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Follow Your Bliss
It was late at night when Karen woke to the sound of whispering. She looked but all who was there was, Bliss, her cat. Bliss had fine, shiny, short hair with stripes of gray and black that looked like the shadows of trees that were in the forest by her back yard. She lay back down and the whispers began once more.
“Karen, Karen”, they called.
She sat up again. “Bliss do you hear something?” she asked. Then Bliss opened her mouth and her mouth formed words. She had a gentle and sweat voice like the afternoon breeze of the summer. Karen was shocked but soon thought, It’s must be a dream.
Bliss just said, “Follow me”.
Karen got dressed and followed Bliss out the back door.
The night was cool and the air was heavy with the sent of dew on leaves. Karen trudged along the gold sea of wheat fields until they came to a path. Karen had explored the woods many times but never had seen this path. The path was narrow and she could tell that not many humans had trodden on it. It was behind a bush, perfectly unnoticeable.
Karen’s steps slid into paw prints in the stone worn down by generations of animals coming on this path. It sent a shiver up her spine.
They walked for a while before Bliss said, “I will take you to four places of bliss. There I will teach you a lesson of bliss. It is your choice to listen. Soon they came to a curve in the straight road. Then Bliss spoke again, “The innocence of animals will serve as a great example for you, they are wise and you should pay more attention to what they are trying to tell you.”
Suddenly they curved off into a clearing. Trees surrounded it and in the middle there was a spring. The water was so still that it looked like glass except for the ripple at the top were the stream came in. The full moon and stars looked liked paintings on the glassy surface.
Karen went over and let the tips of her fingers trickle the top of the spring. She suddenly spotted silver fish darting around the bottom of the spring.
She looked up as something white came into focus. It looked like a ghost gliding over the to the pool. But it was no ghost it was a white wolf. It had icy blue eyes and a face heavy with wisdom. A scare stretched across its muzzle. It bent its head to drink and a bright pink tongue shot out and grazed the top of the water. Its eyes never left Karen.
As she stared at the wolf a red fox tumbled out of the bushes nearby and an owl sung a song of the hunt. The queen of the forest lifted her head and howled. It was a deep sound filled with the sounds of many emotions that were felt over the many seasons.
Karen wanted so bad to go with her, to pelt through the forest with the pack, to take what came at her with pride. The wolf straitened up, and like a willow in the breeze, glided off. The rush of adrenalin passed and Karen gazed at the spot were the wolf had just stood.
Bliss broke the silence, “Come, it is time for the next lesson.” Karen slowly crossed around the glassy pond, and unintentionally picked up a smooth stone that was an unnaturally see-through beautiful blue with an squiggly line like water and followed Bliss to the path.
They wandered through the trees aimlessly, or so it seemed.
After a while Bliss said, “Life is like a game, if you play it right you live long. It is a gift, treasure it.”
They turned to find a clearing with white shapes dancing everywhere. Karen tried to focus on one but it kept moving to the edges of her vision.
“These are ghosts,” Bliss explained, “they are wind goers and are not seen by people. They are nervous of you,” turning her attention at the ghosts she said casually, “Hey, guys it’s okay, she’s here to see you.
There was a quiet whispering and then a giggle. Suddenly pale children faced Karen. The boys had no shirts and were in loose shorts. The girls wore comfortable dresses. Their faces were bright, dirty and happy. They just made you want to smile. Karen grinned at them. Were these the ghosts every little kid thought lived in their closet?
She felt something alien pass through her hand as a child tried to pull her to a game of ring around the rosy. The little girl touched her hand, confused. Then she smiled. She looked at the other children and as if they said something in their minds they all ran over to Karen. Cool hands pressed against Karen’s body. They felt like solid air.
Bliss suddenly said, “They were wondering if you could tell them about what the sun feels like.”
Karen gladly made herself comfy. She sat down and began to tell them what the sun feels like. She told them how it touches your skin with a comforting hand. How it caresses your body with a warm touch making you feel warm all over. They gasped and giggled and smiled.
One said in a whispery voice, “Tell us about snow please.”
Karen told them about all of nature’s gifts from the feeling of a dry leaf to how it smells in a summer afternoon. Some of the questions Karen could answer, some she could not. When she couldn’t they would groan and slap the ground with no sound. Then they would beg for more.
Soon Karen needed a break from all the story telling. While the children talked about the sun and snow and everything else she went and sat on the misty ground and sighed.
Bliss trotted over and explained, “ Those children cannot feel these wonders anymore. They are no longer mortal.”
Karen now realized how much she would miss these sites, sounds, smells, tastes, and hearing all these things.
“The kids don’t remember life anymore,” Bliss continued quietly, “They have been dead over 200 years.”
Karen looked at Bliss, shocked. How could some kids that looked and acted younger than she did be over 188 years older than her?
“Come, we must go,” Bliss urged.
Karen said her goodbyes and was walking toward the path when something white caught her eye, something white and bumpy. She reached down and picked it up. It was a stone with a swirl indicating the wind. She shoved it in her pocket and followed Bliss to the path.
They crossed an ancient bridge over a lazy stream that wound its way around a small hill. Oaks towered over them in a silent watch. The branches slowly swayed in the breeze, groaning with the effort. Birds looked down with sleepy, curious eyes from their nests as Bliss and Karen trudged through last year’s fall leaves. They were moist and musty. It made even clumsy Karen quiet.
Karen reached into her pocket and fingered the bumpy white wind stone and the smooth blue water stone. They were warm and toasty. Karen wondered why they were so hot.
They dropped off into a clearing. Despite the chilly evening the clearing was warm.
They were moving toward the center when Bliss said, “Love is one of the few keys to happiness, and a very important one. If you don’t have love your life is not complete.”
At the center of the clearing a huge tree appeared out of nowhere. Its long branches seemed to reach to the clouds. Power radiated off of it.
Karen, awed, walked up to the huge, wise monster. She ran her hands over its cracked surface. Its leaves rustled in a slight breeze.
Karen hugged the massive giant. Her arms didn’t quite fit around the trunk. Actually, her arms weren’t even close to touching.
She shifted her hand slowly around the tree. Her fingers brushed something so she stepped back to take a look.
It was a perfect heart carved into the tree. There were little lines that must have once been words. They were worn away by weather. The lines were close together in an eternal embrace. To Karen’s disbelief the outer rim of the heart was glowing red, like fire. Below the tree, on the forest floor, two paw prints were molded into the stone, close together also. They to, were too worn out to see what animal they belonged to.
Slowly she reached up and pressed her palm to the heart. Suddenly the heart was pushed down like an ancient stone to open a secret passage. Red dust flew out of the sides. A strong wind blasted through her body.
She felt very strange, a tingling feeling deep inside her heart. She recognized the feeling immediately. It was the feeling she felt for her mother, her father, her brother and sisters, and Bliss. But there was something else, a tingling feeling that shook her whole body. The love meant for someone besides her family or best friend.
Gently, she removed her hand from the heart. Now she knew what the heart meant, that the love she felt and the worn out words, everybody could feel it if they tried.
Her red locks fell limply to her shoulders and her muscles relaxed. She tested her arms to make sure they would move.
“Bliss, what was that?” Karen asked.
“That was the love for a male,” she explained. Karen made a sour face.
Bliss sighed, “I had a feeling you would do that. You know cats don’t think its weird when it comes to mating. Well, now you know, lets go,” and she trotted off. Karen took a step forward when some thing red glinted in her eye. It was another stone. She picked it up and there was another carving on its surface. The carving was three flames curling toward the sky. She brushed off the remaining dirt, shoved it in her pocket and caught up to Bliss.
They crossed a small tree over a (more like a trickle) brook to a small opening in the roots of a tree. Bliss easily slid in the hole and beckoned Karen with her tail.
“Wait Bliss,” Karen called, “I don’t think I can fit.”
Bliss looked back with a puzzled expression on her face.
“You should be able to,” Bliss said, “Go ahead and give it a try.”
“All right,” Karen mumbled to herself, “but I’ll bet it wont work.”
When she put her hand in the hole it felt like her skin turned to liquid. There was a sucking noise and it felt like her liquid skin was being sucked off her body. She closed her eyes and begged for it to stop. Suddenly, as if on cue, the sucking stopped. She looked up and was sitting next to Bliss.
“How did that happen,” she asked.
“Magic,” said Bliss.
They were crawling through the tunnel when Bliss said, “Nobody believes in magic. They think the only real things are things they can see. Look deeper and you will see the magic everywhere.”
Karen thought about that. While she was thinking she didn’t notice the root right in front of her foot. Classic Karen slid her foot under the root and did a head dive into a clearing. She stopped the rolling in a slouched position. Her glossy red hair fell over her face. Loudly, she groaned. Suddenly, a slight breeze tickled her face, drawing her head up. The hair on her face was blown back from her eyes. The breeze felt so good she had to sigh with content and smiled. The dust in the breeze tickled her nose and she sneezed. Opening her eyes she saw… a very small face.
“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh,” she screamed long and loud.
“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh,” squeaked the fairy. Karen fell backwards again. When she looked up she saw the small creature was peeping from behind a branch. Delicate green dragonfly wings slowly fluttered at the fairy’s side. Cute, round cheeks cushioned bright dark brown eyes. A mischievous girl face held thin smiling lips. Her feet were bare and dirty. A shaggy leaf dress shaped a thin frame. A beauty mark was planted on her cheek. Funky short brown hair hung like a mop on her head.
That’s when Karen noticed her surroundings. Fairies frolic in the air, skimming around. A group of small boy fairy children played tag.
But it wasn’t just fairies. Gnomes trudged across the clearing, bearing hoes and shovels. Elves ran across the field. Nymphs lounged on tree branches. Bliss galloped across the field with two fairies on her back. Karen looked back at the first fairy. She sat with her legs crossed and her head cocked in one hand.
Bliss appeared behind Karen and said, “Come, its almost sunrise,” and trotted to the end of the clearing. Karen started to follow Bliss but was stopped mid stride by the fairy. She held out in her arms a green stone with a leaf carved in the center. She handed it to Karen and darted off to fast to say thanks. So Karen ran to catch up to Bliss.
They jogged steadily across the wheat field until they reached the backdoor.
Karen reached down and scooped up Bliss. Her soft fur tickled Karen.
“Thank you Bliss, I love you.”
“I love you too,” said Bliss.
The next morning Karen woke up. Wow, what a night, thought Karen. She looked over at the place where Bliss usually slept. Then she remembered Bliss had died two weeks ago.
Of course it was a dream, she thought. That’s when she saw it, a glittering on her desk. She walked over to the spot. The rocks she had collected in the forest! And above each was a cat paw. Maybe that wasn’t a dream after all.