When one of the First Dog clan died, all the First Animals were sad. They held a little ceremony to remember their friend, and First Woman shared stories of how First Dog had travelled with her when she collected mushrooms, how they had played in the river, and how he had dug the earth when she was planting vegetables. Everyone was sad.
After a while, First Animals began to worry about First Woman. She did not weave her blankets or look after her garden. She didn’t make her bread, or visit the animals to help.
First Rabbit took First woman a carrot to cheer her up, but First Woman just sighed a quiet “thank you,” and said nothing more.
After a while, First Squirrel took First Woman some nuts, but First Woman just sighed a quiet “thank you,” and said nothing more.
Then First Horse took First Woman some flowers, but First Woman just sighed a quiet “thank you,” and said nothing more.
When the animals asked First woman “What is wrong?” First Woman would just say quietly “I don’t know.”
So the First Animals went to Earth Crone, because she was old and wise, and asked for her help.
One morning First Woman woke up to find Earth Crone sitting at the end of her bed, and a cauldron of porridge bubbling on the fire.
“Eat,” said Earth Crone. As First Woman ate her porridge, filled with berries and nuts and covered in the sweetest honey, Earth Crone said:
“There is nothing wrong. You are simply resting in my sacred time and space as you mourn your friend.”
Earth Crone bent over and lit her pipe at the fire.
“Every month you visit my energies. You withdraw from the everyday world to sit in your inner darkness to rest, to heal and to renew your energies. You cannot hurry how long you stay in my energies, you have to let go and allow things to flow in their right time. Just as you cannot hurry spring to come earlier.”
The Crone wrapped her warm black cloak around First Woman’s shoulders.
“Rest with me child,” she said gently.
“In this space there is no need, no desire, or ego or motivation. In this space you are connected to the mysteries of the Universe, and they do not need action or words.”
Earth Crone placed her hand over First woman’s lower belly.
“In your bleeding time you let go, so you can make space for something new. You let go, so that in the emptiness new things can grow.
Take your time. Rest here with me. Make space within yourself so that you can grow when the time is right.
Then, just as winter becomes spring, your energies will return to the outside world.”
And, slowly, First woman rested and honoured her friend, and love grew within her. Slowly she returned to her other friends.
And First Woman realised that the greatest gift First Dog had given her was this experience to grow in love.