The Traveler and the Woman at the Gate
a modern parable
A young woman approached the gate of a wondrous new city. “Where do I begin” she thought “to learn everything this place has to teach me?” She walked past the gate, looking with wide eyes at the shops and stores and people.
“I want to learn.” she would say to passersby. “Where did you go to learn? Where should I start?”
“Begin with what interests you” one would say.
“Start by walking in the woods” said another.
“Read” “Perform a cleaning ritual” “look for what interests you the most” the suggestions were endless, leaving her more bewildered than ever. She sat at the city gate, wondering if she should go to the library, visit the elders or walk in the woods. She wanted to learn everything about everything, but what should be her first steps?
A Traveler in a hooded green cloak approached. The young woman looked up at him as he pulled his cloak back, revealing dark hair against the cobalt sky. High above, an eagle circled.
“Are you going in, or out?” the Traveler asked.
“I don’t know” replied the young woman.
“Then you are going no where.” the Traveler observed. The young woman sighed.
“Mind if I join you?” The Traveler sat next to the young woman. “This really is a marvelous city. There’s lots of things to do, to see, to learn.”
“I know” sighed the young woman “there’s so much, and I want to learn it all….I just don’t know where to begin.”
The eagle cried overhead.
The Traveler stood, and helped the young woman up. He walked slowly in a circle. Returning to the young woman, he spoke. “No doubt many have told you how to begin.” She nodded.
“The path is different for each” the Traveler continued. “One seeks knowledge from books, another from nature, another from doing. Each path is right for each of them.”
“But what is right for me?” her blue-green eyes implored.
“Ah…that’s the thing no one can tell you. Tell me, have you ever become your breath?” There was a twinkle in the Traveler’s eyes.
“What does that mean?”
“It means” he replied “whatever you think it means.”
She paused, in thought. The Traveler reached out with his left hand and moved his palm slowly downward past her forehead, and her eyes closed. The young woman began to breathe, slowly, inhaling….exhaling…….relaxing. The eagle cried again.
She stood there, at the city gate, for several moments. Breathing. She thought about becoming her breath until the only sound she could hear was the sound of her breath as she inhaled….exhaled…breathed in…breathed out…..until gently, ever so gently, she was filled with the understanding…what becoming her breath meant to her….and why her path would be hers, and hers alone.
“The way you choose, will be the right way for you.” she heard the Traveler’s voice as if coming from a dream. She struggled to open her eyes and as she did, she was momentarily blinded by the bright sunlight. She thought she saw the Traveler for a moment, golden in the midmorning sun, but as her eyes became used to the light once more, he faded from her vision.
She looked at the city inside the gate, and the woods outside the gate. “Whichever way I choose, will be the right way for me” she thought as she stepped forward, her heart beating with excited anticipation to learn all this new world had to offer.
© 2012 Briseadh na Faire
OPEN THREAD TIME,
CHOOSE YOUR PATH