I was home in my cottage on a ridge atop a mountain, alone on the hill for all I knew. I was missing Tucker, pondering our desperate future, lost in a pineapple haze. It was hot and I was feeling a bit fae. I strolled out to the back yard to pick miner’s lettuce for my salad when a swift movement behind the old Christmas tree caught my eye. It wasn’t a ground bird and it didn’t move quite like a squirrel or one of the cats. Curious, I sneaked quietly around the corner to see if I could catch another glimpse. There! A flash of red—Manzanita red—it was dashing along the dog path toward the big live oak. It was low to the ground, about the size of a small fox, but it didn’t appear to be either canine or feline.
I crouched down and crept up just close enough to see it now perched in the tree where three large branches met. She spotted me (I don’t know why I say “she” but it feels right) and we looked each other in the eye for a few long moments. Then…she began to dance. I blinked hard. I didn’t believe what my own eyes were seeing. Even as the thing danced, its edges were blurred so I couldn’t make out any features. There was something human about it but then again it seemed, what…I don’t know what it was. But the dance…the dance was as familiar as the air.
The dancer seemed to draw energy from the tree itself as she pranced ecstatically and lovingly along its branches. Her motion was strong yet fluid; sure, free and natural. Her arm and legs seemed to unfold from the center, stretching outward or upward as she bent and turned. She snatched up a handful of pale sage-green moss (which looked lovely against her Manzanita red dress? skin?) and made its trails float and soar through the air. I was transfixed, mesmerized by the qualities of her motion.
And when she stopped, she waited for me to catch her eyes again. She seemed to want to know if liked her dance, as if she’d done it just for me. I smiled and nodded my head gently. Then, in another flash, she darted up the hill and into the forest.
What was she: a redwood sprite? A Manzanita deva? Terpsichore of the forest? Or am I just an old, bored stoner on a foolish April afternoon? I’ll let you decide.