The Spirit of Understanding

There was a place on a wooded mountain where a mystical being dwelt. No one was certain exactly what kind of creature she was, only that she was a spirit of light and love. It was said that anyone who spent time in her presence would find what they needed the most.

The legend traveled throughout the world in whispers and lyrical song. Some heard and believed, others passed it off as a fanciful tale. Yet year after year a steady trickle of mankind would make the pilgrimage up the mountain.

Most of the wanderers were lost souls with pure hearts and spirits longing for truth, reaching out in faith for the promise of the story. They would travel up the mountain with faces drawn, eyes, burning with fierce light, hardly daring to hope, and return with an unspeakable peace.

One day the story reached the ears of a different sort of soul. Hungry for life, constantly striving, always chasing after one star after another only to burn out. He was desperate for something new.

He sojourned up the mountain, mouth set in a hard line, eyes empty. There at the top of the mountain nestled in a grove of gracefully arcing trees he found her. A small spritely creature, leaning up to the trees uttering lyrical words of kinship, she was impossible to miss.

She caught the light with skin as pale as moonbeams, eyes a warm glowing amber and a waterfall of obsidian tresses cascading around her shoulders. Sensing his presence, and drawn to his need she looked up from her woodland companions and met his gaze.

Her heart went out to him. She sensed the raw hungry aching within him. He crossed the clearing and stood staring blankly, waiting for her prompting. She took a few light steps forward on bare feet, and tilted her head up his tall form to his stony visage. With a gesture of impatience he spoke, urging her to fill his need.

She smiled then — a strange sad smile it was, with a look that would cut straight to the soul of any kind-hearted man. She told him what few understood. She could only fill the needs he was willing to voice.

The man’s eyes flashed in frustration. How could this creature who clearly had the depth of spiritual sight be so callous as to demand this of him! How could he possibly know what he needed? If he knew that he would not need to come here!

Her heart pulsed in love and compassion for this man. He was truly empty within. With a tremulous breath she made an offer — he could come up the mountain each week and they would talk to help him understand his need. At the end of each conversation she would grant a request. The man ran a hand through his hair and the void within him rent his chest…and he agreed.

Week after week he came up the mountain and they talked. But he was deaf to her words and blind to the pearls of truth they contained. So week after week he became embittered as she asked what he requested.

The first time he asked for her hair. He wanted to learn how to fish in the sea of tranquility, but the net must be woven of magical threads. She simply looked up at him and said, “I understand,”and granted him her hair. The next week he took her teeth. His own were soft from years of indulgent eating.

So week after week it went on. He took her flesh for a tent so that he would no longer need to travel up and down the mountain. He used the light of her eyes to read by at night, and with her bones he fashioned weapons to hunt for his food. She granted each request without a whisper of dissent, simply saying, “I understand.”

Week after week it went till he finally asked that he may burn the rest of her to mix her ashes with her blood for a pen so that he may write his thoughts on the stones of the mountain. But when this final request was completed he found he could not make the ink he desired.

As he crouched over the ashes cursing his bad fortune, another sojourner approached the mountaintop seeking the spirit of light and love. He stared at the grisly scene aghast and inquired what tragedy had befallen the mystical creature.

The man who had used the spirit so sorely spat upon the ashes and shook his head.

“Some promise. Would you look at that? Just a worthless heap of ash after all.”

With that he set fire to the tent and made his way back down the mountain. The second traveler stared at the fire, silent tears flowing from his eyes. He spent the night in a moonlit vigil of mourning.

As the rosy tendrils of the dawn stained the horizon he knelt and collected the ashes into a pouch he carried about his waist, carefully gathering every last speck. He made his way slowly down the mountain to his home and workshop, and silently went to work on the ashes.

Much time passed before he emerged again, tired and smudged but with a look of satisfied triumph in his eyes. He climbed the mountain once more; a holy pilgrimage to the highest peak. In his hands he carried the largest diamond ever seen by man.

A priceless gem of crystalline perfection, radiant facets throwing rainbows in every direction. Tears traced down his cheeks and his heart pulsed in sorrow as he gazed at it’s beauty. He knelt in the grove of trees where she once lived and whispered to the heart of the stone.

“All along he had no idea what he had…but I understand.”

Thank you for reading my words. If they touched your heart, please share them with others who may relate.

Poet, aspiring writer, passionate advocate for emotional intelligence, avid nerd and Lyme warrior.