Isolde blinked for a second, then looked up at Eatbugs. "Yes, Little One?"
"Are you okay? You were a million miles away." Eatbugs frowned. Isolde's normally sparkling blue eyes were shadowed. She'd seemed so distracted lately. "It's not...not Mommy Mary?"
"Oh no, dear." Isolde sighed and looked out over the dazzling blue morning sky. "I was just thinking of an old furriend. Was there something you wanted?"
Eatbugs shifted his paws. "Well...um...it's not so important. I mean if you don't want...well..."
"Spit it out, Eatbugs." She smiled a wan smile.
"It's the peepers. I mean you did promise and all...but if you'd rather not, I can do it for you."
"By the Creator's whiskers, is that today?" She stood and stretched a deep, slow stretch. "I'd quite forgotten. No, Little One, a promise is a promise. Tell them to gather by the willows and I'll be right a long. I need to speak with Virginia first."
Eatbugs nodded and trotted off to carry out his errand.
By the time Isolde and Virginia arrived, the peepers were gathered and busily occupying themselves with furtive games of catch the tail and boppy paws. Pounce and Little Dots, who neither one had an ounce of decorum, were unabashedly wrestling. Eatbugs had given up on reigning the two in. Virginia told him, any number of times, that peepers will be peepers and that is that. He'd taken the lesson to heart.
Around the group of peepers, the older kiddens of the Bridge were gathering. You didn't have to be young to enjoy Isolde's story hours. Vito, loathe to give up his reputation as a rough and tumble tom, studious bathed his paw and would, no doubt, stoutly maintain that he just happened to choose the spot by chance. Eatbugs grinned, when the story started, he'd be as rapt in attention as the rest. Mooska and Pooska curled up beside each other. Skunk and Picnic sat with Grace and Panther. Phillip and Catryn lounged side by side.
As Isolde took her place at the front of the group, all tail swatting and paw bopping stopped, all eyes fixed on Isolde's graceful form. She sat for a minute, looking out over the gathered Company. A deep, wistful sigh escaped her lips. After a moment she lifted her chin a little and began.
In the time of the beginning, when the Earth was wild, humans had not learned the way of the kiddens. They feared us because of our claws and our teeth. The hunted us and hurt us.
The peepers gasped.
...And the Creator looked down and wept. She created the world, all things in their place. She crafted the world from the darkness, from the empty aching void. She wove the light of the sun from the love in her heart and she spun the world in the flat of her paw. And she thought it was good. But as the days past, the light burned too brightly and the world turned to quickly. The creatures she placed there soon multiplied and there was not enough food for them all. She rung her paws and she paced the stars. In her heart she knew that the world was good, but she knew it could not last without change. So she traveled into the deepest space and she opened her heart to the wisdom of the universe. For many days and many nights she listened. Then, in her deepest heart, she knew what she must do. She had created a world without balance. The world needed the darkness to balance the light. Her children needed death to balance life. So she twitched her whiskers and squeezed her eyes closed and made it so.
And it was good. The creatures of the Earth flourished. The plants learned to turn with the seasons and world soon blossomed, but still she wept to see her children suffer. Then one day, as she walked among her them and saw what the humans had done, with their large hands and cunning ways, she knew she could no longer bear it. She leapt into the stars, she paced among the stars.
She knew what she must do. She reached out her paw and touched the hearts of the humans. She planted there the love-bond between them and her children. With the dawning of the next morn, the first human reached out their hand in love.
But she knew that the world needed balance. She only touched the hearts of special humans, so that they and their kind would love and protect her children, but as much as her heart ached for it, there would be those who never knew that love.
And then, in the hardest of choices, she closed her eyes. With tears rolling down her face she gave her gift of love the final balance that it needed. She limited our March of Days. The love-bond she created was so strong, so overwhelming that only the sorrow of passage could balance it. So with sorrow in her heart, she made it so.
But the love-bond would not end. She held her children as they slipped from the Earth and tried to comfort them in their sorrow. She felt their aching longing for the human hands and hearts below. So she twitched her tail and flicked her ears and created the Rainbow. If the bond would not be broken, then she would create a place for her children to wait. She purred from deep within her chest, and spun the Great Promise. For all of time, the love-bond would tie her children to their humans and the humans to her children. Beyond the world she created the brooks and streams, the willows and the tall grass. She gave her children all that they could desire, and she buried in their hearts the knowledge that love lasts forever. And so we have come, whose March of Days are over, and here we wait.
The peepers stared at her. It wasn't precisely the story they'd expected.
Virginia cleared her throat. In a deep and husky voice she said, Today a special kidden comes.
Eatbugs bowed his head. So that was why Isolde's eyes didn't sparkle. The peepers, even Pounce and Little Dots (showing uncommon dignity) bowed their heads, too.
Virginia continued, The Circle of Elders grows this day, with one whose March of Days has been long. The love-bond she shared is strong, and the number of human hearts that grieve for her are many. Come now, and let us make her welcome.
Catsup stood and bowed her head for a moment. She whispered to her fur-sister below that all was ready. She purred comfort. She sang love. The Company of Kiddens lifted their voices to join her.
As the Welcoming Song started its sad, sweet refrain, the Company rose and made their way to the Gate. They formed their Circle, tails wrapped around each other as they sang their song of Welcome. Panther sat with Puppy, Boots with Puppy. Creamsickle and Putt-Putt sat with Beethoven and Linus. Together, the Company of Kiddens bound by the love of their humans poured out their love to the one below.
At last the blue light flickered across the Gate, and in it's wake sat a beautiful, dignified tortie and white, her fur gleaming in the sun. Spice blinked, then sighed. She looked out over the Company and a small smile crept across her face. So many old friends here now.
Catsup, Moki and Catryn came forward first to welcome Spice home. They nuzzled and purred and headbutted their old friend. Then the rest of the Company came forward. One by one, they offered their noses in greeting. When all had made their greeting, the Circle of Elders stepped forward. Spice smiled. Isolde, old furiend.
Welcome, sister. Isolde nuzzled Spice's neck. Welcome home.
The Elders led Spice to the Rainbow's edge. They lifted their purrs into the wind and aided Spice as she sent her message to the heart below.
Mom? Mom I am here. I am home. I am safe now. I am whole again. Thank you for all the years, for all the love. Thank you for the warm nights and love-filled days. Thank you for comfort...and thank you for letting me go. I will be here. I will wait. I love you...forever.
And with that, she turned and made her way home.
Goodnight sweet Spicy Purrkins. You were loved long and you were loved well. Until we meet again.
|Return to list of Healing and Inspirational Poetry|