Tuesday, February 14, 2012

When She Comes

There is something incredibly fulfilling about waking before the sun, confused and wondering what it could be that has pulled one from sleep so much earlier than usual, to look out the window and behold those first fat, fresh flakes swirling in the moonlight. She doesn't always wake me when She comes, so those times when I am called send a tingle down my spine and fill my heart with gratitude for the opportunity. I grab my black wool coat, my head scarf, boots, and a libation. The kids are sleeping. The dog is sleeping. It is an enormous rarity for me to be alone. The steps outside my back door are treacherously icy, so I must navigate carefully. I am not known for my grace.

The puff of my breath comes long and slow as I re-gather Her kindling, strewn about by a particularly naughty German shepherd, into a neat pyramid. It is always painful to me to disturb the pristine whiteness that covers the ground. It seems sacreligious, though I know I must do it, so I step carefully, deliberately. I pour the spirits on the ground and take a swig myself, grimacing at the fire that clutches my throat. My cheeks flush, even with just this minimal consumption. I've always been a lightweight. I whisper words reserved only for Her and settle myself beside the birdfeeder, after filling it, to listen to Her response. The snow nearly always stops for at least a brief bit after our exchange. She may come back later, She may not.

Back up the icy steps, into the warm interior of my home, and now I can shake the melting snow from my garments and hang them over the heater vent. The liquor is put away, high above my head and out of reach of curious little hands. I won't be able to sleep now that the brisk early morning air has invaded my brain. I press my hot cheek to a frosty window and watch the splendour resume.

Friday, February 10, 2012


I was just cleaning out the attic and ran across the certificate I was given after I was baptised.

Did I ever tell y'all the story of my baptism? Hmmm...

I left my pagan beginnings for awhile during my teen years, for a variety of reasons, and decided to join a church at 16. I had a deeply moving spiritual experience in that church. Maybe I'll share that some other time, but today is about my baptism.

The church I'd joined was quite small, not more than 100 people in the congregation at any given time. The building reflected that, with no room for a baptismal, and so baptisms were done in the local YMCA pool. Yes indeed. Though my mother was adamantly against my new-found faith (she didn't care if I dabbled in witchcraft, but please for the love of god do not join that Christian cult), but she agreed to come to my baptism and bring her video camera.

I was very body conscious as a teen, so the church tried to accomodate my fear of bathing suits by allowing me to dress in a choir robe. In pictures of that day, I looked like a fucking advertisement for purity: long blonde hair, blue eyes, pale skin glowing, choir robe disguising any shape to my thin, developing body.

Eventually it was my turn to be dunked. I hardly remember what was said in those moments because I was completely overcome with Spirit. I know there were words said, questions asked and answered. I saw the red light of the camcorder as my mother prepared to capture the memory. A hand pressed against my forehead, another holding steady at the small of my back as the pastor bent me backwards to cleanse me. Everyone was quiet, reverant. Just before I hit the water, I heard my mother's voice cry out, "SHIT!"

Her video camera had run out of batteries. I've never again heard such a deafening echo.

It was all downhill from there.