Shadow Whispers – 1

30 12 2006

Much of which I know did not come from learning, nor from believing tested and refined — but from simply being open to what has come before.  I sit here now, staring into the ebbing pulse of the fire’s death, and listen to the Whispers.  The smoky haze within the cabin seems to part, and I see again my friend Kiyan.  I know that he was born near this valley — perhaps Styria, and walked the rivers to the Baltic Sea after the Golden Horde left this land.  Some might say I am touching the Current of his being — others lean toward Channeling.  It matters naught– just that he is here right now!



and the elders asked,


“We know that you are Shaman, trained to be a spirit-guide for your people, and be as one who sees what might come that fear is averted.  Can you not teach us of these things, or cast some stones for more than children?”


Kiyan rose to pace behind the flickering reach of the fire’s definition, becoming one with the swirling smoke and shifting shadows of breeze and moon.  Those of the village gathered there became of two minds; those who closed their eyes to better understand his words without distraction, and those who peered into the unfolding display to better understand the shadows and the words.  And of these extremes The Gusari knew that a balance could be found – that those who walk toward the mountain with no eye on the rock strewn path may stumble, while those who seek refuge in a castle of regrets will find nothing but the stones..  So he caused the whispers to speak aloud, “before I answer as I might, I will tell you a story – then you might ask again.”


In a valley much as this, at a time long ago when a wall of ice blocked the northern pass, an explorer spoke of new lands revealed ‘neath the setting sun.  As the people there lived in fear of most everything, they asked how he had managed to travel so far from a safe fire and paths well known?  As a man could only carry four days provisions, ‘twas at great risk to travel more than two days from home.  He told them the way of it.


“As I travel outward the travel is slow, finding blocked canyons and hills too steep for any to follow; so I venture only a single day and seek a pleasant temporary camp to secure.  Here I hide one days ration or the three remaining and venture forth another day in exploration – return then to this cache but a day from home.  Then with strength renewed I return to safety of home and fire.  Here I pack all of my belongs on a sled and in heavy pack, for now a I have a path well proved as I have traveled each trail twice and it is known to me.  Thus, I can now travel to the forward edge of safety in one day which took two before, and establish a new base called home.  Then I rest two days to replenish game and found and inner peace.  At he end of seven days I have gained but two days out, but it is now of knowing rather than hope, cast in a braiding of where I have been and might yearn to go.”


The elders sat in silence, each staring into the embers of the silent fire.


“Now, if two men would explore together, bound in friendship and trust – there is a simpler way.  One day out would have a further reach as both could learn of the other’s useless trails, needing not to prove by their own eyes.  From this new camp twice secured, one man would return to their precious base and bring the provisions forward; while the other would venture further onward for a day and return.  With two days gone they would meet again and share what they had gained.  The in one day again together, they would make fast time of a known trail, seen by one and believed by the other; and in one day surge further on to set a new camp as base and all.  Then they need only rest a single day to replenish body and spirit.   This in five day they would have explored the same and more what the single man might do in seven – and have never been more than two days away from fire and friend.”


The fire danced back to life as if to signal that The Gusari was finished., but no one spoke immediately.  Finally, one who looked barely old enough to be an elder spoke up,

“I would not like to travel that far from home alone even with such a plan; but I would follow the path set by such a one as this, for he chose to walk the path twice and remember his roots.  I would believe his signs and trust his judgment.”


Then another spoke, hesitantly at first, but then warming to his message,


“Yes, to place a life-trust in a stranger would call for special proof that he can be believed.  When the two went out, each had to trust the other, but in the end they traveled the paths separately to prove their worth.  Two people can validate each other even if they are strangers.  For each alone it requires believing, but in the end it is of knowing.  In a way, two people working together can weave a stronger rope than one alone, and if they include the ancestors as well – then the result must be even more than that of two.  Methinks that because they kept returning to the past in this way, that they created the success of their future – they journey became a chain rather than a rope at all – each link a balance of known past and fervent hope..  Of what need are tossed stones for such as these?”


After a while the senior elder spoke,


“For many years we have bickered with other villages near by – those with whom we once traded crafts and daughters.  Perhaps the key to the future we wish to know can be found in leaving past hurts behind and trusting in friendship again.  We can move forward and back in an endless cycle of learning and remembering, and challenge fears by bringing forth only what we can lightly carry.”


Others nodded and added sticks to the fire.  One asked of the Gusari, “might we not better secure what we have before asking what might now be?


but Kiyan was gone, but one of the many pairs of eyes watching from the forest.






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