I think the first time was very brief. The fall killed me soon after. Rushing in at the huge, hairy beast, trying to goad him over the killing cliff, I dodged a flailing trunk and myself went over the edge onto the rocks. Three of us eventually paid with our lives for the winter’s meat that I hope sustained you. When the mastodon finally stumbled over himself, the rest of the clan came down to do the several days’ work of butchering. You stopped to see about me. I remember the sorrow and tenderness and gratitude in your eyes. Another continent, another world, another time came between then and the next meeting.
We children played among the tall reeds at the river’s edge. The brown water, warm as it was, was cooler than the desert sands, so we waded in now and then to cool ourselves, wary glances checking to see if we had been spotted, hoping to avoid adult reprimands. By the time we were approaching adulthood, however, we’d learned to see the telltale signs of the crocodiles approaching. What took us by surprise was the sudden devouring capture of seeing one another anew. I looked into your eyes, not for the first time, but for the first time then, and knew you. Loved you at that moment. Years later, I hated leaving you after such a lifetime together.
The cold and snow returned. The snow was deep and the pack struggled even in the deep forest. Pack. We were five misfits, voluntary exiles from our birth packs, looking for our own way. Why did you answer my song? The voice was new, but I knew it. My four companions simply waited for me to return. How strange…this meeting. How right, as well. You were the bond we needed to make our home then. Only your presence asserted your right to dominance. We sang together through many Wolf Moons before we parted once more.
But there you were again! New again! The heather blew against your tartan and the same wind that had scoured northern Africa with sand played with the red-gold of your hair as we stood together in the highlands. From those rocky heights we built an empire. Through so many millennia we had come from brief guttural wonder and the ice-bound struggle to survive to a scorched oasis and decades of recognition. Now we had another chance. Another struggle. Another lifetime. And we grasped it with both hands, each of us, understanding without questioning, accepting, loving.
Where next? A new continent, a different struggle, the same instant recognition despite the differences. You were there in the snow, bleeding from the Gatling gun’s indiscriminate discrimination. My shadow over you drew a look of such contempt and fear. Kneeling, I was wary of the skinning knife you drew from beneath your buckskins and grabbed the killing hand before you could exact your revenge. Then you saw me. I must have had the same look of confusion and recognition. When I picked you up, you clung to me and died in my arms. I did not understand my need to follow you.
Other lives have come and gone since last I saw you. The world has changed more drastically than ever before. Awareness is more perceptive. Need is greater. Perhaps that is what calls to us. One meeting after the other, we each have needed only one another. And we were there. Compassion? Fertility? Companionship? Nobility? Awareness? What now? What next?
Freedom? After so many ages have passed, maybe it is time to come together and join finally our pasts. Let us know one another now as lives meant to be one…or maybe we will take this consciousness with us into the next being. What adventures are yet to come?
[Experimenting with a notion of reincarnation….]