We change. We transform and bleed. We live, we change again. Seasonal, solar, lunar. We change.
I was there in the beginning. It may seem impossible, but I was there. I watched her meander through the mist, emerging, her antlers hung with velvet. I watched her give birth, her calf dropped to the sacred snowy ground, the sack freezing on contact even though the air had begun to warm. Mist rises, rises from the icefall from the collision seeping beneath the surface of beginning, of begun.
She licks the calf, stirring, and slowly he emerges reaching up to her milk warm teats. Life is birth and nourishment both in that hard land. She licks and licks again and I am with her somewhere, sometimes hidden, sometimes in her. Whatever I am emerges too from that land, that catastrophic merging that birthed the death I now am. She licks and eats the food of her own body, she is self-sustaining but he is not.
He suckles and grows. Days hum or night too in that place, all whirls from the center that is her. Her gentle action, taking and giving, the pulse of the mother all life. Sometimes I am so near I can smell her salt and hair, wholly mammal. I bury my face in her many layers and sleep a while. Dream I am at the beginning again and again.
Days hum and then night and he dies. He dies. This is how: a bellow, nothing changes, an urging, this is time. His eyes know. She is not alone, but she is one.
They mate, he kneels weary, bends his head and becomes. From his head, the forests, from his body mountains, from his veins the rivers from his blood the sea. He dies and completes the sacred cycle and she swells with life and births again, and again, and again what will be.
I would wake screaming from this story, howling with the pain of creation and death. My mother came for me then, not as she is now but young and soft and still so full of sure love. She cradled me, my whole side last, my bare side first.
In memory my bones click together, the hearth fire a little higher, my mother sensitive to warmth. And my brother places his head in my lap. And my other brother wraps us all, the length and breadth of him bringing us so close. We hold each other and somewhere we know this is our beginning, and all the holding in the world can’t prevent the end.