I find myself ever drawn to stories from a universal archetypal perspective. So many rich lessons and very real and applicable wisdom.
This weekend I found myself taking this bird's eye view of a specific interaction that I was witness to while walking down the beach with my children at Plum Island.
There was a man and a woman walking in front of us quite a ways. They were far enough away that I could not hear their words but the story that their bodies told was quite potent. He had her tight by the arm. He spat angry words into her face from a very close distance. She tried to walk away but he followed. When I first saw them I honestly could not tell if he was a father scolding his daughter or if this woman was his lover or partner. In an archetypal way I could see that they were both to each other.
There was something so innocent and young about how she held her body. She had narrow hips and a very slender waist that did not look to me as if it had ever birthed any babies. There is a certain knowing in a woman's hips after a baby has passed through them and I did not see that here. She was slightly knock-kneed, chewed gum and she kept her head down and her shoulders slumped.
There was a moment where he let go of her arm and held out his hand for her to hold. She hesitated. He held it out more forcefully. She bowed her head again and held his hand without looking at him as they continued to walk. He spoke and gestured strongly with his hands. She was somewhere else completely. I could see something wild begin to whisper in her ear and even though she continued to walk her body began to lean towards the ocean.
Suddenly she stopped dead in her tracks, looked at him once and began running as fast as she could towards the ocean. As she ran her shoulders straightened and she flipped her hair back as a wild horse would do. She ran until her toes touched the water but she did not stop there. She continued to run until she was up to her ribs, her spine straight now, her hair flying and her eyes focused on the horizon.
It was at that moment that I realized that she was not a girl but a woman. Her wildness was pure and sweet but also in response to having seen too many bridles and cruel sharp spurs. Her transformation from frightened girl child to powerful wild wise woman was so clear and visible from where I stood. It was a sight to behold.
The man turned his back on her and began to walk away. Just at that moment she turned and the expression in her face changed from exalted and free to slightly ashamed and scared. She began to wade back to shore laboriously now, tripping a few times and calling his name. She waded towards me where I stood thigh deep in the water completely transfixed by the powerful story that I had witnessed here.
As she came closer I saw that she had many wrinkles around her eyes from laughing and many around her mouth from crying. I felt this deep surge of love and understanding for the archetype that she was embodying and could not even place it in the time and space of now but new the truth of it deep in my bones.
As she came closer I suddenly felt called to ask,
"Would you like a hug?". She stopped, surprised.
"What did you say?" she asked.
I began to repeat my question and before I could finish she was sobbing in my arms and I was holding her as tenderly as I have ever held one of my own children. I was holding her in her grief and breathing with her just as presently as with any laboring woman I have breathed with.
After a few minutes she looked up and said, " You're a good woman."
Yes. We are good women. And we need each other so that our stories and archetypes have a a context with which to interplay. When we are able to zoom out and see things through this lens they ways in which we relate and the stories we finds ourselves acting out here and now just seem to make more sense.
I am so grateful for this wild horse woman and the ever enticing whispers of truth from the sea.