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2.6.08

Old Soul

Old Soul

The Lighthouse stood, as she done in her youth, watching over the broiling seas, yet impotent now- her light was darkened- the final injustice to a turning century wrought with technology.
I stood at length to admire an era gone by, a time when she bravely guarded souls that might otherwise be lost to cold callous storms that whipped the Atlantic into furious turmoil. The path to her door was overgrown with a summer’s worth of weeds, the desolate landscape of her precipice worn clean by a relentless salt spray. There was beauty within this isolation; I was drawn closer, deciding at the very least to gaze up at her magnitude, whisper a hushed greeting. Imagine my surprise when the opened door creaked wide, and the whispered greeting was not my own!
At that moment, through the dull hue, rushed the sensation of need. True, she suffered crumbling stone, broken glass, wind whipped refuse from the very sea she loved, none of which I could amend, but within, a quiet heart was pounding. I heard its quiet beat. I felt its hold on life, as plainly as my own, thrashing in each ear. And instantly I wished only comfort, for I recognized such loneliness, and of course, what soul doesn’t long to console another when their need is the most severe?
Shattered glass crunched beneath my feet as I stepped inside, lifting my eyes to the broken boards above where a brightness once stabbed through the darkest nights. An echo of the caretaker’s boots resonated between the curved interior, a sound which was swallowed by space for the light of a setting sun was all that flooded down now. One gull peeked curiously at my presence and then fluttered off, leaving me in privacy to instigate communion with the old soul that lived within.
“What can I do?” I asked quietly, for empathy swelled my breast.
Tired- dejected- terribly depressed. These three crushed into me so cruelly I tried not to weep. I could not- would not- leave. My own existence had become inexplicable woven into the well-being of the one who endured this lonely place.
I perched carefully on wooden stool and waited. Finally, laboured shuffling approached, limbs heavy, awkward with age. I saw nothing but I knew my company was being accepted. A chair beyond the stumped table between us sighed to weight; a candle flickered alight. I folded my hands and smiled, portraying as much warmth as I could, hoping that invisible eyes could see my sincerity, and my genuine appreciation that the candle glowed for me.
I had to speak, for I was frail in comparison to this noble soul. My suffering was nothing- I was neither trapped nor abandoned- yet how was I to know what the future would reveal? How was I to know whether some day I would be alone and tired of life? So I spoke of dreams attained, dreams still to be fulfilled, dreams of those I loved, and in my words I heard the inflection of… hope.
A mournful sigh caused the candle’s flame to dance. I sunk to my folly, for here I was, confidently chattering, without considering that hope here was in ruin, that the steady progression of time would eventually sweep the firm foundation into the sea. I muttered an apology, thinking perhaps, I too, should leave.
Suddenly, the interior shimmered to glory. The floor was swept clean, furniture appeared, reflecting the family who had lived within, the winding stone staircase smelled of fresh paint, the boards above moved to one who attended the light! An icy wind from the Atlantic crashed vainly into the Lighthouse and the joyfulness of function echoed throughout. My spirit lifted, for the scene suggested that another vessel had been saved, safely guided past crippling rocks of a wind torn shore. My delight was profound! I laughed and cheered together. And then, as quickly as the scene had appeared, it was gone again. But lingering still was the awareness that despite this ruin, a purpose had been served- a life had not been lived in vain.
I knew then that all this old soul wished for was recognition, one final acknowledgement before succumbing to a fate thrust upon her.
Long I sat in silent respect while the eternal tide began to turn. My kind host was at peace, for no longer was there sadness or gloom. The candle burned low, the sides melting, crumbling in. It spluttered and died; with its dimming, so too, did the heartbeat.
“Good bye, Old Soul,” I whispered, a mixture of remorse at her parting, but jubilation of her wondrous labour.
I rose and made my way to the door, remembering to shut it tightly before I left.
Coming soon: The Tarot Prince

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