Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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The People of the Sea

I never knew that we were Seal Clan until my nephew was born.

You know the story. One full moon night the fisherman sees the seal-maidens come up onto the beach. They step out of their seal-skins and dance as naked maidens in the moonlight. 

The fisherman steals the skin of the youngest. When her sisters return to the sea, she cannot join them. So she goes home with him and becomes his wife.

But years later, one full moon night, she finds her seal-skin again, hidden away in a chest, and not even her love for her children can keep her from going back.

And that's where certain families get their webbed feet from.

Seeing my newborn sister-son's toe-webbing, the aunts said: Oh he has it too, and then I heard the stories.

Until I saw his, I hadn't understood that I'm a Webfoot myself. That's just how my feet have always been. It's what feet look like, isn't it?

The Sea never ceases her maternal call.

Here in the middle of the continent, one might well think me immune. 

Well. It may be dry land now, but long ago this was the bed of a vast, inland sea.

And what is every one of our 10,000 lakes but a Sea in little?

So pardon me if I wind this up and run. The night is hot and close.

And someone's calling my name.

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Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.
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