(Let’s escape from electioneering for a while and visit a far away planet …)
The men were coming home. The children were excited as they watched the preparations, though some were so young they could not remember a Homecoming and none could really comprehend its significance. Oh, to be so innocent! To enjoy preparing food, making decorations and building bonfires without this purely physical ache, this awakening of cells lain dormant for so long. Each day Kari watched the skies for a speck on the horizon that would gradually lead to the darkening of the light, listening for the drone that would start like a prickle in the inner ear and grow until the whole body throbbed with its vibration. The women had trained themselves to concentrate on their work in the fields and caring for the children, remembering that they lived and breathed as one with the world. Now they became aware that they were also individuals, with their own nerve endings to vibrate and resonate with the drum beats coming closer, borne on the air.
Kari’s fingers stroked the fruits they picked, seeking to recapture the rough and smooth, the hollows, hairs and risen veins of flesh known long ago. What a mercy that the memories lay dormant through the years and waited for the signs of Homecoming to come alive, for how could one live at this pitch of excitement? Every day she thought she had reached the ultimate in endurance, yet still her flesh throbbed with an increased awareness.
She watched the children play, wondering if next year hers would be among them. All the conditions had to reach synchronized perfection for the brief moment when conception could occur, but surely it must be enough when the heart soared, the flesh swelled with the need to be crushed, the skin itched with the need to be washed clean.
The children waited in the gardens, away from danger, when the bonfires were lit. Kari turned her face to the skies, straining for a sign. At last the yellow moon rose above the crescent hills, turning the purple gorse to green and the grey clouds to pink and orange. The drone swelled and a huge black cloud appeared over the horizon. The children jumped and shouted in excitement, but they were safe behind the hedges, beyond the reach of the flames. Kari felt the vibrations rock the core of her being. All her energy was concentrated on holding back, controlling every cell of her body until the perfect note was sounded which made all of creation sing as one.
The Homecoming blocked the light and the sound was so loud it threatened to overwhelm all of her senses, but she could at last make out its separate bodies, each individual call from male to female. Now! her body sang. She rose through the air, seeking her chosen one from the thousands flying over the village. Her sensitive flesh flinched from the sharp coldness of the air, craving heat. He was there! She lay back beneath his huge hot strength and all her nerves sang in the effort to sustain her position mid-air, to receive the pulsating cascade of his seed, cooling her inner heat, warming her shivering shell, filling her hollows until at last she lost all control and fell towards the ground.
Yet at the last moment her limbs assumed control and brought her safe to land. She wept in desolate disappointment as the shells of those who had achieved successful union fell dead to be consumed in the embers of the fires, while their new children unfolded wings and flew like bright stars towards their sisters waiting in the garden.