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A young warrior comes to a wise old shaman, on his deathbed, seeking the path to Sister Wisdom and all she contains.
I'm a slowly but surely aging hippie, about 44 years in the race, living in NW Houston and near Lake Conroe, and missing the Mountains; writing a novel and poetry and short stories and searching for a cure for writer's block which I think may be a genetic problem for which a pill cure will soon be found. In the meantime I intend to try Viagra since it seems to help everything else. Sometimes I wish I'd lived in the rougher days of the Wild West, maybe been a mountain man living off the land.
I never seemed to be completely at home with the values of greatness our Great Society developed, bought and sold by Madison Avenue and Wall Street, that more is better and bigger is better still and the trick is to make stuff and instill a need and sell stuff to fill the needs instilled, you know how it goes, and community is a club in more ways than one and we huddle together and by laws beat the intransigent, who may stray onto paths less travelled damn them, into their proper place in the scheme of things; and you know I love Big Brother, the way he watches over me and keeps people from praying in my school and knows just when and where to spend the money I earn and, best of all, when and where to rain bombs and other such agents of destruction upon all those other intransigents damn them all. How can we ever have order if people don't obey the Common Vision?
And I love the way Mankind collectively views progress as a tool for improvement that can be controlled, as if progress is not an angel and a demon, a whirling dervish to raise the dust from whence we came and to which we undeniably will return and you can't take it with you when you go, and that should give us a hint where true value lies....
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|AUTHOR'S OTHER TITLES (2)
Harbor Light Mission (Short Stories) Account of a night and morning spent at Salvation Army's Harbor Light Mission for men in Houston, Texas. [3,374 words] [Humor]
Weeping Willows (Poetry) A man's brother talks about his suicide...and different views of life. [881 words] [Drama]
A shaman, looking at the portal of death, of which for him there held no fear, only a sense of wonder and fascination at what further labors and joys this subsequent journey might unfold, noticed a strong young warrior dressed in his very best silently, respectfully approaching.
"Katu," said the old man, in a greeting of affection and respect, for the young man was not only a great warrior, but a seeker of insight and wisdom as well. "Great One," the young man spoke softly, for the sun had risen and set innumerable times in the old man's life and great wisdom had he gained. "Please tell me, if it be right to do so, the best path to follow to find Sister Wisdom and all she contains."
As the young man's eyes lowered to wait respectfully the shaman's reply, he noticed the old man slowly, painfully, bring his hand to his breast, fingering a web-like ornament that hung from his neck. "Dream," the old man said. "Dream of things that others dare not dream of; catch them in your breast," and his gnarled hand lightly tapped his breast, "as the spider catches flies in its web--hold to them and they will show you the way if you are patient."
The young man's head silently nodded his assent. Without thinking, his own strong hand had risen as a fist to his breast. "Bad dreams will come too," the old man then whispered, for his wise old soul was close to slipping away. "You will be cut by the thorns and bruised by the stones along this way. Do not follow this path once you see the pain it would inflict without returning great good, for much of wisdom is knowing what pain must be endured for the good it gives in return, and which is to be avoided, denied entrance to the paths of your mind. Turn back to the head of its trail and wait with eagle's eyes watching for the better way."
The old man's eyes had closed; he was speaking as if in a dream himself. "Take the amulet from my neck," he said, and the young man half rose with a start, startled by the immense gesture the old man was making, for the amulet he wore was what was called the "Dream Catcher" and was revered by all in his tribe, for they knew it had helped the old man in his attainment of wisdom. "I do not think I will need this in the world beyond."
Slowly, with great care, the young warrior gently lifted the old man's gead and slipped the leather cords from about his neck. "Great One," he spoke softly through half a sigh, half sob--for he was touched to the core of his heart. "For all my days will I treasure your gift and follow the path of wisdom you have followed so well."
A moment's silence ensued before the shaman spoke his last words: "This amulet was made by human hands and holds no magic of its own. Use it wisely, though, and it can help you focus, like magic, the strains of your own mind, to catch and hold the good dreams and let the bad pass by."
The young man found himself leaning almost with his ear to the old man's mouth, his words had grown so soft. The shaman's eyes had closed and his weathered face, with its deep grooves won from a long life of toil and hardship and much joy found in the adventures of this life, had a look of peace about it.
As the young man sat silently contemplating the words he had heard and the gift received, he realized the greatest gift of all that had been given him: the inspiration and confidence he needed so desperately to follow the best dreams his mind could conjure.
With that realization, he rose as if to a new day, a new life, a higher way.
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© 1996 Randy Guess
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