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The Path

Getting lost in the forest does not mean one was not on the right path. Once upon a time, a young woman named Sarena decided to go for a walk in the forest near her village. She often walked in the forest, but this day she went deeper into the forest than she had ever gone before. She found herself walking and thinking, and then walking and smelling the fresh air smells of the forest around her.

She took in the aroma of the pine needles beneath her feet, the fragrance of the dampness as she crossed the stream, and she even began to notice how the rays of the sun shown through the trees to the forest floor as if trying to point out special places to her. She listened and sometimes could hear the sounds of little animals, of leaves rustling in the breeze, of her own footsteps on the ground.

Today Sarena was lost in time and did not realize how long she had been in the forest, until the rays of the sun disappeared and the forest began to get dark and cold.

It had been a peaceful and different day for Sarena. She owned a shop at the edge of the village where she sold cloth that she had woven. The cloth was very beautiful with wonderful colored designs. Many people came to her shop with requests for cloth for clothing, cloth for curtains, cloth for coverings for their floors. They found Sarena to be someone who always listened to their needs and tried to fill them.

But this day Sarena had felt that she did not want to weave her cloth or listen to the needs of others. Sometimes she felt that she had nothing more to give.

So this day Sarena had closed her shop and gone into the forest. She had greatly enjoyed her day, but while she had gotten lost in her thoughts and observations, she had also gotten lost in the forest. She decided she had to stop just following where her feet took her. The wind began to blow gently through her curly hair.

“So how am I supposed to find my way out of this forest?” she asked aloud, although there was no other person there. It had been a long time since she had gone an entire day without hearing the sound of her voice, without people talking to her and asking her questions and telling her about their lives, about their dreams, about their problems; their weaving their own tales for her as she wove their cloth for them, and her trying to help them find answers to their problems and feeling like she needed to make them happy.

“I think I know the answer to your question,” came a voice that seemed to be carried on the wind. It was wispy and gentle and soft like the breath of a child.

“Where are you? Who is speaking?” asked Sarena. Even though these happenings were strange, she was not frightened.

“You know the way, Sarena,” said the voice.

Sarena was beginning to be angry. All her life people had given her directions. She had gotten the directions for weaving her cloth from a great teacher. Even her customers gave her directions on how to weave cloth for them. But now she did not have directions on how to return home. She did not have a map.

Suddenly the wind died down. All around her was silence. She thought that perhaps she had made a mistake in going into the forest.

Her day had been so beautiful and restful and peaceful. But now her feelings towards the day had changed. Right now she longed for the familiarity of her cottage: its wood floor, its strong wooden tables and chairs, her loom and the many colors of her yarn for weaving. She wished that her dog, Samson, were close by wagging his tail and sniffing and chasing rabbits that he would think must be close by. She began to worry about Samson and whether he was thirsty or hungry. She began to worry about her customers and felt guilty that she had not stayed to weave their cloth and had been selfish in going away for the day.

Soon a new breeze began. This breeze made her hair and her long skirt twist around her body. The leaves on the floor of the forest were lifted into the air and swirled and then settled back to the forest floor.

“It is all right, Sarena. It is all right for you to have gone into the forest alone for the day,” said a low, strong voice, as its sound seemed to revolve and swirl around her.

“Now who is talking to me?” asked Sarena somewhat impatiently.

“It has been a beautiful day. I’m very glad you are here. No one has ever come this way before. This is your path and yours alone, Sarena,” said a voice.

“But look where it has led me. It has led me nowhere. Now I am lost. My path has gotten me lost and now I cannot find my way back to where I started, back to my home.”

She felt torn between her feelings of loss and guilt and her own peacefulness, her aloneness. Somehow she did not feel lonely, only alone. Part of her wanted to find the path to her home. And part of her wanted to continue on the peaceful path that she had been on throughout the day.

Through the trees she could see the stars above her in the night sky. As the nocturnal animals began their waking hours, their quiet sound broke the silence of the forest. The colors had faded, but somehow Sarena was not afraid. Somehow she liked where she was in the dark and now colorless forest.

But soon it became very cold. A sharp, cold wind came suddenly from the north. She clutched her shawl around her and huddled behind a large tree. But Sarena, although cold, was not frightened.

“It is cold, but I have my shawl that I have woven out of the finest wool to keep me warm. I am alone, but I have myself to be my companion. I am far from my home, but I have carried my home within my heart.”

The words that Sarena spoke surprised her, but in her heart she knew they were true .

“But I must go back to my life,” she added.

“Sarena, you have not left your life. It is with you. Life is all around you. You have made your own way today. You can make your own way for your future," again a voice spoke.

It was again very quiet except for Sarena’s breathing. Sarena found some soft grass and curled up in her shawl and went to sleep. It was peaceful sleep with quiet peaceful dreams of the forest and the breeze and the stars.

Sarena awoke to a new day as it began to become light, very slowly in the forest, not with the brilliance of sunrises found in the meadows or over the sea. She still did not know the way back to her cottage, her work, the people she knew, or her dog, Samson. She wanted to find them all again.

Then she began to hear many voices, voices she recognized as people she knew. They were calling her name. She could even hear Samson barking. The voices seemed to be getting louder and soon they were no longer voices but people reaching out to her and then holding her and then crying and laughing and Samson wagging his tail and licking her face.

“We could not find you,” they said. “We were frightened.” “We love you.” And they wre all wearing clothes made from the cloth she had woven.

Sarena hugged them. She wanted to say she was sorry, but a very soft whisper on the warm wind from the south spoke to her so that only she could hear, “Do not be sorry, Sarena. Do not be sorry.”

The people led Sarena out of the forest through a beautiful meadow she had never seen before, filled with wild flowers of beautiful colors she would remember and weave into cloth someday. It was a very joyous group who proceeded down a new path to the village and Sarena’s cottage. People made her warm broth and tea to drink. She felt loved and cared for.

Sarena and Samson lived many hears in Sarena’s cottage that she had left that day for her walk in the forest. She sometimes went back into the forest, but did not stop and continued on her path. She could return to her cottage by way of the beautiful meadow before nightfall now that she knew the way; her way.

She again wove cloth, but more beautiful than before. People continued to come by and she listened to them weave their tales as she wove their cloth. But now she knew she only had to listen, to take the stories from them and weave them into cloth for each individual. She knew that the cloth she wove reflected her perceptions of who they were, that the cloth she wove for them could not only reflect their happiness but also their pain and sadness.

(By Carol A. Troestler ) And she wove cloth for herself, a beautiful design that she took from the beauty she had found. She made the cloth into skirts for her to wear and curtains for her windows and coverings for her floors and furniture. No one else had the design that Sarena had woven for herself. Everyone knew that they could not ask for her to make it for them; that it was Sarena’s.

She had been on the right path through the forest. If she had kept following her heart and her footsteps she would have found her way. But as we all know, we sometimes need others to help us along.

The End

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Upload Date: 31/12/1969

Downloads: 1601

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