“Through the Raven’s Eye”
ATC Swap, August 2007
Barbara follows the trail of life's wanderings with enthusiam and curiosity. Recently retired from 20 years in her local public library, she now looks forward to returning to art, her first love. She may dabble in water colors, but generally she favors the dry mediums, pencil, charcoal and pastels. Portraiture is her favorite subject.
Packed away carefully in the back of her closet are three novels, one a completed manuscript and two others in the preliminary stages of development. She is secretly praying NANOWRIMO will not beckon again come November lest another rough draft be added to the pile.
Striving to perceive life with clarity but also with a sense of optimism she studies her Christian faith and investigates the wisdom
of other faiths. She may often be found meditating or engaged in on-line spiritual courses.
With interests as varied as: art, reading, religion, writing, computer, languages, cooking, world affairs, charities, the UN, and ecology, Barbara is grateful to the age of technology and all the opportunities it provides. Several years ago she found her way to Heather Blakey's Soul Food Cafe, settled into the Lemurian Abbey and
has never left. There she will continue to spread her creative wings and stretch her boundaries into lands as yet unexplored.
The box outside the enchanted doorway had a tag on it that read: Believer.
A worn park bench, weathered from years of outdoor use was nearby and I lugged the heavy box to it and sat. Dull gray in color, it was larger than I'd expected, and very heavy. A handle on the top was sturdy and rounded and enabled me to carry the unexpected weight comfortably. What could possibly be inside to make it so heavy and if I was supposed to fill it with something, how did it open? It was smooth to the touch on all sides. Ah, leave it to Le Enchanteur to begin the journey with a mystery!
I sat with the box on my knees, stroking the smooth surface. Metal? Hard wood? It was impossible to guess, but it gleamed more and more and, reminded of Aladdin’s lamp, I took the edge of my sleeve and began to rub until my own face shone back at me. My image melted away and with a slight ripple, on the silvery surface, the word "Surrender," wrote itself and slipped immediately from view.
"What shall I surrender?" I asked.
"Relinquish possession," followed so quickly I barely had time to read and then it too was gone.
"Of what?" I murmured.
"Uncage and set free!" With that, the box tipped and I had all I could do not to drop it. Something was bouncing around inside! "NOW!" the letters nearly shouted. The struggle of some living thing within the box was undeniable. It dawned on me the container had to be airless. My fingers tore at the corners looking for a seam or entranceway but found none. In tears now, I offered a quick prayer and watched as latches popped out on the front and hinges on the back, neither of which had existed a moment earlier. I set the box hurriedly on the floor, not sure which frightened me most--what would come out of the box when I opened it or the fact that "it" had nothing to breathe and would soon die if not released.
There was less motion than before, a thumping against the side of the box, but weaker, without strength; resignation or lack of oxygen was gaining control over the creature and whether it was a monster or not, I had to set it free.
With shaking hands, I flipped the latches. The box was still. Was it dead or waiting to attack? A slight movement inside and the top began to raise. Instinctively I backed away. I heard the labored breathing first, the gulping of precious air, then saw white fur surrounding a pink nose and two bleary pink eyes peering out at me and a set of floppy ears. A rabbit gathered it's strength, jumped out and, sitting down, scratched behind one ear with its hind foot.
I bent over and extended my hand. It eyed my nervously. "It's okay, I'm not going to hurt you." It stayed still, but when I leaned in a bit closer it hopped nearer to the door and sat facing me again. "You're a timid little thing aren't you? Don't be afraid."
It made a strange choking sound and fell onto its side. At first, I thought it was an after effect from the lack of oxygen, and then I realized it was . . . . . laughing at me! Stifled giggles to start with, then snorting noises, then finally a full out guffaw, this silly little creature, whose life I had just saved, found me uproariously funny!
"Okay, what's the deal here? What's so funny?" I demanded.
"You are," it exclaimed in a weak voice. Tears were rolling onto its muzzle and it stopped to wipe them away first with one paw then the other. "Oh, my, you humans are dense. You give us animals your own characteristics, use us for metaphors and when we turn the tables on you, you don't even get it."
I wanted to scream at the miserable little beast, but I was afraid the other travelers might hear. "Get what?" I asked through clenched teeth and with as much civility as I could muster, "Get what?"
"Oh, I'm not allowed to tell," it told me solemnly, "you have to figure that out for yourself." With that its furry, little face contorted and it broke into another fit of the giggles.
"I'm sort of a no-frills writer, I don't go overboard with metaphors," I said, stalling for time. "Aesop? The race between the tortoise and the rabbit?"
"That was a hare," it answered snippily, "and a fable not a metaphor."
"Well, you don't act like any rabbit I've ever seen, you're supposed to be timid and afraid!"
It smiled at me. Not a superior, snooty, smile as I would have expected, but a genuine glad-ya-finally-got-it grin.
And I grinned back.
"There's a pencil and a piece of paper in the box, just write the surrender words and let's hit the road Kiddo!"
I need the garden in Lemuria today.
Mnemosyne was right..
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