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In the dark abyss that was a great void, Acorn was alone. The only thing that she could see but darkness was a very tiny sparkle from far away, barely as large as a pin point. She tried moving to the light before but couldn't reach it. When she had called out to it she became afraid of the sound of her own voice and remained still and silent as a terrible loneliness consumed her. It seemed as great as the abyss itself.
"What am I?" Acorn thought to herself as she slowly twisted around to the light, wondering at it listlessly.
"I cannot take this anymore," she spoke very quietly. "What do I mean? Why am I alive? Could you not see me little light, just for a moment. Could you not see me from beyond just a little while?"
Acorn's heart sighed with tears but then she heard a gentle whisper within her own thoughts.
"I am here," they spoke through her heart. "I am part of you, Little One. You know me as Mystery Star, shining beyond like a grain of sand."
Acorn shivered to herself. She could remember what a grain of sand was, tiny and hard. She could remember with it the sound of ocean waves and the essence of salty mist. There was a gale in her memories, one that had ripped her away from any knowing and she trembled as if it were a dream she had just awoken from, finding herself here, in the void. She could not understand how there could be so much pain and turmoil, as if she were still trapped in that storm.
"Help me," she barely whispered. "I have tried to reach you but you are so far away. I was afraid to speak, but now, it is all I have."
"I have been waiting a long time for you to find me within yourself," Mystery Star said. "Raise yourself so that you might see me."
"I'm afraid," Acorn admitted painfully. "Everything is so dark. I don't deserve to see you. I am nothing."
"Little one," Mystery Star said in a soft, loving voice and flickered as if struggling in the darkness to be as bright as possible. "You have discovered yourself. You have realized the great void and in it you opened your heart to the silence to hear me. If you were nothing, could you notice these things? If you did not deserve your vision, could you still seek it? Come and look, come see what I am doing."
Interested Acorn peered upwards and slowly began to grow and change. She felt a deep, rich blanket around her and broke through it. She gasped, gazing in awe at what was around her as a tingling sensation washed through her. She beheld a world which was green with grasses all around her. Above, there was an eternal blue where great, white mountains floated. They drew pink, gold and red around a brilliant circle of red gold that pierced down rays of spun light, like golden strands.
She was overwhelmed with wonder as she watched this world give way to deeper amber reds, purple and blues. Many thousands of tiny lights just like Mystery Star began to appear as the deep blues gave way to darkness. Rising with them came a white and silver circle to the above as the gold one fell away.
She looked around herself, trying to absorb everything at once. It was all so much. She watched the silver circle pass to the gold one again, as beautiful as it was she could not forget the void and the pain that was there. She allowed the days and nights to pass in silence, her heart steadily sinking back into the abyss without her.
"Mystery Star," she whispered as she looked above at the silent clouds. "Look at them. Look at how they tower the blue. How could I ever be like them? I am among the wonderful grasses, and that looks so far above."
"What is the matter?" Sun peeked down at her through the clouds as if awakened to Acorn. Acorn was limp and fading, barely a twig in the tall grass. "Is my light warm, do you not enjoy the times that I rise and fall? When I am gone, does Sister Moon not give you any energy?"
"I don't know," Acorn quivered. "I have not noticed. I don't think I could ever be so big and strong as to touch the great blue world like you."
Sun peeked down more closely with glorious rays that splayed around the clouds and traced them in pure, brilliant outlines.
"Little One," Sun spoke more delicately. "I am the sun and I am here in the sky giving light to all the Earth as equally to you as those greater and smaller. You have pushed to the surface and I noticed how glad you were to see your first days. Now I see you must push also through the Earth with your feet. Reach down and see what you feel."
Acorn's one small leaf fell to the ground, scorched and nearly translucent from her withering.
"I am afraid to feel," she admitted. "I will remember the void. I don't know what is down there. It is dark."
Sun remained silent but Acorn remembered Mystery Star wanting to show her this wondrous world. She wiggled her toes and felt something cool and rich. She spread out below her, searching with her roots through the cool, welcoming soil. She could sense the insects digging in the ground. She could touch the roots of the grasses and began to fill her being with the richness of the ground.
As night came she silently basked in the full moonlight with great relief. For a very small, flickering moment she could grasp the sense of her own being but it left her just as quickly. She still felt better though and swayed very slightly to herself while Moon sang a strange, ancient tone. The tone mingled with Earth and came through her roots into her tiny sprouts that would become leaves. She could feel Earth's heart beat, deep down in the ground and pulsated with it.
"You are all together as one," Acorn whispered as she was still very shy to speak. "I can feel each of you."
"Yes, and you are part of it too," Moon spoke.
Surprised but not startled, Acorn looked up. "Why am I part of this? Why am I alive?"
"So, you are on a quest," Moon ventured with amusement. "It is for you to discover, Little One. You have come so far already. I see that you discover many things. I am known to you as Moon and all you see before you around me is a nation of stars, one for each life on Earth. I give you the energy of quick growth so you may expand yourself further. Reach out in all directions."
"I cannot," Acorn said solemnly, wishing she could. "It is hard to hold myself together."
"Relax," Moon said. "Open the pours of your leaves as they grow and of your being, see then what you feel."
Acorn slowly did so and a gushing wind swept her, moving across the grassy field in a tumble of the grasses silvery waves. She took in a deep, gasping breath as if she had been drowning. She felt herself being filled through out herself with a sudden new energy. She relished in it, reaching out in all directions to gain more of the air. She could hear thousands of sounds, all speaking in a unified harmony like a soothing song.
Acorn felt too afraid to sing herself and still felt as if something was profoundly missing. She enjoyed everything that was around her and tentatively tried to be part of its many things, swaying and listening. The void though was not easily forgotten. She could feel it creeping up on her like a dark shadow, gripping her with fear. She missed Mystery Star terribly. She became distressed once more, beginning to wither again and struggling now for survival. She trembled uncontrollably, afraid of her own fears as the wind rushed and twisted around her.
"What's the matter?" Wind asked.
"I don't understand," Acorn spoke quietly. "I feel so lonely. I am aching inside and I can go no further."
Wind whirled around her and seeped into the soil, in and out of Acorn's being, flowing through her.
"Well, you are not drinking," the wind whispered around her.
The wind bubbled up with the laughter of Faeries. Acorn felt a little foolish, enough to smile a little. "What must I do to drink?"
"You must teach yourself," whispered Wind. "Do you notice the moisture that I carry?"
Her leaves blew with Wind, whispering delicately like the grasses. "Yes," Acorn soothed. "It is cool and sweet."
"It is rain," Wind said. "All the clouds are going to gather. I am Wind and I will sweep across the land from all directions to the gathering. Thunder will beat a drum. Lightning will carry a dance and all the waters will fall to clean and replenish the ground. It is not enough for you to take moisture from air and the things you eat of the soil. You must drink and you must carry your roots deeper into the ground to find it."
As Wind said, the clouds filled the sky, darkening the mid day into a late evening. Acorn could see the high billowing tops of the clouds and the gray bellow them as they came across the plain. Wind was blowing in violent gales, lightning streaked down from the massive clouds. Thunder clapped violently, filling the sky with a cracking rumble that shook the very ground. She felt as if the sound would split her in half. The rain fell in large, fat, cool drops that gave way to a down pour in a vast, washing whisper.
Acorn felt herself at the mercy of the elements but she swooned and swayed, whistling in the wind like the grasses were doing. She drank deeply from the soil by the hairs of her roots, enjoying the storm. She relished in its gifts of water and the powerful display of the sky worlds raw, naked forces. It was frightening and awe striking. She already had understanding of the wind, sky and clouds. Through the winds touch and rushing encouragement she learned how not to be afraid of her own thoughts or the could be's that storm offered. With the winds strength she opened the pours of her roots and drank, seeking ways to do so without taking too much from the soggy world.
The water rushed into her being, mixing with the nutrients and air, rushing and flowing through her like dried rivers aching for that fulfillment. It flowed out through her limbs and leaves as air, returning to Wind who carried the same oxygen into her. Relief washed through her with the water, embracing herself through Wind like a gentle lover who caressed her.
"I am water," Water spoke. "I have come far from the sea, from everywhere, high into the clouds, carried by Sun's energy until the clouds become so heavy, this, to be rain. I return to Earth to wash away the old rubbles and replenish new sprouts so that all can be refreshed. Clouds are like Earth's dreams and Ocean is her thoughts. As you drink, I bring you dreams Earth has, her thoughts and desires. I nourish you with the thought of her flowing dreams."
"What is a dream?" Acorn wondered as the lightning suddenly struck the ground, lighting darkness into bright day for a brief moment. Large balls of lightning bounced across the ground, sizzling and buzzing like angry bee's. As they disappeared one rushed to her, taking roost in her limbs like a spider web, charged with currents and set on fire like fine gold strands of lightning.
"We are currents of living," a mysterious voice came as Lightning streaked over head like a dragon tongue. "The fires of being, the charge of living motion. We are part of storms of destruction and replenishing, laying waist to clear the paths for new. Like warriors. The thunder makers of vision and vibration. You ground these things, you take our lightning and channel it all the way down as the energies of Earth you channel all the way up. It is good to be a tree, we are glad to see one on this vast plain. It will be difficult to avoid you the taller you get though, as the only tree."
"Are we dreaming now?" Acorn asked, frightened now because of their brilliance. No answer came as the electric web dwindled away from her small limbs. She found herself sorry to see it go then. The storm began to subside. She spread herself in all directions to grow and thought to herself as she ate, drank, breathed and held her leaves up to capture the sunlight. She listened, watched and felt, enjoying each passing moment.
The dark void seemed very far away but also, Mystery Star seemed all together gone as well. She missed her. She was sure she must be somewhere but she couldn't see her this time to try to reach for her and if she could hear her she wasn't answering. She wondered if Mystery Star was dreaming.
The night soon came and Acorn looked up at Moon and the stars. She watched a shower of star fall, shooting across the sky by the hundreds. Awed and wondering she didn't go unnoticed by Moon who was shining on her and made all the droplets of water on Acorn sparkle like the stars. Acorn delighted in feeling like she was covered in stars like Moon's dark blanket.
"This night shines at me like words I do not speak or understand," Acorn spoke, feeling so grateful to Moon and Star for her sparkles of droplets, sharing such a wondrous thing with them she could not fathom it.
"You notice all that shines around you," Star said. "But these things have always shined around you. Now that you are able to see them and have noticed, you have welcomed the language of light. It is not in words but in brilliance, color and tone. It does not travel in sound but in dark and refracts off of every direction. Just as you are part of Dark and Earth, you are part of Light. You refract upon all that is around you just like Moon's light is shining on the rain drops."
"How," Acorn asked. "How do I speak in such a way? Is it possible for me to make Water sparkle, like Moon does?"
Star sparkled as if laughing. "Shine, Little One. Shine and you shall attract light. Refract light, and light shall return to you."
Mystified Acorn considered the light sparkling on her leaves and all the insects on the night plain who also sparkled. It wasn't long before a fire fly landed on her, blinking in light with his abdomen.
"How do you shine?" Acorn asked.
"Like this," Firefly said as he brightened his abdomen and then flew away. Acorn seemed amused to herself but she deeply considered the way Firefly seemed to shine from within.
"My own light comes from Sun," Moon said. "Where ever Sun shines upon me I glow like a mirror and spread my light over Earth. It helps me give the world energy and control the tides of the sea. I also help the cycles of all the living things. I and Sun's light help you shine within."
Acorn rested quietly and tried to teach herself how to shine. She could sense her own energy and wondered if perhaps, it glowed in some way or was like Lightning. She missed Mystery Star so much more and profoundly began to wish there were more trees here on the vast plain.
In the time that passed Acorn grew rather tall. She began to notice several large and heavy coated creatures passing by one morning. They soon grew in numbers and became thousands, rumbling across the plain as one great herd. They took two days to pass her before they trickled down again in numbers. Curious, she watched as a pack of wolves trotted for her and took refuge around her trunk.
"Where are all of you going?" She asked.
One of the wolves looked up, lolling his tongue out from exhaustion and flicked his ears forward as he sat on the shortened, trampled grasses.
"Earth has become cooler," he said. "We are following Bison to the South."
"There are so many," Acorn commented. "Why do you follow them?"
"When they migrate our way they provide us with food," he explained. "In turn we cull the herds of the weak and sick, so they will remain strong and not become so many they eat all the grasses and starve themselves and the land."
"They are so many already," she wondered. "How did they become that way?"
"Ah," the wolf smiled. "The herds are much like our clan. I am Cutter and over there is my mate, Clan Mother. We hunt the herds to provide us the food that we need but we also make our home in the ground beneath your roots. We call these our den's. It is in the den Clan Mother keeps our cubs in her belly, when they are born it is into the den of Earth until they have opened their eyes. Then they come out to be with the rest of the pack. We teach them how to hunt and what roles they will play in the family. They will be brave and wise cubs who will grow and one day become the strongest ones of the pack with their own cubs to raise. In this way Wolf clans survive from generation to generation just as the Bison with their children. But, we have been forced to leave our old den to find a new one. It is hard because we usually stay with the den so that all our clans can join us when Bison passes through. The time to come is going to be much colder than before, so we must follow Bison to a better place. We will make a new den."
Interested, Acorn thought about what he said as her leaves shined and whispered in the cool breeze like an expressed thought. She noticed that the world was indeed becoming cooler. There was something deep within herself that spoke of seasons. It was one thing she could understand for herself but the wolves seemed so solemn and weary, she wished she could provide them a den to comfort them.
"It sounds like my own journey," Acorn said. "But, I do not know why I am here on this plain or where I came from. I am not sure if there are more trees like me. Mystery Star never said if there was."
have to search your roots for your ancestors," Cutter
offered with a tilt
of his head. "But, sure as a cub that is lost
from the pack, they are still Wolf. They carry just like you or I those
traditions and nature passed down to each generation that were the best
things about survival for the benefit of all. Even if a lost cub
in a field alone like you, they would learn like any Wolf and howl like
Wolf into the unity of family."
"You will have to search your roots for your ancestors," Cutter offered with a tilt of his head. "But, sure as a cub that is lost from the pack, they are still Wolf. They carry just like you or I those traditions and nature passed down to each generation that were the best things about survival for the benefit of all. Even if a lost cub stood in a field alone like you, they would learn like any Wolf and howl like any Wolf into the unity of family."
"How do I do this thing," Acorn asked with excitement.
Cutter looked off into the distance with his solemn, long staring eyes. As the wind blew around his coat he seemed intent on something much farther away, searching. Clan Mother came to his side and licked him just under his chin to soothe the worry that seemed to be there in him.
"Your roots are already within your own den," Clan Mother said quietly to Acorn. "We can follow the herds but we all need the nurture of our mothers and fathers. The den is one place all the clan wishes we could be right now. Even without each other Earth provides us with the nurture of home. Down in the roots are the ancient howls of our grandfathers and grandmothers before us and the memories of all the clans of Wolf. Even a lost cub can hear the beating of this heart in Earth that ties us all together as one, being. Loneliness would consume a lost cub. No matter what flies or crawls or stands still like you, they cannot change the sense of solitude of being anything else but what they are."
"That is too lonely," Acorn spoke sadly. "I wish I was something else. I have heard the heart beat and I try to find what I am but I'm not sure for what reason would I be here on this plain."
"A she wolf must listen to all the tones," Clan Mother said. "She must bring a unity within herself even if she must stand alone in the pack or outside of it. We are all children of Earth, Sky and many cycles. We are true to our mates, clans and children. We respect all life around us because we understand that part of being and survival is to honor all life. A wolf that tries to be anything else but what they really are wouldn't make much sense to me. They would run astray from all that we sense of order, value and unity. Even you must honor all life, your clan, your children and yourself to make your true bonds in living."
Acorn remained silent, giving thought to her words. Honoring life sounded like the language of light. She hoped she was honoring life and that she could find her own ancestors in her roots.
When evening fell the wolves moved on again. She watched them go sadly. She had enjoyed their company, their sense of clan. She had clan too with everything around her, she only wished there were more trees. She had learned that everything grows and changes. She had been foolish to think she could touch the clouds over night though in her heart she felt that one day she would indeed be that tall, so tall as to touch the stars as they so often touched her now at night. Still, she felt so saddened. How could she be all these things? It seemed like so much and such a big responsibility, like the first time she had spoken to Moon and was doing everything she could just to hold herself together.
She felt the painful void creeping up on her and looked over the trampled plain. The grass was shortened to stalks from the herds but already they were growing back. She was strong enough now to take the brunt of any gale. She was strong enough to no longer be afraid of the void or how she felt within herself. She wasn't afraid anymore because she could also move and sway as gently as the grasses that were below her.
Looking over them she saw them as one whole rather than just individual blades and marveled at the plain. It seemed so much more simple as a vast field. She knew each and every detail, but as a whole the plain was a wonderful, beautiful picture. She watched all the bee's and dragonflies as when they zipped and zapped around among birds trying to catch them. Above, hawks soared, looking for rabbits that had become easier to catch in the shortened grass. She wondered what is was like to soar so high above that way.
She noticed then several caterpillars climbing up her trunk and down her limbs to her leaves. They began to eat them. She was not troubled but they soon began to eat more and more until she felt very alarmed by them.
"You are eating all of my leaves," she said. "If you eat every one of them I will not have the sensitivity to attract the sunlight or shade myself from it and the rain."
"We are caterpillars," one of them said. "We too must survive. We are hungry and you have plenty."
"I have plenty," she agreed. "I have enough to share but you are taking too much. There will not be enough left for either one of us."
The caterpillars did not listen and this made Acorn feel angry. She thought of the wolves, how they cut the herds of Bison. How Bison was so many and yet Wolf culled out their weak and sick so they would not be too many upon the grasses. If she let the caterpillars starve her, then there had to be something about it at least, that would not be very beneficial for the plain here and she was more than strong and healthy. She shook herself, sending out through her leaves a very bitter taste. The caterpillars quickly stopped eating. Some began to leave but others who had their fill already began to hang themselves upside down and weave a web around their fat bodies.
"What are you doing?" Acorn wondered at them as they began to look like droplets.
"We are weaving webs," one said. "It is time to sleep and dream."
From the wind a spider fell onto her and began to weave a web as well.
"Are you weaving to sleep like the caterpillars?"
"No," Spider stated as she spun her structure of web, stringing lines and then slowly making careful, perfect circles. "I am Spider and I am weaving my web to catch moths to eat them."
She quickly moved to the center of her web and positioned herself there with her legs splayed over the long lines. She looked deep into Acorn with her many eyes. "Caterpillar weaves a web to change and dream. They cocoon themselves with all they have learned. Inside, they will dream until all of their life of being a caterpillar is nothing more than the dream of what was. When they awaken they shall come out of their cocoons into their dream of what is and take mates. You are part of these strands I weave, Little One. Like me you weave a web to capture all that interests and nourishes you. Like my web all of life surrounds you and there you rest in the center of the creation, touching the strands. No vibration is missed."
"Can you weave such a web," Acorn wondered, trembling with excitement. "That I could dream?"
"I cannot weave your web," Spider chuckled. "But, if you see, the shape of my web is just like the night sky and the world around you."
Acorn wondered and began to look out for as far as she could see from horizon to horizon, wondering if she would dream somehow this way. She looked all the way around and awed at the sight she had not noticed before. The horizon was one vast circle, as round as the sun and the moon. Suddenly, directions unfolded within her like a flood gate of realization. She marked where Sun traveled the sky as well as Moon in her cycles.
"I am West," Wind blew a whisper to her from that direction.
"I am East."
"I am North."
"I am South."
As night came she began to map the stars, absorbing into all that the stars whispered to her in her realization. Directions, points and places. Acorn became overwhelmed with her sensation of being in the very center of it all.
She took in a new breath, rediscovering everything she knew with her new
Acorn searched deep inside for her own wolf howl, her voice, her language. She was aware of her own vibrations like lightning and thunder. She wanted to glow and shine and reflect all this feeling that was so full inside her to everything else. She began to sing, finding her voice at last.
"I stand in every place as one. Speaking the language of light, I touch every tone as one sound. Whispering in the wind my leaves tremble, looking for my ancestors. I am with everything. I am woven into the dream."
Acorn began to notice a harsh change. The wind became bitter to the touch. It was so cold! White flakes fell from the sky, biting to the touch. The ground became hard with cold and the snow. She felt greatly miserable and could no longer breath or sway as easily. Her leaves were dying and many small branches were breaking off of her. She became very afraid. It was in this time an owl came gliding to her, trying to escape several angry blue jays in her branches.
"How terrible for you," Acorn muttered in her own misery.
"Who?" Owl uttered, gazing into her with intense, large eyes as he bobbed his head.
"You are alone like me," Acorn explained. "These other birds, they do not like you. This has made me sad."
"Sad, yes," Owl muttered as he carefully moved into tighter brushes of her branches to escape the jays. A crow landed higher above and stared to laugh.
"The winter is a sad time," Owl continued as he began to preen his feathers. "Time for night and sleep and hunger. But, it feels twice as good to become warm."
"You don't seem to mind the other birds," Acorn puzzled over Owl. "I don't understand."
"Who?" Owl turned his head all the way around, opening his beak at a jay that came too close in for him, flexing his wings until the jay flew off. "You are a good place to be, Little One. I am Owl. They are chasing me because I belong to the night and they belong to the day. They fear I will hunt their nests to eat their young, but I will wait for dusk to look for the mice."
"When do you dream?"
"Dream?" Owl ruffled his feathers and flexed his talons on her branch. "I am part of dreams. I am part of you no? You are a good place to be, you are. This is a fine place to over see the night. Good place to nest. Who?"
Owl turned his head sharply again, staring off ahead intently as a cold and miserable bear came along. Bear began to rub his back against Acorn.
"What are you doing?" Acorn asked.
"I am scratching," Bear yawned with an unconcerned, matter - of - fact grumble. "You are rough and strong, and it itches something terrible. I saw you from a way off and thought you would be helpful."
"Yes," Acorn spoke firmly after a long moment. "I think that would be good. I would like to be helpful for all the help I have received."
Bear chuckled to himself as he continued to scratch, growling with satisfaction.
"I am on my own now," Bear said. "I am always wandering because I do not have a territory of my own. Now I am very tired and winter is almost here. I must sleep but I have no way of letting others not to intrude on me."
"You can use your great claws to scratch a mark on me," Acorn suggested. "All will see and know how strong and big you are and where you are living. This way you'll be safe while you sleep."
"Ah, very wise," Bear said as he raised his massive claws and scratched his mark on Acorn. "I will dig my den here and sleep through the winter. It is going to be a long winter, but I am a long Bear."
"You sound like Wolf clan," she commented tiredly. She felt very cold and listless as she watched Bear begin to dig his hole close to her roots.
"Wolf is our sister clan," Bear gruffed. "While they hunt herds and struggle the winter we mostly sleep through it. We hunt plants and insects and fish."
"A big Bear like you?" Acorn wondered. "While Wolf hunts such big Bison, you are eating little fish? Wondrous. Do you dream when you are sleeping the winter?"
"Oh yes," he growled as he shoveled the cold ground with both paws. "I dream many things. I visit other dreams like many other animals do."
"How do you sleep then?"
Bear looked up thoughtfully. "Well, I become very still and very slow. I close my eyes and listen to the heart beat. All life slows down while I breath deep and slow. I relax my body and let my thoughts just drift away."
"It sounds frightening," Acorn shivered. "What if I did that and it sent me back to the void?"
"Just let go," Bear yawned and shook his head. "The beating of your own heart beat is waiting for you to be still and quiet long enough to listen to it. I am eager for it, like any predator. But, if you are still afraid remember Bear, trust your truths, know you are strong. I have scratched my mark on you, that is a very Bear thing is it not?"
"Who? Who?" Owl weaved his head from side to side at Bear several times as he shifted himself. "I listen very carefully and glide on the air in silence. You can try seeing through my eyes, Little One. Being part of the night, one is seen when they wish to be, but an owl is already looking."
Acorn pondered these things as Bear returned to digging. What was she doing when she let go of her fears, trusting? Did there ever once come a time she had not trusted the truths she found in her growing, becoming ... it seemed like her long fear of the void was not wanting to face what ever that really was.
"I will trust this and go see and feel," Acorn decided as she began to relax, already feeling so tired it was welcoming. It was frightening too though because it felt like that abyss creeping back into her like a dark shadow, taking over everything she had ever known. It swallowed her down, she felt almost completely returned to her very first days of awareness but it wasn't the same as it had been. She had been through very many things now. In the void she could hear the deep heart beat of Earth and followed the sound, drawing deeper and deeper into the dark.
Here, she began to see a very tiny light, sparkling like a very small grain of sand. Mystery Star! She gasped.
Mystery Star seemed to spark with her warmth and smiles of welcome.
One," Mystery Star whispered softly with care and enjoyment.