When I return I will be a dolphin in search of Henry if he returns as a dolphin. Together we will glisten as we leap into the air and plunge back into the ocean, spouting and clicking and singing our delight at being alive again in the great mother. Together, we might save a drowning human and bring her back to shore. Perhaps that human will dedicate her life to saving other dolphins in the great oceans of this planet.( Or saving humans.)
When I return I will be a Bristlecone Pine high in the Inyo and White Mountains. My parents will be 4000 years old and if I’m lucky enough to sprout and survive as a seedling, I might feel the wind sculpt my body and weather my skin for another 4000 years. Hawks and eagles might clutch my arms and whisper the news; wrens and sparrows might weave nests into my polished nooks and rear their young. Perhaps some old soul may curl up and sleep in the refuge of my gnarled and twisted feet.
When I return I will be a wild horse again, although this is a life I have chosen often, some with peaceful endings and some cruel. It’s worth the risk because I love the grassy taste of freedom in my flared nostrils and the thrumming of my hooves as I run the wildland sage with my family.
Perhaps I will return to Africa where once or twice I lived as a warrior man and where perhaps Henry was my wife. I have lived as a man several times in several places but right now I don’t really need to again. I prefer being female but perhaps I will branch out and try something more gender fluid. I’m not even sure that I want to return as a human. There are many branches on the tree of life.
When I return, I will be a stealthy jaguar or tiger or cougar: a ninja animal who caresses the earth or the limb of a tree with splayed paws and exquisite balance, patience and focus, whose presence goes undetected save for a twitching tail.
When I return I might come back as a worm because as lowly as that may seem, a worm rivals any Rumpelstiltskin by transforming straw into gold on a daily basis, in this case straw, manure, and kitchen scraps into the black gold of compost.
When I return, you might feel a caress on your cheek while you’re napping in the hammock, dreaming and thinking about how sweet the gentle breeze is and how lovely the shade. Perhaps I will be underground where the roots of the two trees holding the hammock intertangle and enmesh with the mycelial network, where communication happens telepathically, without any words, without even the need for a body.
When I return you might see me reclining on the horns of the crescent moon, or perhaps I will be a shooting star or a great soaring Eagle, swift and ephemeral, the kind of thing you see only with effort and purpose, or through a great act of serendipity.
When I return, I will be just on the other side of the veil, reaching for you as you dream. Or a hummingbird probing your heart for the nectar of life.