Delah spent the time until harvest convalescing on her sister’s farmstead. She helped here and there whenever her strength was capable of maintaining her efforts. In the between times, she would sing to the children and teach them the names of the trees and birds. They were sat at her feet beneath a grand oak that dominated the front portion of their lands, facing the West as the sun called them to bed. Growing in the gnarled roots and bark strewn floor were Himalayan balsam, with broad pink petals delicately poised to enrapture the local bees. The heavy headed flowers sank earthward, filled with nectar and the scent of the forest flowers. Delah picked a flower and passed it to Emi with a frail smile. She loved her family so; yet felt the throb of loss deeply within her chest. Tears began to flow, Emi stood up and once hugging the leg of her aunt, joined in the sobbing. Atu looked at his sister dumbfounded. “Why are you crying Emi?” He enquired incredulously of his sister. “Aunt Delah is.”
Delah laughed through the tears and picked Emi up and stretched her arms high above her head. The dappled sunlight danced on the girl’s hair as she sobbed, giggled and sniffled in Delah’s strong hands. Setting her niece back to the floor in front of her gently, she wiped the tears from Emi’s face with the front of her dress. “We can’t have you going home looking like that lady; whatever will your mother think of me?” Emi smiled as Atu huffed at his sister, “Emi cheer up – it’s almost harvest time remember!”
The harvest was a time of sombre reflection but also of wild celebration; for the people of the Valley found themselves both praying devoutly but also drinking to the name of the gods that had blessed them so.
“Children, let me sing you a song of the Harvest; for the Moon is fat with the fruits of the Earth. She comes close to us and blesses us, pretty she is my darlings. Ever so pretty and ever so proud.”
“There once were two lovers, laying in a field of ripened corn;
They were two of person yet one of heart;
Lost in each others eyes, clasped together unto the early morn;
They kissed and to the harvest they made to start;
With scythes and twine, gathering gifts of the gods;
Bountiful was the grain and strong was the straw;
The seeds were a-gathered, safely asleep in hard pods;
They knew of agriculture and the eternal need for more;
They planned a life together a shared destiny;
The Goddess granted them plentiful children and lands to beyond the eye;
The rewards for their blessed and sweet fecundity;
The happiness of the harvest and children, with contentment they did sigh;
Long was the day of life and slow the pace of time;
For all was good and proud for the family, a long time they were stood;
With full bellies and hearts and all that is mine;
They lived out their days in the glory of the Goddess and She was ever good.”
Sakrisan II, The Ballad of the Loving Harvest
Delah gazed at the children; trying desperately to ward off the careless speculation and imminent sorrow of how her son, the son of a god would have presented himself. Fair of hair and happy of demeanour, strong as the Ox, he would have entranced the local girls surely. He would dance and sing and make the world spin.
She should not think so of her lost child for he would be reborn again in the light of the Goddess. They will meet again and again, unto distant days. Nobody was ever truly lost, only misplaced for a time. She yearned for the day of lost acquaintance found once more. She yearned with her heart and soul for the day they would meet and she would hold him. Close to her, never to let go she would hold him so tightly to her breast.
The low Harvest Moon would be on them soon; Nanna was awake to the call of the ripened fruits. To harvest and celebrate, to drink and to dance; Delah felt apart from the future melee. How could she be part after losing herself and the future.
“That song was very pretty Aunt Delah.” said Atu, looking at her intently. His voice quavered with the onset of manhood. “I liked it very much. Would you teach it me if you get chance?”
“Of course my sweet boy, of course.” Delah replied resting a hand on his head, the rough curls of his hair between her fingers. “For that has always been our way, we teach each other what we know and sing together.”
Atu grinned, showing white teeth and a wicked spark in his eye. “It will impress the girls in the village.” he added as he smoothed down his jerkin. “O will it now my big man, are you not too small for girls lad?” Delah returned his grin and winked at him conspiratorially. His smile would make the world spin.
To Chapter Fifty-Nine – The Agonies of Free Will