Through the black bedroom window, I can see a full moon casting its iridescent glow beyond the limbs of the snow-saddled maple tree.
It reminds me of the pearl earring I removed before applying the henna dye to my hair.
I sit in an old white t-shirt and shower cap, looking like a mushroom with a little red fringe peeking out from underneath.
I mixed the powered henna plant with a little allspice and chamomile tea, a spoonful of white yogurt. The paste turns out green, but once applied, heated occasionally, and rinsed, turns my hair a fox-red, like the drawing of the animal on the box.
It’s a long-held girlish fancy of mine, to have red hair.
Without meaning to, my hair styles have come to coincide with whatever season I’m in with Jesus. A natural, physical reflection of a supernatural, spiritual reality.
Dreadlocks for a season of grieving, a shaved head for a new beginning, a pixie cut during true self-discovery, the disheveled, asymmetrical growing-out process during an overseas season of suffering…
This is a first for me, dyeing it other than a color close to my natural blonde.
But what’s the reason? What’s the season? Why is now the time when I take my interest seriously and go to a full-day’s effort to turn my hair red?
I suppose it’s a re-turn.
A returning to lots of things I would call “girlish fancies.”
Girlish fancies being the things we–Jesus and I–did at first, when I was young captured by romance, and long before I ever attributed the whispers of love to Jesus Christ, but only found “the ring around that moon enchanting.”*
Every few minutes I pick up the hair dryer and heat the shower cap through, and the shadows on the snowy yard shift slowly with the movement of the moon.
This is a returning to the natural, instinctual endearments of a child, before the first fracturing, the first heartbreak, the first clumsy attempt to bind–with self-protection, or people-pleasing mechanism, or withdrawn silence–the wound left by bitter, cynical adults who were all too eager to welcome you to “the real world.”
Let the little ones come to me.
A return to innocence and simple delight.
In the basement, I rinse my head over the laundry room sink and blow-dry the vibrant, wet strands, giggling nervously at the shocking red-orange tint.
The color will deepen, and shift ever-so-slightly, in the next few days.
Back under the covers, I lie awake in the company of a moon with its own orangish hue. I am a fox, flitting between shadows, striking red against the white snow.
I’m returning to my first love.
*See for reference: Anne of Green Gables