A Victorian evening purse of rose colored silk sits in the palm of my hand. A toddler would love it for a plaything, but it’s much too delicate, with it’s fine embroidery, swaying tassels and silver clasp and chain. I am asked to fill it with my woundedness, my awareness as a woman, and my joy then, give to the gate keeper.

I’ve been sitting here for some time wondering what to put in this lovely bit of cloth so small a lipstick case would split its stitches. Woundedness, huh? Mine’s rather close to the surface lately, but an e-mail from my dear friend, although saved, would never fit, nor would Tookie’s green and red wing feather. A tuft of Oreo’s fur would, or a whisker, if I could find one, but the vacuum and broom have done their work and the only tangible remembrance I have of my sweet cat is his sneeze on the dining room window which I now look at with ridiculous tenderness.

Tears rolls down my cheek for these three who are lost to me, and in the rare atmosphere of the Lemurian cave they harden as my heart must, in order to go on. The tiny crystals, so like diamonds, drop into the bag and the first part of my task is completed. I have no problem with the second. Taking a pair of scissors, I snip off a small curl at the nape of my neck. Blond mingles with gray, as youth gives way to old age. Strands of DNA offer up all that I am, and tell who I’ve come from and who I’ve become.

As I acknowledge once again that life is good, despite its hardships, I murmur a prayer of praise. My breath rises in the cool air of the cave and the words hover like burning incense. Quickly, before they blur out I capture them in the silk purse and click it shut.

The gatekeper must be making rounds; there’s no one around, so I hang my purse by its thin chain on a point of the wrought iron gate and return to my room feeling unburdened and strangely light of heart.

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