When we first arrived at the Edge of the West, the Fire Dragon had soared out over the Great Sea. Seemingly endless cliffs stretched in one direction, countless beaches in the other, punctuated only by outlets of various rivers and solitary trees that appeared like sentinels keeping watch over the land.
The entire time, I was still in the grip of the Fire Dragon’s talons (contrary to what you might expect, there was no “riding the dragon”. In fact, I think it would be exceedingly difficult, given the nature of its “skin” or plates, which are very slick.)
Below us in the bay was a series of small islands, or rather, big rocks of various shapes and sizes, jutting out of the water. Each carried a different hue, some were white with red striations, some green and white, others dark brown, and some completely covered in black mollusks. But what struck me about this archipelago, was that it seemed to form a pattern: the shape of a giant spiral, like a golden ratio. Something about it fascinated me.
Later, when I was on shore, it was impossible to see this pattern. I only knew of it from that higher perspective.
The other early discovery was a sea cave, cut into the crevice between two cliff faces. Apparently the Fire Dragon is a natural at finding caves, its go-to resting place, so that is where we first landed. With a wide opening, the cave narrowed quickly. How far into the land it went I didn’t know. The tide was rapidly approaching, making a full exploration of the sea cave impossible that first day.
But I noticed images and runes of various sorts carved into the walls. Above the mouth of the cave, in enchanted yellow letters, it read: Follow Your Intuition.
My intuition said, “Get the hell out of there before the tide comes in and drowns you.”
Meanwhile, the Fire Dragon has been making a home of it by night. During the day, the Dragon as little boy mostly just swims. Meanwhile, I have made my home just above the sea cave on a little flat embankment along the cliffs.
It’s week four at the Edge of the West: still no sign of the HeartSeer. Only tall tales and misguided attempts on the part of the villagers to be helpful. Depending on who you ask, the HeartSeer was either: a pirate on the bay, a handsome prince, a flying sorceress on the edge of the forest, or a mermaid at the point of the spiral.
I have begun to think that HeartSeer is perhaps like the Rohrsach test, people fill it in with whatever they see.
While I have not found the HeartSeer, I have seen three hearts scattered across this landscape.
First there was a heart drawn in the sand on the beach, declaring intent of matrimony. Then, a heart etched by a human hand into the sandstone cliff, declaring affection for genitalia. Then, most marvelous of all, a heart impression in the sandstone rocks, formed by the power of the tide. It seems that even the sea and the shore write love letters to each other.
The three hearts convinced me to finally conduct a Ritual of Mourning and Releasing.
Yes, I’ve taken to conducting rituals. Primarily grounding rituals or ceremonies to move or transform energy. Since I witnessed with the Fire Dragon turning into the boy and back again, I have found it increasingly easier to feel and channel energy.
I was determined to do the ritual in nature, and from the first day here I knew exactly where: the Sea Cave.
You see, several things have recently fallen away from me, some dropped like autumn leaves, some swallowed like a building in an earthquake.
In fact, not too long before my journey to the North River and the Redwood Forest of the East, I had been served up a delicious platter of organic and locally-sourced change, marinated in a savory sauce of raw energy and dead beliefs, with generous sides of spicy sauteed shadows and trickster love, all washed down with a complex brandy distilled into sweet ambrosia.
One loss was a lover. She was a Firenado, streaking across a strawberry lovescape with no horizons and I was a mere Oak Tree, sending roots deep into the earth – different ways of being in the world. Something was bound to go awry. We were mixing genres from the first note.
But by the time we discovered that, we had already seen rainbows with each other. That’s not something you can just pretend you don’t see, believe me. And so we had quite the series of adventures together, melodically meandering on rivers and roads, creating redwood fairy lullabies under hot full moon skies, and building secret things under a mama creek sunrise.
Of course, there’s all the woulda, coulda, shouldas. But how do you stop the growing corn? We had already pressed play on a trickster soundtrack: I was a walker, she was a dancer. She was a singer, I was a writer. My feet and words were in motion, while her heart and body were in motion.
In time, my walking slowed down while her fire burned dimmer. We were both musicians, but I couldn’t find the bass line, and she couldn’t sing all her notes, and they were well out of my range. Not sure we could ever settle on a key. The sound of our sacred wounds interlocked too well.
When the bards of the future sing the tale of this romance of two star-crossed genres, they will do doubt sing that she had caught me first. In fact, pinned me down on a beach up on the Peninsula of Love I don’t think I could ever return the favor and pin her back. Not for lack of trying–a sunset, storm, or subtle mood are much easier to catch. I’m a pretty good boulder-hopper, but she jumped from one rock to the other like a breakdancer on an archipelago of desire.
Sometimes you just lose the melody, by accident or by design, like the part of the song where all the instruments solo.
Even the best musicians lose the rhythm from time to time. With good luck, a great song can resolve the discord and rediscover a major chord. But we weren’t able. Sometimes the music’s over or it’s a different song than you thought or hoped for all along. Perhaps we’re all still learning to write a song right. Freedom and form form the song.
Ultimately, I don’t know what happened to Firenado–probably spun off into the horizon, fire a’blazing, as is her way in the world.
And now here I am conducting a ritual in a sea cave at the Edge of the West. I took a sacred purple fabric in with me and a match and sat in the solid darkness of the cave. Nothing to do but feel into grieving, commemorating love, forgiving, apologizing, thanking, and letting go. With a handful of wishes for those who are hooked and everybody in need of healing.
No magic wands. Only a few sacred words and the barest of elemental magic–I lit the purple fabric on fire.
“Goodbye, sweet love,” I said, as it flared in the night.
A beautiful red-orange glow danced on the walls of the cave.
With that I let the fire fall into the rising tide.
A heart appeared among the flames, just before extinguishing. I took it as a sign: tomorrow I would enter the Great Sea.