…a cold whisper of breath stillness
From the recess of the cave, with the story of Nera swimming behind darkened eyes, I hear a faint sound. I move to light a candle, which I place in a nook by my friend. I sit next to her, settling on a rock, as I move my hair away from my ears and listen.
The cold of the rock seeps through my rain pants, past the cotton of my trousers, and into my bones. My breath is steady. My eyes…open.
The faint sound, a woman’s whisper, returns – rippling on silent waves.
Moments pass like eternity, and the universe comes into being within a breath. I wait, listen, and ask. As it was said, so long ago regarding Mongfind’s Feast, “wherefore women and the rabble make petitions to her on samain-eve.” And I did.
When we finally exit, slow and tender, we scratch crawl back into the world of mud. The liquid body of the mother.
Now comes the fun part: removing our muddy boots, smeared pants, and baptismal robes to ease into a human machine. The car is not spared, but we glide into the starry night warm – electric piston thrust crackling with technology fire.
We are in desperate need of a toilet, and warm food. Chances are not great for the food, so we settle on cold meats packed away earlier for just such occasions, and search for a petrol station with public toilets. Down the lonely roads we head – merrily chatting about our day: the long drive, unfound mounds, and twilight expeditions. Through the midlands and small villages, past pubs and occasional pedestrians – into the dark of the bogs.
There is a detour underway, so we leave the main road behind and follow little orange road signs, deeper and deeper into a darkening world – finally succumbing to US election coverage on the radio.
Something doesn’t feel right.
Oh, you have to be kidding me!
(My heart sank in that moment, as I glanced from side to side and saw no lights.)
I slowed and gently pulled the car over. (This is when my friend looked at me, realization dawning.) I reach for my backpack, riffle around – past muddy gloves and soft apples – until I find my earth encrusted torch. Outside, I pass its tiny warm yellow light over a deflated tyre.
No words cross the threshold of my mouth until I reach Himself on the mobile. You see, I don’t know how to change a tyre.
In the middle of Offaly, after midnight with nobody around – on astrological Samhain, we sit. We listen to US election reports. We wait for Himself to find someone willing to rescue us. We feel slightly silly.
Approaching 1am I notice a light. Only a small blue point at first, it dances along a steady plane moving closer. I watch it, thinking it may be a person with a small torch or key light. The light hovers, then moves toward the car. At the boot. At the back passenger window. I reach for the controls to crack the window, expecting help, and turn on the car lights – in case help is a drunken weirdo.
I grab the torch and shine it past my friend.
Not a soul, or a sound, or a light.
I turn on the car, in what feels a seamless movement, to ensure the doors are locked! The hum of the engine comforting – low fuel or not! The wait wasn’t long though. Eugene pulled up with his big tow truck 20 minutes later, changed the tyre and led us into town – where money from the ATM and a full petrol tank were the order of business.
Reluctant to drive fast on the tiny spare tyre, we inched our way home. Again, a drive that aught to have taken a couple of hours drew out to epic proportions.
Bleary eyed and senseless we pull up to the house at 4am.
Take note all you who would venture out of a night, willingly, during the season of the Dead…..
Make sure you have a good map, headlamps, clean/dry clothes, plenty of petrol and food, but most of all – make sure you can change a tyre!