self-discovery, Stories..., Visions

The Embrace…

I am walking down a forest path, at peace, contemplating all that has been happening near me.  Something moves in front of me, though what it is at first eludes me.  Gradually my eyes focus enough to “discover” a being hiding in the gloom behind a tree…

I stop walking, not wanting to intrude on or frighten this stranger before me…

“It’s ok,” I softly say.  “I’m not here to harm you or disturb you in any way.  I’m just passing through…  Would you mind if I passed by, or would you prefer me to turn around and leave?  After all, you were here first, weren’t you?”  I smile to reinforce my words…

The being leans forward a bit, looking up and down the path.  I see now its humanoid form.  I notice also its wariness, its vigilence.  I sense no fear coming from the being, just profound awareness, and caution…  And strength, unlike anything I have encountered before!  This being is in its element, and knows it; if anyone should be afraid, it should be me…

But I am not afraid…

I wait, patiently, wondering if (and how) this being may communicate with me.  After several minutes, the sense of threat, of possible dire consequence, begins to fade.  The being checks the path once more, before stepping out to face me…

At first I am bewildered by what I see, questioning if it’s a trick of light, or some sort of mirrored shield being held up in front of me; for standing on the path ahead is a younger, darker version of me.  She is cloaked and hooded in forest greens, well camouflaged in this environment.  Her posture is alert, but relaxed, raw power emanating from every pore of her being.  She simply looks at me, expectantly, waiting for my reaction…

It is then I realize it is my Shadow facing me, the one who’s call has been leading me for days.  And slowly, the odd dynamics of our current status begin revealing themselves to me…

For clearly, she has the power for now; her strength, purpose, presence are palpable.  But I am in control; my consciousness must decide what happens next…  I stand there, rooted like the trees surrounding me, held in this timeless moment by the sense of import, the sheer significance of this encounter!  Finally, I take a small, almost involuntary, stumbling step forward.  She stands straighter, somehow creating a less threatening posture in spite of growing taller…

“May I approach?,” I think to ask, falling back on familiar civilities, while seeking to convey respect.

She nods, but says nothing…

I approach slowly, soaking up every detail, mesmerized by all I see…  “You are truly magnificent!,” I breathe aloud as I get close enough to truly see her.  And she is!  All the things that I am not – confident, secure, balanced – and so, so, so much more; I have difficulty grasping that she is me, given how different we appear.

“I have been looking for you,” I explain to her.  “Everywhere.  In the forests mostly, but also in the lakes and oceans, in the sunlight that warms my skin, and the moonlight that guides my dreams.  I have searched for you in my sanctuary spaces, and travelled to the crossroads hoping to encounter you.  I have even dipped into the river of time seeking just a moment with you…”

“I have been waiting for you,” she finally speaks.  “And now you have come…”

I chuckle nervously, unsure about what to do next, so I ask…  “Now what?  We have met.  What happens next?”

“That’s up to you,” she softly answers.  I am captivated by her calm, her lack of urgency, anxiety, or need…  “What do you want?,” she whispers…

Echoes of that question reverberate in my mind, remembering other places, other times this question was asked of me.  But this time, I know immediately what I want!

“I want to embrace you, to hug you, to hold you close to me,” I answer, before shyness can prevent the words from escaping…

She smiles fully, holding open her arms wide, offering herself in perfect trust.  I step forward eagerly, carefully placing my left arm above her shoulder, and my right arm beneath hers.  Leaning slightly right, I hug her tightly, heart to heart, and let myself go completely in this moment…

I become aware of our heartbeats, separate, but the same.  I feel them merging into one resounding, rhythmic, beat.  I sense the boundary between us dissolving, with neither absorbing the other, but each becoming One…  Each cell that defines us, each strand of energy, every memory, experience, hope, doubt and triumph merges smoothly, leaving us distinctly present while still being Whole…

I (we) breathe deeply, the scents of the forest accompanied now with a deeper understanding, identifying “what’s” and “who’s” in a way I could not do just moments before.  As my mind automatically begins to process the significance of each scent identified, I feel my own (other’s) surprise at how efficiently it does so.

There is bliss in this experience of union, and excitement of what we can learn, do and create together!  I (we) are complete, and the whole Universe is our home…  And playground…

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Conversations, Reflections, Stories..., Visions

“A Lesson on the Evolution of Rocks… and things.”

The Teacher led us to a rocky ledge, basking in the early morning sun, and bade us sit and make ourselves comfortable.  “Steady your breathing and claim your space,” she instructed us.

After some time had passed, she sighed deeply, and began to speak…

This stone I’m sitting upon is warming beneath me…,” she said.  “It’s almost as if it’s absorbing my own heat energy and reflecting it back to me.  Why do you suppose that is?”

No one responded…

Hmm…,” she mused aloud.  “Rocks evolve in a crucible of heat and pressure.  When the proper levels of each are achieved, they transform themselves into entirely different form.  Same matter, maybe (?), but a totally different expression of it, with different qualities, different strengths, different weaknesses…  The same, but different…”

She paused a moment, seemingly lost in thought.  Silence reigned upon the rocky knoll…

So the question then becomes, for me anyway… [a smile tugged at the corner of her mouth] … are the rocks then feeding me (by warming me), or are they feeding off me (by draining off my heat energy in the first place)?  Is the growing heat beneath me reflective of my healing or my weakening?”

Silence held the listeners’ tongues…  Laughing, she turned to look at each of us in turn…

Did you all follow me up here to listen to me talk to myself?”

One seeker spoke up, hesitating and awkward…  “I feel only good coming from the rock I’m with.  The experience is pleasant, comforting, blissful…  I feel more grounded, more centered, more… whole somehow…  I think the rock is helping, rather than hurting me,” he concluded quietly.

Ok, then,” the Teacher responded.  “From your perspective the rock is serving you…  Beautiful!  Wonderful!  How empowering and validating it must be to be loved in this manner!…”  She turned and looked sharply at the speaker.  “But why do you suppose the rock should choose to serve you this way?  Does it gain nothing from its interaction with you?”

Another seeker spoke up…  “Perhaps the good feelings are merely a side effect of the draining of energy…?  Some predators drug their victims so they don’t realize they’re in danger until they are too weak to respond,” she suggested.

Ahhh…,” responded the Teacher.  “In which case, the very rocks upon this Earth may be our enemies, draining us, enslaving us to fuel their evolution…?”

The student did not respond…

Seems curious to me,” mused the Teacher, “that we have so many ‘stone masters’ in our collective human history, if we are indeed their slaves.  Perhaps that is part of the shared delusion the stones create to bend us to their will…?”

Silence settled once more upon the small group.  The sun warmed as it rose higher in the morning sky.  The humans warmed,  absorbing its heat and light.  The rocks warmed, creating a haven of peace and serenity, soothing city souls…

“It seems to me,” a third seeker began, “that everything in the Universe, in Nature, revolves around the principle of exchange…  From the grossest planetary matter, to the tiniest sub-atomic particles, all forms freely exchange energy.  Each expression of matter may use that energy differently, but we are all using the same energy…  Why, then, would this be any different?  Why cast it as an either/or question?”

He looked directly at the Teacher…  And continued.

“Can we not suppose, perhaps, that the exchange of heat energy between us and the rocks is of mutual benefit somehow?”

Interesting question,” the Teacher responded.  “Perhaps we could explore that a bit…?”

When no objections were voiced, she began to speculate aloud…

So, the rock absorbs my heat energy to use for some internal process, and then returns that heat energy to me, making me feel good…?”

No one in the small gathering responded…

But is there then a purpose to this exchange, beyond the mere cycling, or recycling, of energy…?”  Chuckling softly, she continued, mostly to herself.  “Talk about the proverbial waste of time…”

“Unless…,” the third seeker began.  “Unless the rocks transform my heat energy in some manner before returning it to me…?  In which case, it’s not precisely the same energy…?”

Smiling broadly, the Teacher looked directly at the third seeker…  “From which we might conclude that we also transform such energy before passing it back to the stones…?  Or other beings we might encounter along our way?”

“Like bees!,” another seeker exclaimed.  “We, as humans, have mobility that the stones do not innately possess.  I mean, they move, of course, but not nearly as easily as we do.  Perhaps our mutual exchange allows us to carry the stone-transformed energy elsewhere, while leaving some residue of our travels behind!  Such an exchange would benefit both parties, empowering, informing, even directing the evolution of all matter…”

Another seeker jumped in, excitedly… “Gently pushing us all in the same general direction…”

And yet another seeker found her voice…  “Both pushing us forward while reigning us in, so no one form alters too dramatically in a single step!”

All eyes focused on the Teacher…

She sighed deeply, drawing in the early summer morning, then lay back upon her warmed rock.  The seekers waited, expectantly, though none could voice their need.

The same… but different,” she murmured softly.

Soon the Teacher’s gentle snoring became part of the ambient summer soundscape…

 

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Reflections, Stories...

Drowning…

“Fire looked at Water blankly, completely unprepared to answer. Laughing merrily at his sudden discomposure, Water reached out to embrace Fire. But Fire jumped back quickly, avoiding the contact.

“Are you nuts, Water?! What are you trying to do, kill me?” Responding to Water’s deep and disheartened confusion, Fire added more gently. “Water puts out fire, remember?”

Nodding sadly, Water concurred. “And fire destroys water… I remember.” “

(An excerpt from a short story entitled “Fire and Water: The Search for Life” I wrote many years ago…)

***

Relevant now, again, because I feel as if I am drowning…

Lately I seem to be inundated with water issues, from flooding to our most recent household disaster where the aforementioned flooding took out the hot water heater’s pilot, and we cannot get it lit again.  There are other minor issues, too, of course, like leaky sinks, and shower hoses suddenly spurting where they’re not supposed to, all of which lead my friends to believe that we are being overcome by emotions.  At least symbolically…

But I am more intrigued with the water’s effect on fire in our home, and my inability to keep the home fires burning.  Literally!  There was the power outage that left us without heat for five days during a wicked cold snap.  And even though we have a woodburning stove, I could not keep the fire going for any length of time because the wood was wet, and so reluctant to burn.  For 5 days I lived here, with internal household temps never getting above 40 degrees.  And then I finally got dry wood!  And the power came back on…

That was followed by a record breaking snowfall (within hours, no less) made so much more difficult to handle by rising temps throughout.  The snow was incredibly heavy and wet, with the sun shining brilliantly after the storm, making the shovelling out process a 3 day nightmare for the physically challenged, like myself…

All that snow melted quickly in the spring-like weather that followed, bringing on the first floods…  And so April arrived with steady, constant rain for days, until the whole world seemed to be drowning in it.  Everything was under water…  Until finally, this past weekend brought a taste of early summer, and we could finally assess the damage all that water caused.  And it was then we lost the hot water heater…

So… clearly my fire is being overwhelmed by my water!  My passion, creativity, motivation, even action, snuffed out, made impotent and ineffectual by the flood of emotions drowning me…

Just last night I came home late after spending some valuable time with a respected friend.  She left me with much to think about; intrigued, and moving in new directions at last.  I spent time alone after coming home basking in the light of a full moon shining from a nearly cloudless sky.  The cool rays of moonlight contrasted sharply with the unusually warm temperature, and it was a balm to my restless and disheartened spirit.  I let down my guard, as I usually do, and opened myself to the healing that only time alone at night can bring.  And so the feelings came…

Heart-wrenching, gut-twisting, rage-inducing pain from so very many sources, I could not begin to identify them all.  So much suffering happening in the world…  The tears came unbidden, as they do every night recently; impotent and pointless, but flowing nonetheless.  And this time I found I couldn’t actually breathe anymore, as the flood assaulted me.  I was, metaphorically and literally, drowning in sorrow!  The weight on my chest was so heavy, I seriously wondered if I was having genuine medical issues.  But no, not really, at least not the “fixable” kind…

And then it began to rain, softly at first, before becoming a deluge.  Lightning flashed and thunder rolled; an unexpected storm drenching me.  I just stood there on the deck, my tears still falling, and looked up at the brightness of the moon.  And there she sat in all her glory… in a completely cloudless sky.

A full blown thunderstorm raging from a cloudless sky?!

And my first and only thought was to question, “did I do that?”

The storm ended as quickly as it began, before I could pull myself together enough to seek shelter in the house.  But my soaked clothes and skin were proof enough for me to accept the storm was not my imagination…

And when I woke this morning with that same weight upon my chest, I recognized it clearly for what it was – anxiety.  Not fear.  Anxiety…

The world I live in makes no sense to me today.  I cannot understand what is happening anymore.  At all!  Rationality has left the building, and everything around me is in complete chaos.  And I do not know how to maneuver effectively through it.  Hence my anxiety.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not so naive as to believe that life should be fair; I know better, based upon only my own experience.  And I cannot deny that there are good people out there doing great things, even if it’s not reported with the same enthusiasm as all the bad.  I see good moments in every day… But there is no balance occurring, no matter how much I widen my view or broaden my perspective.  There is no way to justify, explain, or empathize with the purely destructive acts occurring all around me!  I am beyond bewildered…

These few people, bringing so much suffering down upon the rest, for their own tiny glorification are determined to destroy everything, including that which would serve their own interests!  I literally cannot comprehend the motives of such self-destructiveness; it goes so far beyond the limits of my vision and experience!  Even in the darkest moments of my life, in the very depths of my insanity (the antithesis of rationality), I retained a remote and distant sense of balance.  But there is none of that in evidence today.  Hatred rules, and people rush headlong into battle with no other goal than to destroy as much as possible before impaling themselves upon their own weapons!

And I am driven back, into my own past, looking for something… anything!… that will restore a sense of balance…  A life preserver of some sort to save me from drowning…

***

Warily, Water faced him. “But nothing can come of my love for you, Fire. You know that; you pointed it out.”

Thoughtfully, Fire responded. “Yet the Creator spoke to us of Love. We were left here together to find Life… Maybe if we joined forces?” Hopefully Fire looked to Water.

“But we would destroy each other,” Water reminded him, confused.

“I know,” Fire agreed. Then smiling at Water, he added. “But at least we wouldn’t be alone anymore in a vast, lifeless universe… And we would be together. Is that so bad a destiny?” Lowering his voice, he spoke once more. “I love you, too, Water. I know that now.”

Unable to contain her joy, Water rushed to Fire and embraced him, all thoughts of consequences lost in her love for him… The Creator of All-That-Is smiled at long last, marking this moment in a timeless eternity, and a miracle occurred. For out of the union of Fire and Water arose Life, not death; in the wake of that union, there were four in the universe, rather than two…

Where Water embraced Fire, Fire cooled, leaving in his place a solid element – Earth; so daughter was borne of the father’s essence. Where Fire warmed Water, steam arose, creating yet another element – Air; and son was borne of the mother’s flesh. From the love of Fire and Water came the twin elements Earth and Air. And a family existed where only emptiness had been…”

(The entire story can be found at the following links…  maybe… if you’re interested:

Part 1: https://theotherhoodofone.wordpress.com/2016/01/24/fire-and-water-the-search-for-life/

Part 2: https://theotherhoodofone.wordpress.com/2016/01/24/fire-and-water-part-2/ )

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Stories...

“Ascension…”

The following is a parable I wrote to memorialize a dear friend who passed this week.  She was an avid supporter of my writing, encouraging me to embrace my voice anew last year when I started this blog.  She was also one of my most persistent “encouragers” to finish the story “Nemesis,” messaging me every once in a while to remind me how eagerly she waited for its resumption.  I regret that I did not complete it before she died, though I suspect she will be reading it over my shoulder as I write it, should I ever pick it up again…

I was asked by her daughter to speak at her service tomorrow, and I struggled with what memories most needed to be shared.  It was then that I decided to write this story.  I could not imagine a more fitting way to honor our friendship and what she meant to me, than to write her her own story.  

Perhaps I will read this tomorrow at her funeral.  Any thoughts or comments?

***     ***     ***

“Ascension…”

Once upon a time…  A girl child was born.  She was birthed into a world devoid of color and light, and her heart grew heavy because of it.  A dense fog enveloped her village at all times, stealing all the colors away, leaving only shades of grey to consider.

Disappointed with this world she knew, she turned to the villagers and asked: “where are all the colors in this world?  They must be around somewhere…”

“No, child,” she was told.  “There are no colors here.  Best accept it like we have.”

“But…  What about beyond our village?,” she persisted.  “Are there colors out there?”

“No, child,” the villagers responded.  “Everything beyond our village is the same.  Best settle down and accept your place among us…”

But the little girl was not satisfied with that response.  She wanted more.  She wanted light, and color, and fun!  “One day,” she promised herself, “I will leave this place.  And when I do, I will search the whole world until I find the colors I imagine!”

So it was that when she came of age, the young woman left the place of her birth and set out to explore the world.  Armed with nothing but stubbornness and a conviction built on dreams, she stepped outside her village for the first time…

Initially, she was disappointed to discover that the villagers were right; everything outside her home was cast by the fog into the same drab shades of grey.  But unable to accept she might be wrong, she pushed onward, still convinced there must be something more enjoyable to see, somewhere…

She had many adventures as she wandered the world beyond, but none led her where she wanted to be.  Finally, exhausted and disheartened, she sat down upon the cold, damp earth and cried.  She cried until there were no tears left within her.  She cried until there were no ambitions left within her.  And when all was silent and empty within, she surrendered completely, accepting her failure…

But in that very moment, a miracle occurred, when a single shaft of sunlight broke through the perpetual fog, and lit the area around her.  She might have missed it in her grief had there not been a tiny pebble beside her that caught the sun’s light and reflected it in a spectrum of color.  So startled was she by that flash of light and color, that she hardly noticed the warmth flooding her heart, filling the emptiness within.  But that warmth was enough to get her on her feet again, and moving forward, armed this time with a tiny pebble she would name Faith…

And so her journey continued, day after day, step after step…

Until one day she noticed, by the tiredness in her limbs and the shortness of her breath, that the ground had begun to rise.  Eagerly now, she moved on, certain at least of the direction she must travel – up…

She clambered and climbed.  Some days were easier than others.  Some were nearly impossible to bear.  The slope shifted between gentle and steady, to steep and impassible.  But she faced every obstacle.  She continued to grow.  And when she lost her footing and slid back down the slope a ways, she would rest, take out her pebble Faith, and renew her commitment to this journey…

Until one day she became aware that the fog was less dense here, and the light somewhat brighter.  She rushed on, convinced that something remarkable lie just ahead!  And so it did…

For without warning, or prelude, or commentary at all, the woman broke through the last wisps of fog, to find herself standing near the apex of a mountain.  And here the sun was shining brightly!  She turned around to see where she had come from, and realized she had been born in a deep valley, steeped in clouds, and hidden from the world above.

But here on the mountain top the trees and grass were green…  So many shades of green, she could not begin to name them all, though she certainly tried, laughing all the while.  The rocks were shades of brown and grey, but there was not a dull or drab one to be found, as they all sparkled in the sun.  The sky was a blue so vivid that it simply took her breath away….

Mesmerized by the color and light surrounding her, the woman sighed deeply, releasing all of the doubt, frustration and disappointments her life had been riddled with.  And by doing so, her heart became light at last, light enough that she drifted up off the mountain, spreading newfound wings to catch the gentle breeze.  And allowing the Joy to carry her away, she set off to explore what lay beyond this hidden valley…

And as she drifted off, a small pebble fell down upon the earth, to settle neatly beside so many other sparkling rocks; a testimonial for all who followed, marking this moment, this life, this beautiful soul…

Rest in peace, Marsha…

 

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Stories...

“Rainbow Child…”

This short story was inspired by a post by Eddie Two Hawks today…

eddietwohawks.wordpress.com

Once upon a time a girl-child was born.  She was what is commonly referred to as a mixed-race child, being born to parents of different skin tones.  Not that she noticed, of course, because her parents loved her, cared for her, nurtured her, and that was what she noticed most.

Her parents, both of whom were also mixed race, didn’t seem to notice, either.  For their parents had had different skin tones.  And they had loved them, cared for them, and nurtured them as well.

Eventually the child was old enough to go to school, and it was there that she first became aware that there was something different about her…

She approached the white children on the bus to school, but she was rebuffed.  They told her,”you can’t sit with us, because you’re not white like us.”

The child was confused.  “But I am white like you,” she assured them, “because I have white in me.”

But the white children were not convinced, so they turned their backs on her, and continued to talk among themselves.  And the girl went and sat alone…

At first recess, the girl-child approached the black children, asking if she could play with them.  But they shook their heads, saying, “you can’t play with us, because you’re not black like us.”

“But I am black,” the girl insisted, “because I have black in me.”

The children were not convinced, so they turned their backs on her, and continued to play amongst themselves.  And the child left to go play by herself…

At lunchtime, the girl approached the brown children, who were sitting together, and asked if she could join them.  But she was denied.  They told her, “you can’t sit with us because you’re not brown like us.”

“But I am brown like you,” she responded, “because I have many shades of brown in me.”

But the children were not convinced, so they turned their backs on her, and continued eating lunch.  The girl walked slowly away to eat her lunch alone…

At afternoon recess, the girl approached the yellow children, to see if she could play with them.  But they told her no.  “You can’t play with us, because you’re not yellow like us.”

“But I am yellow,” the child argued, “because I have yellow in me!”

But the children were not convinced, so they turned their backs on her, and continued playing their games.  The child dragged her feet as she shuffled away to play by herself again…

On the way home, the girl asked to sit with the one red child, sitting alone on the bus.  But that child didn’t understand.  “Why would you want to sit with me?  You’re not red like me.”

“But I am red,” the girl-child insisted, “because I have red in me.”

But the red child just shrugged and turned away, unconvinced, to stare out the window.  And the girl felt tears rise within her as she sat alone again…

When she got home, her parents noticed immediately how distressed she was, and asked her about her day.  The child cried as she revealed her experiences, while her parents held her close…

“I don’t understand!,” she told them.  “I have all the colors of the rainbow within me, but none of them can recognize me!  What’s wrong with me?”

“Aww, child,” her mother soothed.  “There is nothing wrong with you!  You are beautiful, and kind, and full of love and life!”

“But they won’t sit with me, or play with me, or talk to me, or listen to me…,” the child lamented.

Her father stepped in, holding her close.  “It’s not your fault, Gaia,” he reassured her.  “They’ve simply forgotten where they came from.  Perhaps in time they will remember, and they will welcome you among them once again.”

“And until they do?,” Gaia asked her parents.

“You love them anyway, dear rainbow child,” her mother softly said, “you care for them and nurture them.  Because that is what we do…”

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Poetry, Reflections, Stories...

“Thirsty…”

My mouth is filled with cotton…

My tongue is swollen…

My skin is dry and scaly…

“Water… please,” I hear myself beg

in a breathy croak.

Laughter answers, at my expense,

“There is no water for you today…

Only blood.”

A glass is placed before me on the table,

crystal clear and clean.

Slowly filling with viscous red

thick and clinging…

I cringe away, dry eyes closing against the sight.

“Not of your liking?,” the Voice mocks.

Shaking my head, vehemently,

I can only whisper in response…

“Who…?  Whose…?”

but I cannot finish the thought.

“Does it matter to whom it once belonged?,”

the Voice questions me.

“The blood of innocents…

“The blood of criminals…

“All are equally damned…

And their blood is on your hands!”

“NO!,” I cry, “that isn’t true!…

“I have no say over what they do!

“I am an observer here, nothing more or less…

“My role is only to witness, but not to intervene!”

“Have it your way then, and die of thirst!

“It matters not to me…

“Just don’t come back here whining of your loss or grief

when all have ceased to be!”

Silence settles in the darkened room…

feelings churn within…

the Weaver works her loom.

And every breath I take

is another moment lost

to Choice and Fate…

“I’m thirsty…” I mouth the words,

throat too dry to speak.

Trembling from the fears and tears

my eyes are too dry to cry…

Gentler now, the Voice envelops me…

“Water will not quench your thirst this time…

“The Fire burns within.

“You can only choose to live or die

“now that the transformation has begun.”

“Choose your allies, choose your friends,

“choose which side to represent…

“But understand that Others

“will choose as they see fit!”

Nodding my understanding, I wrestle with my choice.

Letting go…?

Or hanging on…?

To see where this might lead.

And finally…

Finally…

The suffering I feel…

within, and all around me

becomes too real to resist…

Reaching for that glass

a choice is made..

***

My arm is covered in scales now, both gold and green…

My fingers become talons, sharp and eager to rend…

Wide wings unfurl upon my back…

While the flesh of my enemies calls out to me.

Lifting my heavy head,

now resting upon a sinuous neck…

I own my Truth…

I claim my place…

Of all the monsters I have ever faced

the greatest one is Me!

 

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Reflections, Stories...

“Crossroads: Continuity…”

I turn my back upon the choices that lie before me, and face the voice approaching…  Dark hair, deep green eyes, a familiar stranger stands there, smiling.

“May I join you?,” he asks politely.

“Most certainly!,” I respond, automatically.  “After all, that’s why you’ve come, isn’t it?”

A simple lift on one side of a sensitive, sincere set of lips expands his smile just a bit as he sits down across from me…

“Is that why I’m here?,” he asks, pointedly.

“Why don’t you tell me?,” I suggest.  “Perhaps, for once, you could make this easy…?”

He laughs.  It is genuine humor I sense rather than mockery.  “But what would be the fun in that?”  Tilting his head slightly, he adds, “I suspect you’d be disappointed if there was nothing here to ‘figure out.’  You would miss that rush you get with every epiphany.”

“True ’nuff,” I concur honestly.  “But seriously, why have you come?”

“You tell me,” he suggests, sincerely.  “After all, you both created and called for me…  How can I help you today?”

Lying back upon my bed of green, I stare up at the bluest sky that I have ever seen.  I hear soft rustling as he moves over to lie beside me.  Silence settles comfortably between and around us, as the clear blue skies envelop us…

“I do not wish to keep recycling on this path of Life and Death,” I begin, somewhat hesitantly.  “And yet, here I am, by my own choice, sitting at the Crossroads again…  I felt more comfortable this time in the Heart of All-That-Is…”

A soft chuckle interrupts me, but I cannot tell if it came from him or me…

“Well, at least I was not terrified this time,” I correct myself, somewhat petulantly…

“I was not bored, nor did I feel lonely; both significant improvements over my last experience there…  But still, I felt something, briefly.”

“Care to name it?,” he asks.  “You work well with words, always, however limited they are.”

Turning my head quickly, I catch but a passing glimpse of something sparkling in his gaze, before the mask of sincerity settles over him once more.

Thinking, I sort through many possibilities, rejecting each as not quite capturing the essence of what I felt…  Finally, I shrug, feeling the warm earth beneath my shoulders.  “Restless might describe it best, but that doesn’t really define anything, does it?”

He says nothing, simply listening, since listening has always been what he does best…

“It’s not like I wanted to change anything, because everything is what it is, and it IS…  And I didn’t have any desire to change me, because I genuinely like who I am, both large and small selves both…”

I smile at that thought expressed, and sense him smiling next to me…

“There was nothing I wanted or needed, even to learn, as Everything and Nothing co-exist, and all ‘I’ am seemed irrelevant…”

Silence settles once more over the Crossroads, and the two of us lying there…

“But…?,” he prompts gently.

Sitting up suddenly, I look around, seeking something specific.

“Where are the birds,” I ask concerned, as the Silence tilts toward eerie.  “And the insects?,” I continue.  “Where is the Sound that should surround us in this quiet, peaceful place?”  Anxiety has somewhat sharpened my tone.

“Are you asking me or telling me?,” he thinks to question, knowing even better than I sometimes how my mind works…

“It just seems odd,” I reply uncertainly, shifting once more to lie down upon that soft bed of green…

And far from where we lie the chatter starts, a single chirp swelling and expanding to fill this quiet place with a cacophony of caws and tweets and buzz and drone, with songs of sweetness intertwined…

“Ok, enough!,” I cry out, irritated, for now I cannot think beyond the rhythm and rant of birds and insects.  Laughing aloud, he reaches for my hand, and silence settles once more over this gentle land…

Tears slip down my cheeks as I feel the warmth of his hand slowly filling me.  No words are necessary, or even possible, as this moment settles in…

“Why is it we can only meet like this?,” I ask eventually.  “Why can we not experience such intimacy in the worlds of flesh beyond?”

“Now that is a question worth contemplating,” he quietly responds.

After a moment, or more perhaps, he thinks to add, “who says we can’t?…  exactly.”

I open my mouth to answer him, only to discover that no such answer exists within me…

“Um…  I don’t actually know…?,” I finally manage.  “It just seems to be the way it is, and always has been so…”

“But why?”  Simple and direct has always been his style.

“I guess I’ve always been taught that you are a distraction for me,” I start to explain.  “That were we to incarnate together, I would be so obsessed by you that I would be unable to accomplish any other task…”

“Ok, fair enough,” he responds, always balanced but adaptable.  “So what is it you have yet to accomplish out there?”

I cannot help but laugh aloud as his gentle words enlighten me… “Fair point,” I concede, “as we were just discussing.”

Rolling over to face him, I seek out his eyes of green…

“Could it be so simple?,” I whisper, almost afraid to let my hope rise, or my feelings shine.

Facing me, he places a hand upon my shoulder, the warmth of his gaze driving the chill from my bones…

“Why not?,” he asks.  “If All-That-Is exists, as we both know it does, then somewhere, some time, such a reality already is.  Why are we here, if there is where we want to be?”

He waits a moment, allowing this possibility to shine as opportunity, slowly settling into the truth that it already is…

“There are many variations of the term ‘Love,’ as you well know, having explored so very many of them,” he continues purposefully.  “Yet you have always managed to avoid me and the version known as ‘intimacy.’  Is there a reason for such reluctance, or is it simply fear?  And if afraid, please tell me just what that fear entails…?”

Moments pass as I consider his questions.  He waits, ever patient with the thinking side of me…

“I have no answers for you,” I tell him honestly.  “Perhaps we should find out…?”

And squeezing his hand, I extricate myself from his loose embrace, and stand.  I turn once more to face the Crossroads, focused on my goal.  Taking a deep breath and lifting my chin, I feel strength flooding into me.  Light-hearted and hopeful, I reach for him…

“I’m ready!,” I state, as certainty settles upon me.  Turning slightly to face him with a wink and a smile…  “Any chance you’d care to join me this time?”

Smiling, he rises, stepping forward to join me.  Taking my hand in his, he speaks:  “Here’s to Continuity…”

And stepping forward, hand-in-hand, we cross the threshold together…

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