Once upon the soil of the great planet earth there was a seedling that fell from the top of a very old oak tree. It tumbled down the hill and stopped just before the path into the forest. The Queen had been waiting for this acorn. She gently cradled it in Her palm, turning it over and over in the October sunshine. The little seed glowed, a tiny sphere that contained the dryad soul of a young girl. Born in the dark nucleus of the acorn, she would coexist with the mighty oak tree that would grow here.
Monarch butterflies drifted as She planted the enchanted acorn in the ground. Out of the corner of Her eye she saw the Minotaur in the shadows of the Labyrinth.
As the earth began to grow warm the acorn burst open and pulsed with life. Tender taproots spread themselves in black velvet soil as red tinged rain fell. A strong shoot busted up towards the sun as her spirit was waking from the deep dark sleep.
Twelve years passed as she grew within the tree. She watched the world change around her. She began to feel confined and deprived of the colors outside. Her eyes knew the darkness, and had adjusted to shades of gray, brown and black. She saw the vibrant life of the forsythias and crocuses around her. Daffodils and roses made her ache in vicious longing. White daisies and green blades of grass gently bent in the soft spring wind. “Come, walk among us…” It was for them that she wanted to come out. They spoke to her in tones of understanding and beauty. Ladybugs crawled along wooden fences. Sparrows tugged at creatures at her roots. She could coexist there in that place.
She whispered inside the tree. “Can I go visit them Father?”
“Yes but do not go too far and not for too long. If you stay out too long, you will not be able to return.”
The great oak King stretched his branches up to the sky. His bark stretched and screeched and tore. Spirals rings twisted around her and filled her with a rainbow spectrum of light. All of her energy centers were now fully activated and the brilliant colors blinded her. She stepped out from the yawning mouth of her father and onto the earth beside him.
Her bare feet felt the cold hard ground. The wind was not kind, the spring had only just come and the air was not yet warm. The beauty she had seen from within did not match what she felt as she stood amidst new purple crocuses. Her new body shivered and she turned back to the tree. His yawning mouth had closed behind her and she felt his blistered bark for a way back in. She hadn’t even been more than three feet away from the tree but already there was nothing, no way back. She leaned against him and crossed her arms over her chest. Closing her eyes, she wanted to swallow the sun.
Leaving him now felt like a big mistake. It was even colder as a shadow began to fall over her. She kept her eyes closed wishing for a way back. Cold fingers touched her shoulders and she quickly opened them. A woman with skin as pale as snow and just as blinding stood before her. Her hair hung in thick ringlets of black, red and brown. Feathers could be seen just behind the nape of Her neck and her blood red dress flowed out over the grass without crushing a single blade.
“Come with me. I have been waiting for you. Let the King sleep. He does not have much time left.” The woman produced a black velvet cloak from beneath Her own and wrapped the girl in it. “There you are. Perfect. You are perfect.” She was then, perfect. She was filled with warmth and gratitude. She felt tears pour out over her cheeks as she walked with the Queen towards the forest and a late April snow began to fall.
They walked along winding paths as a thin layer of white covered the ground. The Queen drifted just above the earth as the girl in her awkward new form continued the painful steps alongside Her. They came to a clearing where a circle of trees stood and the Queen then gently took the girl’s chin in her hand.
“The trees you see here are of the same nature that you are. There are human spirits waiting to be born into their own lives. Some are ready to emerge now while others will remain asleep in the roots. Your parents are there and they have been waiting to meet you. The other parents still sleep.”
The girl was confused. The other parents? How many was she supposed to have? She did not have to speak for the Queen to know her questions.
“Your mother and father had no children of their own. They adopted you. Now it is time for you to understand how to be a daughter for them. I will be watching out for you, always. I have always been with you and the time for you to know this life has arrived. It will be challenging and painful and fiercely disappointing for quite some time. You must know that you are not alone. There are many others suffering the same way and worse. You must also know that I am never going to leave you. It is my purpose to guide you but there will be times when you feel completely desolate. You will want to give up but you must know that it does not last. You were born of the stars, and to the stars you will return. It is time for you to learn how you can and will handle the Light. In the darkest corners of your life, I will step forward with it. There is no thing for you to fear unless you allow it.”
The girl listened in a daze and when she looked up, the Queen had vanished. She stood in the cloak, shivering.
“There you are! We have been looking all over for you! You left again without telling us.”
The people before her sounded angry. She was confused as her body grew denser. She followed them out of the forest and into a parking lot. What was happening? She felt very nervous as she entered the back of their car. They drove a short distance back to their home. There stood a large tree in the front yard. It had grown inside a ring of stones. It was another great oak King. As the girl was walked inside the house she thought she heard him whisper.
“Crushed…crushing…words of the man.”
The girl waited for more but there was none. This was her only warning. She lay down in her room on a soft scented bedcover and fell asleep with a book in her hands. She dreamt fragmented dreams of humans she did not know yet as darkness began to creep outside her window. Soon she would know the terror of truth. Soon she would learn of the horror of mortality.
Carole Anzolletti is an artist and author. In 2004, she ended a cigarette addiction of seventeen years. She literally wrote her way to freedom and invites you to participate in introspection and illumination.