Saturday, January 24, 2015                                                        Dreadful Joy

Ghost River

You cross the field of human mystery, following the Ghost Deer. It’s a wide field and dark. The sky looks like a drowned kingdom, the stars watery reflections of a submerged city.

The Ghost Deer floats ahead pursuing green scents etched on the night. The moon is a diamond hammer. It disappears when you enter the forest. Chains of moonlight among the trees restrain the dark.

Under those big trees, the Ghost Deer moves with the melody of a silent song. You hurry after. The giants of the forest stand aside, and you find yourself before a broad river. The river’s black fathoms offer no light but for the moon, which swans on the surface.

Along the riverbank, fog rolls. Not fog. Flocks of spectral birds swirl like a moonlit dust storm. Below them, herds of phantoms swarm. They flow through each other: cattle, swine, sheep, deer and buffalo. And no noise pounds from their hooves. No sound of their prodigious voices reaches you. They drink the dark wind off the river, endlessly moving.

“These are animals butchered without prayer.” The Ghost Deer’s dream voice speaks with emotional strength. “People killed them and gave no thanks to the Beast Maker. And so, they are exiled on the shore of wandering.”

“Why have you brought me here?”

The shimmering deer shimmers closer. “Do you know who I am?” Its voice in the corrugated shadows glows inside you, brightening your blood. “I am the ghost of the animals your ancestors killed with sanctity that your forebears might live. And you stand here on the ground of their blessing.”

“What do you want of me?”
The Ghost Deer’s voice hovers in silence, “You are the human animal brought here to bear witness.”


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