Mid Winter Dance

Night in the woods in winter, so different than night in the woods in summer. The clouds hang low, purple, indigo, and a stillness crawls through the bare branches above my head. Light snow has fallen, like glitter it covers the frozen forest floor, a shimmer of carpet beneath my fur clad feet. Like the lone wolf I step lightly on the path that leads to the circle surrounded by naked birch trees where I stand and welcome the darkness. I open my arms toward the bleak sky, whisper their names, ancient and powerful into the silence that cradles this place, the silence that is night and darkness and northern winter. Cold tries to seep through to my bones but the warmth I feel in their names is like a flame under my skin, a glow radiating out into the frigid night.

They see me before I see them, a tiny glimmer at the edge of vision. I know better than to turn my head and try to get a better look for I have been here before and know the only way to look at them, to truly see them, is to not look at them at all. So I nod my head slightly and speak their names again with reverence and awe. They drift closer, tiny blue-green lights growing larger as they approach casting a shadow of my waiting form upon the earth in front of me. Their voices are a whisper, an icy droning fluttering about my head like a song heard from a great distance or a lullaby in a dream.

The first touch sends a shiver down my body, the second touch envelops me in light and the third touch lifts my feet ever so slightly off the ground. I feel their smiles brush against my cheeks, their giggles tickle my ears, their cue that it is time for the dance to begin. Snow swirls, clouds of fluff spinning around my ankles. We whirl and dip and prance and skip to a song of the night. Its melody encloses the circle we glide through rendering it sacred and the song like vespers sung to gods. As I partake of this dance of winter I am reminded of the earth and moon, their silent cosmic waltz slipping through the dark of space, the music of the sun their constant guide. Then my dance partners pull me toward the outer edge of our circle where tree spirits reach out to join in our revelry as a myriad of shining eyes appear from beyond their boundary. All the forest is alive with the dance, ebbing and flowing to the hymn of this night. Time is suspended while we move our bodies both physical and ethereal about the sacred circle. We are light, we are dark, we are ancient and bound to each other, siblings of stars and ice floating within the orb of night.

Slowly, slowly the movement begins to cease and I find myself back at the center where it all began. A stillness descends upon the woods as I raise my hands toward the darkened sky speaking words of gratitude and reverence. Then with eyes closed I reach out feeling the caress of blue-green light brushing past my fingertips, a feathery touch upon my cheek, the kiss of faerie, bidding me farewell.

Night closes in around me, soft and tranquil, the path crunching beneath my fur clad feet as giant flakes of snow drift around the dark woods. Behind me there is a sound, perceived more than heard, a giggle in a minor note drifting on the wind.

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