Encounter with the Old One

A beautiful day with the sun shining through my bedroom window. I woke with a yawn and a good stretch. Rubbed my eyes and blinked trying to refocus. Walked to the kitchen and put a pot of coffee on. Turned on the t.v. only to find nothing but terrible news and nothing good to watch. So I decided that today would be a good day for a hike. Gathered my clothes and grabbed my still hot coffee and drove to the nearest trail. 

The greenery and songs of the birds warmed my soul where the coffee could not. The distant sound of a flowing river called to me. So I began my walk. Through the beautiful scenery I made my way. Enjoying every step of the way. I hadn’t realized it but I really needed this. My mind and my heart had been heavy lately. The fresh air did me good. I had really needed this.

As I walked I began to realize, things weren’t as I remembered. I had walked this trail many times before, but something was out of place. But I continued anyways. What could a little adventure hurt I thought to myself. I could use the sense of adventure for a little while. 

I quickly came to the realization that I had become lost. I no longer had a sense of direction of where I was. Something was not right. I knew these woods. I’ve walked these trails since I was a kid. But this, this was not my trail, these were not my woods. Fear overcame me. And not the fear a child feels when they lose their parents in the grocery store, but a fear that I could possibly die here. That this would be my resting place, and worse, no one would know where I was. I was alone, lost in a strange place. And even though fear of the worst filled me, I continued walking forward, because maybe there would be another side, a way out. Regardless of how long it took. I could survive a few days I figured.

But as I continued forward, I found myself looking at an opening in the trail. Its was a small meadow. And in the center a lone tree. And tending to the tree was an older man. He had not yet noticed me. So I proceeded with caution. Maybe he knew where I was and could help me find a way out. I walked slow and quiet as to not startle the old man. But before I could speak, without turning around, he beckoned me to him, without even seeing me. I found myself beyond confused. But I walked toward him.

“Afraid?” The old man asked with a grin, “most that find themselves here are.”

“Do you know where we are?” I questioned the man. 

“Of course I do young man, we’re in my garden.”

“You’re garden? Where do you live? I haven’t seen a house for awhile now.”

“Everywhere.” The man chuckled.

I was now more confused and even more lost than when I first found this place. I went to ask more questions but the man held up a hand gesturing me to stay quiet and then proceeded to find a seat on a large rock. He waved me over to sit beside him. I obeyed. We sat for a moment and gazed at the tree he had been tending to. The old man smiled as he looked at the tree over.

“If I may, I really should be going, do you think you could help me out?” I asked as politely as I could as to not offend the man.

“But why would you want to leave? Is it not beautiful here? Are you not in awe of my glorious tree? It is one of my prized possessions.” The man responded with a hint of sorrow.

“I agree, it is very beautiful. Your garden is magnificent, but as much as I would love to stay, I should really be going.”

“Sit with me a little while more, and if you wish, I will help you to leave.”

So we sat. The two of us, in silence, at least until the man spoke. I had grown accustomed to the silence we were sharing that his words startled me.

“Who are you?” He asked.

I told the man my name but he shook his head.

“No, no, who ARE you?” He asked again. He could see that I was confused. ” You don’t know?”

“I guess not.”

“One day you will learn. But if you wish to know sooner, take a bite from my tree, the fruits are perfect this time of year. But know this, if you do, your life will never be the same.”

I took a moment, thinking about the mans offer. I decided that it was better to not know just yet. The man nodded his head in acknowledgement even though I had not voiced my decision.

“A good choice.” The old man said with a sigh of relief.

“And why is that?” I questioned.

“Because every answer you could possibly need, will come in its own time. You should never rush the timing of the universe. It hears your heart, and responds in its own time. Patience is a virtue for a reason. You did well my boy.”

“I guess that I can agree to that. No point in rushing the natural order of things.” I responded. Still confused, but I could feel the ending coming near.

“Before you depart I want you to understand something my child. Something that will help you remember and understand this conversation. Before everything came into existence, there was a clash. The best of things just sometimes comes from chaos. And from that clash, stardust fell to the earth. And from that stardust that found rest upon the earth, life began. Everything in its own time. Life took time to come to be, and so the answers to the universe take their time. From stardust life was made and to stardust life will return. Do not worry yourself with the answers you seek, they will find you. They will always find you.”

My eyes were wide. I was dumbfounded. This was not what I had had in mind when this conversation began. But in my heart, no, my soul, I was at peace.

“Thank you sir, I don’t quite understand it all, but my entire being finds peace in your words. Maybe I can stay for a little while. I feel peace here now.”

The man smiled.” Im sorry my child, as much as I would enjoy your company, you must be going now. This is not your home. You are but a visitor in a place not meant for you. But one day, you will find your way back, and we can spend as much time as you would like.”

I frowned but agreed, I should be getting home. I stood and thanked the man and began making my way back the way I came. I turned to look at the man.

“I didn’t catch your name sir.”

“Just think of me as The Old One.” The man smiled and waved me away.

I turned to walk through the way I came but as I turned, there I was back in my home, pouring my coffee. I blinked, trying to refocus. Was it a dream? No, I was there, in that garden, with that man. I remember it. It was real. But time had not passed. But I still felt at peace from the words shared. I shook my head and accepted it for what it was. The answer will come when it is time for me to know. That’s just how the universe works.

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