A woman lived in a tower.

For many years it was a cold, dark, lonely tower. In her tower the woman grew claws and sharp yellow scales. Her teeth lengthened into fangs. Her hair grew green with mould. She was locked in this body of clanking scales.

Each day she hunched over a stone egg, waiting to see what might hatch. At night, her dragon self flew out of the tower, not through the window, but through a space that opened only in the night. She flew high and free in the icy sky, feeling the stars bless her ridged back, feeling the pull and stretch of leathery wings. She circled and spiralled through the landscape of sleeping things. She nodded imperceptibly to the night creatures whose business involved stealth, invisibility, darkness and death. They were kin. In the dark, no-one could find her and hunt her down.

These flights prevented the woman from going mad, or dying, alone in her tower, waiting for something to happen.

Sometimes during the day she became a bird and flew out the narrow window slit into a dazzling blue sky. She soared over soft green hills and woods, meadows and flowers, roads and houses, high enough to keep a necessary distance. Her bird feet never touched the ground. The sun illuminated the white tips of her wings. Her eyes took in the view and brought it back to the tower to feast on. This was her sustenance in the dark cold years.

Then something happened.

The dragon woman had sat on the stone egg with the patience of a tender mother. One day it cracked open.

Inside was a trembling beating heart.

The dragon woman sat in awe for a moment as a scalding tear ran from her eye.

She scooped up the tiny heart and swallowed it. She felt it travel all the way down her throat, inside her chest, and come to rest in the chamber of her own hidden heart. The two hearts beat together. They talked in their rhythmic language. Their connection sounded like music.

As she listened daily to her musical hearts, the dragon woman occasionally looked up now to the sky outside her window. Like little birds preparing for flight, she walked her hearts to the window sill, leaning out, breathing in the air and the day. Her hearts sang and fluttered, eager for more.

The dragon woman was afraid. Her hearts felt too tender to risk, yet they held such longing. She knew what it was like to feel imprisoned and she began to care about freeing the heart-creatures inside her.

With her care they began to grow. They opened to everything around them. As they opened, the tower grew warm and light, and the dragon woman discovered the beauty there that she had lived with but forgotten. She began to read the ancient books and to write in the leather-bound journal. She poured out her story there and her two hearts sang a song of ecstasy and solace that cascaded through her. She sewed her story into the needlework she found in a basket, and she wove her story in in bright and dark threads on the loom. She wove and sewed forgotten dreams and visions, her lost childhood, her yearnings, hopes and wishes. The tower came to life as she painted and danced her inner visions.

The chorus of hearts deepened and strengthened.

The dragon woman sat peacefully now by the side of the river that flowed through the tower. Its source was a raised stone font from which clear water flowed. As she sat feeling its aliveness, the bank where she sat began to green. Wildflowers sprang up in the new grass. Birds began to chirp and small creatures rustled through the foliage.

She was not alone!

The warm ground was solid beneath her. Life was all around, resonating with her hearts’ songs. Contemplating the river and leaning over a glassy pool where the river stilled and then flowed onward, she witnessed her green hair and yellow scales grow filmy. With tender eyes she saw her dragon self become a tree.

A strong, warm, pliant tree, with a heart connection deep in the earth and a soul that reached for the stars. Her branches and hollows offered life, food, and shelter for many creatures. She was heart. She was this tree, this river, this sky, these stars, these creatures, this land.

The tower walls fell away and she witnessed the tower sink inside her and lodge into the chamber of her two hearts. Open to life, everything was revered in this holy place inside her. The radiant tree woman smiled, and wept, and lay down to rest and dream.