They gather slowly, the hare women, moon transformed. They wait at the edge of the wood where it borders the meadow, bodies strong and lithe, whiskers twitching. There are far fewer now; some have learned to ignore the call and many no longer hear it.
She has tried to evade it. Tried to reject it. In her flat in the city, she does her best to tune out the longing, but when the full moon is bright, it’s impossible. The sister song spirals through her soul; unanswered, it makes her listless and irritable. She seeks solace in distraction but it’s not enough. She paces like the caged animal she is, jumps at shadows, hugs herself, asks yet again why she puts herself through this. Why she needs to force herself to be something she’s not.
Ordinary. Non magical. Just a woman, not a hare.
She is glad to be with them again. When she joins the circle, finds herself in the sisterhood, when she changes and loses herself in the richness of a new sensory world, she remembers. The connection to the earth, the profusion of scent and sound, the freedom of running faster, faster, worry and self abandoned in the pure joy of the moment.
Each time, she feels she could keep running forever.
Each time, it gets harder to bring herself back.
They break from the tree line, bounding across the meadow, zig zagging through the streams of pure silver light that spill from the sky. They nibble on wildflowers and pause to rest, sheltering by the hedgerow; they warn each other of predators, fox, owl, badger, and dance with the shadows and gaze at the moon.
As the dawn begins to wash the ink from the sky, they stream from all corners of the field back to the wood, finding their own secret spaces to transform. And one by one, before the day has fully broken, they slip away to their cars and their bicycles and their other lives.
She starts the engine, pulls onto the road. She leaves the radio off. Her senses are still heightened, tingling. It is always a wrench, to return to the ordinary world; the sadness is like a vice around her heart. The choice becomes harder each time; this is why she tries to deny her hare, to stay away from the meadow and her sisters and the moon.
Because she knows that one day, she won’t come back.