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(Photo by Mike Stacey)

I watch my sweat drip down along the contours of my body, snake-like tendrils of salt and anticipation falling around me. A twelve year old me could never have known how aptly they chose their name; I'm always wet like a damp Autumn forest, like rain falling onto soft decaying leaves. Dripping like honey, leaving my marks on everything like a snail on a pilgrimage.

I long to speak my truth, to say out loud all the words that I weave together in spells on paper and a love language as ancient as my great great great great great grandmothers bones crushed into dirt that makes the flowers bloom. I write these words that I can't say out loud. This is my confession: my voice was taken from me out of fear of persecution. One day I will retrieve it and gift it back. For now I speak in symbols and I wonder who can read them.

I gave my vulnerability as an offering for the coming year, like gifting seeds thrown to the earth. And this is it, this is me. I'm here baby-faced, laughing with a cackle that would do a witch proud, stripped back raw, skin flawed, resting here for a moment in child's pose. Who will I be when Saturn is through with me?

And now I find myself here in this ephemeral sliver of time with my body tied in rope woven from the magic of past rituals. These words don't come easy; there is always a price to pay in having the audacity to try to describe the divine. This moment is all there is.. goosebumps rising on damp skin, bound up in surrender, a giving and taking of breath. A stillness so profound, discovered only in the inbetween, here in the greyness, the penumbra of this moment.

I never knew how deep the rope would burn.

This is the first Winter I've ever missed, the first time I've ever been overseas for more than a month. I've never understood people who flow in perpetual Summer, going from one side of the world to the next to avoid the cold; I'm just not built that way. I need the dark nights and raw wind, the silence and stillness.

I'm missing the black cockatoos floating in the clouds above my house calling out in their shrill phoenix song, bringing the rain and the mist that envelops everything in dampness. I miss the magpies singing to the rising sun. I miss the smell of wood fires at dusk, and the freezing air that makes me feel so alive. I miss the feeling of standing on the edge of cliffs and just breathing the mountains in. My soul is hungry for those moments, alone, the most me I am, vulnerable and seen only by nature.

But there is something here in the land that calls me too. I feel it in the jagged rocks that stretch up to snowy peaks far above the ground. I feel it in the wildflowers growing free and the sea of pine trees stretching out as far as I can see. I feel it driving along freeways in hot summer nights, sweat dripping from every part of me. Something in the woods here says welcome home. Something about the family I've met along the way that beckons me. Something in the desert that I'm so close to meeting. The bears, the hawks, the deer, the elk; they all speak to me in a language so foreign to home but so familiar it hurts.

The push and pull of belonging to the air. A love affair with nature, nesting and flight.

I think of our skin wrapped around each other after soft moments of love and I can think of nothing more beautiful than you. The way your cheeky smile disappears into the stretch marks on my thighs, making me shiver and cry out and lose myself in your hands that only create art. I want to paint every movement we make together in the lushest strokes of oil; in crimson and rose, midnight and ash, tangerine and honey, dripping.

Sometimes your eyes flicker across at me and I’m thrown back to when you didn’t know about my shortcomings, and I hadn’t seen yours, but somehow we knew that we could weather the storms. I apologise to you nearly every day that you fell in love with a girl named after the rain, whose tears fall like waterfalls forming into rivers in which we both sometimes drown; one minute throwing words at you like lightening, the next kissing soft constellations of tenderness on every part of your dear body, your freckled skin.

I have never felt a love like ours, one that wraps me in an aura of deep knowing, of remembering; a love that inspires me to keep growing and facing the shadows that crawl around inside me.

My dearest dragon eyes, fire heart; you are the winter sun, the warmest light.

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