12-17-13 Edit - I am not satisfied with this version. Something is missing and every time I read it, my gut pings me. I will let it set for a few days and see what more the story its telling me.
1-6-14 Edit - well my "gut" finally told me what was wrong so here you guys go. Sorry it took so long to get this back up, winter break with kids roaming around just doesn't make for much time to get lost in blogging. The only changes are to the very end piece. - P
(Continued part 3)
*************************** TRIGGER WARNING ********************************
discussion of suicide - self injury-and all that other fun stuff that rolls around in my head
She felt it smile proudly in her hand. Fire.
I'm in training to be fire.
The gasp stuck in her throat.
Slowly she looked around at the devastation. She was unable to blink as her mind tried to process it.
A strange sensation startled her and her head snapped back. The sapling was gently touching her raw arm. Cleaning away the blood and gently smoothing out the ragged flesh.
The kindness and compassion it was showing her broke her.
"No one ever treats me this kind...I don't deserve it." She at last spit out. Trying to pull away.
"Nonsense." said the sapling holding her hand.
Her head swam. Fire?
"Fire?" she at last whimpered. Looking again at the charred trees. "You spend a 100 years growing to learn to be fire?" she stumbled to her feet, her voice escalating. "You stand day after day in the same spot to BECOME FIRE!! To live a silent quiet life to be gone in a flash? What kind of madness is that?! To be tall and beautiful and make fruit and offer shade and peaceful Eden's to die by fire? A lifetime of waiting for what? a moment of fire?"
"Yes." said the sapling.
The insanity of it ripped through her chest and exposed her heart. "What about those who live and die with out becoming fire?" she asked as the pain spasmed her soul.
"Not all of us complete our training. Just like guardians who are in training, some of us do not survive."
"and the tables and book shelves made of wood? Was there life wasted by never becoming fire?" her rant continued ignoring what she was just told.
The sapling shook its leaves, "No, there still in training. Everyone's training is custom made for that individual."
Her body, suddenly heavy gave way and she fell into a heap in front of the sapling. The tears fat and round falling in a steady rhythm.
The sapling let her sit with her grief for a while. It caught and held her tears in its leaves. A few minutes passed before it again repeated. "Not all of us complete our training. Just like guardians who are in training, some of us do not survive."
The words slowly penetrate her heart. "I'm not going to make it am I?"
The sapling leaned over and spilled her tears onto the scorched earth. "Make it to what?"
"To be a guardian." she whispered.
"Guardian of what?" it whispered back.
Her mouth fell open and nothing came out.
"Pain?" it whispered, gently touching her bleeding arm.
She felt her head shake no.
"The souls around you?" it whispered its voice cracking.
She felt her head shake no again, but this time her voice chimed in, "Maybe? But why must I suffer so others can be comforted?"
"How else are you to lower yourself into the depths of anothers pain unless you know the depth of pain itself?"
I'm drowning in this pain, it hurts to breath, it hurts to live, I can't go on....how can I help others when I am submerged and drowned myself? That can't be it...
I'm in training to be fire.
"You are a liar!" she screamed and stood up. "You are lying to me!" The anger infused her body driving out the sadness. "Trees offer love, food and protection and humans. I will not buy that your whole existence is a lie to humans!
The sapling bobbed its head, and continued to listen.
She roared on, "YOU MAKE OUR HOUSES! YOU ARE IN OUR HOMES YOU HOLD US AS WE ROCK IN THE CHAIRS, YOU GIVE US WOOD TO MAKE CRADLES, YOU SUPPORT US! YOU LISTEN TO OUR FEARS AND FEED OUR EMPTY STOMACHS, YOU MADE THE PEWS AND ALTERS WE PRAY ON,YOU GIVE YOUR WOOD TO MAKE TOYS AND ART, YOU HOLD OUR BODIES WHEN WE DIE... AND YOU EXPECT ME TO BELEIF THAT ALL THE WHILE YOU ARE DOING THIS YOU ARE LIVING TO BURST INTO FLAMES AND BURN US TO DEATH? THAT YOU ARE GLORIOUSLY HAPPY WHEN YOU BURN DOWN A HOUSE AND KILL EVERYONE INSIDE??!!!"
The elder trees, answered her. There voices smoky and rough. "You are right, young one."
She whirled and faced them. The anger hardening her face.
"Imagine for a moment the chaos it creates within your soul when you are be rooted and unable to move....unable to flee the fire. The pain it causes when you are in charge of providing a warm safe environment for the humans who you fall in love with. Have you ever seen a house fire? How the beams scream in agony as they hold out as long as they can, protecting there charges as long as they can...to make sense of that madness we choose this path to ease the torment."
"You add order to chaos." she said at last her voice calmed. "But to be rooted and vulnerable...that must be an unbearable burden."
"You don't know?" said the sapling. "We are rooted to keep us still, part of our purpose is to be here to cast shade so the young guardians in training can find comfort and peace. If we walked the slow guardians of stone would not be able to catch us and find the shade."
"And what do you get out of that deal?" she said looking down again.
"Company." said the young one dissolving into tears. "We get company. The years pass slowly, and despite growing a new ring of bark around our hearts to protect them, the loneliness claws at us."
"You have all the other trees around you for company." she said.
""Around us yes...to be surrounded by others and never touched is a painful thing. I can't go over and hug my mother, it will be a lifetime before my roots find hers and we can hold hands. It will be even longer before I am tall enough to lean in the wind and touch the leaves of the others." The sapling answered, its voice finally cracking.
The rising wave of compassion rose within her and spilled over her stone walls. "What keeps you going? what is it that powers you? what is that golden carrot that motivates you? What makes life worth it for you?"
The saplings leaves perked up. "It isn't a moment or a day or one thing. Its everything. The good the bad, the journey."
The elder trees sighed and twisted her way. "It is being here with you. To watch you grow and become the beautiful thing that you are."
"I'm not beautiful." she said," I'm a hardened heart encased in a stone wall of hate and anger. I am a scared up broken woman that can't live in peace. I am nothing to anyone."
"You are everything to someone." the elders began to weep. There tears washing away the ash and showing the raw unburned bark underneath. "your training is nearly complete."
She spun around. "What?"
Hold out your arms the guardians said in her heart.
"What?" she repeated looking around, "its over? my training is nearly over? just like that?"
Just like that
The sapling leaned over and smoothed out the dirt at her feet. "You can't be born to fly if you are not a bird. You can't breath air if you were meant to swim the depths. You were born to be a guardian."
guardian of what? she tried to form the words. but her throat was turning to stone.
Hold out your arms the guardians echoed in her heart.
She pushed hard....and felt her walls give, and the light flood in as lanterns appeared in her hands.
...She was left here by the elders. Alone and out of sync. She was seven, always seven. She didn't understand that she wasn't on a path, she was the path. She didn't understand her pain was not punishment but her training. For guardians are not born of stone...they must be turned to stone."
I exhaustedly stumble around in the darkness when I am depressed. I don't always tell the outside world that I am struggling. You can see my journey written in scars on my body. Years ago a person trekked across the US to come to my house and meet me. She spent a few days with us. She had a migraine the first day and so the planned coast trip had to be canceled.
I commented that what a shame it was to come all this way and miss seeing it. She shook her head and said..."You don't get it do you? You are a lamppost in the dark. You stand here in pain and offer compassion and warm light to those of us struggling around in the dark forest. You are what I came to see."
you are what I came to see
.....you are who I write to reach
Even if its to stand silently in the forest and allow you to hang your crumbled lantern on my branches. To offer my cool shade to rest in for a moment. To offer you my scared up hand to hold. To come after you if you need a hug and have fallen and don't have the strength to get up. To make our lives journey a little less lonely. I can't fix you anymore then you can fix me...but when times get tough if we both lean a little bit, we support each other. knowing full well, "Not all of us complete our training. Just like guardians who are in training, some of us do not survive." That doesn't matter, I will love you for as long as I get to, and even then I won't let go of your hand. You are a piece of me, you are part of my walls that make me strong. You are part of the path...That I know and understand so well.
What is my golden carrot? I have none. What motivates me to go on living is the same nonsense that motivates dogs to chase their tails. There are times I lie quietly on the porch, lazily watching life come and go...and there are times I run and leap for no reason. Sometimes...I chase my tail for the shear sport of whirling dizzily. Makes no sense to those watching, but it puts in the moment.
We all have to find out own way on this journey. Find what helps. Writing helps me.
The pressure of wanting to die comes and goes within me with the tides of my depression. Other people its chained to them. I hope knowing you are not alone in the struggle helps.
As for me, right now, right here, I am going no where till the trees tell me what I am the guardian of. That might be a while as their stubborn and known to be liars.