She has a doubtful reputation, really.

People who talk to her tend to come away different. You have to take her on her own terms; she doesn’t make compromises. She’ll make people laugh, and cry; she’ll make them babble nonsense like drunkards; she’ll leave them flat on the floor or dancing like idiots.

She has taking ways. She’s hard to leave alone, once you’ve met her; she gets right inside you. She breaks up friendships, and takes people in ways they don’t expect, and somtimes don’t really want. Or think they didn’t, but she makes them believe otherwise.

She does unexpected things, picks up unexpected and sometimes, to be honest, regrettable people. You’re as likely to find her in conversation with a beggar as with a lord; with a heretic as with a priest.

You think she’s not tied to conventions – but then you find her in the midst of somewhere deeply conventional. You think she breaks rules, and then you find that she was involved in writing the rules.

She’s contradictory. When you ask about those rules, for example, she laughs, and says the rules are there to free you from rules.

You think you’ve got her taped, and then she’s off again. Turning things upside down; finding good in places you thought beyond possibility. You follow her good-naturedly, and find yourself in trouble; but the funny thing is she’s always there with a word or two to help you out. Then a laugh, a spin of the head, and she’s off again, finding another way to amaze you.

But if you’re alone and sad, left behind or bereaved, far away from home and lost, she’ll suddenly turn up, take your hand in hers, whisper comfort, smile and enfold you in her arms.

She’s the life and soul; she’s the quiet comforter. She’s young at heart and yet as old as the universe. She’s a lover and a friend; a defender and a challenger.

She’s the Spirit; and we love her.

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