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  • Writer's pictureMj Pettengill

Pixie Cup Lichens

Pixie Cup Lichens, Lichens
Pixie Cup Lichens, Mj Pettengill

There is much to imprint from the heart of wild places. Blessed are we upon entering one world and leaving another, filled with grace, unbeknownst to the eye of one who forgot how to see, or one who never knew how to begin with. It is never too late to learn, but you have to want this. It doesn’t work if it’s another’s wish.

It began with a visit to my magic tree, the one from my childhood, where I recently returned to retrieve a part of my soul that had been lost when I was eight-years-old. It was there, right where I left it.

The tree still stands at the edge of the field, the last tree at the end of the sturdy stone wall. Like me, it is taller, wiser, and defined with distinctive lines that indicate a life well-lived, and the will to survive.

I looked around at the familiar view. The air is always the same in this place—clean and crisp, like when I first learned about cloud art as I climbed out of the barn door and onto another, smaller tree.

The only things missing were my mother’s clothesline, draped with sheets and upside down shirts, kids on bikes with chunky tires, and the horses—Babe and Prince—meandering in the pasture.

I found a downy feather of a blue jay and put it in my pocket, a reminder of joy, not to be taken for granted. The rock that you gave me was shaped like a heart and the color of copper. It felt warm in my hand, even when it was cold everywhere else.

We walked through the field, the kingdom of my maiden self, so long ago. I was once rooted there, and believe to be again. I never thought that I would return, but now I know I never left. It was essential to come back to that place and live up to my stories, the ones that I played over and over again. Only this time, it was me who saved myself. I no longer rely on princes, and frogs have more potential than what we learned in myths. They earned my respect in a much different manner.

We stopped at the stream, free-flowing, glistening, and dancing over golden, lyrical rocks. How could one forget a song so wild and sweet, so forgiving and unforgiving, depending on the season and rains?

After crossing the bridge more than once, there was a patch of promise, what is to come. It called out to me. A well-decorated stump with brave pixie cup lichens, reaching for the sky, beyond the wind and clouds, where all that was and all that would be, are not afraid to hide. Innocence lost flooded back into my bones as I sipped the strength, from the cup of Our Mother, swirling with life along the top and edges of an old, old stump.c


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