I had a teacher….

The teacher taught me well…

He picked up an apple in each hand and placed them in mine. “Two apples”, he said.
Another day, when I sat kicking at the legs of my little desk, wondering when it would lose this round and give in, he came and put down two apples and two peaches on my desk-top. “Two apples and two peaches make four fruits,” he said.
I stopped kicking and looked up at him in wonder….
Then, there was that fateful day, when I carried into the schoolroom a basketful of fruits…
He picked them out. “Two apples, one peach, one orange… four fruits,” he murmured. I gazed at the bunch on the table, stupefied. Fishing around in the basket, I found what I was looking for… the half-eaten berry. Gingerly, I put it on the table beside the four fruits and slanted him a question.
My teacher smiled. “And a half….” He said.

Magic! It was sheer magic!

“Adding,” said my teacher. “You are adding.”

So we added all day long.
When I grew tired of the fruits and it was cold in the schoolroom, he would open my lunch-box and take the sandwiches out.
“One slice of bread, two slices of bread,” he would drone at my ear… “Three slices of bread, four slices of bread….”
I liked how the innards of those sandwiches came tumbling out… eggs and cheese and tomato.
I sat up in excitement. “Tomato slices, too!” My teacher put down my lunch-box with a little sigh.
“Indeed,” he agreed, turning away.

But we continued to add everyday… things to things.
And everyday to every other day, we got things!

I would plonk down stuff from my satchel on the desk, and my teacher would point at them.
“One pencil, one eraser, two crayons, one jellybean….” he would stare at me. I wait with bated breath for the magic to happen… inevitably, it does.
“Five!” he would exclaim. “Five of them!”
I would still wait for it to fall. “Five… of what?” I ask.
“Of things!” he would say.

Things. I completely wrapped my inside around it. And then, my world outside became made up of things. Everywhere I looked, were things. And we could keep adding…. just adding all things, and never run out of adding to things!

I carried in a snail, a spider, an autumn leaf, a bit of sponge, a dead crab and put them in his lap. “Adding…!” I ordered. But my teacher stood up in a hurry and they slithered and tumbled down. I stared at the neat arc they formed on the floor, the spider trying to sneak away, pulling a nose into the arc….
“You sit down here and add these!” My teacher growled as he led me to my desk. On it were two peaches, a pencil, a paper and two crayons.
This was even more magical….!
I drew the most beautiful frog that would be friends with my peach.

I knew then that I loved adding. My teacher taught me well.

I added sunlight to every day that popped up at my window. When the sun was tardy, I added a laugh. That made four and five sometimes dozens of armfuls of laughs. One cold day, our old neighbor added a daisy, too!

Then the blue-jays flew by, quicker than each could add. But I didn’t have a bother at all! I just added the whole sky to them and added that to my hot chocolate.

Then I found I could add the songs of the birds to the leaves and the breeze and then the flowers would sing!
I could skip the flat pebbles on the water and add the drums to the day! And lying under the heavy tree on a hot summer afternoon, I added all my eye-lashes with the clouds that would come by in a few days….

Back at the desk, my teacher had stopped looking at me. I figured he had forgotten the magic of adding. The day he asked my Mommy to drop by, I stood behind his chair, adding my palm to his warm neck. His fingers were cold and I quickly added the flight of starlings and the end of breeze to them. Still he would not look up, and Mommy made deep pools on the table… I could have told her to add some fish with wings and mermaids and shells right there… but I didn’t want to any more. The room had added the cold from the teacher’s fingers…. Or maybe soaked it up as he let it spill onto the floor and creep around the legs of the desks.

I did not see my teacher any more.

One day, I went to where my desk was but I did not want to add what was there.

So, now I spin the magic he had taught me and pin them to his robe, anyway. He is not looking.

I add the rainbow I found at the end of the brook up in the sky of his forgotten gaze. I listen to the clouds descending, rumbling, and add a breath of the underside of a wren’s wing to it. I have long ago added to my heart the swoop of that eagle when he had birthed himself again after a thousand years…. every year, I add a song to that grace and let the seasons roll over them in their slow dance of breath and life.

I guess I have now understood what my love was trying to teach me when he added being a teacher to my existence. I guess I now can add myself to the rest of being.


In the end is the beginning…..

In the end, there is always the beginning…..

And so, in the beginning, there were all the five.

The Phoenix opened his wings, lifted off and gently laid out the sky. Round and round he flew, soaring into the winds, allowing the waves of clouds to wrap around his great feathers…

The Others watched him and breathed freedom…

When it was the Dragon’s turn, he shivered and expanded and was glorious to behold! The arc of the point, where his breath and gaze met, light stood still and became the sun. In the rhythm of his emanations the sky lit up with night and day.

The Others were warmed and happy. When they rested, it was cool.

Then they turned to watch the Unicorn, weaving stars and orbs into birthing dreams. He rode into the corners of sleep, unravelling swathes of memories that hung mist-like in the black nothing and stirred deep within. No one could see into the nothing, yet he did… and onward he went, creating that which was uncreated. Where there was nothing, he was, shining and ephemeral, his single horn cleaving through the darkness he lit.

The Others soaked up his splendour in silent awe… and the dreams he spun trembled on each eye-lash.

The Tortoise rose and walked the earth. Where he stepped, mountains rose, earth was ground and spring became. Blossoms showered gently down on the path he left behind. The trees were assured. Life shifted and turned in birth and be-ing. The whorls of time he carried on his back, and froze them in themselves for the others to see.

The Others gazed at his path and were comforted to be. The breath, then, coursed through their being and congealed the gems of the others who had walked before. The space of the Phoenix wrapped around their limbs. The sun of the Dragon warmed their blood. The dreams of the Unicorn stored away sleep and the Tortoise himself stood firm on the land that he had birthed.

And the Mer-one smiled and was happy. When the Others turned to watch, the Mer-one was already slipping into their senses… pulling, tugging out each unformed bud and wrapping them around her fingers, swishing them around his tail. She flowed as he shifted… weaving reflections and glens and images onto the eyes of the minds of the Others. They fell quiet, wondering, marvelling. The Mer-one played be-ing where none else could go… within. The Mer-one could be what none else would dare… she.

And so the earth and sky and sun and night, with warmth and spring and in and out… along with all the five, held hands and realised that they were.

Born was human. All was human.

Yet as the child grew, Phoenix felt his flight peel off, and Dragon, his breath lay cooled. The Unicorn watched Dragon for a while… when the sun set, he disappeared into the night. The Tortoise heard the human’s footsteps behind him, yet knew they did not follow. And Mer-one split… The cleaving wrenched all heart in pain. They hurried to hold and cup and hug, but One was now not…. They watched in silence as Mer-was sank into the deeps, multiplied and halved. They felt the cord unspool forever, and were gripped with loss and fear. Mer-one was lost, and Mer-was became not, too… And Tortoise sighed, knowing unspool would end one day, as well.

But their child thought only of completeness and did not know any missing. Human walked the earth, gazed at the sky, slept at night, ate of the fruits. When fear appeared, blame did, too. Night became darkness, sleep became escape. And desire split the human up into two… letting one rule over the other, war, defeat, and turn into the other now ruling over the one… in an endless turn.

With a long sigh of the last flight, Phoenix took wings. The two watched as the heart lessened. Soon it was cold… Dragon had submerged himself as well.

Human has since shaped time into a sword and lengthened moments to a line. Thus it has been aeons and tortoise walks a lonely land. But wisdom in him sometimes points to the sky, and he can hear the whirring of the phoenix’s wings… or watch the glow of the dragon’s eyes in the setting sun. Sometimes he laughs, ruminating on the way he now walks on his own back… at other times he holds himself between sleeping and awake, to meet the unicorn. Yet the key, he knows, is in the making of One… where the secret lies in the only she, who now could send out only the yearnings of the deep, while her he lay unresponsive and ignored. The tortoise has heard born stories from the human clan… of mermaids and mermen, and so now, he could wait.

The beginning was near.