Something Sacred: Caela’s Story
“I am an old woman,” she thought.
The image appeared before her of the wasting away of time, waves upon sand. Then, a parade of dioramas, scenes on a storyboard, acts from her life.
“Very early on, it was like that. A play of images to watch, hear, feel, uncensored, undefined awareness.”
Cross-legged, in softly hued flowing dress, barefoot, straight-backed on the wooden floor, she mesmerized her audience. Strong, simple words and resonate imagery effortlessly sent forth capture them.
“I am who I have always been. I have followed an impeccable path to this time and place. At each juncture the awareness has arisen to guide me through enough of the journey to find what I needed. For the greater part of my life I had no consciousness of this process. Now I see the path before and behind leading inexorably. I happily share whatever is asked of my vision. Come, see with me, as far as you choose to go.”
The children playing in the garden outside of the transparent wall of her classroom showed no sign of interest of concern, involved in their energetic game. Had the visitors not known their story, they could have seemed merely a playful backdrop to the old woman’s magical poetry. Had they not heard the stories, though, none would have travelled to this place to experience the magic.
It was a story that started long ago, almost, as the poets say, in the mists of time. Perhaps a branch of the prototypal story of mankind, the beast who tells histories intermingled with legend, but the woman’s current tale was not taking them back that far.
“I was born in a shining city to a family of honored position in a time of peace and plenty.”
She almost sings. The images show a heavily stylized, idealized sketch of the thriving city. The child she had been smiled from a window of a well-appointed home. In her background were happy, smiling adults, gracefully yet busily attending to their day. They saw a well-loved toddler’s happy memories of a time when all was sunny and calm.
For all children, as they grow, life gets more complicated, less monotonally bright (or dark). By the time this child was big enough to carry herself on sturdy legs, her whole world had tragically changed. Her family was no longer honored, but castigated and cast out, part of a fearful, resentful, barely provisioned exodus of close to two hundred of varying ages and walks of life. The image of so many sad, bedraggled, carrying what they could, learning to succumb to a strange lifestyle of movement, preparing and sharing simple meals in unbroken fields, learning how to travel as nomads in the woods.
Even those who had some knowledge of this history, maybe even knew those who had seen it, been part of that time, had never thought about how it must have been for those unwilling bitter exiles thrust from comfortable, normalized lives. Those were not the memories of the city they had grown up in. Common knowledge was that those exiled were sneaky, dangerous possessors of secret power, unfair advantage, unable to be trusted. It was the goodness, the kindness, of those in charge to exile rather than imprison or (as some few expressed the necessity, to execute), or allow to remain until they died out, only at the lowest level of society, unprivileged to bare young.
Such were the choices offered in the panic of that time. It was kindest to cast them out, require them to travel by foot for months, to keep moving until they were far away from sight, mind, influence. There had been unfortunate incidents. Not murders; murder is a word for destroying one of one’s own. The threat was both palpable and realized, strong enough to send so many from their homes out to the unknown.
Some, if they hadn’t been discovered, braved it out. They pretended to be as those who considered themselves normal. They became very careful to exactly fit in, not expose any cause for suspicion. Not an ideal way to live, but a way to stay alive without losing property or position.
It is a newly dawning revelation to these visitors. This horrible, evil talent that forced the exile and brutal deaths of these reviled people was the wonderful magic they experienced now. It was the same gift given by this wise old woman whom they had travelled to see.
It occurred to some to ask, and one did: “Do you hate us for what was done to you by our elders back then?”
“Look into me, child,” she responded, opening freely to those who would see. “There is no room or cause to harbor hatred for a tragic misunderstanding. It did lead me and my people to becoming who we are. Hatred is a shield of fear. Shielding fear keeps it from effective expression that will allow it to safely dissipate. Fear has something important to tell us. We are better off to listen intently. It will go on its own once we work out useful solutions to what fear has warned us of. If we don’t learn that, fear can become a brutal master, when all it wanted was to be a humble servant.”
The graphic story emerging with the words evoked a terrible vortex of pointless destruction, a cowering monster reduced to shameful tears, sputtering its flame.