I Go By Many Names
I go by many names. Some call me Yeti. Only the foolish dare call me Abominable Snowman.
I go by many names. I am the Boogeyman, the monster under your bed, I am the monster in your closet, the monster deep in your subconscious. You have never seen the real me: your imagination fails to capture my likeness. Still, in the marrow of your bones, you know me…you know I exist.
But you have me all wrong, I do not portend evil.
I am merely a soul in limbo, trying to find a portal back into this world. I fell off the Wheel of Incarceration. It was an unfortunate accident. Now I have to get back on. I need more lives to experience, more soul lessons to absorb.
Can you help me? I don’t really need that much of your time. Come, sit by me. Let me tell you tales of your past lives, and the many times our souls have intersected.
You were a judge of the dead in ancient Egypt, weighing the souls of the newly departed. I was Anubis, jackal-headed god, by your side.
You were a wise woman in medieval Europe dispensing healing herbs and salves. I was Grimalkin, your familiar, the black cat who sat by your right hand. When the Church came to burn you for witchcraft, I hissed and clawed at them while you escaped.
You were a poor fisherman in the north of Scotland, running out of resources to feed your family. I was the Loch Ness Monster; I appeared so you could sell tickets to the townspeople. They had not believed till word spread and then they came and saw me for themselves, and you prospered.
You were the Pied Piper of Hamelin. I was a rat; I played a major role in getting my fellows to let you lure them out of the town.
So you see what we have here. You have incarnated always as a human and I as an animal in your realm, an animal who helped you, So, you see, I just need you to intuit me as an animal and fill your mind with that image. Thus I will be able to materialize and be back in this material world.
Yes, there, that’s it! I’m back., I’m a blackbird, i preen my glossy feathers. Oh, thank you, thank you!
Did I mention that you were Edgar Allan Poe? I shall inspire your poesy. And then I will fully fledge into my predestined self…The Raven’s reputation is not for naught.
So what is next for me? The Trickster is back!
I go by many names.
Soft wreaths of purple haze rose in the eastern sky, concentric smoke rings issuing as from the mouths of giants. Gentle breezes feathered out the circles till they evanesced into the azure blue heavens and were gone.
The wind died down and silence blanketed the land. No sound arose from any direction: no chirp of morning bird, no sigh of evergreen boughs, no gurgle of mountain stream.
The silence carried into the faraway desert: no rustle of pinon pine, no bristle of cactus thorns, no susurrus of sand dunes. Without wind for a dance partner, they stood still as sentinels, their shift-shaping days over and done.
With no wind to waft them, scents and smells vanished. Gone were the delicate aroma of lilac and lavender, the tang of bear scat, the pungency of cats in heat. No sweet roses, no bitterness of hops.
Then came the snows. No regular soft snow this – these flakes were fiery mutated shapes. They fell with a hitherto unknown ferocity upon the hushed land. Hideous layers upon layers speeding down with the determination of demons.
The orb lay beneath this blood red mantle, barren and still.
But, wait…could it be? ….in the mouth of a small cavern which had miraculously escaped the vicious storm, there nestled a seedling which, in time, in geologic time, would herald the repopulation of the planet.
Untold millions of years later….
It was a day of jubilation throughout the Plant Kingdom. In every nook, cranny, open space and sheltered glen, plants stretched themselves toward the golden sun and gave thanks. Thanks not only to the life-giving orb but also to their divine ancestor, the great Unnamed One. The one from whom all life blossomed.
In fields and thickets, parent plants regaled their offshoots with the age-old, much beloved story of their origins.
Once upon a time, the saga began, the world was unbelievably different from the one we now inhabit. In addition to we plant folks, there were sentient beings known as animals. Strange, lumbering smelly beasts, many of them. They were unable to make their own food supply – can you imagine? Instead, they feasted on us and on each other! We shiver to think of those days. We are so much better off without them.
Many of our earliest ancestors in those long ago days were dependent on the animals – again, can you imagine? Some needed help with pollination, for they had not yet all learned the magic to reliably harness currents of wind and water to carry out reproduction. And while flowers developed colour to attract the animals (yuk), they had not yet learned the magic to reliably harness the infinitely glorious hues of the rainbow. How pale they would have been compared to us!
And what’s more, in the previous times, plants had no voice – can you even imagine? They could not sing! They had not yet learned the magic to harness the power of the whispering wind and the trilling brook strumming over their leaves to create divine music.
Of course, dear children, it behooves us to remain humble. Who knows what the next millions of years might bring? Who knows what another turn of the mighty cosmic kaleidoscope might usher in?
….And for zillions of cosmic turns, the earth lived happily ever after….
Until after yet another random kaleidoscope spin….. from a hidden, sheltered cave there came strange sounds, sounds the likes of which had not been heard in untold millions of years….the sounds of scampering paws.
Marilyn Myerson, PhD Philosophy, has learned to take nothing for granted and to have fun. She retired from USF after 38 years of teaching, learning and kicking up her heels in Women’s and Gender Studies. Marilyn was the first outside hire in W(G)S, starting in 1973, when the department was just one year old. She was an administrator at various departmental and dean’s levels, including a stint as W(G)S Chair before her retirement as Emeritus faculty in 2010. She shepherded the Human Sexual Behavior class through its many incarnations, developed the original women’s health classes, and taught feminist research methodology. She is currently in three writing groups, and happily involved with OLLI-USF, taking art and writing classes. She created and teaches OLLI Imaginative Writing classes and facilitates writing groups.
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Thank you for answering the call for memoirs and personal stories. With such an impressive array of unique experiences, we will be extending “memoir weeks” into future months.
Next week we start to dig into the volume of personal stories beginning with Neil Cosentino’s memory of his first impulse to become a pilot and an accounting of the life that decision created for him. So stay tuned and enjoy learning pithy and fascinating details about our members’ lives!