Mothers

Although the reckoning of time is different here on Evohe than on Holder’s homeworld of Earth, he reminds me that there, today is the second seventh-day–Sunday, in their words–of the month they call May.  That is the day, he tells me, most humans once celebrated a day called Mother’s Day.  It is one celebration, like so many others, that the corrupt Earth government known as Homesec have tried to eradicate.  There are those who celebrate it, nonetheless.  But I do not write this to talk of what is called ‘politics.’  I write this to talk of mothers.  I do not understand how those who have a mother can hate one another for differences; can wage wars against one another to try and place one set of differences above another.  When I was bloomed and born, my own mother knew I was different–the shape of my body; the color of my eyes and hair, and, very early, the questions I asked about our world and its life, all set me apart.  But my mother saw beneath the surface of my difference, a part of herself, and of my father–and she loved me, although I often think she must have been afraid for me, and perhaps even a bit afraid of me.

I have my own bloomlings–children–now: Linnah and Laren.  And they are Holder’s, too, and so they, too, are different.  The laws of Earth say they are an abomination.  Those here are more accepting, but they do not know that I see the small flickers of unease or even distaste that sometimes cross their faces when they see the children, who look like neither the people of Earth, nor the children of Evohe.  To Holder and I, that does not matter.  They are soil and stardust woven together from our own joined flesh and shared love, and they are precious beyond measure to us.  Our people ought to show them understanding, for, through Linnah and Laren, the missing pieces of the shared Memories of our world have been woven back together.  But many seem to care only that those memories have returned, and not how.  That does not matter, either.  I will be happy if they show mine and Holder’s bloomlings the care and love all young ones–all life-forms, really–deserve.  Change, and the restoration of that which is broken, takes time.  Each new birth is a chance for life to restore itself.  That is something every mother knows, and I do not think I knew it, myself, until Laren and Linnah were bloomed and born.  There is at least one thing my people share, at their core, with the people of Earth and many other worlds besides: we all have a mother, to bring us into the waking-world, guide us along paths both even and rough, well-lit and darkened, and help steady our feet until we must walk on our own.  If we could each see life through our mothers’ eyes, this world–and indeed, the vast Sea of Stars it floats in–could know peace at last.motherchild

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Age

Annah says:

On Evohe, we think of ages differently than I have found humans do.  We celebrate our own Cycle Days–that being the day we were bloomed and born into the waking-world–and those of others.  We know that at a certain age, when one begins one’s Becoming and our body begins the Change that will allow us to participate in bringing new life into the world, we pass from being bloomlings into being seed-youths and seed-maidens.  Motherhood or fatherhood is yet another stage along life’s Wheel.  But we do not assign arbitrary lines and specifics to these stages; rather, they flow like music, the way we ourselves flow through the melodies and measures that are our own lives.

I am now twenty-two cycles old, strictly speaking.  I went to my rest–some would say I ‘died’–for the first time when I was barely twenty cycles old; when mine and Holder’s two children were newly born But that is yet another thing that is different between my kind and humankind.  What Holder’s people call ‘death’ is, for us, only a stage to be passed through, a rest that we take in the waking-world a number of times before the final passage from this life into what waits beyond.  I have seen what lies beyond the shores of the spirit-river, and I will not fear it when I must return.

When one knows life as a dance of sunlight and stardust, what is age but a number, and what is time but a song to be danced to?

Still, I believe it is a song to be treasured, and I celebrate each day when I may rise and sing that song again, for even a single measure more.

I would not have imagined, when I was a bloomling, how early the First Ones would call me to the far shores of the Essei-Khai, or how unprepared I would be to leave my friends, my beloved mate, and my own bloomlings behind me.

And for that reason I write this to you: do not worry about the number of your days.  Celebrate each new sunrise and each new Cycle’s coming as a thing of joy, but do not count them, striking them away as if they were chores to be accomplished.  Treat them instead as gifts given by ones you love, and who love you.  And share them with those you love, and who love you–for that is exactly what they are.

Sing songs of life to one another, and invite each other to add to the melody of your own days.

Make the turning of your days a song worth remembering.  I do not know if any beyond my own loved ones will remember the song of my life when I have gone to take my rest for the final time.  But that does not matter so much to me.  What matters, I have learned, is how well I sing it now, and how many others I invite to share in the singing.circledance

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Reawakening

Annah says:

Has it really been close to a full Cycle since I last wrote in this journal?  Holder has been telling me I have fallen behind, and other friends of ours have reminded me as well.  I could blame it on having more responsibilities these days, with Linnah and Laren here now, I suppose.  But having bloomlings–children–should not mean one’s life stops.

Change should enrich a life, not stop it.  Life is a cloth woven of changes; like the threads of a bedding-blanket woven by a parent for their child, as mine did for me when my mother was carrying me.  Our people sometimes are wrapped in bedding-blankets when they go to their final rest, as well–when they pass into selei-khai, ‘the crossing’–the final passage, not the temporary passage from the waking world that our kind may go through a number of times before our lives truly end.

The season of Firstwarmth is nearly at an end, and soon Fullwarmth will be upon us; not as hot as Greatsun, but still warm enough and without even a breath of chill most days.  Days for long soaks in the cold stream-water; days for long drinks of fireflower tea, freshly made–and the seedmaidens of our Grove have been harvesting the fireflowers already.

Having children does not just make one busy, but it also wakes one up, as well.  Holder is laughing now, as he reads this over my shoulder.  Our daughter Linnah was named for the morning-bird called the linnaere, whose song is often the first thing one hears in the mornings on Evohe–and her voice is usually the first thing we hear, even before our own.  Her brother Laren sleeps later–not much later, but still.  But although they have brought changes, they have brought joy as well.

These are stories I will tell you soon; things I will write more of in the days to come.  Embrace the changes that come to your own life, for change means, most of all, that the Wheel is still turning.  And that, in whatever season, is a thing of joy.rosewheel

 

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Acts of Love

Annah says:

 

“Since first becoming more closely acquainted with human culture, it has puzzled me why there is such a difference in sensitivity to depictions of sex in art, whether written, represented by moving picture, or in still image, as opposed to depictions of violence.

The—movies, Holder says they are called—that I have seen containing images of violence are far greater in length and number than scenes of people engaged in the act of Joining, or even in erotic loveplay apart from intercourse. Holder tells me that as far as he knows, this difference has always existed in human culture.  It is far different among the people of my world.  Sex is not a hidden thing on Evohe; not a shameful thing—and yet if we do tend to seek privacy for lovemaking, it is because it is a sacred thing, to be shared with one’s partner, and we tend to like to focus on one another at such a time.  It is not because the act is ‘dirty’, as humans often describe it to be.

Humans, it seems, cannot even agree on how to refer to it.  It is referred to in pretty, if symbolic, language, as ‘the act of love’, and yet it is also reduced to the ugly, violent-sounding (at least to my non-Earther ears) word ‘fucking’.  I still hate writing or saying that word, but I am trying to be honest.

The traditions of my people hold that the body, its design, and its functions, are sacred.  This is why, for as far back as our shared Memories stretch, we have gone without covering our bodies in the second-skin the humans call ‘clothing’, as they, and the people of some other worlds, often do.  This is why acts of violence that destroy the body and snuff out life horrify me, no matter how many times I see them—and I have seen them far too often.  I do not know why humankind seems more disturbed by many other things than it is by these.

I have heard many humans—and many natives of other worlds as well—say they wish to put an end to war and violence.

If that is true, then I say we must first learn to see the beauty contained in our own flesh, which is the vessel of our spirit—and in the beauty contained in the flesh of others, which is the proof that when the First Ones breathed life into the Sea of Stars and all things that sprung from it, they did not stop at one act of creation.  They found the very act of giving life and light to the world to be a pleasure, and so they continued—and they continue today.  Our own acts of creation are, I think, a reflection of this—and we should honor them as such.  And we should honor each other.   Death comes for all, in time.  None of us may stay on this side of the spirit-river forever.  But, after all I have seen in my relatively young life, I have come to believe we should seek the joy we can bring forth in others—not the pain and grief that come easily enough without our effort.”eternalidol

 

 

 

 

 

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Small Seeds, Strong Roots

Annah says:

“I have been studying the history of Old Earth, before this time in which we live now, and before all the governments of Earth had been bent to the will of one state.  I believe that it is indeed possible for many voices to join in one song, but to do so, one must be careful that no one voice is silenced.

I lived a number of Cycles knowing too well what it was to be the silent one, and I suppose that was the first seed of my wanting to do something for my people; to make sure none of them felt as if they had to be silent.

I fell into the same role on the world called Holdfast.  Much of that is recorded in the second book about my life, so I will not recount the details here.  But, as before, I found that every real change in the universe begins with four small seeds; four small words: “You are not alone.”

These words can be the message a planetary government gets from a first encounter with a civilization they call ‘alien’–a human word I discovered meant only ‘not-us’.  It can be a message of comfort from one who is free to one who is in prison, or from one prisoner to another.

These words can mean an enemy is watching, or that a friend is nearby–and sometimes, the difference lies in the way we choose to receive the message.

But always, these words bring change.  We cannot acknowledge that another is not alone without recognizing that the same is true of ourselves: if you are not alone, then neither am I.

Thinking that we are alone can be peaceful, but it can also be more fearsome than the company of one who hates us.

I began to reach out to others when I realized that I was not alone, and wanted others to know the same.

I did not realize just how much change could come from the simple seeds of four words.

I have been called special by some whom I have talked to and taught; been held above others when that is the last thing I have wanted.  I say to you who read these words: the seeds I have planted, you can plant, in your own life and the lives of others.

You are not alone.  There are those who do not want you to know this, just as there were those who did not want me to know it.  And that is why I tell you.

Do not be afraid to plant your roots in soil shared by others, for in the end, all of it is soil shared by others, whether it be the soil of the worlds we are born on, or the black of the Sea of Stars.

Shared roots are deep roots, and will not easily be moved or torn.  This is what I learned on Evohe; this is what I taught on Holdfast.

These may be small seeds, but I hope that the roots that have sprung from them will prove deep.

It is my hope that these simple words–whose meaning is much more than simple–will be seeds for change.

We are not alone–but how we act toward the others with whom we share the garden of our lives is up to us.”in-the-grove1.jpg

 

 

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Firstwarmth

evohesky2

 

Annah says:

“It is rarely cold here on Evohe–a fact for which Holder and I are both very glad, though him more than me at times, I think, since Earth has more variance in temperatures than this world does.  Still, there are changes in seasons here–the fireblossoms lose their color and wither for a time, and the spicegrasses in the fields seem to taste more bland than they do in the early part of a Cycle.

But the Cycle is new again–it is the early part of Firstwarmth, our season similar to what the humans call Spring–and it feels to me as though there is much to be done, and much that can be done.

That is the nature of time, and of life’s tides, I think–there are times when we feel that everything is new, and the course of our action seems clear, because there are so very many things we have never done.

There was a time when I had never seen or spoken to anyone outside my world, and when I had little to do with even those of my own kind.  All of that has changed. I am working on setting down the second book of my life’s story.  I never thought I would compose–or help to compose–anything beyond music.  And this second telling seems to be taking longer than the first.  Part of that, I cannot change. I am working with a translator–we of Evohe would say can-kiri, which literally means ‘song-partner’–and he has his own life, as I have mine.  The second story is moving along; perhaps like a slow stream, but its current is alive, and it will find its way–in time.

Patience, and waiting for life to move in its own time, and to feel the tides of that time, are skills of Knowing, which is a part of the Craft of Shaping.  And I try to teach it to those of my Circle.  But I am still learning it, myself.  There is a rhythm and a melody in all things: in breathing, in walking,  in storytelling, in learning, in teaching, and in singing.

Sometimes, the pulse of the rhythm, and the melody that moves with it, are easy to find.  In a season of renewal, like Firstwarmth, this is very true.  At such a time, it is as if all the world is one song, a tapestry of harmony woven from many voices lifted all at once.  Not all perfect, but perfect in the parts they play.

At other times, the song is faint, and the rhythm like that of a fading heartbeat.  In those times, we must have faith that the melody will return, and the pulse of life will grow strong again.

Those of my Circle call me “Elder” and “Teacher”, and look to me for answers I do not always feel I have.  Sometimes, I too feel like a song that has lost its melody; as if my own heart were sleeping soil with only the promise of new colors beneath its surface, and none yet to be seen.

In those times, I think of the First Ones–for even the Sea of Stars was once a broad field of black, its stars unlit; the seeds of its songs only thoughts in the minds of that great Power that would someday sing all things into being.

And then, I do not feel so lost anymore–for Life itself is an endless song, that waits when we ourselves fall out of step or feel out of breath, until we again raise our voices.  There is a rest in every rhythm, and yet the song goes on.  I am still here–and I wish those who read this a happy renewal of warmth and song–and the new life they bring–in the fertile fields of your own lives.”

 

 

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Amazing Grace

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Annah says:

There are many words in the language of the humans, and I still stumble over some of them, the way I sometimes stumble over my feet–or Holder’s–when I dance.   The words are sounds, but one sound, one word, can have so many meanings.  One word like this is ‘grace.’  It can mean a skill and smoothness of movement, like the beauty in Chelries’ motions when she dances, or the smooth flight of a sleek spacecraft through the Sea of Stars.   It can mean a certain way of dealing with people, with manners, consideration and compassion, as my mother and father tried to teach me when I was growing up.  Holder says that a blessing to the First Ones–or whatever term one uses–said over a meal is sometimes called ‘saying grace.’

My friend Jason Treader–who is also one of the students in my Circle–taught me another meaning of the word, one evening by the campfire at the housing quarters we all shared on Holdfast, some time now in the past.  Holder and I had come up from bathing in the stream, and I saw the glow of the fire and heard Jason’s voice, singing a song I did not recognize.  I sat, listening to him in silence, until he was done.

“What is that song called?”  I asked him.

“It’s called ‘Amazing Grace.’  It’s one I learned in my church.  It’s about God’s love, and how it changes people.”

Jason talks about his God–who, as far as I can tell, is like the First Ones, but with one face instead of many–quite a lot.  I did not quite understand the word ‘god’ when Holder first said it to me a long time ago,  and I still do not, fully–but I understand what is meant by the word, if not the word itself.  It made me smile, when he said that.  Jason tries to be close to his God, the way I try to be close to the First Ones.  Holder does, just as much–but he rarely talks about it.  Instead, he expresses that closeness merely through the way he acts–although it will no doubt embarrass him if he reads that I have said so.

“What does love have to do with grace?” I asked Jason, having seen nothing in any dictionary of Galactic Standard that linked the two ideas.

“Everything,” Jason said, and I know I must have looked confused, because he laughed.  Not a mean laugh, of course–but the kind of laughter that comes from joy.  In this case, the joy of knowing you are about to teach someone something new.  “Annah, one of the things ‘grace’ means is ‘the freely given love and forgiveness of God.’  I guess it could mean anybody’s freely given love and forgiveness, but I guess you know most people–at least most of us humans–don’t really give love freely without expecting something.”

“Hmm.”  I thought about it.  He was right–most people I knew did not.  And it is still mostly the case.  My parents love me without any expectations; Holder loves me in the same way–as does Kale, and I must be honest and say so.   Chelries and Liara do as well–and Lilliane.  All the others I can think of–it is not that their love is unappreciated, but it is contained by boundaries, as water is held by a vessel so that we may drink it.

How wonderful is a love that knows no boundaries.   The First Ones’ love is like this–and it is the model for all other love, at least I believe so.   What a blessing to have even a few in our lives who love this way–and what a greater blessing if the day one day comes when all love is of this kind.

“I see what you mean, friend Jason,” I said at last.   He smiled.

Holder, sitting beside me, smiled at me and squeezed my hand.  He had been silent the whole time, but I knew the things I had said were what he would have said.  We are like that, a lot.  I leaned up to his face and kissed him.

By then, a crowd of others had begun to join us around the fire–the rest of our Circle, both those from my world, and those from among the people of Holdfast.   “I know that song,” Catherine Castle,  a young woman who is quickly becoming one of my best students of Shaping, said then.   Her mate–boyfriend, I think, is the human term–whose name is Peter Holloway, said that he did too.

“Sing it again, Elder Annah,” Peter said.

I am not usually embarrassed to sing in public, but I have to confess, I tried to refuse with a smile–not because I do not like the song, or its sentiment.  But the song and its meaning were, at that point, a thing newly learned, and I wanted to be quiet, and see if the First Ones had anything more to tell me about this mystery called grace.

In the end, I found the answer in the voices that rose to meet mine, as I sang the song that Jason had only just taught me.

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound…”

 

 

 

 

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