Confronting the Lion (Prologue)

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ave yet to figure out the descent from these mountains I have climbed.

Two butterflies, burnt orange in shade, dance frantically around me, only an inch away from each other. Bells in the distance, buoys navigate the way, and the fog horn blows on this clear sun-filled day.

There are no whales to be seen down below. No seals doing somersaults. No deer hopping their way through the golden summer bushes.

I turn off my music so that I may hear the mountain lion preying on me for her morning feast. I figure if she eats me, it was meant to be my day.

Beneath my breasts is now a belly which is softer than it was—a capsule recycling souls who have been here before. The power of this womb.

What meaning lies ahead for this heart I will reveal one day? A grand mission, for certain, helping others to remain awake.

On this mountain, I am nothing, an unimportant obstacle for the wind.

I imagine the lion crawling nearer, her claws clutching the dusty rocks. She raises her head, sniffing me out. Invisibility is my ally, as my only defense is this black ball-point pen stabbing precisely in her eye.

Two groups of two climb up my mountainside. Do they know they are walking on my husband’s ashes, on this sacred grave?

Tomorrow marks five months since his chosen day. I hold back the vomit that has yet been able to regurgitate.

There is profound wisdom in this place, a spirit more grand than me or my dead husband. It is difficult to deny your place in this place.

The edge of the cliff calls to me, but I turn away, still unaware how I will get down from this mountaintop.

The scrapes and bruises will not matter if I slide on my ass, only that I have been here and been unafraid.

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