She was four years old and gone, her parents frantic as they searched the farm: the hay loft where the kittens played, the bicycle garage, the chicken coop where she liked to search for eggs. Her mother made her husband check the pond, couldn’t bear the image of a preschooler face-down in the reedy water.
She wasn’t there.
They took the four-wheeler around the fields, stopping every few hundred yards to shut off the roaring motor and shout, “Ruby!! Ruuuuuuuuby!!”
And finally, they thought they heard something. Just soft. It could have been a bird.
But as they neared the maple tree, its leaves shocked into the blood-red of autumn, they heard her up in the treehouse. She was singing Simon & Garfunkel and drumming on the treehouse floor with stunning percussive accuracy for someone so young.
I think it’s gonna be all right
Yeah, the worst is over now
“Ruby?” her mother called from the base of the tree. “What are you doing up there?” She was starting to cry—a little angry, but mostly relieved.
Her tiny face peered over the edge. “I had to be in the sky of red stars,” she said, as if it were obvious.
Who was this this little priestess, at home in her own temple?