of the lady of sorrows
shone through the rifts in the clouds revealing a choppy sea
of steel gray waves as far as the eye could reach.
On a high
cliff overlooking the sea, stood a Lady. Her eyes dark pools,
looking out towards the line where sky and sea met. Her form
was small and graceful, almost fragile yet imbued with a quiet
strength. Her bearing was of one who knew how to command and
also how to obey.
There was in her manner a strange aloofness and disregard for
the elements. She was oblivious to the wind ruffling her coat
of feathers. Her hair flew about her face yet her eyes remained
focussed on a great sadness in the distance. Tears made their
way down her cheeks unheeded. No hand came up to wipe them away
or smooth their path. She seemed barely aware of them.
night he observed her watching the horizon, buffeted by the
wind, silent tears in the pale moonlight.
Once she made as if to step off the cliff but then she drew
back in hesitation.
years he watched her there in the same place.
of the first new moon of the year, he watched her and he felt
a great sympathy for her. Her sadness had touched his heart.
For an instant she looked about searching for something. Then
she stepped to the edge and spread her wings. He let out a gasp.
What he had taken as her coat of feathers were in truth her
wings wrapped tightly about her body. The inside was a soft
down of rose pink the outside cool gray to silver tones. Wings
spread wide, the wind pulling her she stood for some time, lifted
off the ground just a little. She folded her wings and her gaze
went once more into the distance. Not knowing why, he felt disappointed.
In his dreams
and at times in his inward eye during waking moments he would
see her and gradually grew to know her better. One evening as
he was reading a book of Irish mythology, it was shortly after
the summer solstice, at sundown, strange feelings reached him
in waves of delicate longing from another far away world. They
had in them the perfume of 'her' essence. It was as if a dream
half remembered. He felt her presence and her eyes upon him.
For the first time he saw that she looked at him, from her world
to his. Her gaze searched for him and was looking at him past
the horizon to meet his eyes, seeing him across many worlds
and great distances, speaking to him yet without words.
Her gaze was clear and powerful yet he could not put it into
words. Ever so gentle, quiet, sad.
He put down his book. She was calling to him with her eyes,
eyes that he now saw had no whites at all, only pools of deep
black. It gave her a strange alien air.
Closing his own eyes he looked for the gray sea, the high cliff
where he had seen her so many times. She stood with wings outstretched
letting the breeze lift her a little off the cliff surface.
Hovering thus he watched her and wanted to shout, to urge her
to fly - but a warning flashed across his mind "let HER
So he watched and waited. He saw her dark eyes, glistening like
black shiny pearls speaking a language he could only guess at.
time on he would look for her in the evenings, after sundown.
He learnt to speak to her eyes, across the many worlds that
He learnt to 'see' her eyes at any time in any place. He would
look for her and she answered.
It was the
night following the equinox. He saw her standing on the cliff,
her wings spread wide, then she quietly stepped off the edge.
She flew with strong calm beats over the moonlit sea.
is the absolute bare bones of the story. In fact its really
only one image. There is no real ending. One possible 'silver
clasp ending' is to have him meet the lady in his own world,
recognizing her only by her eyes. See the story of 'O-Tei' set
in Nagano, Japan, (in the book: "Kwaidan" by Lafcadio
Hearn, Publ. Tuttle & Co.) for a similar theme, similar
meeting and re-recognition.
This series of images came to me in the north of Laos, Bounthai
town, 23May01,while on a field trip. I was inspired by reading
George MacDonald's story "Phantastes" at the time
- this story is influenced by MacDonald's images.
© 2003 heiko