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The Asparagus and The Bear
Gather round, my children, and listen to my tale of The Asparagus and The Bear. A long time ago, before mankind began to shut their ears and eyes to the world, everything in Nature had a voice. The birds, in fact, taught man how to sing, and man taught the birds to build nests in return. The mountain lions and bears taught man about hunting, and man taught to bear to rear up on two feet and the cougar how to scream. And many other things were exchanged by man and animal. Except on thing: and that was how to speak to plants. Part of the reason, I'm sure, is that the animals didn't know exactly how the plants spoke or how to put into understandable words the language of the Earth and Plants. It was because of this, that man seldomly wandered very deeply into the forest, were the trees and the Earth were wild and angry at man for his reckless use of Nature. It was in just such a forest, that there lived a small Asparagus.
This Asparagus longed to see the outer reaches of the forest, to see man and know what it was about them that made his forest so angry. For you see, the earth The Asparagus fed from was thick with rage and made The Aparagus feel sick. One day, as the Aspragus found what food he could from the black earth, He saw a Bear walking west, the direction that was said to be where man dwelt.
"Excuse me!" called The Asparagus, to The Bear. The Bear paused and looked around, not seeing the Asparagus at first. "Here!" The Asparagus Shouted. The Bear approached and bent down to see the Asparagus better. The Bear, as it so happened, was one of the elders of the forest.
"There is still one with a voice!" Said The Bear, smiling slightly. "It's been too long since I've heard your family speak, little Asparagus. What may I do for you?"
"Well," Said the Asparagus, a bit frightened of The Bear's muzzle so near him.
"I have a couple questions for you...if you don't mind answering them." The Bear chuckled, a low sound that only only succeeded in fightening The Asparagus more.
"Go on, then, ask away!"
"First, what are you?"
"What am I? I am the Oldest Bear of this forest, one of the first to be created as a matter of fact." The Bear laughed, "You have another question, Silly Asparagus?"
"Yes, I saw you were heading West, towards the place Man is said to live. Would you take me to see them? The trees and earth here are so full of anger at them, I wish to know what it is about Man that makes them so angry." The Bear was silent for a moment then said: "you've already asked the earth, and the trees why?"
"Yes, they only say 'because Man is reckless' or nothing at all. But they won't explain." The Bear nodded "I see, young Asparagus. Do you understand, however, that for me to take you to them, you would most surely age and die?"
"I had thought of that, Lord Bear, I know for me to move I need to be separated from the Earth. But I don't mind, as long as the suffering is bearable, perhaps even that would be better than tasting Earth so full of rage."
"Well, then, little Asparagus, shall we go?" The Bear reached down and picked The Asparagus. The Asparagus winced as pain shot through him, then felt numb as he and The Bear made their way West. They moved in silence, The Bear carried the Asparagus in his forepaws and walked on his rear legs as he had been taught, so long ago, by a human. The very same human whose grave The Bear was going to visit when The Asparagus stopped him.
As The Asparagus and the Bear reached the outskirts of the forest The Asparagus noticed how the air had changed slightly.
"Why does the Air feel so differently here?" the Asparagus asked The Bear.
"Because Man use things called 'Machines' to make their work easier and faster."
"But doesn't that make them lazy? and take life away from the Earth and Plants?"
"Yes. But they have forgotten how to work hard, and that working with the Earth, along side animals and with their own bare hands, they don't forget they are Human and will return to that Earth." The Bear smiled, then looked down at The Asparagus. "I think many of them, do not want to admit that they are only dust." The Bear sighed heavily, and it seemed to the Asparagus that the Bear held a great many sorrows within him.
"I still do not understand why the Forest and Earth are so angry at Man." The Bear's eyes brightened slightly. "They are angry at him, because he was appointed caretaker of the Earth. At first he did an excellent job, and everything and every one loved man and man loved us in return. But now, there are only few who truly love us." The Asparagus gazed in wonder at the buildings of man. Houses. Factories. Stores. The Asparagus saw that many of the buildings were made of wood, and that some had trees outside of them or, though he didn't know they were called so, gardens outside of them.
"What do you mean, 'truly love us'?" The Asparagus asked after a moment of silence
"Man has many ideals, and each man, every creature for that matter, is unique in one way or other. Some men wish to save nature because they think it is pretty, and most often they have a motive that benefits themselves. Perhaps it's a feeling of doing good, or they get what's called 'money' from it, the motive varies. Some try to preserve nature cause they say they 'care' for the animals, and our 'right to live as animals'" The Bear shook his head. "but again, most of them don't ever try to see us, or talk to us. None of them respect us. That's why they are hated, because they do not honor us as being from the same creator. It doesn't matter if they kill us and wipe us from all knowledge, but to treat us with dishonor, like they are better for being 'in the image of God'" The Bear sighed.
"I think I understand a little." Said the Asparagus. "Is there no way to make them see the truth?" The Bear shook his head, then looked towards the sky, sighing.
"Since Man first left God's presence, God has been whispering to them. WE animals have been whispering to them, but very few of man's kind have an ear to hear with. They have trapped themselves in houses, the sounds of machinery and technology make them deaf; they make a glowing eye their teacher and a passage way to another world, to escape the reality unfolding around them. Does that make sense to you?"
"A little. The things you say seem true, but they are hard to sort out in the right way." The Bear smiled slightly
"Some say I am a symbol or power and healing. If that is true, I think healing is not something that is fully understandable. How the flesh mends itself, how the emotions heal how things scar. Even there, the mystery of our creator is extablished." The Bear seemed to be thinking aloud now. The Asparagus wasn't sure what to think, but felt as though he couldn't continue talking.
"I'm so tired." The Asparagus said.
"You've started to wilt," Said The Bear "I have one more place to take you, though." The Bear began moving around the city. swiftly and silently as he had been taught in the days of old. Becoming, to the busy world of humans, no more than a fleeting summer wind. After a short while the Bear stopped.
"Here we are, little one." They were standing amidst columns of ancient stone, and The Asparagus could feel the power of the place around him.
"Where is 'here'?" The Bear lay the Asparagus on a stone in the center of the columns.
"This is a place Man does not understand fully. When I was still very young, Man built this place, along with the help of the Four Winds, The Earth, Lady Water, and we animals."
"Why did you build it?"
"To remember one we all loved deeply. He never told us his name, but he taught man and animal to learn from one another. He taught me to walk, and learned to sing from the birds." the Bear looked down at The Asparagus. "And now he is dust beneath us. Forgotten by all except we, The oldest of creatures." The Bear fell to all fours and dug a small hole with his claws, then picked the Asparagus up from the rock.
"What happens now, Old Bear? Am I dying?" The Bear smiled kindly down at The Asparagus.
"You are not dying, not truly. You see, as I was passing by, you called out to me. And told me you didn't like the Earth where you were planted, becasue the Earth was bitter with rage. And, even though you knew you would wilt and even die, you wished for me to help you see Man, so you could see the Truth. So now that I have taken you from that bitter Earth, unless you wish to return to it, I have brought you to a place where the Earth is pure and untainted by hate." The Bear looked at the stone columns encircling them. "Though it is falling apart now, it was built with love and every stone was placed and carved with etreme care. Every one of us who helped put our entire heart and love into it. So this place is, for awhile longer at least, alive with that love."
The Bear placed the Asparagus into the hole he had dug. As the Asparagus felt the earth enclose him, he could taste the sweetness of it. The joys and sorrows of losing one who was loved most dearly. The memories. The Asparagus closed his eyes and simply enjoyed being within the Earth. He remembered being a seed, and marveled at how similar the feeling was. But now, the Earth seemed friendlier. And there to this day, at the base a stone encircled by stone columns that Man does not understand, lies The Asparagus. A part of everything, caught in the Universal Stream of love, yet bound by nothing. As for The Bear, well, who knows? Perhaps he has taken another shape, for another existence, for a different lesson.