Sometimes, darkness covered the land and sky with a density so thick, you could almost touch it. There was nothing to be agraid of, but when everything was very still. So quiet, not a word, it was hard not to feel as though something lurked and loomed from the outer edges of the deepness. Staring back from out into the night. Not a sound not a word. It was the kind of gradual awareness of a presence that within the darkness, in the depths of the sky across the land, the closeness of the night felt like a blanket covering wrapping up those who lived below. In a way, for a select few, perhaps, it was comforting.
Eventually, eyes adjust to the dark and then shapes of the tall thick trees could be made out. The ground was soft and though covered with bushes, small plants and debris. The seasons were turning and so the air began to feel cold and enveloping As if it would drift straight through you then into the beyond. Walking at this time of night took great skill and concentration. It took time and patience.
There was a large tree within the forest that provide a welcome respite on the journey. it was a place that felt more protected than the other trees around it. She went to this tree. This is where she sat and listened with wide eyes until she didn’t remember anything from the world in front of her. Scanning the horizon and looking to the brightness of the stars. It wasn’t until a ray of light rested upon her cheek, that she looked around realizing she had fallen asleep. It was as though she had drifted to distant lands and worlds and then was back again in an instant.
Everything looked so different during the day. Was no longer confined and dense, but open space and trees that went on forever. It was though she was in the middle of no where.
One day as she was walking, bright vibrant spots of color captured her attention. Looking around it was as though she was in a sea filled with bits of a broken rainbow. She realized they were hundreds of flower petals of all shapes and sizes. Each with their delicate silky edges drifting past her feet as she kept walking. She knelt down to see them closer, holding one in her hand and studying how smooth its edges were.
where did all the flowers come from?
She tried to see how far they spread across the land, but it was as if she had stepped into another world that somehow changed the rules. Like blankets of flower petals were just as natural as happening upon a tree. And if there was no reason she could find for this strange occurance, then she figured she would enjoy it as much as she could.
i’ll do what i’ve always wanted to do…
And with outstretched hands she fell back into the beautiful petals – all soft, light as air, delicate as they covered her skin. She sank back breathing in their perfumed essence. She closed her eyes and dreamed deeply, falling into a heavier – heavier still – sleep.
She lied back onto a great grey speckled boulder arching her back against it closing her eyes to the sun. Its surface was warm, smooth and comforting, grounding her back into the present. Being against this great rock, it was as if she could hear inside the rock to its soul. Like a vibrating whisper, she could feel its energy. Deep within the rock at the innermost part and back through to the surface, she listened. What was it telling her? She put her hands on the giant rock trying to get something from it.
All around – all at the same time – from every direction, she heard the sounds of the forest competing for her attention. Birds calling, cooing. Rustling in the trees from small creatures. In the bushes, a predator lurking waiting to strike. The sounds of wind and trees extending up to the sky. Of insects buzzing. Everything singing all at once. Including the giant rock. In fact, the rock seemed to joyously laugh at the symphony of the forest. Something about felt a bit overwhelming to the girl – a huge release followed. She caught herself from crying and instead only whinced at the lump in her throat. Gone, as quickly as the feeling emerged. And then, lying back she stretched out her hands on the great boulder and watched clouds roll across the windows the branches made. Watching the sky, she settled into peace.
To get back to the stream from the mountains and through the forest. Back nearby the old small house where incense sometimes drifted from the windows. Back to the place where she would float on top of the water. Where she would skip stones across the flat surfaces of side pools of water that collected off the main path.
To get back, she needed to walk a very long time. It took days. As she kept to the path burned into her memory. Yes, this tree and that rock and that scraggly bush. As she kept walking, she couldn’t be sure, but it was the feeling as though someone was following her. Yet, every time she looked back, there was nothing. Just air. Sometimes wind blew through the trees during those moments as if to laugh at her vigilance. But there was nothing there. And so, she continued.
Climbing over large boulders. Dodging low-hanging branches from fallen trees still growing. Dust piling up under her fingernails, her feet. And sometimes it was simply to hot to be in areas with direct sun. She found shelter under jutting rocks, bushes and waited until the ground didn’t burn her feet any longer. During these times, thd coolness of the rock and the warmth of the air from the sun made her sleepy. She often nodded off in these moments.
Walking steadily, she listened attentively for the sound she madeas she moved. She paid so much attention to it that it was hard to distinguish what was outside those steps. Everything wrapped itself together, blending into a cacophony of little sounds. In the moments where she heard a twig behind her snap, she had to ask herself five times is this truly outside of me? before turning to meet nothing. Anticipation building so that every turn seemed to be the one where she would catch it.
She felt sure of it. So sure that she let the feeling creep up closer and closer. Raw and palpable like she could feel its breath or the warmth of skin. She lowered her eyes during these times and walked slowly. Her breath was slow. Slower still. Deeper. And instead of everything tightening to brace herself against the interaction. She let go further and further. Each release was dizzying and though her heart sometimes raced, she slowed. Occassionally to a halt. Then the five questions and she turned.
Again, nothing. But somehow that felt like a victory in it of itself.
Imagine that the night sky is a blanket made of deep velvet that you could wrap around you. A bird with dark wings flies by. Qiuetly. Softly. Barely makes a sound. Sound of a whisper. Just a flicker of motion in the dimly lit sky. Reflected back in the still water below.
The girl thinks to herself. The girl imagines. The girl watches this graceful bird trace a line across the sky. She watches the moon high above. The moon that looks like it’s singing, so she sings back.
Her voice carries across the air. Across a valley. A canyon. A stream. Rivers. Oceans. Into the mountains. She sings a song with no words, only voice. Only notes that rise and fall. A melody that stills the very still forest. A voice that accompanies the flying bird smoothly gliding by. Into the night. Into the beyond.
It’s as if she can see this veil. And she knows where the bird flies to. She sings and beyond the veil, they listen. They know how to answer her. They come up with ways to respond. But it’s an acorn that drops suddenly into the water creating endless ripples. The start of these very many rings is what catches her attention.
She finishes her song. Because really it’s a compliment. It’s but another gentle guide into the night. And she smiles to herself. And those beyond the veil laugh with her recognition.
She had a dream of being in a house.
She had a dream of being surrounded by loving, welcoming, smiling people.
These were not the same dreams.
She felt safe again. She wasn’t sure if she should, but in the dream, she realized both in the house and at the place with many people, that people were welcoming her. Were taking her in. Were giving her a place. Wanted her to be there. Wanted her to feel comfortable. And happy.
And the tightness in her throat was not from the kind of hurt that normally came up. Rather, it was a release. It was overwelming. Encouraging, but overwhelming as she stood there among all the people who wanted to embrace her and greet her. People who wanted to know how she’d been. People who were familiar because and yet not at the same time.
The same with the house, which had been given to her. There for her as long as she wanted to use it. Always open. The door was never locked from her. And whether it was in between things, just a temporary spot, or some place she wanted to be indefinitely, she didn’t know. Only that she felt comfortable here. The kind of comfort, deep-seated like things were finally settling down.
In the middle of the night, all around her in the forest, insects chirping to one another. A bed of green below wide, ever-expansive starry skies. She stirred, and then was quiet. She slept soundly throughout the night.
As she opened her eyes…
Dawn again. Sun rising once more. Clouds scattered into the far forever distance as if you could stretch across time and back again. In the moment it takes to breath in deeply, then she realized all was right. Countless possibilities deep into the horizon and as you looked to the curves of the earth, covered with trees. Breathing, swaying like this dance. Like a chorus, in this forest.
She thought about where she would go today. Forward, back, side– all were the same ultimately. So here another journey, each moment like a moving, transforming portrait. Each moment was the start of something new.
She sat, listening, as she did quite often. Doing the thing that was so natural to her. If she closed her eyes now, even during the day, the visions would tell her where to go. Alone, seemingly, yes, but not inside. Inside, it was like a million stars forming at any given moment. And each one speaking to her, directing her. Until in the last moment, in the very last one before movement, she decides. She moves.
She saw herself running
She saw herself sitting
She saw herself laughing
She saw herself admiring a bird
She sees infinitely beyond the veil
Beyond it all
Into something else.
Starlight into a rocky canyon. The girl was watching something. Watching as something moved down below. Every so often if you focused, you could see a flicker of movement from down below, down by the thickly rooted trees. These ones that had canopies like great expansive clouds, enveloping the base of this deep cut into the earth.
The girl watched closely. For quite some time. She knew someone watched her back from the ground below. She knew who he was. She came to this realization not long ago.
Someone stared back at her.
Someone was scared.
Someone kept hidden in the deep neverending darkness.
But she knew.
She could feel the pain.
She pictured eyes that looked up to her in the starlight.
She pictured this being picturing her.
She thought to herself,
maybe i can communicate without speaking
And so she sat there.
And waited for this being to come up to her.
To sit with her.
To not be scared.
Because she had taken a vow to never be scared again.
One night a star felt to earth in a distant lake. It arched down over the land with a fiery tail and all at once it was gone. For a while there wasn’t sound until gradually the world exhaled. This star was an omen.
When people say that they usual expect bad things, but this time, they would be wrong. You see, the distant shining falling star was a sign of great things to come. It was like someone said to the people of the land, “Hey, keep a look out! Great things are building!”
The people of the village were intrigued, but mostly went on their business. No one believed in the language of stars anymore. For the ancient ones, the story was different. Some, expectedly, looked for bad things. Ill will. Drought. Scarcity. Starvation. Death. You know, it was typical of the way that some felt the pressure of deep ingrained fear.
There were others that were skeptical. They didn’t believe one thing or another. And so, these ones went about their day — never impressed, but ultimately never satisfied. From there, the people spread far and wide with their perpective of what it meant. Some were angry after a week had gone by that others were talking about it. There were some that used it as a selling, swindling point to drum up more resources, play the people. Others were satisfied to be played, shifting directly into fanaticism. Easily manipulated and controlled by those who would chain them with ideas, words, thoughts they couldn’t get around.
In the village, there were very few who happened to think it was what it was — a good sign from the language of the stars, a message. The two you could point to were neighbors. They were the little man and an old woman. they said nothing while the crowd was in varying levels of hysteria, but silently watched the sky. The woman turned to the little man and her eyes smiled and danced. The little man smiled back and nodded. They knew without saying anything what was coming.
Felt good to be back in the forest, watching the trees breathe. Watching wind make the edges of leaves flutter. Watching the sky. Clouds passing overhead. Fuzzy and thin. Thick and looking like you could reach out and touch your hand. Run it against smoothness. Like a wave of your hand would make rain form from cloud condensation.
It was a still day other than the soft winds. Animals, birds, plants were uncommonly quiet. So quiet it felt like you could hear the smallest thing. Maybe roots stretching out. Maybe a flower bud opening. Maybe the footstep of a bee. You could hear yourself blink as you closed your ears. And everything inside was quiet.
Ground was soft and sank underfoot. It was cool, damp, but in places of sunlight, felt so warm, like it was part of your own body. It felt good to stand on. It had a texture. Crumbly and at the same time felt bouyant, squishy. You could bounce off of it into the air. Except that each step sank to a deeply defined footstep. they etched their way across the forest. Like a beautiful sculpture. Artisticly weaving their a path through sacred spots that were so tiny few stopped to notice. Each little hidden spot was special and each gave a gift along the way.
The forest was feeling very simple that day. It was unassuming and within that was something that felt very strong, but witnessing it was also very beautiful.