30 Nov A Mermaid In The Desert
Under a sliver of moon, inside of soft waves and in the poli of Maui’s arm… I floated.
Looking up to the thousands of stars overhead, salty pillows rocked me into a deep sleep.
I dreamt I followed a shooting star… as it glided through darkness of the sky. I too soared through the night, riding undulating currents of wind rather than water.
Then I dreamt I woke up far from home, in a memory of sea that had become a tangerine land.
My tail warmed by the sand felt familiar and yet foreign… absent were humid hydro notes hanging in the air. In its place was a stillness, a silence completely untouched by ocean roars and apart from thundering winds.
I stretched my eyes, seeking the familiar sea foam to soak my tail and instead saw hundreds of rolling dunes of soft sand. Leaning forward I rolled down a dune, so quickly I had enough momentum to climb another, and another and another. I passed an ocean of mountains, standing as monuments to rains that once were. But no closer I came to the fragrance of salt.
The desert air parched my lips to a tight chap… snapping me from speech. And so I began discovering, the heat on my neck lit excitement in my skin. Instead of salt, I became mystified by the scent of valley roses, the buzzing sound of bees making honey. My eyes met with animals that, although different in form than my family of honu or whales, they had eyes just as familiar. Men and women lying on their side were flicking back waves of still air just as I do on shore.
Home Is Where the Heart Is
My desire for something other than what was, pulled me back like the moon pulls the tides, and my longing subsided. Suddenly, I spotted a shimmering in the distance. Were my lihilihi lashes and the heat of the Saharan sun playing a trick on me? I rolled down a dune right into a glassy pool of water, discovering a real and rare wavering oasis. Sweet waters from deep underground sprung into a festive beauty. And the fragrance of of wild date palms and juicy pomegranates tantalized my senses.
As I splashed and played, the sun began its descent. Shadows teased from the round hills like women bearing their naked chests, revealing voluptuous apricot colored skins of sand in new hues. It was the angel light. And in this precious spectrum, shadows leaned themselves to the earth, slowly like whispers in slanted signals to tell me it was soon time to moimoi, myself.
Millions stars popped in the sky on cue, like peeking eyes in passing caravans. A gentle burst of joy opened in my heart, and I realized that in this far away land was also home. I was in a place where once waters of the sea coursed, and I recognized this as much as the smooth surface of the oasis saw me clearly in it’s reflection. This dry desert and all of its beauty and family, were my family.
I waved aloha and closed my eyes, sliding in the milky way of stars….
I woke up again home, smelling my auntie’s famous limu cakes baking in the sun. Was It real, I wondered? But as I stretched my tail to wake, I heard a new rattle….and looked down to see a perfect spiraled shell added to my kupe’e….a fossilized charm for the mermaid of the desert.
Written by: Tasha Goldberg