The First Rain
We: four friends in a forest, determined to have a good time, an important time. It was a nervous start, each of us quaking with frenetic energy, orbiting around each other. Protons and electrons, pulled tight but never making contact.
We walked to the shore of an ice-creek, all bundled up wearing shoes and hats, and tried not to look at each others' faces for too long. I couldn't stand the waiting, so I ran away.
By the time I had returned the cohort was mobile, and the sharp scent of a fallen pine brought me back into myself. Still, I felt separate. Still, I was waiting. Still, I was shaking in my boots.
I suppose it's no miracle that the sky broke, we were in a rainforest after all, and they put that word right there in the name. Still, it sat me right down and said, "listen! dig in already."
So I did.
The Second Rain
Strong hands deftly weaving flower hats and painting faces on logs, the mixing of potions and whispering of wishes: these the busywork of preparing a holiday and see, it was the Holly King's time to come. The days had gotten too long, anyway.
We sang softly so as not to disturb the neighbors. We wouldn't want to them to see us, with our hearts painted all over our naked bodies, the smoke from our fears still lingering above the flaming hearth. We sang tenderly, to show we were for real.
The home we had built was not only fragile, but crumbling, and it was all we could do to honor it and each other: divinity in the making and breaking, both. We couldn't even see the moon.
The Solstice is a time for baptism, a dip in cold water to wash away stagnant ills and presumably bring a shocking vulnerability: coldness making brittle whatever shell between you and the world, so that whoever comes along next might just tap at you with a small hammer, should they choose, and have it shatter and fall away.
Pragmatism drove us witches to the privacy of the woods and so we couldn't dip, the sound was too far and even if we could drive, there would still be other campers. So she who moves the world brought the water to us, drip by drip from a lazy sky: the second rain.
The Third Rain
Sound fell away and left me standing, exposed, on the brink of water and in the heart of a cloud.
"Oh!" I'm sure I murmured, the whole world cut from silver-grey fog and suspended over glass.
My body held what my mind could not, and this whole day fleeing-to-the-west, running-to-the-wind, going-to-the-sun and here I stood, taken. My body still holding.
I could have slipped in like a gullible trout, shining and wriggling and swift. I'm sure if I had my ribs would change and my musculature and my lungs into gills and I would be forever home, but my human body has work yet in this world, so I stayed my feet on the dock, eight inches above.
The sky wept in silence, her shoulders shaking and her head hung low. It was a peaceful weep, a physical one. Concentric circles like bumper cars emanating from fat drops plunk plunking. A whole cry, as if it weren't enough to fill the lake to the brim, as if to bring the whole sky down into the earth and burrow, digging down, down towards the pressurized warmth of her own core. Redemption.
The sky held what my body could not, and the whole day fell away and left me standing, exposed.
Liz Matus is a down home Iowa cutie living in San Francisco. She likes to eat, cook, sew, gab, hug, dance and boogie.