I am in a labyrinth with a seashell pressed to my ear. I am sand flowing through the hourglass. I am my great-grandmother in a burning village wailing for her daughter, her beloved, who is safe in the new country. The flames are coming closer and I see. I see she is folding an origami bird, a white dove that she casts upon the wind and water. It lands on my shoulder and nuzzles me. I walk the labyrinth and I am standing on the same shore, wailing for my own daughter who is far from me, who is safe in a new country.
I am walking the labyrinth , around again. I am watching as the Cossacks ride in and begin to shoot. The flames from her village are leaping higher now, burning the ancient trees that crackle and hiss while the redwood in Big Basin State Park crackle and hiss.
I am in the sea and it is cold and I am afraid of the encroaching darkness. May I say that? That I woke up this morning afraid? The death eaters are on the march gobbling up trees clean water clean air clean food. Our souls if we let them.
I woke up afraid for all of us like my great-grandmother was afraid when the Cossacks rode in, afraid like my grandmother was afraid on a ship in steerage, heading to the Promised Land with only cold potatoes to eat and no hope to keep her warm.
I send the white bird back to her with a message. Why have you come now?
She catches the bird in one hand, carefully folds the origami and tucks it in the pocket of her apron.
Because the labyrinth has burst, she says, and the seas are on fire. We’ve come to ask you to write the new story so that our suffering was not in vain. Write the story of how the seas were calmed, how the flames learned about the sweetness of water, how the wheel of kindness finally turned.
Rock your child as you remember her. For now that will have to do. Until the new story gets written. Until you pick up your pen and write it.