I hung there, gripping the swaying ladder. The chill of dread, bellowing down my neck.
One of the worn wooden steps threatened to break beneath my feet.
The slender candlestick flung from my fingers and cascaded into the darkness, briefly lighting the cavern floor below me.
Then it happened. It came at me like a rush of heat in my chest. Much hotter than Jaio powder that Mother’s stirs in scalding water and makes Father inhale for his cough.
Oh, no. Not now!
This is the way it always began. Fury and Calm. Fire and Rain. I held my breath and waited for tidal wave to collapse over me. My heart stuttered, my knees buckled and my vision blurred so that the seen became fog and the unseen as bright as day. I lost my footing and fell into a Living Dream.
At a roar of thunder, a voice welcomed me into a garden. Like a leaf carried by a gentle breeze, my feet never once touched the ground. I had been there before. But never had I seen the tree. The tree that weeps scarlet tears as red as rubies.
“Beloved, I am He that came before and will be here after. Zènhii däNu…Therefore, seek Me”
The voice of the Ancient One was like a laugh and a lullaby. Both quieted me like the rain. Like a mountain’s worth of morning dew, His words revived my soul. Again, thunder rumbled and I awoke on the ground of the cave, unharmed.
In the distance, I saw a glowing form coming toward me. Before I had a chance to panic, he stood above me. It hadn’t been a ghost as I had first feared. It was a very small boy. Even smaller than I. He raised his lantern.
“Greetings, I have come to usher you safely across the Drink.”
As I looked into his face, he spoke plainly, but his lips did not move.
((Photo orgin unknown))