August 13

[Darkling Light]

Moondog wishes he had traveled to the coast with his old clan. As a clown he could have. But he is Greihound through and through, sees himself that way, thinks and feels as he was raised to do, and would want the Greihound to see him that way. He knows he doesn’t belong there anymore. Moondog deals as best he can with having been cast adrift in the shifting shadows rather the risk the demise of his clan.

Every morning while the Greihound have been gone he has confided in me the details of what they are doing and why. His longing is palpable, and I feel deeply for him. We speak of the events that led him to being carried off by the clowns. The mishap with the Wild Women of the Forest had led to the forbidden knowledge that he had sired a daughter with one of them, Glowing Stone. I had to stand witness while the Wild Women took back their blood, an event that would have been mortal to most anyone else. And then there was the mock execution when his clan took back his Greihound heart, stolen by the bow of his own apprentice, Thorn Arrow. It was a terrible thing for him to live through; a man left with only the traits treasured by Holy Antagonists. But that Greihound heart beats in him still and I love him as much as I ever did. He struggles with the real possibility that Gobetween could simply slip from his hands, disappearing into that Greihound magic and Longbow’s arms. I don’t see that ever happening. I remind Moondog that he shares a single soul with Gobetween, something cellular, a memory stringing back to the fiery beginnings of our Earth. Then they were only molecular dreams looking opportunistically for each other, binding together to create the compounds of life, their life. Moondog has told me this; I know it to be true. Together we are akin to lightning struck sand. Moondog, Gobetween, and I are the self-same creature of a mythological spark. She could go anywhere, do anything, be gone for millennia, and remain unchanged. So we spend our days listening to the storytellers and our nights longing to feel her asleep between us. And we wait. When she returns she will be sunburned and giggly, tasting of salt. Her braids will be puffed out like cattails going to seed, her hair will be sandy, and our hearts will rejoice. If we live to see another season Moondog and I will go to coast with the Greihound, because we can, because we must.


Eighteen and a half years ago the Moon came home on a cold and snowy night. Then, long ago, is when this ritual began. In a few short weeks She will come home again, ending Her journey and ours, embarking on another, one that I am unlikely to finish in this flesh. But I will be there just the same pitching in to build a village around the Great Circle. Then as now I will listen to the storytellers and perhaps hear my own name whispered in tales about a fabulous fool, a Greihound warrior turned inside out to dream the dreams of fantastical farcists. Gobetween will still be dreaming with me just as she does now, just as she always has. And Darkling Light will bind us together in a cosmic honeysuckle spell, just as Darkling Light always has and always will.

The utter joy of this unspeakably colossal gathering pulls me back and forth between ecstatic joy and consuming tears. I feel the extraordinance of a people, my people, a five thousand heart collective of beauty and brilliance, powerful and devout. Even the frailest among us are iconic. I cannot picture a day when the Great Circle becomes lost beneath a plowed field, or a day when our songs are remembered only by the mountains. It is said that the trees that have grown old feeding on our bones will be cut down and whittled into fence posts designed to steal the freedom from resigned creatures who will still remember wild places. And then there are those here, far older than me weeping the same tears, knowing that we stand at the apex of our cycle, knowing that it will never be the same again. Each of us will fall to dust knowing we stood our ground at the end, and knowing that we too will be ploughed into the same field, forgotten. But we are here now, our people have gathered again into an unequalled nucleus of extraordinary life. I am again surrounded by my beloved Greihound and the wondrous Twilight Women with their bardic lovers who are now my friends. And Darkling Light and I sleep again with Gobetween bound between us. She is the strangest person I have ever known, the one who has ruptured the Veil to be here, the keeper of our dreams, the watchdog of our stories. She will never leave you be. She’ll stand in the shadows and scream from the peaks of mountains. Gobetween forbids you to forget us.

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Responses to “August 13”

  1. Angela Cheetham Wilkinson August 14th, 2013 - 1:12 pm

    This is a great chapter.
    Its power lies in its ability to speak to all of who have loved deeply and shared times iconic with our clans.
    Not only do we not want to leave our gatherings on this earth but we don’t want the circles of our lives to be lost forever.

  2. Angela Cheetham Wilkinson August 14th, 2013 - 1:16 pm

    An extraordinary and captivating event, so simple, so moving – the mock execution to reappropriate Moondog’s Griehound heart. I’ve not heard of this before but it rang bells of knowledge and understanding in me immediately.

  3. Angela Cheetham Wilkinson August 14th, 2013 - 1:27 pm

    Yet really I feel that the author did indeed picture a day when the Great Circle would be lost under a ploughed field .. she didn’t want to though.
    All those fence posts from the trees fed by tribal bones, constrained peoples, lost circles.
    ‘Lost circles’, as we know, are sometimes rediscovered – as the author recently drew attention to recent discoveries in the Brecons, Wales.
    Very poetic work here Ms Smedley.

    • My gratitude for your comments simply can’t be measured. All of these people and the circumstances of their lives came into being in Ancestral Airs. I try to revisit them in Letters without repeating the entire monologue, such as Moondog’s mock execution. In some place and time all of them are alive finding ways to be remembered in our lives, to remain relevant. They are relevant. We need only to see the pictures of the Brecons to know this to be true. The Earth has secrets She wants to tell and there are at least a handful of us still listening. Thank you, Angela.