She timed the disappearance of colour in her eyes to the twinkle of the stars, they were her ancestors up there, whispering secrets and giggling the way they do, busy with otherworldly deeds. As she made her way down the side of the mountain holding onto her brother’s shoulder for guidance she smiled.  Feeling the familiarity of the balance between the heavens where the ancestors danced and here on the back of the turtle where her footed moccasins wet from Mother’s soil brought her a sense of wholeness. It was in this feeling that her eyes gave way her journey freely and unapologetically: from jewelled greens of trees and moss, to a pitch black sparkling diamond from the outer reaches of space and time, to finally the subtle flat greys of her night vision.

Dark came quickly and the cool air settled around her body.  This cool air she was accustomed to, it laid it self callously across the nape of her neck, cupping her face, down her arms, up her legs, brushing down her spine awakening her human self; urging her to hurry home to the fires. The old ones always scolded her for walking up the rocky side so late in the day and warned her of the dangers of being alone at night and she knew they meant well. But a tiny terror would build up in her, feeling as though her freedom was being stripped away. She craved the wide open spaces of life like people craved sweet things like warm, sugar milky tea, fuzzy blankets, and 2 am creative sessions that didn’t end with the hours on a clock. The open fields and vastness of the skies gave her the same security of sitting with the ‘old people’ and feeling their presence without having to look. Their presence, firm but gentle just like the grandfather rocks.

“We should move faster we’re not even near the bridge yet …” her brother said in the dark. He went faster and she almost let go of his shoulder. He grabbed onto her hand and put it firmly back to where it was. She smiled at his guardianship as she shuffled her feet faster smelling the wet, crisp air coming off the rushing waters falling down next to them.
Above the stars twinkled harder and brighter and she could swear she heard her mother’s laughter somewhere in the reaches of time.
In her mind she heard the See-er say “… know that you are always protected.”

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