Grey Heron Nights 4: Old Crane Woman and the world’s web

Old Crane Woman is flying, and I’m along for the ride. Hang on tight, girl, she shrieks, and fasten your seat-belt. There’s always a bit of turbulence when you pass through the veil. Sometimes, Old Crane Woman thinks she’s funnier than she is. Look down, she tells me, but I’ve always been afraid of heights. Old Crane Woman shrieks, and dives vertically towards the ground. I said, look down. I open my eyes, clinging to the feathers on the long, bony saddle that is Old Crane Woman’s back. Flying with her through the veil. I open my eyes, and look down.

Colour swirls all around us. We are flying with the Merry Dancers, dancing through fox-fire. The world below us is dark. Old Crane Woman slows, and circles. Do you see it now, girl? she shrieks. Do you see it, at last? Do you see the great web?

In the space between wing-beats, heart pounding in time with hers, I slowly begin to see.

We dive again, and Old Crane Woman is shrieking. We dive, and I am howling. Once torn, the veil cannot be mended. Once you have seen, you cannot unsee.

Old Crane Woman is singing. Bound together in rock and root, carried together in wind and water. Old Crane Woman is flying through the web. Press against a node, she says, and the threads around it tighten. Press against a node, and the world shifts. So the world participates in our makings; so we participate in the makings of the world. Pluck the strings, and the instrument sounds. What music will you make, now that you know?

We land by the river, and Old Crane Woman is laughing. Dangling from her beak, a strong, light-filled thread with which to bind together her nest.

The Web

Intricate and untraceable
weaving and interweaving,
dark strand with light:

designed, beyond
all spiderly contrivance,
to link, not to entrap:

elation, grief, joy, contrition, entwined;
shaking, changing,
all praise,
all praise to the
great web.

Denise Levertov

3 thoughts on “Grey Heron Nights 4: Old Crane Woman and the world’s web

  1. “…
    To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight
    and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
    and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.’
    Wendell Berry


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