The Tawny Goddess sat, wings at ease, gazing through Night’s impenetrable embrace, contemplating existence free of strategy — ‘But I am strategy,’ she murmured onto a passing breeze laden with the sea’s heavy air, noticing a packrat fall into her usual trap but letting it pass on to his brood of newborns, alone across the sand; she knew what his death would be when soon it’d come in the dauntless jaws of an overbold young rattler, poison still fresh, pure, stronger than her mother’s.
The moon rose, a crescent of mirrored radiance. ‘I am strategy,’ the glaucous-eyed goddess repeated, as if for Selene to hear, a fresh witness to painful longing.
‘They have it so simply,’ she hooted stiffly over an old wound. ‘They have it without the care I must take, all the effort I expend!’ There was bitterness there in the owl’s full-throated hooting, but wretched longing, too, an inexplicable will — ‘as if I were to exist without myself being!’ Any hapless human within range would’ve thought an owl was laughing. What a sound, they would think, like a joyful haunting.
‘My girl,’ the goddess chided herself—for though she had never been ‘a girl’ either in the sense of age or of gender, still she preferred girl to woman and especially to young woman—’we must be as we are, that is our way. Our burden is from Mother. It is from Father. It is yours, dear one. Hide yourself all you like,’ the owl groaned to herself, ‘but you do yourself justice as you were, as you are, making yourself space and enriching your peers with your gifts. My love, only see the light in yourself!’
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