Zera and the Green Man: Chapter 24

Only in her most joyful dreams had Zera experienced what she was now doing — flying! Up and over the Colorado Rocky Mountains she soared on the tiny, triangular ship. She rode the wind past trees, houses, streams, and rivers. Up, then down, then up, up, up again, weightless and free.

She rode high, where house-sized droplets of water made up moist clouds that bounced around her. Then she plummeted, drying and twirling as she neared the earth in puffs of sparkling dust. Slow as a ladybug, fast as a lynx, up, then down again. She zoomed past forest needles and leaves; tasted and smelled their greenness, their life. On she went, west.

After scaling and descending the Rockies, she soared through the dry Colorado Plateau. For a while, among the eons-old features of erosion — arches, canyons, cliffs, mesas and buttes — she drifted. Colors sped by, altered by sun and shadow. She flew over and through trees, shrubs, flowers, grass, and she glimpsed animals: mule deer, rabbits, snakes, foxes.

For a few moments, caught on the back of a hawk, she rose skyward. She tasted the bird’s life, its hawk-energy, radiating from where the spore-ship rested, a single satiny barb on a single white feather. The bird cried out, and its call rang joyfully, vibrating through Zera. The hawk spotted a rabbit and circled, targeted. They dove together before she fell free and was picked up by the gusting wind.

Through the aquamarine sky, over the land tapestry, she sailed. Through an array of geologic splendors; past ranches, small towns, and cities. She danced in the cool mist above the Colorado River. The Wahsatch mountain range loomed before her, and up she flew up over these mountains, too. She thought of little but the glorious beauty surrounding her. Time was lost to wonder.

Soon, a scorched land of cacti lay before her. More miles disappeared over desert sand. Zera was awed by the barren magnificence, the light and heat. She skimmed over a city that went for miles, with monstrously large buildings and thousands of swimming pools glowing like neon turquoise. Water that did not belong in this landscape sparkled below her. Las Vegas. She felt its energy, its vanity, its emptiness. She reached Death Valley, and saw little stirring below, yet she knew that it, too, held life. She continued quickly, up and over the third range of mountains that day, the jagged, dramatic peaks of the Sierra Nevadas.

Beyond the range, the land was fruitful and rich. Now came noisy, smoky cities, a cacophony of cars and people, then wet, quiet farmlands, then drier forests and meadows. Zera thought of patchwork quilts. This one was made with colorful scraps both living and man-made.

By late afternoon, Zera drifted lower, over trees in the countryside. The wind became languid, heavy, moving ever-slowly with its special cargo. It floated Zera to the treetops, down to the sweet-smelling grass, then up again, as if it were playing, trying to make its fondness known. Zera laughed at the belly-tickling sensation, like riding on a slow roller coaster.

The clouds gathered and the sky dimmed. As they drew close to an old farmhouse whose silver-gray wood showed only white traces of paint, Zera felt a heaviness and a charge in the air. It began to rain and the ship carrying her flew between the drops.

Next to the farmhouse stood a gigantic oak tree. Zera knew the oak was dying, its journey in this life nearing the end. The few branches that were not dead were dry and losing leaves. It smelled more of earth, not of the life of leaves. The breeze gently deposited her into its dark cavity — and she was jolted by a blinding, deafening crash.

***                                 .

To purchase your own copy of Zera and the Green Man, visit the official website now. Paperback and Kindle versions are now available.

Zera and the Green Man is a novel by Sandra Knauf, a local author and sustainability advocate living in Colorado Springs.

GreenwomanPublishing

Published via US Represented by consent of the publisher:
Published by Greenwoman Publishing, LLC
P. O. Box 6587, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80934-6587, U.S.A.

First published in the United States of America
Copyright © Sandra Knauf, 2013
All rights reserved

ISBN: 978-0-9897056-0-8 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-0-9897056-1-5 (ebook)

Cover drawing by Paul Spielman.
Cover photography by CanStockPhoto 11569383
Cover and interior design by Zora Knauf.

PUBLISHER’S NOTE

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or living-dead, is entirely coincidental.

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