She loved the wind, the forest, the thrush, and the nightingale. She loved the river flowing into the sea. She loved her dreams about faraway lands, where people from all over the world met and made friends and understood one another.
She spent hours writing her thoughts and sketching birds and flowers in a secret journal and was happy and grateful.
But one day in winter, she had to leave her home and go to the land of ice and snow, far into the North. There she experienced the world and she saw that not everyone wished other fellow human beings well. Many would act out of malice, ignorance, or greed. She went to the village square and talked about the beauty and harmony, of the world as a place to be created anew every moment, but her words fell on deaf ears, and even the children stopped listening. She tried to make sense of the world and she failed miserably, so much so that she could no longer understand the language of the humans around her; but she could always understand the birds and the gurgling stream, the breeze and the rain; so she reached a high mountaintop covered with forests and there she made her dwelling in a wooden cabin.
One day, as she sat in the shade of a big rowan tree, she heard a raven calling out her name. She looked up and saw a beautiful white raven, perched on one of the highest branches. It sat still and suddenly grew silent too. Yet, she heard its voice in her mind, and they communicated in the hushed stillness.
Over hours and days, the white raven taught her many mysteries, which made her radiant with joy.
In the end, she knew she had to share those mysteries with some others, and she took her time to understand whom she was meant to be talking to.
For many days and nights, she pondered. She pulled out her journals again for the first time in years and wrote down her thoughts about what the white raven had taught her.
She spent so much time crafting her loving message for other earth lovers who felt like outsiders in the world. She knew they all had huge gifts to share, that their inner fires would be smoldered if they didn't, and the world would be all the poorer for it.
From time to time, she had bouts of melancholy and her old self tried to pull her down, but she persisted in her quest, lest she should die with unexpressed beauty within herself.
After a while, she set up a small craft shop and would give her woodwork to wanderers, who spread the news about her. As a result, more and more people went up the mountain to find her.
At length, she realized it was time to leave the mountaintop behind and venture into town.
She opted for a small house at the western gate and there -- guarded by juniper trees -- set up her workshop, where people would buy her exquisite craftwork.
She was acknowledged for her skill and gentle, quiet ways.
Once a week, she would sell her crafts in the market too; she always gave thanks for what she received, big or small.
In time, she took apprentices in her workshop to teach them what she knew and her craft.
Over the years, she became a wise and humble elder, loved and sought after by many.
One morning, a robin hopped on her window sill and onto her desk.
There, it dipped its wing in her inkwell and left its imprint on a blank page in her journal.
She was inspired and illuminated the pristine pages. Then, she started writing down her gratitudes in the journal, whereby she acknowledged all her mentors, old and new: the brook and the stream, the breeze and the wind, white raven and owl, and all the kind people who had given her a piece of bread and company when she was alone in the world. And, as far as I know, she is still doing so every day.
That girl, woman, and elder lives inside me, you, and many others.
If you are reading these lines, you must be looking for a path and a place where creativity, imagination, and daily life converge in the heart of a Quest that is both individual and communal.
You are welcome!
I am Francesca Aniballi, a creative facilitator of personal development through the expressive arts, with a specialization in literature and writing.
If you are on a quest to re-sacralize your experience of life, to live more creatively and profoundly, you are in the right place.
This sacred Earth we walk upon is our home in the deepest sense and our source of replenishment and inspiration.
The Sky above us and the Waters all over our planet are portals to other modes of being.