Resigned sadness permeated Caela’s mind. It was not hers. She was happy, buoyant, enjoying the scents, the sounds, colors, sensory bliss, her own good company. She felt compassion for the sadness, but did not carry its weight. She did not feel resigned. Her blood felt wild within, her mind sharp and questing. Readying to meet any challenge, outmaneuver any obstacle, fully enjoy each next thing, still she listened. Hearing the stories, envisioning that imagery, Caela felt their desperate shadows. As when Larik was small, confused, angry because he did not know how to respond to frustration, Caela felt love. Flowing through her response to angry visions was loving calm, gentle acknowledgement, glad acceptance, open embrace.
Larik always so wanted to be good. He needed constant reassurance. Is that what provides the resilience to face down obstacles to integrity? The deeply cried out for reassurance that, yes you are good and deserve that recognition? So much of the “bad” young people do is naked self-destruction, proving to the world what they have been told: that they are bad, undeserving of respect or real love. Larik was born into horrendous fear, grief, despair. He had no way of knowing these were not his fault until Caela made that clear. It came from what she had learned raising his mother, along with her own daughter. Maea was so much more needy than Felicity. Mirra and Doren didn’t understand her the way Caela could. They were still too caught up in their own childhood dramas, recreating in their adult relationships the conditions to fulfill needs never acknowledged. So complicated, so tragic in large and small ways these misunderstandings, disregardings, minimizing of the importance of respect, consideration, for those we do not fully see.
Caela has been practiced, tried by fire in her own way. Opening her heart to these long festering injured spirits, bespeaking her in their desperation to be heard, feels natural, an outgrowth of who she has always been becoming. The forest and its spirits accept her love. They love her in return, not as a representative of her kind, but as her own unique entity. The seed growing in her since her birth is flowering. Multiple gradations of coloration, complex heady perfume, this flower, this Caela, is as beautiful as they come. Human hag, old, wrinkled, grey, yet what she projects transcends such definitions. Walking, traversing light and shade, consciousness as well moves. First cause, first principle: keep moving.
“Something vital was taken from us. We don’t know how to respond. We are wounded, unwhole. Tell us, healer, how do we reconcile? How do we grow new hearts, neural pathways, create what we need to feel alright?” A common theme so may of the ghosts agreed on. Caela too felt severing losses that had overwhelmed her, wrenched away good lives, those she most depended upon.