[I apologize for the length of my post. My visit to the Isles was nothing short of miraculous. I could not contain it in a few brief paragraphs.]
This adventure has brought amazing sights, visitations, lessons, and joy beyond measure....and it's only just begun. What an exciting side trip the Enchantress has arranged for us...a visit to the Isle of Ancestors. As soon as I am told of the magical place, I am certain I know who is waiting for me to arrive. Not wanting to risk a tumble on these rocky lands, I asked the Hermit to prepare a horse for my journey to the river dock.
Midnight, the horse the Hermit so graciously allowed me to use, arrived at moonrise. She glissened in the evening light, even though her coat is pitch black. I stroked her soft mane, gave her a juicy apple, and asked her, if she please, to take me to the river dock. I was prepared to travel as fast as she felt was safe.
Midnight took off like a lightning bolt. Thankfully I had my digital camera bag firmly in my grip, but I did lose my hat. We sailed through the forest and over streams until the dock came into view. Midnight gradually slowed her pace and came to a stop at my dock mere minutes from the moment we took off from the Hermitage. What a ride! I caught my breath, stroked Midnight thankfully, and fed her another apple. I asked, if she wouldn't mind, if she would wait for me at the dock until my return. She neighed and nodded that she would.
My barge and Ferry Woman were waiting patiently for me. I gave Midnight another stroke and a kiss before boarding the barge. I sat on the barge soaking in the moonlight as a vain teenager soaks up the sun. I breathed in the cool, musky air in great anticipation. In a few deep breaths and a blink of an eye, my Ferry Woman had stopped at the Isle of Ancestors.
"Wow! I'm really here!" I thought. I disembarked the barge with great hesitance. I was thrilled to be on such magical lands and excited about meeting an ancestor. But...all of a sudden I felt my body pause. My feet stick firmly to the ground. I felt hair rising on the back of my neck. Fear? But why? I KNEW who would be waiting to see me and couldn't wait to see her. What was there to fear? Maybe it was just the chill of the night air, the anticipation, or the path that lie ahead of me with no guide.
I see a light shining on the path. Though quite dim, I can see far enough in front of me that I know I won't be walking into a tree with the next step. Plus, my walking stick helps feel for subtle dips or hills. I found the mound just as the Enchantress described. I paused before taking the path to the entrance. I took a deep breath and thanked the gods for whomever I would be visiting. I asked that my ears my be open to hear the message I needed to hear and that my memory would be as a sponge soaking in every moment so I wouldn't forget it. Though I had brought my digital camera, I knew I wouldn't be taking photos. I knew in my soul this was one of those moment that could never be captured electronically.
I swiftly made my way to the entry. The door exuded warmth, the glow and scent of a wood fire, and a sense of security and joy. Walking slowly so as to soak up every image, every scent, every vibration, I made my way to the hearth that was the source of the warming light. A hooded figure sat waiting, but did not move. The sacredness of the surroundings entered my pores and made me feel as if I had stepped into another dimension.
I walked to the other side of the hearth with my head bowed out of honor for the being wearing a monk's garb. I sat, without sound, on a stone bench, with my eyes cast down to the table. I waited for the entity to speak first, out of deep respect.
"Welcome! I have been anxious to meet you . . . even more so than you have to meet me. Look up, dear child, I want to see your beautiful face. I am certain of its beauty for I have seen your heart."
The voice I did not recognize. I knew immediately it wasn't the one I expected, though I wasn't disappointed. While I would have been thrilled to see Olive again, I knew this feminine being was here for a much deeper reason than reliving memories or telling me what it was like on the other side. I slowly raised my eyes and was astounded by beauty. The being who faced me was so much more than human and beyond any sense of beauty I'd ever experienced.
"There you are, my dear. I have known your heart for a very long time, but I've never had the chance to see your face. Such beauty and honesty reflect in your eyes."
"Thank you," I stammered as I tried to take in what was before me. I felt an odd sensation, almost like butterflies, flitting through me.
"I sure you are wondering who I am. Your soul knows and it is leaping for joy. Can you feel it?"
"Yes! I can! I wondered what that sensation was."
"Listen carefully, for your soul will whisper my name."
I tried to steady myself and focus inward. It was hard to pay attention to me with so much beauty and warmth and amazing detail surrounding me. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and heard, in a still, soft voice, "Mother Nature -- Goddess of all the Earth." I gasped in shock and lowered my eyes again. How could I be worthy of meeting Mother Nature herself?!
"Don't turn away your eyes, dear child. I know of your humble and deep respect for me. You do not have to show that now. Don't waste this time we have. Look into my eyes."
Again I slowly raised my head, still astonished by beauty. I looked into her eyes and felt relaxed and at home, as casual as if I were talking with a close friend.
"There you go. Now isn't that better?"
"Now, you've come to ask me something. What would you like to know?"
"As I'm sure you know, I have a hundred questions fighting within me to be chosen. There's so much I want to know about the amazing miracle of a world I live in. I guess the hows and whys aren't as important right now. What I most need to know is . . . what can I do to care for the amazing gifts you have bestowed upon us humans?"
"I knew you would choose that question, though I think you know it wasn't necessary for you to ask. You are such a gentle soul. Every time you have the opportunity to care for any of my creatures, you do it. I shed tears of compassion this afternoon when I saw you with the bunny who passed on. You did what you could to care for it and send it off on its journey on a ray of love.
"Maybe you asked the question because you need to be assured. This I can tell you with complete honesty -- you are a compassionate and loving woman. I know that you are doing everything within your power to care for creation. You know in your heart when you could be doing more, but those times are few. I also know that you are impatient. You want to see everyone caring as much for the planet and for others as you do. They will . . . some day. Know that it is by your actions that people will begin to see and will carry on the wave of compassion you send out to the world.
"Your heart is certainly aching to know what happened to the loving animals who have died in your presence recently. Tinker's spirit is within me and I can tell you that she's radiant with joy. She, like you, is very tender hearted. She welcomed the bunny on its arrival and took away its pain and fear. She knew the bunny, in its last moments, had captured your heart. She did for you what you could not do for the bunny. She held it, caressed it, and gave it the compassion you showed.
"Just like Tinker learning from and passing on your compassion, others will do the same. And just as you can never fully understand Tinker's feelings and actions, especially now that she has passed on, you will never know the feelings and actions of those who are touched by the ripple of your compassion."
Tears flowed down my cheeks as rain down a pane of glass. Some were tears of joy, as my body was filled with joy knowing that I was on the right path... knowing that I was doing everything I possibly could without even realizing... knowing that my actions were having some affect on someone, somewhere. A few tears were tears of loss, of knowing I would never see Tinker, my first puppy, ever again. I was so choked up I could not speak.
"Dear child, I know you are overflowing with emotion right now. It's ok. Drink it all in. I know this is an amazing moment for you. So that you never forget this moment, I have made something for you.
From your tears I have formed this ocean wave. May it forever remind you of the ripple affect your compassion has on the world."
I no longer have words to describe how I felt. My body vibrated joy in a way I had never felt before. I was so grateful for such a precious gift, and yet speechless. Without knowing what I would say, I opened my mouth and words tumbled out.
"Thank you for this gift. I will cherish it and let it remind me of you, your beauty, your radiant love, this moment, this feeling of joy, and, most especially, as a reminder never to give up . . . to always know that my actions have a life of their own. They ripple forth and I will never know who they will touch. I'm grateful to know this of my positive actions, yet I know this is also a reminder that my negative words, thoughts, and actions have a life of their own. I will try to control them as much as I can so that their ripples are few and their affect only on me."
"Yes, dear child, you speak the truth. I can assure you send out far more joy than sadness, but you are not perfect and can never be. But you can improve. My question for you today is if you feel you can try to focus on sending out good. If you can focus on the positive, the negative will become smaller. The positive will surround you."
"I am certain I can try. I know I can improve. In some areas, focusing on the positive comes easy for me. In others, I know that I settle in, in fact I almost wallow in the negative."
"Being aware of this is the key. Please use my gift as a reminder for you to dig out of the negative pit quickly. The longer you stay in the quick sand, the more it will suck you in and the bigger the ripples will become. To give you some hope, I can tell you that negative ripples move more slowly and travel shorter distances than joyous ripples in the same amount of time. You can turn around negative ripples and insure that they don't affect anyone but yourself. The key is to have a buffer of joyousness about you."
"Thank you for all you have shared with me. I will do my best to do what you have asked. As a token of appreciation, I want to give you something. I know you don't want my digital camera." I giggled out of nervousness. I searched my pockets and my heart. The only things I brought with me were my camera and my walking stick.
"I have a walking stick. It is of your own creation and is blessed by Wisdom. Is there anything you can do with this?" Mother Nature stretched out her hand and held my stick at a point just below the Wisdom carving. When she released the stick, the image of her face appeared where her hand had been. I felt the fine detail of the carving with my hand. How blessed I was to have thought to bring this simple stick with me. It would carry the gifts of the journey for me and protect me at every turn.
"Again, you have given me a most precious gift. I am indebted to you and will never forget your favor upon me. I am so overflowing with emotion and image and experience that I cannot think. I know I do not possess anything as priceless as the gifts you have given me. Is there anything I can give you?"
"You can give me a promise. I know you would agree to anything I say right now in your heightened state of joy. But listen and make sure you want to make this promise before you agree. I want you to promise that you will care for my creation by continuing to be the gentle, compassionate soul that you are, by elimination as much negativity from your life as you can, and by taking care of yourself -- just as precious a being in my creation as any other. You know that making time, making good choices, for yourself is harder than giving to others. It is the hardest thing you've had to do in your life. You have given up at times and put everything and everyone else first. Now, I'm asking you to promise you will give yourself what you need. I need you to live for a very long time so that your compassion can reach many generations."
I thought about the ways I harm myself, how I limit my life by my choices, how I don't spend enough time on things that would bring more joy into my life and others. I have been making better choices recently, but they've been hard. They've required a lot of time and attention. Could I promise to continue making better choices?
"Yes! I will make this promise. I do not take this lightly. I know I need to take better care of myself for my own sake. Knowing that it is also for the sake of the planet makes it all that more important. I will double my efforts to limit negativity and to treat myself the way I would care for a dear friend."
"Thank you, dear child. That's the best gift you could ever give me."
"I know that it is time for me to go. I enjoyed meeting you, Mother Nature. Allow me to soak in your radiance for one more minute, and then I will go."
I set the ocean wave on the table between us. Mother Nature place her hands on top of my own. As we held the crystal, it glowed as if in a fire. I could feel Mother Nature's waves wash through me. Her love, compassion, and creative energy fused into my being and into the glass momento. I bowed my head once more out of honor and respect and thankfulness, and then I took my leave. The glass wave continued to glow and light my path. I walked as if I was in a deep trace, gazing at the glowing glass. It led me to the barge where I was transported back across the river. The glowing wave in my hand was the brightest star in the sky. Midnight waited for me at the docks, and for this I was grateful. In my tranced state, I would have wandered for hours before making it back to the Hermitage. I mounted Midnight and, before I knew it, Midnight was cantering down the halls of the Hermitage. He nudged open the door of my room and took me to my bed. I slid off his back, put my precious gifts on the window sill, and fell into bed.