With the breath of the goddess insinuating through the firs, summer died and numb-edged boulders began to whisper of the chill. It was a Friday morning off work and I had chosen a simple trail in a nearby state park. A 7:00am departure from the trailhead meant that by the time I reached my secret alcove, the morning light had not yet lost all of its tentative golden newness. It was the first morning of the season where the temperatures dipped into the 50s– a marked shift away from 99 degree days. Bone and boulder met, cold seeping through yoga pants as I sat huddled on the corner of one of my choice thinking spots. As light slowly shifted over the pines the warring voices in my mind softened to a whisper.

I thought of the forests of central Italy, just northeast of Rome, full of pines like this. I thought of agrarian peoples, spilling out of the Mediterranean and finding their homes across the coast and deeper into the interior. I thought of the tough women who helped build civilizations. I thought of walking in the woods in September, thousands of years ago, feet comfortable on a bed of dried needles, hands grazing bark, feeling an instinctual pull through an unseen trail. The lines of a mountain path as a familiar as a lover’s face.

I thought of standing in the woods in September, thousands of years ago, noting the transfiguration of the moon through shivering branches and feeling the entire earth breathe to the pulse of her cycle. The same moon that pulls the tides today. The same moon that bends down and encircles me with the rhythm of femininity. Salome gazed up at the moon.

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