(I first posted this a year ago, but I felt I needed to hear this story again today. Maybe some of you did too.)
A young woman stumbled onto the Old Mermaid Sanctuary the other day. She was lost. She was more lost than any being I had ever seen, and remember, we walked out of the Old Sea and into the New Desert. We know about being lost.
She had thorns in her feet. They had gone right through her shoes. She had thorns in her arms. She had palo verde leaves in her hair. And her fingers were bleeding. She was wild-looking. Not good wild. Not natural wild. Lost human being wild.
We took out her thorns and helped her bathe her cuts and bruises. Sister Ruby Rosarita Mermaid made her soup. Sister Sheila Na Giggles Mermaid made her tea. Sissy Maggie Mermaid gave her clothes. She ate the soup, drank the tea, and put on the clothes. And she talked. She talked about all that had happened to her, she talked about all the misery she had seen, she talked about trying to get away from the roar that followed her everywhere.
"I can't stand it!" she finally said.
We listened and dried her tears.
Then Mother Star Stupendous Mermaid took the woman into the desert. They didn't walk far. Just far enough.
"Now be still," Mother Star Stupendous Mermaid said.
"But then all I will hear is the roar," she said.
"Then listen to it," Mother Star Stupendous Mermaid said. "Stand it. But first, first, listen for the birds. Listen to the cactus breathing. Listen to sound of the air on the wings of the crow as she flies over. Listen to the trees."
Mother Star Stupendous Mermaid left the young woman. We glanced out at her a few times. We could tell she wanted to bolt, to run, to keep going, going, going. Gone. But she was learning what we all must learn: We can't run away from the roaring inside.
When it became night in the desert, the young woman returned to us. "I am learning the language of my soul," she said. "The trees, birds, bees, wind, the coyotes and lynxes—they are all helping me with the translation."
We nodded. Mother Star Stupendous Mermaid said, "Yes, that is the way to be."
Later, we all went out into the desert night and held hands with the stars.
—from Sister Lyra Musica Mermaid