken and hollow right through yet stronger than the moon's pull on our earth.
I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that the bird was mine, every part of its structure belonged to me alone. I owned that large black raven in the Autumn's night sky. And then, all out of no place that could be seen at all, another bird appeared, right behind the black one . Almost identical in size and form but utterly white all over. It almost mirrored my black one in its fine and controlled movements, their wings being made to flap in near perfect unison.
When you first told me she, too, was my bird, I could not hear your words. It was as if the world had lost its soundscape; quietude in the freshness. And then you covered my ears, gently, and mouthed to me as clear as daybreak -'She, too, is yours.'
Silence filled up all the spaces in between for what felt like a long drawn century but slowly, softly, I found my voice, once more, and asked of you- 'Can they only see the black one? Does anyone else see the white bird, too?'
'My love', you whispered, your voice filled with soothing certainty. 'Only you can see your birds. All that everyone else sees is the light show they dance upon the water. The birds are yours to carry, always. They will always fill your sky. But all the shadows they make are yours to keep as well. And from this night on, it is you that will take control.'
As you placed both willow sticks into my hands I watched as my movements made my birds dance, the black one and the white one together. Their feathers filled the river beneath with bright, golden light that made me weep, softly.
'This is in your hands, alone, now. Enjoy the dance, dear child. '