"This land is my land and I am this land" the old one keened into the darkest night she found herself.
All through her, the precious cells of earth had been bulldozed and churned; felled and bricked up; tunnelled into and tarmacked over.
From her ancient rocks the black bird spoke with the lucidity of eons and the young ones gathered, not fully understanding their rage, yet feeling something amiss in their still supple bones as they sang:
'Ancient Mother I hear you calling,
Ancient Mother I hear your cry;
Ancient Mother I hear your laughter
Ancient Mother I taste your tears...
What are we to do in these dark times?
These months, years that have brought us to 'now' have teased us with gifts of travel and treats and burnished our ego to a right bronzed glow. A glow so bright that now we can hold it up as a mirror and see just what we are faced with. How did we not see before what we have let happen? How did it come to this?
And as always, we are stopped in our tracks not by the looming dinosaur of our imagined need and fear but by the tiniest thing, invisible to the naked eye. The very germ of a life incubated in life's womb has stopped us in our tracks as we suddenly see the reality: we each will - this way or that - one day stop breathing.
So afraid have we become of this that we continue to mask our face in the mirror in some lost hope that this will make it somehow alright. Yet behind us, back and back over our shoulder, there she stands. The old one. The ancient one, the very first mother who sees it all. Did you really think when you scuttled under the table with too many toys and snatched cakes that Grandmother did not see?
So, now what? Its nearly midnight. Soon the night will reach its zenith and for a time hold on as the new day emerges.
Do we plough on through the dirt? Or honour the soil?
The old one peeks under the table and offers us a chance. A chance to become the cry we hear, a chance to taste our own tears. She creates a cradle for us, weaving fallen branch with mangled mud, and rocks us as we sob our hearts and soak her vessel with our screaming tears.
Its choice time again. We can impatiently wait for the means to resume our play; or we can grow up, accept death and with it the re-birth of the dawning day.