I met a young man who was travelling through the forest the other day. He carried a backpack and bags full of fruit. His shoes were muddied, but they were tough – working boots. He carried a heavy, thick coat on top of his backpack, a clear sign of his travels from another place – most likely from a place of cold and isolation, to this here warm forest and its congregation.
I stopped him in his tracks with a raised hand and a shout that broke the eerily silent forest, and as he turned towards me, I waved at him to come over. He hesitated for a second, seeing himself alone, but the spirit of the forest must have helped egg him on, for he made his way toward me – bag and fruit on hand, as if ready to share it all.
“Where do you come from,” I asked him, perhaps my curiosity too obvious.
“From far,” he answered. “But nowhere too joyous.”
As we walked together, he shared his story with me. It was one of love, struggle and deep pain, too. But what amazed me the most was how resilient he seemed; how ready he was to enter new and unexpected scenes. To make of them his deliberate dreams. To travel to places most have never been.
Of course, the reason was obvious to me, much like harvesting time comes naturally to the farmer in his fields of green. The young man was escaping his past, and he was doing so never looking back; indeed, he was forging a new path.
Which is why he had chosen the Forest. Life, he knew, was growing in here, even if he couldn’t yet see it. But he felt it. More importantly, it spoke to him. It was the potential, like the planted seed, to grow into that giant tree – the ones that reach onto the heavens, where gods and demons battle over our daily mayhem.
“I bring water and seeds from a darker place,” he said. “The fruit once grew, but they were rotten on the inside. The root had been damaged from the beginning, and the soil had betrayed its very living.”
“The soil here is pure,” I told him. “And the sun always shines. No darkness for your plants.”
He then approached me, hesitantly, of course, but without missing a step.
“May I plant these here, then?” he asked me as he held out the seeds that glistened a bright blue and green under the sun. “The fruit is guaranteed. It’s just the nurturing that they need.”
So over the days I’ve seen it grow – this magnificent, giant tree. Though, like anything, its beginning is humble and roots still weak.
“But time is on our side,” I told the young man. “The best and most fruitful trees come with patience….For when they finally bare fruit, not even the gods will resist.”