Happy Sunday! Today’s story has an element of surprise that I hope you will enjoy. There’s just so much magic hiding in everything around us. Don’t you agree?
Visit the shrine at dawn, when the fog has rolled away and the sun nestles in between the breasts of the mountains. Stand in the middle and pray.
After my grandfather shared this wisdom, he crossed his final mountain to rest in the valley of the ancestors. Many elders took that same pass this year.
I waited through winter whiteness, the shrine a foggy feather bed. In the spring, the rains made familiar rivulets, and the soggy shrine dripped relentlessly like a runny nose.
And then a morning of clarity. I ran barefoot, runny clay splattering my terra cotta pants and robin blue vest. I had to match the sun’s intimate cuddle with prayer. I knelt right before the muddy feet of the archway, grounded in the gateway between what is and what will be. I asked All-Father to forgive folk like me, and for my ancestors to reappear. I watered the muddy ravine with my own repenting droplets.
The legs of the shrine shifted; first, just tiny red liberty hats wobbled and began to sway free, below them bubbly cheeks, potato noses, and clay beards.
Soon elbows and knees extended. My guardians freed at last having served their sentence as kitsch garden trinkets. All-Father had fused our eldest four to the arch and tasked them to hold his shrine for a century of piety.
The gnomes removed the shrine from their backs and circled me in a sullied hug. I knew they would help me survive another spring.