According to Clarissa Pinkola Estés in Women Who Run With the Wolves, “In fairy tales certain magic objects have transportive and sensory abilities that are apt metaphors for body…These are archetypal kith and kin. Each enables the physical body to enjoy deepened insight, hearing, flight, or protection of some sort for both psyche and soul.”
Trinie Dalton’s short story, “Millenium Chill,” in her Baby Geisha collection, is an example of this at work, and it was the inspiration for this collage. A “cord” formed between the main character and an old woman, who came knocking at her door on three separate occasions, asking for things. There’s the pack of spaghetti, the silverware, a heat-lamp, and a black sweater – items to either ingest, use to facilitate ingestion, or create warmth for the body.
The protagonist later speculates that the objects give the old woman the ability to go back to her “hovel” and somehow control its temperature by literally willing the heat from the her home. But the heat is not only willed from the main character’s home, it’s also taken from her body. Dalton writes, “I realized I was tied to that woman by body temperature. She was now home, in her hovel, staying toasty. My simultaneous struggle to get hot only drew us psychically closer.” Then she decides to do something about it. “It’s only hell if I believe it to be so. Cut the cord.”
She takes off all of the layers of clothing she piled on and stands nude in the kitchen. This provides what Estés describes as a “potent image that allows us to imagine what a true aliveness of body really is.” Based on her beliefs, there’s a tale in Dalton’s story about the power “of intuition, insight, and sensory healing.”
“Goosebumps took over,” Dalton writes. “It was the coldest I’ve been in this century, and the chill was magnificent.”