I owe a deep thanks to VE-Global and all the people that together make the organization what it is – a place for sharing. I wrote this as a goodbye to my friend Amanda. I hope it indeed was a good bye : ) .
Tender rain showered the forest, and the Mender ran. She had not planted every tree, nor had she befriended every creature. But, she knew them all. For thousands of years, she walked amongst its boughs, danced in clearings alongside sparkling, gurgling springs and slept warmly below a canopy of night songs and stars.
She had not met one of her people for many years. She hardly remembered her friends, parents and ancestors. The journey to the forest is a journey to an isle. An isle a sea and a half away, an isle shrouded in hungry mists and festering storms, an isle hidden in the depths of doubt and uncertainty. As a child, she heard stories. All life spoke the same language. And most things were alive in one way or another. The coexistence her people shared with the isle was an ethereal mosaic of spiritual harmony, a ballad of love and camaraderie. Yet, even when time is plentiful, things do not last. Eternity is only the burden of immortals. Eventually, beauty planted wickedness in the hearts of the weak. Desire and greed bathed and blinded eyes, poisoned souls. Blood and fire cracked like a viral whip. Guardians of lore had no choice. Her people were banished, and with ancient magic, the isle was sealed. And great beauty was lost to protect beauty itself.
Yet, there was a whisper among the wind, a rumor among the elders. A pure soul could attempt the voyage, could hope to survive, could dream of feeling the silky sand of perfection’s shores. But, one did not know if purity reigned in the soul until judgment was upon him. To fly, one had to jump. There was much she could do with her life amongst her people – the typical occupations that society requires for preservation and advancement. They did not appeal to her. Life was pleasant, but she longed for a deeper binding, a sturdier footing, a closer embrace. She longed for unity, coexistence, harmony. And so she worked all her youth to discover, understand and master the fleeting and mischievous concept that was ‘goodness.’ Several hundred years later, she said goodbye.
The passage was brutal. Wind, earth and water nearly killed her. Her vessel was swallowed by wrathful, churning mountains, her supplies dragged to the depths, her will torn to bits and her mind emptied and trampled upon by a cold fury known only to the unwritten pages of history. But, not once did she regret her decision. Not once did she attempt to turn back. Not once did she forsake her life’s mission for the seductive tranquility of comfort. She endured. Persevered. Fought. Hanging limply upon a miserable shard of what was once her ship, utterly lost, hungry, thirsty and weary to the bone, she closed her eyes. I will arrive soon, she thought. In this life or the next.
Gentle waves tickled her awake upon the shore. She laughed – she made it. Paradise lost was once again found. The air was sweet, the light playful, the creatures joyous in their songs. Her spirit was thrown upward, and as she let it go, she witnessed what the eyes could not. The stories were true – the isle was freedom incarnate. A savage glory forged in flames of natural order, a higher order. She felt it. The sense of belonging was overwhelming. Hierarchies did not exist; time was not fragmented into the past, present and future; death was but an ugly word for change. As the grace of life united washed over her, she wept. She wept for the beauty that no one thing could ever deserve. She wept for the folly of her ancestors. She wept for the love that enveloped and entered her. She wept, for she knew there was no going back.
Over the years, the Isle had named her the Mender. She tread lightly, not disturbing the flow of life. When she encountered a plant withering, a stem shaking or a leaf breaking, she mended. When she felt the suffering of another, she went toward it. She mended what she could. When the water was bitter or the wind resentful or the soil sullen, she sat down and stayed with it. Listened, and offered what she could. Mended, what she could. The trees welcomed her, made towering homes for her within the majestic and long-undisturbed canopy. The Isle became part of her, and she part of it.
At times, she longed for her past. For her family and friends. But, she was never unhappy. She had answered a higher calling. She dedicated her life to what was, essentially, a fool’s hope. A wish. A plea. A sacrifice. And the goodness within carried her to a place evil without. And, with so much beauty around, love was always to be found.