As the days become shorter, the winds change their tune, and the trees become bare, I feel Mama Bama close by.
We have a relationship that goes back years and continues to evolve. My roots are her roots, singing down the bloodlines.
I see her as a spirit being of divine Nature itself: giving and full of bountiful blessings, and at other times stingy and dangerous. None of this is “good” nor “evil” – it just is. Her wisdom, vision, and power goes far beyond human limitations. She is all, and ever-present.
But Winter is when you can feel how near Mama Bama is. You can smell her in the decay of a summer’s garden and the crispness of the evergreens. You can feel her touch as the wind cuts through your clothes and the branches brush against you with long bony fingers. I hear her voice in the rustling of leaves and the crunch of frozen ground. You can feel her eyes upon you as the crows watch by, taking measure. The rain collects in the muddy crevices and overnight ditches left behind by her chicken-footed house.
Mama Bama doesn’t suffer fools. She sees into your heart.
You come to her feeling raw, open, and vulnerable – in this state, she lets you into her house. The dense interior illuminated by firelight, the shadows dancing shapes all around. Mama Bama sets down a steaming and pungent cup of tea in front of you. You take a sip and look up into eyes that can pierce the proudest soul, yet balm the most worn spirit. The tea warms like fire yet burns like ice, invigorating your soul. You offer your burden to her.
As she listens to your plea, she extends a leathery smooth hand and grasps your palm with a grip that would rein in a runaway stallion. Mama Bama checks the map on your hand, looking into the coming year. She places a small item in your hand, curls your fingers over it, then fixes her gaze upon you, soft wrinkles around the edges. She nods, smiles, and says, “I shall see you again next year my dear. Don’t forget the song.”
You wake up with sunlight breaking through a heavy blanket of clouds, the glare so similar to hers. The air tastes of lingering wood fire and spices.
You will make it another year, without fail.