The Thunder Ocean Son

The sky was roan, dappled, change hung in the air. The jackal drank it in.

He tapped the counter thoughtfully, unconsciously running the top of each shoe on the back of his pants legs.

He knew first impressions counted.

She was beautiful, this dancing cloud girl, her youth was forgiving and her movements were free – so free.

The jackal hungered, paced, watched.

She danced, this forgivingly young cloud girl – her laughter silver rivers in the night, leaving a comet’s tail of innocence, of freshness that made the jackal whimper.

Already, his lips curled. He was a jackal – and jackals should not be wounded by such gentle things.

He knew nothing then, of the blade of beauty.

He turned away, spooked as only jackals can be. He turned to run, to flee – lest his long teeth show, lest his man-face slip and his hairy jackal-legs click across the suddenly silent floor, his breath foul plumes in the stricken moment.

Hands held to his face, headed for the door, a subtle movement tugged his eyes back one last time to the dancing-cloud girl. In a slow-motion whirl the cloud parted – a heartbeat’s pause – and the jackal saw her wings.

Instinct older than the sleeping hills, deeper than the darkest ocean, more dreadful than clutching quiet on the precipice of death, gripped him.

And it was such, that between heartbeats, the dancing-cloud girl with blade-beautiful wings found the jackal, paralized, with his jaws about her throat.

They laughed about it later – his wild eyes, his appearance out of the depths of the strange night, how surreal that first dance had been, how close they had come to glancing off one another…

if not for that indeterminable moment, which looked back upon Itself as the fork in the road of red-regret.

They remembered different things, right from the beginning… he, drawn by her wings, her light – she remembering his edge, the way he materialised out of the night.

Somewhere, the heavens shifted, re-aligned. The wisps of sons-to-be splashed, strong, young and fleetingly in the deep belly of the night sky…

Somewhere deep within each of them, older than stone and more dreadful than voiceless bone, was white-gasping, churning Recognition of tidings, lost in the murmur of the unborn ones wishful songs.

And so it is, within the mix of the ocean’s dark and light, of land and flight.

And so it is too for those winged ones, tender with fierce hope, who have the heart to walk with those of different sight.

For many moons, there was joy of acceptance, a joy at belonging that transmuted the new mother’s flightlessness into sons… such sons as could only be wrought from Spirit’s deepest waters.

One arrived, quiet as a Talon with blue-eyed grace.

Another, pure Chance, was borne in by an electrical storm – with all the ocean’s tides held in his ageless little face.

One as clear as the blue-skies in which the feathered-mother flew, one that rumbled like thunder in every stream..

How they laughed, these three together. How they filled and flowed, cradling the sacred space as the ancient ones whispered through their mouths to one other..

They breathed the secrets of dry-season grasses, caught the currents of people’s hearts..

and in these yellow days of flowers and burgeoning possibilities, how freely they shared each other’s eyes, wings, gills.

And then, just like that, the season turned.

It began with the jackal’s itch. Every mid-play shriek sounded like bird-boys, feathers – not fur. His paws burnt on the hot sand. They soared, splashed. He twitched. He scratched for days, weeks. The three laughed, tumbled. Flash of fin. He scratched more. Patches of his coat fell to the floor. They turned away, mid-play. Feathers, wings. The itch spread. Sky beyond the window, sea-grey. Claws against hot exposed skin, scratching.

Bleeding. The last scraps of coat, shedding.


Then sharp silence, in the last moment as his mask slipped to the bloodied, matted floor.

Slow motion, the jackal attacked. It was savage. Snapping jaws in amongst flying feathers, blue eyes and flashing fins.

But the roar – that was not from it’s throat.

It was the sound of one son’s sudden shock-leaving – with a Thunder ancestor.

Part of the feathered mother left with the Thunder-Ocean-Son.

Her blade-tipped wings severed every artery of the jackal-sickness, bled him gone, bled his memory dead, set his carcass to rot – to turn to Forgotten’s dust.

Then she surrendered the husk of herself to search for pieces of her youngest son – to restore him, keep him whole.

Part of the Talon-Blue-Strong child left with his At-Sea-Mother, drifting with her amid memories of his Brother’s tides.

One day, after time no hearts could tell, these two washed ashore together. Blinded by the unrelenting sun, they made their way through a daze of desert sands where they fell silent side by side.

A cycle turned a vultures circle overhead, and they came upon the respite of a deep dark wood. There they drank in the shade and slaked their thirsts, sank into murmuring rock pools.

This new land was unfamiliar and the people that inhabited it spoke a language the two had never heard. The words clattered, echoed, there were strange scents and cold empty currents in this world.

Listeners learn fast, and the two had no words of their own anymore, so they observed the bowed faceless inhabitants of this place.

And every night, they watched as these folk walked to the edge of their world, throwing their voices to the waters, tipping their faces forward in staccato chants. Some came every night, alone. Others came in groups or in two’s and threes.

It was a world away from memory – all memory – but steeped in recall. The Mother-Ocean-Hawk and her Talon-Blue-Son stayed.

It was quite some time before the young one spoke to his mother aloud. He had left her side one dark night, drawn by his chest, his belly, to follow the chanters up the mountain… to witness this strange magic they made.

He heard an incomplete song. The wailers turned their red eyes upon him. And he knew.

The Talon-Blue Son woke his mother, drew her to the place he had stood and bade her listen. For the first time she heard something other than the Thunder of the hole in her heart.

And, with just one son’s hands upon her back, the Mother-Water-Hawk broke. She heard him murmur, then so softly, push.

She spread her aching wings and dropped from the clifftop with a cry of her own.

Loss poured from her mouth in a river of colour. It flowed out in a smooth cascade, mingling with the chants, wails and cries of the other grievers.

Beneath her, the waterfall’s roar drank in its mother’s rainbow sounds, softened and sweetend.

The hues blended with the once-discordant cries, filled them, gave texture to Sorrow’s song.

A subtle shift in the air and water currents rippled through her, and she felt her Talon-Knight below shine once again.

The night was over.

And so it is that on spectacular son-blue days, when the Free-Mother-Hawk and her Wise-Talon-Knight seek the Essence of their Thunder-Brother/Sun, everywhere they look, they have a fresh Chance.

He is found in the rumble of the deep and the skies.

In the mood-hued waterfall mists.

In the clear pools of each other’s eyes.

The Thunder Ocean Son


Cape Town, South Africa

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A tribute…

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  • SuliHawk
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