Streets of Gold

When the light is fading just behind the hills and slants in just right, the asphalt looks flecked with gold, like a river of night, shimmering star-studded, whispering ‘Follow, follow…’

So I followed, bare feet on baked asphalt, following the sun sparks round the corner past the cricket field to the mystery tree. The mystery tree, so named for its shape-shifting nature. The first time, I saw in bark and branches the curves of an Aphrodite carved from marble, arm curled overhead. The next time, I saw a Native American woman with a shawl covering her head, deep lines on her face, carrying flowers. I’ve seen an eel writhing from its cave, a howling wolf’s head, a twisting tornado with two heads.

Tonight the breadcrumb trail of gold dust led me to a lightning bolt caught mid-strike, dividing half from half.

I don’t know what that means, if anything. But a joy rose within me, a lightness wakened my feet to dance and spin, spin as fast as my clumsy feet would let me.

Spinning: a haze, a blur: swirling sky, leaping shadows, swinging breathing leaves of trees, grass grown golden, cricket song stirring, lightning bolt tree stark, severe, gold dust rising from the street…golden extravagant light weaving through, cast over all. And I was a child running through open fields, chasing lightning bugs, fired by the thrill.

Then: the sun dipped down, the light snuffed out, the gold sank back into darkness.

But the soles of my feet, hardened and dirty,—they hold the memory of dancing on streets of gold.

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