Closing the door quietly behind her, Sasha looked out on the day unfolding. The early -morning sun starting to warm the damp autumn earth, she took in a deep breath and steadied herself on the door frame.
Life is such a funny thing she thought. One week feeling on top of the world, the next down and flat, hardly able to face the day. Pushing herself off the door frame she took another deep breath and stepped out into the yard. The lawn needs mowing … again, she observed. Never ending.
This yoyoing has gotta stop she sadly pondered, as she clambered over the gate in her redbands, the release now too rusted to budge. Trudging through the long grass, Bella bouncing at her heels, Sasha looked out over the valley. The recent rain had ignited the growth and a few wild flowers now showed their heads amongst the swaying grasses.
She reflected back over the last few months. So many endings. It had been tough, like wading through treacle at times. Thinking that she had already processed many of the losses in her life, it turned out she hadn’t, that some of the residue had leaked deep into little nooks in her heart and these had sprouted once again, crawling out and raking at her, little bits of trauma from one thing and another all meshed together to form a painful grasp that sat only slightly veiled behind her hazel eyes.
She thought back to her twenties and the father she lost at her exact age now. She still missed him, some 25 years on, still hardly a day going by without reaching out to him. Sasha had come to realise that they had a lot more in common than she had initially understood. To be fair, when you’re in your early 20’s and dealing with your own life dramas, one doesn’t really comprehend the journeys of others. It’s not till they are gone and you go through your own life, get in touch with your own inner wisdom that you start to realise the strength of connection – that nothing happens by ‘accident’.
Her mind jumped to other life trauma, some life altering, others leaving little scars of truth and wisdom. Severe loneliness in her teens; rejection; betrayal; IVF; deep, life defining loss; judgement; divorce; finding, embracing joy and now snipping the last cords of a deep love, not destined to last forever in this lifetime.
Sasha sat on the old wooden stump, scratching Bella’s ears as she surveyed the beauty before her. Feeling the heaviness in her heart, she rubbed the space with her palm. ‘Hm, it’s like a sad haunting’ she said aloud to Bella, who cocked her head and looked at her master.
For Bella saw the sadness. Even when there was laughter in the house, she sensed the process of letting go, the process of healing that Sasha had opened herself up to, knowing that to step into the new she needed to, once and for all, close the door on what was.
Bella knew, in her own way, that Sasha needed her as much as she needed Sasha. Her previous guardian had not been kind and when the time had come that Sasha threatened him with calling the police, he had surrendered Bella to her, moving away not long after, much to the relief of both Sasha and Bella.
Bella leaned in and placed her nose on Sasha’s knee looking up into her eyes, a wee whimper of ‘it’s gonna be alright’. Sasha sadly chuckled at the comical look. Bella had only one seeing eye, the other permanently damaged thanks to a kick from that bastard of a …. She breathed in and consciously let it go.
‘Okay girl, let’s go check the traps’ she said to Bella rising, with one last rub of the ears.
The two continued down the gully, the sun continuing to rise over the saddle of the hill behind them, creating odd shadows as they moved through the grasses. A gentle voice popped into Sasha’s distant thoughts ‘there is no light without shadow, no growth without rain’.
She paused for a moment, looking around, the voice had been that clear. Looking down at Bella she asked ‘did you hear that girl?’ Bella stopped and gave a yap, looking round too and then with a slight grin at Sasha sprung into the grass and continued on her way.
Sasha took one more look around and then shook her head, bringing her into the moment. She was coming up to the first stoat trap. Bella had already sniffed it out and knew it was empty and had moved on in the direction of the next.
Shadow work. She had been doing some reading around it. It was, in effect, to recognise that it is all part of the whole. What one might define as the good, the bad and the ugly. That to deny the parts of ourselves that we did not like, was to deny part of who we were. It also denied us the opportunity to grow through it, to become stronger and more resilient. To know that our shadow, as much as our light, was all part of the human experience.
At that moment, an actual shadow crossed over Sasha’s face, raising the hairs on her arms. Looking up, she saw a great bird, eagle like, soaring some 100 metres above her. ‘Well, that’s bloody strange,’ she thought as she removed her hat and stepped back on her right leg, putting her hand above her eyes to take a better look at the bird.
It moved off to the front and right of Sasha and then started to circle some 200 metres away, as it slowly maneuvered closer to the earth. Calling to Bella to stay back, she headed off in the birds direction, as she felt it calling her.
Coming up over a small rise, Sasha came to a sudden halt, the picture before her taking her breath away. There on the fence post, not 15 metres away, sat this quite majestic bird – one she had not even seen in any picture books. Although it looked similar to the New Zealand Falcon, it was by far to big, let alone the heart shaped plumage on its breast plate.
The bird sat quite still looking directly at her, as if waiting for something. They stared at each other for some time, before Sasha took a few gentle steps forward, cocking her head to one side. The bird continued to remain motionless, only its eye following the movement of the woman.
It was not here by accident. There was an era, when many of its kin had soared these very skies, but that had been a long time ago – before the great eruption had flattened all that stood and had silenced the world for a while.
Sasha, her heart beating wildly, moved closer to the bird until she was within two metres of it. Although her senses were extremely heightened, she strangely felt no fear, only a longing to understand better what her eyes were telling her.
Coming to a stop, she looked closer at the bird and was suddenly overcome by the need to bow. And with that thought, she did so, bending down low and slow in reverence of the beauty and undeniable strength before her.
She heard the voice again, her head lowered. ‘Why do you bow before me. Do you not recognise who I am?’
Sasha shook her head while closing her eyes, trying to clear the thought that she had finally lost it. Taking a very deep breath she slowly stood upright, opening her eyes to gaze upon the creature before her.
‘Do I know you?’ she said aloud.
The bird looked back at her, ruffling its mighty wings. ‘I am that which you have not yet acknowledged. I am freedom.’
The most ridiculous grin spread across Sasha’s mouth as she threw her head back and looked at the skies shouting ‘I have lost my mind!’ laughing hysterically at the heavens.
‘On the contrary my dear heart.’
She stopped suddenly, noting that Bella was now sitting on the knoll looking at the bird, completely relaxed, like nothing was out of the ordinary.
‘So you see ‘it’ Bella?’
‘Her, I am of the feminine,’ the voice softly clarified.
Sasha spun around and moved even closer to the bird, quite within touching distance.
‘You know if you touch me, you will need to acknowledge my existence earth angel. Are you ready for that?’
Sasha became transfixed, her hand half way out as she reached for the bird now remained motionless.
‘Who are you?’
With that the bird bowed its head and leaned in to connect with Sasha’s forehead and for a moment the two thought as one. Sasha’s whole life flashed before her and then many other lives, in this dimension and others.
She was flying high above her ‘lives’ and like a river saw the connections, how they ebbed and flowed. Torrents, calm waters and more torrents. She saw how her choices had carved out great and heavy experiences that had moulded her soul and so often called her home.
And then it all stopped and the only thing she could sense was now, this very moment. Raising her left hand, she placed it on the great birds breast and stroked the feathers, their foreheads still connected.
Sasha let out a great sigh as tears started to fall from her eyes. ‘I have been so lonely.’
‘You are never alone, you just lost connection with your heart, who you truly are. Yet you have made choices that have brought you to this place of great strength, great wisdom. Knowing, painful that it is, that you deserve only the best.’
Sasha wept and as the tears continued to fall she felt the release of guilt, the release of pain and the release of fears that had bound her to the past.
‘You carry deep within the recesses of your heart a great and gentle knowledge that the world needs to hear. You have earned this as your soul has journeyed many lifetimes to prepare you for just this moment. Your awakening.’
Sasha wavered for a moment as she soaked in the true sense of the words. As the fact remains that sometimes there are no words in which to fill ones heart completely.
After a while she asked, ‘will you stay with me?’
‘I am always with you. For I am your kin, your heart and your soul. I am what was, what will be and what forever is. I am you and you are me. Strength, power and almighty wisdom.’
At that moment, a great wind came through the valley, rustling the most sturdy of trees. The great bird pulled back and looked directly into her eyes ‘remember that the hero that you seek is already within you.’
And with that, the almighty creature spread its powerful wings, raised its head to the skies and rose, circling into a great beam of light that shone down from the heavens.
Sasha stood back watching the bird ascend, her feet firmly anchored on the earth as her hair spun madly around her. She felt Bella licking her hand and knelt down to pull the dog close, all the while feeling her heart settle into a new rhythm – one full of hope and a sense of purpose.
Having no memory of how she got home, Sasha rose the next morning feeling weightless. Putting her cup of hot tea on top of the fence post, Bella at her side, she looked out over the valley before her. In one mighty breath she yelled ‘freedom’ at the top of her lungs and laughing merrily, she ran her arms out stretched into the meadows beyond.
Author: Tania Louise