Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Forest of Fear

The forest howled an unearthly howl as the pilgrim sat with the girl around an open camp fire. Staring into the dancing flames the pilgrim reflected the eyes of a man miles away. The girl glanced back and forth from the traveler and the screeching wood. Already she was beginning to wonder whether or not accompanying the pilgrim had been a wise choice. Minutes seemed to drag on for hours and finally she could bear it no more, in a timid voice that strived for strength she spoke, "Where are you originally from?" Her words seemed to rise only to be engulfed by the towering trees. The pilgrim answered without averting his eyes, "I herald from the land of Newark." Again silence. The girl had heard tales of the pilgrims before they were supposed to be searchers of Truth, Beauty, or Goodness. She decided to see what he would say, "They call this the Forest of Fear. What makes it so frightening?" The pilgrim looked up and answered "People fear what they do not understand. They fear because they do not know." "I don't know about that." the girl answered after much thought. "You don't know?" the pilgrim asked "are you afraid?" "No." the girl answered. "Oh but you should be." and with that the pilgrim returned his gaze back to the camp fire and all around the Forest of Fear howled strange unearthly noises.

"Are you afraid?" the girl asked.
"Sometimes." the pilgrim answered.
"What are you afraid of?"
"Many things," the pilgrim replied.
"Name one" she persisted.
Without hesitation the pilgrim replied "Man's soul. I fear that most never desire true Truth. I fear that since I am a man I too will fail."
"There are other forces in this world besides Truth."
"Like what?"
"Like beauty!"
"As Keats put it", the pilgrim answered "Truth and Beauty are one and the same."

Suddenly a cold howl sounded and the girl turned to look."What was that?"
"A nightmare." The pilgrim replied."
It was so close," the girl whispered "why can I not see it?"
"Because like all nightmares it lives on the edge of your imagination."
And all around them the Forest of Fear continued to howl.

-Wes Bishop


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