I was surprised to find my lovely gatekeeper, Raven, and Edwin the Bee in their usual posts when I passed through the garden gate...as they were still downing pints of Minute Mead and discussing songs on the jukebox when Madeleine and I left the Sacred Pub. A bit more than tipsy myself, I said nothing to either of them, but simply saluted the best I could and stumbled my way over to the Persian rug. I lie down peacefully, and blew a kiss to my cousins, the moon and the stars, and I was surely sleeping deeply even before my kiss had reached them.
The deep and peaceful sleep didn't last very long though, as I was awoken by a thunderous crash that must have shook the ground for a great distance! I jumped straight up and tried to clear my eyes. Off behind the trees near the southern edge of Freddie's Pond of Fanciness I could see a blurry orange glow. Instinctively I hustled toward the garden gate, but Raven and Edwin the Bee were already headed toward the blurry orange glow. And I'm not sure what cousin Eddie the Raven had been doing, but I saw him rushing out of his little garage wearing a shower cap and fuzzy slippers. Now that was a first for me! Indeed there was more to learn about my clever soulmate. I tried to ask him about his unusual attire as he approached me, but he just shouted that there was no time for that now, and we both sprinted to the source of the thunderous crash. If you've never seen a raven sprinting while wearing a shower cap and fuzzy slippers, I highly recommend it. It's very entertaining, even in times of great stress and anxiety.
We reached the the center of the orange glow very soon after, and it was no longer blurry. It was a crash indeed...literally! A rocket had plunged right into our sacred garden, mostly in the water of Freddie's Pond of Fanciness, and slightly upon the shore. The four of us stood in wonder as we looked upon it and approached the mysterious rocket slowly, and with caution. We took a few steps back when we heard a soft whirring sound, and a hatch began to open. A gloved paw emerged, then a space helmet, then the familiar sound of childish bickering.
"Come on you two!" the helmeted critter shouted toward the open hatch as the space helmet was being removed. I don't believe I'd ever seen my lovely gatekeeper sprint so quickly (normally she would fly gracefully, or just magically appear), but sprint like mad she did, and nearly tackled the critter, while squeezing out any oxygen that might have still been in the space suit. And for good reason! For this was not just any critter...no, this was her dear and loving companion Leo, the golden cocker retriever, and once official starmapper of my sacred garden. Raven and Leo embraced for several moments, and still no others had emerged from the rocket's hatch. I went to shake Leo's paw and greeted him warmly. Leo corrected me, informing me that he was now officially Captain Leo...and he suggested I might have better success than he at getting my children out of his rocket.
My children??!!! Holy crap!!! Now it was my turn to sprint, and I very nearly dove right into the rocket's hatch. I stuck my head inside and, indeed, there they were! Still bickering. Still beautiful. A bit larger than I had remembered. "Come on you two!"
Butterfly looked up first and said, "Oh, hi, Dad. I keep telling Weasel he should just have left his boots on, so now he's still messing with them."
Then Weasel glared at Butterfly as he fidgeted with the straps on his space boots and told her, "Well if you wouldn't have crashed the stupid rocket into the water, I wouldn't have needed them! I told you just to let Captain Leo do it, but nooo, you just HAD to try another landing." Then Weasel looked up at me, apparently finished putting on his space boots, and he told me, "And of course Butterfly failed!"
I laughed and motioned them both toward the hatch. "You guys never really change, do you?" I chortled, and took Weasel and Butterfly's hands and helped lift them out of the rocket. "I can't believe you guys are here! It's so great to see you!!!" And we all hugged, right there at the rocket's hatch. Weasel and I hopped off it and splashed our way to shore. Butterfly hopped off last, and as she did so, the rocket slid slowly off the ground, and fully into the water of Freddie's Pond of Fanciness. And it sank, almost fully submerged.
Weasel extended his hand toward Butterfly and said, "See, look what you've done now, Butterfly! Good job. Now you've wasted Captain Leo's rocket."
Butterfly glared back at him and replied, "It wasn't my fault. All I did was--"
I interrupted what was sure to become a lengthy session of bickering and reassured them both, "It will be fine. We can have Douglas and Justin the dragon life partners come and pull the rocket out of the water later on. And if it's in need of repairs, I'm sure Cousin Eddie will be able to fix it. Come on, let's get you guys settled in." As I turned, I noticed how much the others enjoyed watching me unite with my children once again...even Edwin the Bee was smiling (that's a rarity for him!).
Raven hugged my children warmly, and flew off to the tree house to retrieve a couple towels to dry them off. Cousin Eddie also greeted the kids, then told us he was heading back to his garage, but would see us later in the day. Butterfly asked me why Cousin Eddie was wearing a shower cap and fuzzy slippers, and I told her honestly that I had wondered that myself. Edwin the Bee blessed the children then buzzed off to his lotus flower. Captain Leo began filling me in some of the puzzle pieces I had been missing, and all of us slowly made our way toward the Persian rug.
Before we had completely left the scene of the rocket crash, however, Butterfly stopped us and said, "Dad, we don't need to call Douglas and Justin. I've been studying my telekinesis, working very hard at it. I'm really good at it now, you know. I bet I can get the rocket out of the pond."
I looked over at Captain Leo, somewhat confused, and he just shrugged his shoulders as if to say, "Why not?" So I put my hand on Butterfly's shoulder and said, "That's super awesome! Let's see what you've got!"
Butterfly was very excited for the opportunity to show off, and motioned for all of us to take a few steps back from her so she could concentrate better. Weasel chimed in, of course, "You can't lift the rocket out of the water, Butterfly! This is a rocket, not one of your dumb stuffed animals." Now I put my hand upon Weasel's shoulder, and gave him a knowing look. Weasel returned the knowing look, and said, "Okay, fine. We'll see."
We all remained silent as Butterfly closed her eyes and steadied her arms straight out in front of her toward the sunken rocket. I saw her breathe--in, so slowly and deeply-and orient her hands, head, and body. Once she had her bearings, she tilted her hands so subtly, exhaled ever so gently, and began to raise her arms. By Olympus, if that rocket didn't start to rise up out of the water! Slowly and steadily, Butterfly's eyes still closed tightly, it elevated even more until it was hovering well above the surface of Freddie's Pond of Fanciness. Not losing focus for even a fraction of a second, she raised the rocket higher, and higher still, motioned with her delicate hands and tilted it completely upright, so that it's nose was pointing at my cousins, the moon and the stars. I placed my hand upon Weasel's shoulder again, and gave him another knowing look, knowing he would be tempted to try and distract her. He held is peace and stood in wonder, as did Captain Leo and I, as we all looked on. Almost before we realized it, that rocket was standing proudly upon the solid ground of my sacred garden, just a few feet in front of my wonderful Butterfly daughter.
Butterfly opened her eyes, exhaled again, admired her work for a moment, then looked over at me saying not a word at all, but smiled so proudly and even glowed a bit. I smiled back at her, and nodded at her a few times knowingly, and we all felt that moment's beauty. I don't believe a father could have been prouder. Then Butterfly looked over at Weasel, scrunched up her face, and said to him, "See! I told you I could do it."
Weasel looked over at the upright rocket sitting upon the ground, and over at Butterfly, then me, then Butterfly again, and simply said. "Hmm." Then he looked at me again and said, "Well, she did it. We should get dried off now and get some sleep. I'm sure we're all tired, I know I am."
Most of our slow walk toward the Persian rug was occupied with Butterfly's excited boasting, and mine and Captain Leo's words of praise. Even Weasel had a kind word or two of congratulations for her. I guess my lovely children had grown after all. It was a wonderful and warm stroll across my sacred garden indeed.
My lovely gatekeeper Raven was there to meet us upon the Persian rug with towels and blankets. Many discussions took place as the kids dried themselves, and Weasel kicked his space boots off across the Persian rug. Butterfly very much enjoyed telling my lovely gatekeeper how she got Captain Leo's rocket out of the water...and Raven, of course, very much enjoyed hearing about it. Captain Leo gave me a couple more puzzle pieces I had been missing while I put a soft record onto the turntable.
Behind me, Raven had adjusted the blankets and pillows, and very soon after that she tucked the three of us in, telling us once more how lovely it was to see us all together again. Butterfly lie to my left, and Weasel to my right, and we snuggled and told my lovely gatekeeper goodnight. Then Raven vanished, and we looked up at my cousins, the moon and the stars, and listened to the soft record play. I blew my cousins, the moon and the stars, a kiss, and Weasel asked me why I did that. Butterfly was already asleep. My cousins whispered softly to me that they adored my beautiful children and always would look after them as they explored the universes. I blew them another kiss, and so did Weasel. And we drifted off into the most wonderful of sleeps.
Lovely of lovelies.
We are truly blessed. No matter what.