The Seeker’s Journey Part 2
He gets up and stretches as he contemplates the prior night’s encounters and wonders what surprises are in store for him today. He sets himself on the path and heads into the forest after a breakfast of apples.
He enters the forest where the sunlight is muted and finds himself engulfed by the quiet solitude. It reminds him of a cathedral and he thinks that the forest must be nature’s cathedral adopting an attitude of reverence and prayer. Before too long, he notices that the trees are thinning out and he steps into a meadow. A great bear rears on its hind legs, swiping the air with paws the size of the Seeker’s head, roaring. Behind the bear is a cottage. The seeker understands that he must go to the cottage but first he must get past the bear. Having encountered other animals who had offered insights, he attempts to open a dialogue.
“Wise bear, what have you to teach me?” He asks with a confidence he doesn’t feel.
The bear sets his paws on the ground and shifts into a man with golden hair and eyes a forest green. He is tall and sinewy and couldn’t be more than 20. After a few minutes of silence, the young man speaks, “there is much that i can teach but some of the lessons i could impart, have already been learned.” With that the man shifts back into the bear and disappears into the forest. The Seeker walks on towards the cottage a bit perplexed by the man’s statement.
The sun begins its slow descent and the Seeker feels that he is no closer to the cottage than he’d been when he encountered the bear. Sighing, he begins looking around him marveling at the beauty of the path. To his right are wildflowers and to his left are green pastures. The air is alive with the sounds of birds and bees, and the heady smell of fresh grass and flowers makes him smile. He feels happy to be alive. Off to his right, movement catches his eye and he turns his head to look. He sees a maiden with long black hair, wearing a long white dress trimmed in royal purple. He steps off the path to go speak with her. As he approaches her she looks up at him with lavendar eyes, feeling humbled, he bows to her. She holds her hand out for him to kiss, which he does. Kissing her hand makes him feel an immediate connection to her, one that surpasses the need for words. Through this connection, he comes to understand that the animals he encountered represented the four elements, and by learning how to interact with each of these elements, he would have greater control over his choices and journey. The maiden hands him a scroll and a loaf of bread. He understands that one would feed his soul and the other his body, but both are necessary on his path. Taking her hand in his, he raises it to his lips and bows again. He then returns to his path towards the cottage which is still no closer than before.
As evening becomes twilight, he comes to a low garden wall. A woman, a little older than the maiden he’d met before, is cleaning up her tools from a day spent working in her garden. The Seeker calls out to her and she beckons him to her. She disappears into her garden shed and returns a moment later wiping her hands on her apron. She removes it and hangs it on a nearby peg.
“Come my child, warm yourself by my fire, and let me fill your belly with a hot meal.”
Smiling the Seeker can’t believe his luck. As she cooks over the fire, the smells of herbs, spices, and meat makes his stomach growl. As they sup, she speaks to him of her garden as if each plant were a child. She explains how they need the proper soil, nourishment, nurturance, encouragement, water, and how they need to be able to play under the sun and moonlight. After the meal, she clears everything away making him feel comfortable and cared for. She hands him some blankets to make up his bed before the fire. Feeling nurtured like her plants, he falls into a deep and restful sleep.
He wakes to the delicious smells of breakfast cooking and is greeted with a smile and plateful of food. After breakfast, they walk into the garden together where she shows him each plant and how she nurtures their growth according to their individual needs. They soon part ways and the Seeker returns to his path. Looking hopefully towards the cottage, it once again appears no closer than before.
Before he had gone too far, he encounters a father and his four kids on the path ahead of him.
He watched as one of the older boys grabbed the hair of his younger sister and pulled causing her to cry. The father went to the little girl and picked her up. He carried her for a bit while it was apparent that he was comforting her, his words couldn’t be heard. After her tears had dried, he tweaked her nose, smiled, and set her down. He then called his son to him. The boy obeyed but he walked slowly, and without meeting his father’s gaze. The man placed a hand on his son’s shoulder and whispered something in his ear. The Seeker didn’t know what the father had said, but its effects were immediately apparent as the boy ran over to the little girl and seemed to apologize. The girl hugged him and he offered her his hand. They walked hand in hand for a few minutes before she wandered to the side of the road to pick flowers. He followed, keeping an eye on his sister.
Curiosity got the best of the Seeker, and he caught up to the man.
“I saw your son pull your daughter’s hair and then you spoke first to your daughter and then your son. How did you get him to change his attitude so quickly?”
The man smiled, “I told him that he’s the one i trust to watch over her. If he mistreats her, how can she trust anyone else to treat her differently? One must have rules and guidelines, but those under them must feel trusted to obey them. Punishment has its place, but it’s far easier to encourage the proper behavior than to correct bad behavior. I reminded him of his role regarding his sister rather than punishing the offense. Once he remembered his role, his good nature took over. Had he been of a different temperament, perhaps punishment would be required but I’ve been blessed with kids whose temperaments are good and kind, punishment is rarely required.”
The Seeker continued walking with the family, until they turned towards their own destination, once again leaving him in solitude. He had learned the importance of nurturance from the woman and governance from the man. He realized that both would be required for anything he wished to achieve.
He continued on for a time and then he began to hear an odd sound behind him. Thump, shuffle, thump, shuffle. He turned and saw a man dressed in black robes, a staff in hand, dragging his foot behind him. The Seeker waited for the man and fell in step with him.
After a while of small talk, the Seeker asked the man, “Why is that cottage so distant though i feel like I’vebeen walking forever?”
“When you arrive, you will understand, but there are many encounters that must take place before you are ready to enter the cottage.” With these words the older man disappeared, leaving the Seeker a bit flummoxed.
Seraphina Batya, Copyright 2016. Please do not reproduce without consent.