Episode 11. The Amazon Queen
Sophia's injunctions to seek the Amazon Queen had somewhat heartened me. Supposedly she would help me to return to my true home, not a lair masquerading as home where Sybil and her daemons dreamt up disasters for unsuspecting travellers.
An old Fresian cow came abling towards me along the path. She nuzzled into the grass by the edge, pulling up any green shoots she found.The bell around her neck rang each time she lifted her head. As she came closer I could see her brown eyes silently assessing me. Then dismissing me as she searched for another mouthful. Engraved on the bell was.....Amazon Queen!
Not at all what I had been expecting, but I sized the opportunity as it presented and hoisted myself onto her broad and ample, if somewhat uncomfortable, back. Gripping with my knees I began a slow, but for a footsore traveller, a fortuitous continuation of my journey.
Much ,much later we arrived at an open clearing on the side of a hill. In the centre was an old multi-paned glasshouse. Each pane was of a different design...a miracle that they were all intact.
A motley crew were gathered listening to a brightly clothed speaker. Moving clser I could hear
"....and with great pleasure I declare this exhibition of the Amazon Queen OPEN!". There was much cheering and clinking of glasses, and there, bowing to the adulation of the crowd was indeed a tall figure, of indiscernible age and questionable beauty dressed in a long and red cloak!
As the crowd started to disperse, I boldly approached her. She had the look of a wise and loving elder so without hesitation I poured out all that had led me to find her and ventured to ask how to find my way home.
"Home, child?" she questioned. " Which home? A home in Heaven or a home in purgatory? A home of security and love or one of dysfunction and rejection? A home of starting or that of the journey or indeed perhaps that home of final destination. When you have decided which one you really want, come back and I will tell you how to reach it.
I sat by the nearby river, a very broad and swiftly flowing river, with reed beds along the edges.
I stared deep into the water, past the reflections and the weeds and the fish and a lazy turtle following some minnows. Deep down.
First I saw the home of my beginning- my mother's laugh and my father's admonishments. Years of chores and homework and piano lessons. No, I didn't want to go back there no matter how much fun it had been. The home of my journey came into view. My flight over the mountains, the welcome of the gypsies and my obeiance at White Owl Island.The carefree years on the Island in the Archipelago.The adventures and the friendship of Sophia and the scary bits...no it was just a journey. Not home.
Next I was transported into a murky reflection of a caclking Sybil with the raven on her shoulder. A home of fear and stomach knotting anxiety. No love. An anti-home.
Suddenly the murkinesss vanished and sunlight dappled the now clear water. I could see my real home! For sure the garden was ramshackle and the Roller door needed attention, but there was love and predictable acceptance and the fluffy mutt looked pleased to see me. My final home!
Hurrying back to the Amazon Queen I pushed my way through the milling crowd and told her of my decision and asked the directions she had promised.
"Simple" she said. " Just shut your eyes and think of nothing else. Wish hard with every fibre of your being and bring into your heart all the love you can summons."
So, as the sun set, I did just that. Screwed up my eyes and thought and wished for all the peace and joy of the little things. The things I had taken for granted. And so I opened my eyes to a joyously barking and welcoming dog and a partner who would have been wagging his tail if he had one and indeed the sun was shining on my ramshackle garden.
" If death prove an experience I live through,
good angel, guide me to a sunlit kitchen
with bread rising, the great black kettle singing
of wisdom and the peaceful life to come".
( Gwen Harwood)