The Wild Hunt
We walked until we came to a place where lake, forest, and field met. The trees were free of underbrush. Just a carpet of yellow leaves between the trees, all a comfortable distance apart which made the place a Nemeton for a few quick inhalations. The tired light of October shone through what was left of the leaves on the maples above, creating a dappled motion that made the ground like water. Then I breathed in deep and felt her adjust her body weight and grip my hand a little tighter. She bobbed her head, hunched over, watched the world in a way I never could even begin to imagine. I know this; she sees things in a way that is easy for fools to call ruthless.
In our wild cathedral we could hear the chattering bark of squirrels. Anna flew off my hand and eventually found herself perched above me, her attention cleft between hunting and me. As I walked with David she followed above, the little brass bell on her anklet jingling. Sometime she would follow by perching above us, and sometimes she would come right to my outstretched fist. If she did there would be a little piece of heart there for her. She would gobble it up and take off again. Her cream chest plumage and auburn wings seemed golden in that light. Every single time she leaves me I know it may be the last time I ever see her again. When she flies back to me—weaving through trees and ducking under pine boughs—I felt myself forget to breathe. '
The sunlight through her wings.
The hope we go home with death in our pocket.
The last sunlight of the year that isn't covered in ice.
She isn't ruthless at all. She is honest.
Some children grow up hearing stories of wolves and fear them as monsters. Other children grow up wishing for a pack of their own. Out in this tired light, with these partners, I would howl if it didn't scare the game.