She hangs by her knees from the old oak taking in bits of its wisdom. The spirits gather around reverent in their silence. Her path to changed perspective lies ahead, but ivy creeps along her legs to anchor the moment.
The oak whispers in a deep and ancient voice, “only change can be found on the path before you, but perspective lies in the hanging.”
She sighs, a release of struggles and toil to allow peace to enter. However, the flood before her creates anxiety that she can’t ignore. The wave of red and fur pulses with a fire that consumes all in their wake. She’s certain they’ll tear her apart before the flames burn. Her first reaction is to lie down and let it pass, but the wise oak speaks again.
“Look just behind you. The Foxes give chase to a hare only steps away. Though the wave blocks your path, it isn’t you they’re after. These obstacles will pass, but you mustn’t back down. Fight through the wall to find your way.”
The woman stands tall, power coursing through her muscles to near exhaustion, but the wave moves on seeking other prey. So she continues down the path.
In the brush that follows, a majestic white swan flails in the briar. Tempted by the sweet fruit, it missed the thorns guarding its prize. The woman transforms into a humming bird carefully moving the vines aside to grant the swan’s freedom. Its graceful wings extend carrying the swan far above the patch to a small hill. Thin pillars of silver surround it gleaming in the fading light.
Returned to her feminine form, the woman strolls down to examine the pillars.
The swan sits as a guardian on the hilltop. Upon inspection, the woman notices the pillars surrounding it are large pens. Near the base of the hill, a man huddles pen in hand. The mask he wears hides his true nature. His smirk a mark of self-satisfaction at the clever way he managed to steal the pen away, but the swan isn’t fooled. She watches him from the corner of her eye well aware of the nature hidden by the mask. His deception will only serve to poison each word he writes with uncertainty and pessimism.
The woman takes note of the scene before her, and then continues on the journey.
A clearing soon appears as she travels father still. In it stands another oak, ancient and ethereal. The woman rests for a while in its shade, but as time passes, the tree weaves her into its branches.
Travelers who wander by see her there in the oak. They marvel at the warmth and generosity that shines from the tree through her eyes. The woman willingly lends support to all at their request. The inner strength they see comes from that of life; a pure energy transmuted through the branches from the sun. As they continue on, the leaves she hands them are tokens, reminders of the time they’ve spent together. Each leaf whispers a secret that only she can hear, a symphony of voices to guide the wayward travelers.
Soon a weary and despondent man appears before the oak . The woman smiles warmth down on him. The branches of her arms transform to soft-feathered wings, as she becomes the swan. The man struggles to climb onto her back and soon the two float among the clouds.
As she flies ever higher, exhaustion does not find her. The steady beat of her heart matches each wing flap creating a rhythm that comforts the man. He’s content to let her bear the weight soaking in bits of energy and light.
Below dawn has found the world. Its landscape unfolds before them; each canyon scarring the earth seems a distant memory of pain. Even the warning caws of crows catching the wind go unnoticed. He sees the destination ahead once hidden beyond the clouds. She bears him to a place of peace where words flow like raindrops in the spring.
Renewed, he at the vision clutches the feathers on her back in anticipation of their arrival.
Together they stand, a human ladder of strength, inscribing the journey in stone. He holds her up to reach the highest parts of the wall. Alone she can barely scratch the surface, but together the hard stone easily gives way to her smooth fleshy fingers.
The interlinking rings she etches tell a story of relationships and love. They become a chain, made stronger as another is added. The impossible becomes ordinary as their combined strength breaks through obstacles.
In unity they understand that the power of one can crumble with the breeze, but when the rings form a chain, their combined resolve becomes an immovable force that can rearrange the stars.