This Place

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


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