The agony billowed up searing his consciousness. Driving him into the crevices of time.
Crevices of Time
Father did not bring back his mother. Her eyes were not gray but snow blue, her hair wasn’t soft like feathers but as pale as her eyes and springy. Her mouth was all wrong and tried to kiss him wetly.
She was known for her brewing skills and made a bitter ale with herbs that his father was particularly fond of, as well as being a good and thrifty housewife, so they all were reasonably content.
Until the next summer when the woman’s belly swelled and his father decided he was full old enough (‘though he was not) to live with his mother’s brother; who – lacking a suitable heir – would teach him the ways of his mother’s family. A good solution for all concerned, except of course for Kit.
They lived in a small hut further up the mountain,
in the territory of the wildcats
and mountain goats, where
the herbs and signs a priest needed to know.
Many times they just leaned on a sun warmed rock
There was much to be learned once you could see it.
Once they spent the whole morning watching a wild cat
watch them. His uncle was more patient – or
perhaps the cat was hungry,
he certainly had been.
Sadness still chilled his heart when they came
across gentians in the spring,
or heard the spring
There were no warm barley cakes,
but once in a while women would come with women’s gifts: barley cakes, sometimes soaked in honey; linen; precious soap; and vegetables.
They would walk and talk with my uncle about what things the Goddess found pleasing:
What offering to make to her crone aspect for an easy passage for an aged parent,
which prayers to say over a child for a long life and gifts for the spinner of life-threads for child not yet born.
Woman’s worries, uncle said, were the bedrock of life.
Soon Kit began to expect that when certain women brought cakes he would be sent off to check the snares, or to fetch goat milk from a neighbor or pick unusual herbs from the high meadow. When he asked his uncle about it he was only told that there was more than one way to worship the goddess.
From the sleepy contentment on Uncle’s face he was sure that it was something to be looked forward to.
Uncle Cat had a wonderful golden goblet with a repousse figure of the Goddess in her cat drawn chariot. Kit was permitted to hold it before Uncle poured a libation of mead to salute the Great Mother. The mead was oh-so sweet and he was given a sip when they asked for blessings.
Oftentimes Kit rubbed his fingers over the wide-eyed cat figures and imagined how proud he would be when he was a priest. Goddesses were immortal and he would be a good and faithful priest, devoted to all her faces.