This is Our Life Now
It is a habit, I suppose. Something that started so long ago and just kept on happening until it became a part of our lives without us even knowing. It really shouldn't be a surprise. There are so many things about us that have started the same way. But still I find myself shaking my head in amazement as I watch you act out your story for the day in the form of dance.
You are waist deep in grass, tall fluffy heads of seeds, ready to fly free, swirl and sway around you as you dip and weave. Your fingertips skim across the rippling surface, floating at your sides and making you look as though you wish to raise your arms and fly away.
I am perched on a rock nearby, one knee bent up to keep my foot pressed into a firm grip to hold me in place. I am smiling, a violin tucked under my chin and my hands dancing with bow and strings to make a melody to fuel your movements.
All around us are hills of grass and wildflowers, endless mounds of green and patches of color. It is a fitting backdrop to your performance.
Your movements speak of freedom, of happiness, of never seeing an end to anything good and I feel every emotion that you convey.
This is our life now.
This is how it will always be.
An endless life in an endless world.
The water before us is wide and blue. It reaches to the horizon and beyond. The colors shift and change with the wind and the angle of the sun. I tug at the strap across my chest and pull the case resting against my back around in front of me.
As I set bow to string, you begin your dance. Kicking at the waves and laughing at the sparkling spray of water.
I set a merry beat and you follow effortlessly. This dance speaks of wild runs and breathless sprints. It speaks of headlong plunges into deep waters and the brush of curious fish. Of green sea turtles and the dance of the moonlight on a rippled surface. You dance until you can hardly breathe and I am close to burning through the strands of my bow.
We watch the sunset that evening from the sands of an empty beach with our toes dipped in mounds of sea foam.
The rains of fall are cold and biting, but you insist that they cannot be ignored. My wrist is caught in an iron grip as you pull me to stand beneath a large oak tree where the rain is lighter, caught by the branches above.
I pull my violin out of its case and you step out into the falling droplets, your face turned upwards with a wide smile upon your lips.
My melody is quieter this time, slow and somewhat melancholy to fit with the retreat of summer. You set your steps to the slow beat and feel your way through the tale that you wish to tell.
I can see, in your movements, the falling leaves. The coming of the cold and the brisk wind that drives the rain. You tell of the retreat of the animals, how they sink down deep in dens and nests to wait out the cold. You tell of the coming of ice crystals on windows and the sight of one's breath on the air.
You are wet and content when you finish. We retreat inside to warm ourselves by a lively fire and sip hot chocolate while flicking marshmallows at each other.
It is in the wintertime that our habit of song and dance catches me by surprise. I am alone outside, standing in the cold and the light from the full moon, watching each breath billow in silver clouds around me. I am missing your presence. You have been gone a long time, off visiting other friends and leaving me to spend time with my family who I had not seen in ages. I miss the stolen moments where I pull out my violin and you set to dancing, brisk and joyous. But you are not here to join me and I sigh as I finger the strap of my violin case.
I am pulled from my contemplation of the night by the sound of soft footsteps and I turn, hoping to see you behind me.
I am, instead, facing a set of slanted yellow eyes.
The wolf that stands in the snow is large, a massive creature with grey markings over white. He sits in the snow and cocks his head to one side. I recognize him, I have seen him before. He leads a large pack in the area and you had become friends with him the last time we had come through here. I wonder if he has sought me out simply because he is looking for you.
I crouch down, my boots creaking in the snow and I gaze at him silently. I still am not sure what he wants but I am not about to chase him away. He is too beautiful and I am hoping for company of any kind at the moment.
The wolf remains still, gazing at me and seeming to study me in exquisite detail.
I reach out a hand, palm down, fingers relaxed, and his nose extends to draw in my scent. He briefly presses his head against my palm and then leans back to regard me once more.
We are both pulled from our study of the other by the sound of a howl from somewhere in the distance. It echoes across the snow covered mountainsides that surround us and fades into silence amongst the numerous pine trees.
I sweep my gaze around the land, but I see nothing.
The wolf climbs to his feet, shakes snow from his coat, and then lifts his head to howl in answer.
I find myself sighing in disappointment when he dashes away, but I am surprised when he stops, his head turning back to look at me.
He wants me to follow.
I am not sure how I know, but I cannot bring myself to question it. I move to follow him and he darts ahead of me, his tail held high like a flag as he bounds across the snow.
I dash after him without another thought, ducking through the trunks of pine trees and skipping over fallen branches. The wolf gradually matches his gait to my steady pace and we fall into an easy rhythm.
I follow after him as he leads me through a moonlit path, my trust in his steps implicit as I use his tracks in the snow as my guide through the rougher terrain. The air whips past my face, biting at my cheeks and making my eyes tingle with tears. The run is a pleasure, it makes me feel alive and I increase my speed, using tree trunks as anchors to assist in the tighter turns.
Soon the trees thin out and the ground begins to fall away, becoming steeper, more treacherous. But still the wolf leads me on, peering back over his shoulder every now and then to see if I am still behind him.
The trees disappear into the darkness behind me and, in their place, other dark shapes materialize around me, fading into the moonlight and revealing themselves as other members of my guide's pack. They leap and twist in delight as we run, a chorus of yips and short howls rising and falling through the cold night air.
I am surrounded by wolves, running through snow, on a mountainside bathed in moonlight, and you are not with me. It just does not seem right.
I clutch at the strap of my violin case and try to think of what you will say when I tell you.
The land before me drops away and the lead wolf does not hesitate, leaping gracefully over the edge without breaking a stride and I find that I feel no fear. He has not led me astray so far.
I spring over the ridge and drop into a slide on my left hip, my right leg stretched out in front of me and my left hand trailing behind. The snow is deep, cushioning, and I skid down the slope without a pause or hitch in my slide.
My right foot catches at the bottom and I allow my momentum to bring me forward, my right knee bending and my body curling into a roll that brings me back to my feet.
I am off and sprinting as soon as I find my balance once more but I quickly stumble to a stop, my arms flailing as I desperately halt my forward momentum and the deep snow nearly sends me to my knees. But I do not even notice.
It is here that I find that the run has come to an end.
Because it is here that I find myself gazing into your eyes.
You stand in front of me, your brown eyes wide and filled with a sparkle that I know comes from the smile that stretches across your face.
I am heaving for breath. It has been taken from me by the run and the shock of seeing you again. You look just as shocked as I feel and I open my mouth to say something but stop when I can find no words.
But, when I see the large black wolf standing behind you, another member of the lead wolf's pack, I realize just what has happened. I do not need to ask anything because I now know, without a doubt, that it had been you that had howled the call to my wolf guide.
You had called the pack to you, looking for the friends that you knew would come, and had unknowingly called me along with them. That was why the lead wolf wanted me to follow. He had sensed my loneliness and knew that he could help.
I tumble into your arms and we crush each other in a desperate hug as the wolves mill and whine around us, their tails held high and waving to show their delight.
I had always thought that when you came back from your trip it would be to me playing a song and you dancing your way into my arms for that hug of hello. But, no, there is no music here. My violin is silent and I do not feel a bow or strings beneath my fingers. I feel only the thick fabric of your winter coat and I hear the sounds of excited wolves.
It is perfect.
The dance you perform for winter is not what I expect. It is not the wild and crazy creation that I think of when I hear you talk of snow. The dance you give is something quite different.
All around you are the wolves. They are lounging in a half circle, some lying down, some sitting, but all watching.
Your movements are measured, graceful. You swing in wide arcs and tight spins, not a movement wasted and I am mesmerized.
You show me the lazy spin of snowflakes. The glint of the moonlight on snow laden trees. The windblown drifts and the blue shadows that hide beneath them. You show me everything that winter is to you as I coax a song out of my violin with cold stiffened fingers.
Winter comes alive to me in the middle of a ring of wolves on a mountainside covered in fresh fallen snow.
When you stop you are out of breath, your eyes so full of emotion and depth that I am hard pressed not to gasp in surprise.
I set my violin in its case and you approach me with a soft grin. You do not speak as you reach out with one hand to grab the back of my neck and pull me against you.
I wrap my arms around your waist and let my head sink down to rest against your shoulder. Your breath puffs against my hair and your hands grip at the coat across my shoulders. All is as it should be, all is right again.
We remain in the embrace until the wolves begin a performance of their own and we pull away, smiling at each other for a brief moment before raising our voices and joining in their song.