Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Way of the Phoenix (Part 2)

I could not see, but I knew that the room I had entered through the darkness was grand. It was cool and damp. In the darkness I heard the sound of a stone being struck by another stone.  The crack of flint echoed around me. I saw a spark and then another spark.  A flicker of light in the center of the room got my attention.

A fire began to smolder in the center of a circle of rock.  Behind the fire circle I could see the outline of a man.  He seemed large in stature, and appeared to be wrapped in a blanket of fur.  The headdress he was wearing covered his face in such a manner that all I could really see by the light of the fire were his eyes.  The shadow of the firelight cast darkness upon the furrows of his face.  He nodded his head, inviting me to come and sit by the fire.  As I made my way toward him, I could see the mystique in his eyes.  There was a magic within him, and a friendly comfort.

As I approached the medicine man, I could see a small pouch nestled in his lap.  The motion of his hand reaching into the pouch drew my attention to it.  I had not been aware of its existence before his reach. It was a simple pouch of tanned hide with a few tassels hanging at the bottom seam.  He pulled out a handful of something and threw it into the fire.  Whatever he kept stored in that pouch caused a reaction in the fire and it blazed higher and hotter, popping and crackling into a bonfire.

The newly kindled light revealed the room I was in to be a large cathedral cavern.  Behind my friend I could now see that he was sitting at the opening of the cave and elderly-looking trees towered above the entrance.  My surroundings were as magnificent as the man now standing before me clothed in pelts and feathers, his face still somewhat hidden by his animistic headdress.  He still had not spoken a word and I wondered what he would show me, and what purpose he had for me there.  He turned his back toward me and disappeared through the tree trunk fence into the darkness.

Hours passed as I waited for my friend to return.  The rhythmic sound of crackling embers drummed in my head.  The low howl of the wind encircling the ceiling hummed me into a relaxed reverie.  I could hear the drip of the water from the cavern ceiling into a puddle below adding character to the song of the wind.  The fire burned down to a slow sizzle.  The darkness grew colder as the fire burned out.  My guardian was gone and I was alone.