Today I walked to the sea.
I could have taken a bus, or I could have not gone at all; after all, khernips can be made from spring water as well as seawater, and nobody had obliged me to walk for an hour to get seawater for it. I could have stayed home.
But Poseidon was calling.
So I walked down the street, and the pavement was warm with sun. I took off my gloves, clutched my jug with bare hands, pressed them against the cold, hard porcelain. I could have seemed mundane, just a girl in a blue skirt with a jug held to her heart, but I was not. I walked at the head of an invisible procession, journeying to the home of a God.
Houses dotted the hills, as if painted by a brush that had been dipped in a palette of colours. Cars hummed past. Peacefulness floated through the air and there was something otherworldly about it, like a song, like a whisper, like the quiet hiss of waves on sand.
Then the hills parted, and I saw the sea.
Without hurry I walked to the shore and stepped along the line between land and water, my feet leaving a trail of holes that turned into pools, and softened, and melted away. I bent down to pick up a shell, thinking that it would look good on my altar, but something nudged me. That one isn’t for you. So I slipped it into my pocket. I knew who it was for.
I sat on the rocks for some time, maybe fifteen minutes or maybe an hour. People walked past but my gaze was locked on the sea. He was there… I could sense it. Ever-present, tender toward the child who always loved him, placid, powerful, endless.
Poseidon, I whispered.
The breeze rippled, the waters rippled, my skirt rippled and for a second I saw myself, an eight-year-old child, facing the same harbour with a leaf in my hand. I had called him by a different name then, but he was the same God, just like all waters flow into each other and become the same. From Tane to Tangaroa, I had said. From the land to the sea.
Again I reached into my pocket and pulled out the shell I had kept for him. It vanished into the blurry blue waves with a small plop. Then I bent over the edge of the rocks and filled my jug, sensing that now I had given, I could take.
A seagull cried out. I stood up straight, a priestess of the Gods, my shadow falling across the waters.
I walked home.