A young man set out from his hometown to experience the world. He was seeking answers to life, some answers to questions that he could not quite verbalize. As he traveled from town to village to town, he watched the different people and asked and wondered about how they came to their place in life.
Upon entering one village, he saw a man, somewhat older, but it was the way the man carried himself that caught the younger man’s attention. He was able to catch up to the man in conversation one day and he asked him about life and how the older man was able to have an air of experience, depth, and maturity about him.
The older man chuckled, “Oh, I don’t think we have enough time for all of that, but I can tell you a tale.”
With a twinkle in his eye, the older man began…
There once was a younger man, not unlike yourself, questioning his place in the world. This man had been through experiences of many types, worked in many villages and areas. He had created, improved, made a dent in the world in some ways. He had loved and lost. He had tried to be honorable. And he wanted to discover more.
One trip he was hunting well out away from his home, but not having much luck, when he found himself in an unfamiliar wilderness. There was wildlife with which he wasn’t familiar. Being in new surroundings, he found the refuge of a cave to wait things out. But while in the cave, he pondered his situation and said to himself, “I am afraid of no man or animal, I am going back out there!”
Back outside, it was now dark. He could hear the other wildlife, but in the distance, he saw a light flicker. His previous fears were no longer an issue as he continued toward this flickering light. As he got closer, he realized it wasn’t just a light, but he beheld, an angel. A beautiful angel, as she wore a flowing dress and had a flicker in her eyes. He took her by the hand as they went for a walk. And under the shimmering stars, they could hear music. They moved together, as if in a dance. It was as if the wilderness, the wildlife, any of it, was no longer there. As the music came to an end, they walked and talked. Then the music began another time, and they danced once again. After this, the man said to the angel, “I would like to see you again.” Her eyes sparkled and she replied, “Oh yes! I’d like that!” Meet me back here near the fountain.
The next day, the man traveled to the fountain, looked around, but did not find the angel. He called out to her, but no reply. A second day, he made a second trip to the fountain. He looked again, called out again, but again, nothing. A third day, he traveled to the fountain once again. But at the fountain he did not find her and calling out to her brought no response.
The man stopped, paused, and cried out as if in a prayer saying, “A dance. Or two. If this is living, then I have lived. And I cherish these moments.”
Just then, he hears a voice. Her voice! She’s calling out to him. He calls out to her, “I can’t see you!” Her voice is coming from the fountain. She explains that she is not able to be with him right now, but is able to talk to him briefly. But in a few days, she would be able to return to see him once again.
Each day, he travels to the fountain, calls out to her, and they converse once again, counting the days until they may be together again. They talked about many things, one of which was her situation. She explained that although she dwelled in another place, she could come visit him, and wanted to. But also, the day would come at some unknown time in which she would even leave her current place and travel to a far off realm to where she used to be. He would not be able to go with her to this new realm, but in the meantime they could be together.
After several days, the meeting day arrives. He arrives at the fountain and this time finds her. They take each other hand in hand, just as before and walk together. They come to a lake and on the shore of the lake is a small boat. They ride out in the boat as she describes different things of nature to him. Things about the ducks, the other animals, and more. The sun is setting just perfectly, a waxing three-quarter moon is clearly visible in the night sky, an Italian love song can be heard across the lake, all seemed perfect. The angel, sitting next to the man, relaxed slightly and snuggled up into his arms ever so slightly. The sun finally set, the stars came out, the temperature was perfect, the water on the lake still as glass as they floated across…together.
Upon reaching the shore, they walked some more, back toward the fountain, talking so easily as always. At the fountain, the man said, “I’d like to see you some more.” Once again her eyes sparkled as she replied, “Oh yes! I’d like that!”
The next day, he traveled to the fountain again and called out to her, but no reply. A second day, he made the trip again, but again, no reply at the fountain from her. On the third day after being together with her, he went out to the fountain, and called upon her once again. This time he heard her voice as it was sweet to talk to her once again. But something was different. She said that the unknown time for her to travel to the far away realm had arrived. It wasn’t expected, but she had to leave to go back to where she had been before.
And with that, she was gone.
The man dropped to his knees, cried out in a prayer, this time with a tear in his eye, but a sweet remembrance of their time together. He said, “A dance. Or two. A night on the water under the moon. If this be living, then I have lived! And I cherish these moments.”
The young man stared across the table at the older man in silence. He didn’t know what to say. Where was the happy ending? Where was the solution? What about the future? Or was the gift in the present moments at the time?
The younger man thanked the older man, continued on his journey, but now…
…he had new wonderments he hadn’t contemplated.