On June 21st Clementine lit a fire in the front garden and festooned the escalonia hedge with nightlights. Then she wrapped potatoes in tinfoil, popped them into the fire, poured us out two glasses of wine, and with the firelight flickering on her face, she began to reminisce about Aunt Dee.
‘She was a wonderful lady,’ she said, after describing how Aunt Dee had lobbied a local councillor to prevent the post office down the road being closed.
‘I wish I’d known her better,’ I said, nibbling a charred potato.
‘She would have liked to have known you better too,' Clementine murmured softly.
'Really?'I said, feeling oddly flattered.
'Umhum - Let’s do an incantation,’ Clementine said, springing up abruptly from the rusting swinging seat and gazing wildly at the moon.
‘A what?’ I said faintly.
‘An incantation. Here – hold my hand. Now repeat after me: Oh mother moon . .’
Clementine: ‘Well – not if you don’t want to. But don’t you feel it?’
Me: ‘Feel it?’
Clementine: ‘The all consuming, bright white energy springing up out of the soil. Just isten’
At first I heard nothing. Then after a few long moments there was a faint hissing, sound. It was the sound of things growing, I suddenly realised, the sound of leaves unfurling, of roots stretching out into the earth.
‘I do feel something’ I said finally.
‘That’s it’ said Clementine. ‘Now take my hand.’ So I did.
‘Oh mother moon,’ said Clementine.
‘Oh mother moon,’ I repeated a little self consciously.
‘Thank you for your light,’ continued Clementine. ‘Thank you for making the sea move in and out. Thank you for adding mystery to the night.’
Then we toasted the moon. 'To the longest year of my life,' said Clementine.
'To Aunt Dee,' I said, raising my glass.