At the Source


They walk through the woods seeking an audience with Matariel, the Source. Only if they’ve done well will they be visited. They woke with the rising sun. Greeted the new day with the tea ceremony they practiced hundreds of times. Dawned their new robes and set out.

They walk in silence across the forest floor, saying nothing. A sudden growth of moss greets their every footstep when they’re on the correct path. Not there before they step, they know they’re going the right way when the moss meets their feet. If they step on stone, or pine needles, or leaves, or anything other than the moss they change course. Matariel guides them.

The sun hasn’t moved. Still at the eleven o’clock hour since they entered the forest. They walk into a grove, the ground slopes at a gentle angle. Steps cut into stone cradle a pool of water. Lilies and leaves on the water’s surface part as an orb rises. The three stare into the orb and Matariel appears. The center of the three raises a dish blessed for this occasion.

Matariel’s hands move, fingers form signs, no visible transition from one to the next, bright crystal lines hang in the air. The dish fills. All three hear Matariel’s words in their head, “Drink and see.” They do as told, each in turn, eldest to youngest—although only days separate their births. And see they do. The passage of time. Trees grow from seeds, birds roost in the branches, their nests fall, the trees die, from the mulch grow flowers and ferns. Worms burrow into the soil, mushrooms burst forth. A baby crawls, stands, becomes a child, takes tentative steps, grows into adolescence, walks with confidence, is an adult, then grows old, curls up, joins the dirt. The three see life in all its fullness in the span of a breath.

When they return Matariel is gone, the pool too is no more. They're sitting amid a grove of ferns surrounded by ancient trees that hum with beauty. They smile at each other, and still not speaking, return home. What is there to say? There are no words after such an event. Sometimes life is too big to try and fit into the limited confines of language. Matariel showed them just how massive life can be, and for that they are grateful beyond the use of sounds made with a mouth. They’ll carry this back to their village and share what they learned through action. Action alone allows for the grandeur of Being to be seen.