By Jennifer O'Conghalaigh

When I met Gaia, I came by water, gliding on a boat driven by drumbeat. Beyond the veil I traveled, down a river of stars that lead inside the Earth to her lagoon. She was there, in the trunk of a weeping willow tree glowing with dewdrops, longing to be seen. I climbed her great tree and rested in a curve in her branches, into the folds behind her leaves. She radiated something almost indescribable. Pure love.

She showed me the way that the flower petals unfold open to the sun is the same way that throats open to sing; a divine sacred geometry pervades everything. She was trying to keep love on Earth alive.

Look what I can do, my daughter, she whispers…

The Milky Way turns into a silver snake, coiling down from the sky. It lunges into rock, sparking and slicing a canyon, snaking into a river of liquid silver. A bear from Ursa Major awakens from her bed of constellation and jumps to Earth. She lands and the surface rumbles, each footstep makes valleys in the clay, big spaces for oceans, lakes, bays and rivers. The liquid silver flows into the paw prints, water flowing steadily until perfectly filled. The bear hugs Earth before returning home.

Watch, daughter! A cascade of birds from the tip of Gaia’s branches emerge. They fly into the air, filling the sky with raucous squawks and wing flaps. Skyward toward freedom.

Whales, from space, see the warm blue oceans and dive into Earth, too. They sing to the stars of their journey. They sing of the memories of Earth forming, libraries of an ancient cosmic past held deep in their bellies.

Look! Says Gaia. I sit up from her tree branch and she transforms me into a tiger. I lay high in a tree in the savannah, stalking prey. I leap, lunge, for a bird, it looks delicious. I’ve got it. And as I clamp my jaws onto her neck, I am transformed into the bird instead, and am eaten. Into the belly of the tiger. I fly out of her mouth as a ghostly owl, to cross the veil and be born again.

That’s life, she says. Birth, death, and rebirth, under one umbrella.

The sun begins to rise. She signals flowers to open, blooming open to receive the light of life. Honeybees dive into the nectar to do their work of alchemy. A sunlight and pollen and honey miracle. The hexagonal storm cloud above Saturn swirls, matching their hexagonal honeycomb hive. The same divine geometry authors life from the smallest honeybee hive up to storms over celestial bodies.

She rustles, in raindrops and wind on wet leaves and hands me a bowl of rainwater. I look in and see my past lives. I was a nautilus for eons, then a jellyfish for millennia. I curl into her tree curves, cradled in the crook of her long neck, bark scratching my skin. I don’t want to leave you Gaia. I tell her.

You are a child of Earth, she said. The fire that creates planets fires your cells and your will. The water of the ocean is in your blood. Minerals from ancient soil form your bones. You are welded from the same spark of fire that hit the primordial ocean, exploding, changing lands, creating worlds. From black magma you still survived. You are ancient, animated with sentient fire. The rhythm of those who came before you beats in your heart. The spirit breath of the ancestors moving from one generation to the next in your lungs. Plant a tree, sing to water. Pray for the ones yet to come.

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