Her body was a portrait of milk and flowers, drenched in - but not wilted - by their own glow, colors speckling pale slopes like droplets from a fairy's eyes; her fingers, fingers that slipped so easily into the strings of the atmosphere, felt like cherry blossoms strung with lilies. I made light of them. Clear ovals for finger nails. Was there ever anything else? The flicker in her eyes was only dew.
Spring was a freezing phenomenon in the morning, hovering in a silver light. The rising of fog corresponds with the final words of a beloved poet – and the outlets, their outlets, their meanings – found a glitter behind every petal and daring shade of red. The sun would drift into the center of the sky, easing the chill for a rustle of her hand. She would glitter, she would smile, and she would fold into herself when night finally came, enveloped in grey, in the blue of the morning glories, puckered into tiny, white buds, afraid of the dark like a shivering child.
I would never forget that night in the garden.
"All alone," the words break her. The blooms are like rows of porcelain tea cups. "Clustered and shaking, hiding within themselves."
"Are they afraid?" I asked. This lady stood so tall, a regal head perched on a slender, pale neck – but then everything was so tall then, was it not? A garden of statues meant for older eyes, and rows of treasures for higher reaching hands. Children are not meant to climb for the sky; like the glories of the morning, they creep from their seeds, slowly opening to cup the dawn. So screams everything victorious of a long and steady crawl.
Her lips were a cool shade of bleeding-heart pink, edges pinching upward, a glittering curve in the pale night, while the moon tossed shadows through the garden like Atlantic waves, shimmering effulgence twirling around stems, weeping into soil, justifying their somber abeyance, heads tilted downward to mark rest – and they could have been silently crying into those silver pools at their tiny, leafy toes, or waiting for the moon to plant her own seeds for another glory of the dark; one that would go on without fear of shadow, or a total eclipse: glories of the moon. Lunar Glories. Like a smile, like a flower, like a mid-ocean tide tossed by a lonely moon, like the expression she showed me then, sparkling in the August blue, a lake of oxygen to sweep the sky. Like the reassuring smile still shows me now.
"Not just afraid," Her gentle head shook, white hair curled around her shoulders in delicate, intangible clusters, like patches of briar weakening into silk. "Reclusive and lonely. The world is a very intimidating place."
I remember then her hand, five tributaries of cream flowing from a center lake curling around my palm, a jolt of something lashing through me, a surge of cold like no other – for it was no other wash of temperature, anything but, a lave of warmth instead of frost, what frost must have felt like when so unwrapped from its crystalline composure – as she led me closer, my young feet sinking into the soft ground; planted there at the base of the morning glories. "Can you wake them?"
I had not known how. Seven years of experience had led me to believe in what most would shut away. The naivety of it, the scent of the garden flowing around me, around us, around you perhaps, one day, if you can see the world through the loving eyes of a guide. The lady led my hand to one of the buds, placing my short, childish finger on the petal, leaning over my shoulder as if peering into the eyes of a loved one. "Come on now, love," she cooed, sweeter than a blue bird. "It is just a little night. The shadows are quite fleeting, dears, and we are here, unafraid, and always nonjudgmental." She gave the white, dormant bud a little pet with a glassy finger nail, moonlight shining across it like a silver dollar.
Unfolding, unfolding…. I watched as the morning glories unfolded at her command -- easing out of their buds like a kitten peering from beneath his favorite chair, the world so very big for those tiny, icy blue eyes.
I could not implore this wonder. Questions evaporated with the crinkle of each petal, their brilliant faces cupping the light, drinking it as they did the sun, diffidence shed for a radiant, ecliptic blue. My mouth opened. I could feel the words balancing on my teeth. No sound, no sound, no sound.
No need for sound.
"They are quite shy creatures, and not always the best at listening," The Lady said – My Lady, their Lady - beaming at the morning glories with the pride of a loving mother, stroking their petals, fingers trailing down their stems, letting them angle themselves fully toward the universe, not limited to the moon, but rather the sky, a blanket of sparkling stars. "But a little encouragement can help anyone."