She stared into the sky above her with a fire in her eyes
Days, weeks, months had passed since that day
After hours sat by a window watching the rain floating heavy to the ground
She stepped outside to pull the fresh, warm air deep into her being
Her soul silently cried unto the heavens "Save me!" as one bare foot stepped into the grass
With a cool touch like early morning dew, she sank into the damp ground
Another bare foot came to rest beside it's sister, mud rising between her pale toes
Raindrops clung for life to the ends of branches in a tree above her
It towered, ever so gracefully, drinking in the new sunlight above
Her thin hands reached up from her thin frame toward the light
"I shall become like the tree" she thought "yet even more alive"
Her fingertips came to rest on the slick, rough bark and a vision passed before her
Years of lives and lovers beneath the branches
Children with swings, students with their books, young couples holding hands
She saw fire and felt its burn, saw rain and felt its blessing
For many lives of men she sat watching from this place, and her heart was filled
The breeze moved softly, whispering to her "come and see"
When sunlight broke upon the hill in the meadow beyond, she ran
Her feet kissed by the wet grass carried her to where she belonged
She closed her light eyes and drew in another deep breath
The air here was clean, the smell like that of the mountains after a storm
Thunder rolled in the distant sky behind her, but the squall remained far from this place
"Here I stand" she said as she opened her eyes to gaze at the valley before her
The breeze giggled quietly "And here you belong"
The rolling expanse of hills and forests and meadows lay in all directions
A raven called from above "Look around you and see the place made for you"
She looked and saw blue mountains in the distance, bearing secrets never heard
She saw rivers twisting and turning into lakes and great oceans where countless creatures awaited her
The meadow was filled with tall grasses and wildflowers surrounded by honeybees and hummingbirds
Above her flew sparrows and robins, blue jays and blackbirds with red wings
And the air felt clean on her skin and tasted sweeter than honey on her tongue
Her eyes saw deep into the past of this place, the pain it had endured, the violence that had shaped the land
She saw the wars and the blood-soaked battlefields that had carved the hills
She saw the sons and brothers it had held in its arms as they drew their last breath in the valleys
She saw the days where darkness had fallen and the sun had been blackened with smoke
But her eyes also saw deep into the future of this place
The men it held in peace outnumbered those it had held in pity and sorrow
Children rolled in the grass here while mothers looked on with joy
There was a life here, a sense of security among the tumultuous past of these hills
Her eyes spared but a single tear at the sight, her soul whispered "I am saved"
She laid her hand upon the ground and felt the spirit of the Earth below rise through her
Though pale her skin, thin her body, and fragile her bones, she felt strength
She turned back for only a moment, staring into the storm that awaited her
Lighting split the darkened sky, and yet something called to her, begging for her return
Something pulled her heart back to the place she had come from
A knowledge, a safety, a comfort in knowing where she was and what and who surrounded her
A comfort that the rolling expanses did not offer, as they remained foreign and unknown
Would she find shelter? Would she find peace? Would she find happiness like she had always dreamed of?
The breeze came to her again, whispering "choose"
She looked upon the home that had raised her, small but cozy and familiar
Wondering if she would ever see it again should she step into this unknown world
Wondering will they welcome her back if she should go? If they might follow her, come with her, love her
Though they had promised her, still she feared what lay ahead in this place
Was there any way to go back if this land was created by a false prophet? What if she had been tricked?
The breeze spoke again "choose, child, for only you can decide"
And she gazed behind her at the tree she had sworn her allegiance to
The tree that had sheltered her in the storm but surely could not protect her forever
Its leaves shimmered in the last of the sun as the storm grew ever closer and ever more violent
The roots drew a heavy sigh, weary of holding their burden above them, knowing that they must
Her mind had pity on the tree, her protector and friend for so many years
Its branches bent low in the wind, bowing as if releasing her of her promises that she had made a lifetime ago
Then, turning back to the expanse before her, forgave herself her own sins
And marched on