The dragons used to come for our Naming Day Feasts. They oversaw the welcoming of each new human soul into the circle of community.
Grandmother told me she remembered their great eyes like jewels in the firelight, a great circle of dragons around the Feast Night Bonfire. Each child who survived their first year of life was held aloft to the stars by the medicine woman, who asked to receive the child’s true name. The dragons were there to witness and then gently bow their heads and touch who their bonded was to be.
The night they came Grandmother was just a girl.
She had heard the tales, but they were so old everyone thought that they were only myths, told to keep wayward children close to home.
She told me how she saw big silver ships, like the fat fish flashing in the falls, hover in the sky. How her mother ran with her to the cave behind the falls. How many of them huddled there for days; waiting, listening, stealing glimpses around the curtain of concealing water. At night, flashing lights lit the cascading water, and sometimes they heard loud booms even over the roar of the waterfall.
She said that when the ships were finally gone, the dragons were gone as well. A shimmering scale here and there was all that was ever found.
Now our people are mortal.The cycle of rebirth and bonding is broken. There are no dragons to carry our spirits when we die.
I asked her once, if her dragon still existed, somewhere too far away to feel. She said she didn’t know, but I could see that she hoped.
When we held the transition ceremony for my grandmother’s passing, I watched the sparks fly up into the night, hoping to see some sign that her spirit traveled on, that she would find her dragon soul. The drums beat as her body became ash, and overhead I watched a star streak dimly across the sky.
Mariah Blackhorse of Enterprise Oregon, is an ex-programmer of computers who always preferred to act, write, paint and play in the dirt. In this second half of her life, dirt, mountain air and wilderness are what she’s all about. Occasionally she makes time to write. Her poetry has appeared in Many Mountains Moving, The Hummingbird Review, Four and Twenty, Verseweavers and others. This is her first foray into flash fiction.