Recently she reappeared, this figure the height of my grandson who stands solid and white on the western-most reach of our 100-foot defensible space about our home. She was given to us by Donald’s youngest daughter, Genevieve, a gifted ceramicist, when she moved from her Sonoma home to a smaller space. I have always liked her, her skirt covered in dragonflies and exploding novas and suns with dancing rays, her bare breasts and body bejeweled with planets. We placed her between a coastal live oak and madrone, but toyon and poison oak took her back into the nature of themselves and the land.
She must have been there for eight years—we forgot her—until the day this last winter when I had the crew clear brush around our home again. And then, there she was! Really quite arresting! All this time she had quietly waited, her eyes closed, her focus inward and expansive. She’s pregnant, I like to think with something good and new.
The dogs were absolutely shocked when they first saw her. Toby crouched low and stalked her; Bramble Berry circled, barking viciously. I spoke quietly as I touched her, showing them she is neutral if not friendly. They walk by her now without even noticing.
I found the hand she lost on a branch nearby and thought of the handless maiden, she whose hands were severed in a bargain her father made with the devil for wealth. Her tears bathed her bloody stump, protecting her from the devil, and after wandering in the forest and other challenges with love, her hands regrew.
Solid as she is, she is also like an apparition, appearing now, at this time we cry with realizations we never considered possible: temperatures rising so high that areas on our Earth will be uninhabitable. Hundreds and thousands of animals becoming extinct, including, possibly, humans. Land, once verdant, dried to desert, and frozen permafrost thawed to reveal the deceased of millennia ago.
But I rest in her repose, eyes closed or diverted, not asleep but in purposeful presence, pregnant with endurance and possibilities, the sun on her skirt.