A Skald Finds His Path
I saw the light writing arabic-shimmer on the surface of the waters, and saw the path of beauty, and said, Yes. And Lady Love, eyes sad and smiling, said, Are you sure? To walk this path brings sorrow.
But the beauty was intoxicating. I fell in love with hypnotic words and dreams, however weird.
Lady Love, lingering, stardust blood-blooming fingers beckoning, said, Are you sure? To walk this path is to know great solitude, and the many will pass by, laughing, caught in their dallies, and you will feel longing.
My heart now hesitated, my throat gulped. The price of beauty was costly. The cost of knowing an elvish life was to bear the pains and burdens of difference. To look upon the many, and be set apart, by a destiny which calls out as if a spirit's voice off in the hinterlands. I sighed.
She said, these sacrifices may be hard to bear. You will know joys beyond joys, sorrows beyond sorrow, yet pleasures and boons that fruit the plush of the mainstream roads may long be lost to you.
Yet I danced, I opened mouth and tasted sunlight, my hands held up water and watched it wondrous drip into liquid pools of clear flow. The fire spoke hymns on the waves, and my eyes curious longed to know the poems spoken. Yes, I said to beauty, yes.
Yet one time more our Lady Love did speak to me, and asked with warning, Are you sure? For you will love as few love, and I will feed you fruits from the most ripened, luscious tree, full of drunken juice ; and yet you, you shall know the loss of love many a time. You will hold the corn in Spring, and mourn its husk in Fall, and being a knight in my service, those who seek a normal man may come, and charmed, give magic kisses in the night, yet marvelous creatures, soulful animals, move on to ripen in the herd. You will have to hold this sorrow. You must walk through deserts to taste the thorny cactus fruit whose flowers open only once a season. Then love may pass for some time. And child, you may be bitter. Think not the sweet fruits are the only ones you will taste. Maror and wormwood gruits brew in elvish ale, too.
And youth, fool, folly tossing skip o'er cliff, I said, not knowing what may come, not feeling all the losses many, Yes, yes, and yes.
And here I am three decades hence, and only now this pact becomes plain in the passage of time. Some destinies are doomed, others are chosen, yet they are destined all the same. I shudder when I look upon youth and ponder the peril they everyday face in chains of choices : to bind, to unbind, each a choice that opens worlds, closes others. Even the luckiest life enfolds and embraces serious tragedies, or at least near brushes against them. Life is full of close calls, too close for comfort. The juice of youth is melancholy, reaching in hope for unseen fulfillment, and you can see it in their desperate, eager eyes : hungry for life, playing in the peril, careless and trusting and wound-tending onwards.
What a risk and gamble is life! How easy to fall away, to lose one's star in the fog. Yet if one chances to survive, the astral realms are forgiving. One might find the star again. But nothing is ever the same. Every choice lays down that doom. Play well in the peril, youth, take care : the spells you cast now are prayers the Gods will surely reckon.