Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Surface of the Moon (How Ellsbeth Saved the Day)

The Surface of the Moon (How Ellsbeth Saved the Day)

Ellsbeth carried the wedding cake through the woods in the rain. 
She arrived late and followed the balloons tied to the trees. 
Large droplets splashed from the leaves onto her perfect frosting,
pocking it like the surface of the moon.  Out the long narrow trail
through the woods she staggered, holding the heavy cake
under bent shoulders to protect it from the rain, tripping
on roots because she couldn't see her feet.  When she got to the circle
of folding chairs in the clearing, she saw no other food and knew
she'd made a mistake.  Standing behind the others, she pulled off
her petticoats and made a tent for the cake on the forest floor
between the trilliums and bellworts.  She sat on the leaves beside it,
brushing away ants, holding her wide-brimmed hat over the petticoats
and crying quietly.  When it was time for her to sing, she stood
where she was at the back and raised her voice:

    A-a-mazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

Ellsbeth felt something on her foot and looked down.  A squirrel
sat on her foot, leaned toward the cake to take a bite.  Ellsbeth
nudged the squirrel with her foot, pushing it away from the cake.

Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
I have already come;
'tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
and grace will lead me home.

The squirrel circled the cake, and Ellsbeth decided it couldn't be wild.
It must be a tame squirrel, probably a pet.  She bent, picked up the cake,
And with the squirrel attempting to climb her leg, digging its nails
Through the mesh of stockings into her skin, she sang,

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
a life of joy and peace.

Mary Stebbins Taitt
Afterward:  After the ceremony, Ellsbeth smoothed the frosting and everyone declared it was the best and richest wedding cake they had every tasted.  They set aside a piece for the squirrel, who was one of Geraldine's rescues, named Squeakers.

NOTE to self:  Cut down the number of lines of the song sung (?)

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