Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Thursday, October 15, 2015

#14: The Mermaid Candle

If I could simply sit
by your side for these final hours,
I would offer my hand.
Each decade teaches its own lessons:
but how do we let go of those we love,
father, mother, lover, child?

Take me down in memory
to where the wild iris grow,
to the first time I knew you,
when all was possible.
And then we went adventuring,
your arms, your heart, my solace.

For now, I'll burn the mermaid candle,
and count the hours we share,
knowing for as long as I breathe,
I will carry you with me.

Today's prompt from OctPoWriMo is simply to imagine what a day would be like IF we could do anything, how would we conquer the world. Too many friends just now are faced with serious illness, and one friend holds vigil beside her dying father.

So I was reminded of that time in southern Mexico, when we were young. In the little house we rented in San Cristobal de las Casas, we found this large tree of life. A crowned mermaid surrounded by fishes stares implacably into the future, simply accepting what is. 

Originally, such trees of life, made of simple coiled pottery, were to teach stories of the Bible during the colonial era. But like many forms of art, the maker transforms the message. Perhaps one day I'll know why stories and images of mermaids are a comfort to me. For now, a friend gave me a mermaid candle, and it is that which I will light.

And in other news: Hooray! Years of Stone is being featured by Underground Book Reviews on its Pitch Perfect Picks Showcase.

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