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Internet Book of Shadows, (Various Authors), [1999], at

                                   Walking with my Friends 
                                     Masochistic Maiden
                    The beach glistened under the sun, still wet from the
                    ebbing tide. My friends and I walked along leaving
                    tracks in the sand. We stopped at a tide pool and
                    discovered a bunch of sand dollars. The mark of a star
                    etched in each of the skeletal remains made us think of
                    the star at the center of the pentagram necklace I wore.
                    One gently held the necklace in his hand as we talked
                    about the meaning of each of the points. Earth, Air,
                    Fire, and Water, and then spirit. We talked how each of
                    these is a gift from Mother then we walked on.
                    He ran ahead and found a broken sand dollar with a tiny
                    mollusk, barely bigger than the head of a pin, inside.
                    We were amazed that anything so tiny could be alive. It
                    made us more aware of all the living things we often
                    overlook. Beneath our feet the ghost shrimp rested in
                    their tunnels, ocassionally blowing water back from the
                    many holes that dotted the beach. The larval forms of
                    life that clung to shells, stones, and settled in the
                    masses of seaweed thrown up by the surf, each caught our
                    attention before it was stolen by the gulls and crows
                    begging for scraps of bread.
                    Soaring overhead, the wings of the gulls whipped tiny
                    eddies of air that stirred the whisps of hair that had
                    escaped my ponytail and lifted the front few strands of
                    his hair. His eyes reflected the shine of the ocean on
                    the sand, and his quick voice and ready laughter made me
                    feel fleet of foot and full or the joy of youth.
                    After walking the beach we climbed a nature trail
                    through the woods. We stopped to look at the flowers,
                    delicate white stars with pink stripes. Again we thought
                    of the pentagram. We also imagined the Goddess of Spring
                    with feathers and flowers braided into her hair. A
                    little further we found a deep puddle with a surface as
                    smooth as glass. The sky and the trees were reflected
                    back at us in such precision and perfection that we
                    talked for a while of what that perfect world beyond the
                    puddle might be like. We wondered how we could make our
                    side of the mirror so peaceful and clean looking.
                    We walked further and came to a tall ancient tree and
                    wondered what stories it could have told, if we could
                    but understand. For a moment we could almost see the
                    native americans stalking deer and gathering herbs. The
                    tree, covered with a mass of moss as thick as carpeting
                    neither denied or confirmed our thoughts. Suddenly, with
                    a smile I thought of the ledgends of Gnomes that live
                    beneath the trees. This old trees roots held deep dark
                    holes and the forest litter was not creeping in to cover
                    them. The arching root looked so much like a roof over
                    an entry way and the size of the root system above the
                    ground indicated that a large family of Gnomes could
                    easily escape human eyes. Just a wink of time and they
                    could scamper out of sight beneath the undergrowth. We
                    could hear, if we stopped to listen, the soft sounds of
                    the wet undergrowth being disturbed. Was it the hurried
                    movement of little men in peaked caps?  Gnomes, weren't
                    they the creatures of the Elemental Earth? We could
                    smell the damp earth all about us. This was certainly a
                    good place for them.
                    After forest's close embrace, the clearing was sunshine
                    and sparkles. We saw dandilions growing on the green
                    hillside. We recognized them as one of springs first
                    splashes of color and representations of the sun shining
                    down on us. Carefully gathering several of the golden
                    heads we carried them to the mouth of the nearby stream
                    as it lead to the ocean. We threw them into the water,
                    watching them float down to the sea. With each flower we
                    sent a more oil slicks....less
           some of the natural rain forests...each
                    of us remember to carry away a bit of trash every time
                    we go for a more whales more
                    drift nets dragging sea mammals to their deaths...a bit
                    of nature for every child...and healing for Earth mother
                    where she has been strip mined. Then we turn to leave,
                    neither of us really wanting to go.
                    James isn't three yet, and Scott is only five, but they
                    were my friends as we walked and they gave me a chance
                    to share the wonder and beauty of the beach and the
                    woods.  Take time with the young. There is much they can
                    teach us and give us when we take the time to share
                    their world.

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