Driving in Atlanta past pear trees, struck
with spring lightning, I rolled down my window
as if breathing deeply might anchor their passing,
perfect beauty. Paula, with whom we share
in her meditation class, (she, of the nature religion
embraced in adulthood, leaving behind the ship-
wrecked Jewish faith that did not shore her)
declared "You are a natural, Nola."
As a lake reflects the heaven around it, and
finds the forest beneath, we gathered in Paula's
backyard to celebrate the blessing of bloom,
and to form a Wheel, bringing to her bonfire our gifts:
sea water from my island ocean, and handfuls
of dried herbs that popped and crackled in the fire,
sparkling and perfuming the air around us.
Shaman to acolyte, Paula chose me to enclose
our Wheel. With a stick, I drew a line in the earth
around us, and as we sat in a circle around the fire,
"The earth is your Mother, and you are her Child,"
Paula chanted, signing our foreheads with salt
water, as if with the chrism oil of my Catholicism.
There, in commonality on sacred ground,
we invoked the seasons, the four winds, cycles
of the moon, benign spirits of all that is holy
and healing around us, and clasping hands,
we formed a chain of our bodies, circling faster
and faster until dizzied and ecstatic, we all
fell down, as we shall, and as we must,
while the fire turned to dust.
Copyright © Nola Perez