The moon got up early that night. She had been waiting idly for too long, she thought, and was eager to rise above her usual path. She pushed through the thin purple mist of the horizon that served as her pillow and got a glimpse of the setting sun in all his deep orange glory and she knew that her time had finally come.
However, on that particular night, she felt that something was amiss. She couldn’t define what it was exactly, but she had felt it. Still, she started gliding across the night dome, rising over the flowerbeds and the soft meadows, the fire bushes and the fragrant myrtles, the mounds of oaks and the thick araucaria forests. Over the high boulders she climbed who guarded ever-watching the crystal lagoons that nested in their solitary embrace.
Those were her friends. They told her of what came to pass in her absence and kept her company in her lone journey. News of her brother and eternal lover the sun, stories of distant seas and lands that the winds rippled on their waves and rustled through their low grass. How the seasons changed and flowers withered away; how smells rose from the damp earth and how moss dried on stone and turned to dust.
She solemnly rolled through the empty sky. By that she was surprised. An eerie cloak of shadow was cast around her feet and mingled with the trees and water below. Like silent statues they now stood, immobile and void of meaning.
She looked closer. She wasn’t able to find her reflection on the lake’s velvet surface. The skies were clear and no vapour had lazily gathered by her side, yet her silver light could not be shed on the shores and forest below.
She noticed a strange creature lingering by the edge of the waves. It had the figure of a very young girl and wore a radiant white dress. Its hair was entangled in the dress’s lace collar and fell over the creature’s shoulders jet black as a raven’s crest. Its long white tail crawled heavy through the round stones and dripped into the dark water like slow poison.
The creature was holding a little stone mirror in its hands and was absorbed in the task. She had no face, mouth, eyes or nose but only a smooth round surface covered with glittering skin. Her expression was grievous nonetheless and she was concentrating obsessively hard on the object in front of her.
“What are you doing there?” the moon asked.
“I am looking to see.”
“Looking to see for what?”
“Looking to see if I can find him again, my lost lover. He is a hunter, through these slopes and winding paths he rides at night, even though he never seems to catch any prey. I was a soft breeze brought over by the southern wind when I first met him. Hurried I followed him and on I pushed to aid his path and ease his journey. Over the bends and through thick bush and bramble I led him, across the rivers and crackling bridges I stayed by his side; soon, I was in love with him but he took no notice. I thus stole this mirror from the green shaman who lurks in these lands and captured the light of the moon to trade in my solitude for a human form.”
The moon lowered over the creature. Her plight was not unknown to her.
“But still you remain incomplete” she tried to console her. “Alchemists can only change the form of things, not their nature. There are different forms that things can take, definitive, eternal, transcendental and variant. Not all of them are easy to recognise as they mutate before one’s desires. Some things remain definitive no matter how hard one tries to shift and stretch their presence; others are only made eternal by the inability to grasp their magnitude while they yield as finite before the cosmic flux. But stability does not abide to anything otherwise thus leaving all equally transcendental.”
The creature lowered the mirror in its hands, but did not avert its gaze. The moon continued:
“The moment is definitive only as a glimpse of eternity. The variant is measured by our own time or for less that is all, as we are the bards of this mystic song. Our half-blinded, half-filled with illusions eyes can cast nothing else than reflections of our impoverished souls.”
The darkness around them was complete, the moment arrested in time and the creature chained at the feet of the lagoon. The boulders rose vigilant and reached the hollow skies, the trees unfolded their branches like spears around her and the waves retracted and pulled her feet. A solitary road stretched farther than the eye could see long before one ever took notice of it, already lying open to usher existence out of the cosmic womb, adored with illusions and flickering dim lights, instant pleasures and wayward dreams.
“How can I detach my soul and send it yonder? It is already fragmented and unhinged, falling into nothingness and sinking into the abyss of echoless void to be lost and never recovered.”
“What you seek has already found you. For you to be arrested in time and space ever so briefly, to stand still and hold his presence tightly in your arms and he in his, that is a contract already made and carried through. What have you exchanged for this transaction?”
“Nothing comes from naught. What value does his presence have for you?”
The moon moved closer to the waters and the sadness that they reflected. She leaned her body over the lake that remained calm and still as death itself.
“It has no value that I can name.”
“Then you will never see his face in these endless hours again, neither will he ever see yours. Form steps forth from the eternal mist that lies beyond human measure, congealed into a single moment for one to perceive, to loose one’s presence so another can materialise. This can neither be sold nor bought, neither called upon nor besieged. It is a gift that mortals cherish in all its fleeting splendour. We are all part of it and it part of us,” the waxing moon said, “we partake it and in its infinite void we stand, in the corner of existence, in the midst of it. But your woe is not a stranger. Come, I will give you some of my grace to light his path and brush his face with the soft whisper of an ever-dying lover.”
The mirror cracked in the creature’s hands as did her face. Piece by piece it fell on the moist sand, a thin empty shell that made no sound; piece by piece its lustre was absorbed by the night and replaced by nothingness. Etched deep in one’s soul, all that were once held dear fell like wounded stars from the night sky and burnt away in an instant flash of white fire. Its long black hair slithered into the dark waters like shadows devoured by liquid sorrow, and the dull ashes of its dress swirled in the sweet wind and scattered away.
A cold distant light filled the gorge from east to west, brightening the araucarias, the silver waters and the stone pillars that guarded their shores. A silent breeze rose and fell, extending its reach towards a desert, empty space. It dashed through dusky forest paths where horse hoofs echo and hunters welcome the moon’s pale face longing to caress those eyes and smile with devotion, to tightly wrap around a body and encompass all the senses, smell and touch. Yet distance had altered the face of memory that remained cold and hard as stone, holding back and turning away.
The wind howled and gushed and screamed. Spectres of desire sliver unity to multitude and solitude rises triumphant. A battle already lost, to hold the whole universe in one’s hands, left with no more dreams to pursue, nothing more to conjure and call one’s own. As all magic dissolves into life, strange creatures enter the kingdom.
Nothing rises from dust.
Eve Kalyva is an art critic and a writer. She has worked as a lecturer and collaborated with art institutions in Europe and Latin America, and is interested in the relation between art and politics, subversion and exploration. Eve particularly enjoys dancing, travelling and all that has to do with horses.