They brought me Her shield and the world around me faded away. All there was was a white owl on a blue field, surrounded by a Greek key. I felt the surface, caressed the edges and got to know every inch of it.
Then, and only then, did I put it on.
Up with the shirt sleeve and on with the shield – it fit like it had been made for me.
Or maybe I had been made for Her.
“Look at that smile. It’s not Thanksgiving; it’s Christmas.”
For all I knew, I had been standing there a month. Those were the first words to pierce the fog in my consciousness. I would have stood there all day if someone hadn’t suggested we get the rest of Her things.
Herakles’ priest accompanied me to the shrine to find Her boxes. They were tucked away in the storage spaces in the shrine, up by the ceiling.
Herakles’ priest went up the ladder to fetch them. The first, lighter box came down without a hitch.
The second, larger and heavier box wasn’t as easy. Herakle’s priest was holding it left handed, balancing it precariously on the trim – just out of reach of my bad wrist. I attempted to find something to stand on, though nothing was available.
I turned around to try again when the box shifted and slipped in a graceful arc inches from my face, a controlled fall. I didn’t realize at first that the box had actually fallen, kept in control by Herakles’ priest – even then it had been no more than inches from my face. Grateful, I took the box and we laughed off the near-accident as we hauled the boxes to the main building.
It was overwhelming, going through Her things. The helmet, made of brass and more beautiful than I could have imagined, made me cry. She was there, not saying anything, but She was there.
I cried with Bella, trying on Her clothes, feeling the energy people had put into the things they had given to Her.
Prayer flags and owls – so many owls – hand woven cloth and more owls… Did I mention owls? There were pieces of pottery here and there, wrapped in bubble wrap and cloth.
And then, tucked away into one of Her bowls, in amongst more owls, I found it. Almost three years before, I had given Her a small owl, wanting to dedicate. And there it was, the bright yello eyes smiling up at me as I held it.
“Welcome home, this is where you belong.”