Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Way of the Phoenix (Part 4)

I had never seen trees as tall as the ones that now surrounded me as I made my way out of the cavern.  They towered above me like skyscrapers.  Their trunks were straight and limbless until they reached beyond the mountainous entrance now behind me.  Their leaves spread open at the top of their height like canopies.

A path cut through the woods and I followed.  The fallen leaves crunched beneath my feet.  The sound of the birds was soothing, and their song erased the terror of the night.

As I rounded the bend I stepped out onto a beach. The lake was surrounded by hills of evergreen trees and the water opened up to the horizon.  The water was calm, except for a gentle lapping of the water at the shore.

Before me I saw a boat swaying with the waves. Inside the boat was an a-frame tent made of tree limbs and brush.  I climbed aboard and the boat, once tied to the shore, drifted out onto the water. The wind directed my journey on the lake.

The clouds above changed from fluffy white to slate. The sunlight faded to fire as it set on the horizon. A storm was growing just ahead as the wind gained momentum.  Lightning flashed and danced across the water. I curled up underneath the brushwood shelter to protect myself from the coming storm.

I was surrounded only by water now and the waves were growing and tossing the tiny vessel around. The thunder clapped and a flash of light struck the water around me and I was transported. The waterway became my means of travel to different locations without time or space boundaries.

The water transformed from lake to ocean . . . from ocean to river . . . from river to whirlpool . . . from whirlpool to waterspout.

It was on my tiny vessel that I traveled through the early stages of the transformation. But the wooden boat could not withstand the current and it splintered beneath me. I was battered by the waves and sank into the whirlpool. Visions of long ago places and forgotten faces flickered in my mind like an old movie reel.

As I saw the images like an outsider looking in, I felt both a sense of judgment for my own actions, and an overwhelming feeling of forgiveness for the actions of others. Looking back on my journey I realize that the process was taking me back to the places where I had lost fragments of myself. I gathered up my stones and returned to the cavern entrance.

I left this strange place . . . transformed in the way of the phoenix.