The winter sun hovers motionless above the horizon. The sky is clear and blue. High in the sky the moon reflects the sun's gentle rays. Birds are singing and there is a developing crispness in the air.
White Wings In The Distance
Patrick is wandering aimlessly down the mountain feeling lost, insecure and worried.
"My time here is coming to an end. I can sense it. But where do I go to now? How am I to know my mission?" he worries to himself.
He continues down the mountain, lost in thought. As he wanders, not knowing what to do or where to turn, he hears the chant of the Druid coming from the direction of the Holy Well. This chant is carried around the mountain and out over the vast empty space of the Br ad Valley. Its ancient tones resonate deep within him evoking the sacred. Patrick follows these sounds. They grow louder as he is inexorably drawn back to the Holy Well, where he sees Mythendical, meditating at the foot of the Sacred Tree.
Patrick takes a drink from the well's pure water, sits beside the Druid and gazes out across the sunlit valley. Mythendical senses his presence and, emerging from his meditation, smiles sweetly at Patrick. Then after looking lovingly into Patrick's eyes the old Druid slowly turns his head and gazes across the valley.
"Something's troubling you Pat, I can tell," he says gently.
Patrick feels comfortable confiding in the old man. He tells Mythendical about Conchubhar's death, the insecurity this has engendered, his feeling that the time has come to find his own path and to discover his mission. Mythendical turns his head slowly back from the sunlit valley, re-engages Patrick's eyes and gently says,
"Trust the passion of your calling and your mission will reveal itself."
Then after suggesting that Patrick ask for guidance he disappears down the mountain and into the woods.
Patrick sits alone, the gentle sunshine warming his bare face and hands, as he gazes out across the valley. Each leafless tree is picked out by soft sunlight. He can just make out the wandering line running through the fields, where the Br ad River flows. He feels still and calm as he contemplates the Druid's wise words and asks within how he can discover his mission.
Then, in the distance, he sees shining white wings beating gracefully above the river. The wings come closer and closer until Patrick sees the long graceful neck and head of.... the swan! She passes above him, her white plumage radiant against the clear blue of the sky. As he talks to the highest part of himself he feels intimacy with the swan. Remembering the Druid's wise words he asks for his mission to be revealed, while watching the swan climb higher and higher in the vastness of the empty, blue sky. He senses the flow of cool winter air over her plumage, feels the wind vibrating her outstretched wingtip feathers and hears the swish of air through her wings as they beat in a slow powerful rhythm, lifting the great bird higher and higher in the sky's immense emptiness.
Then in that instant he discovers freedom. The exquisite beauty of the swan moves him to tears. Everything is clear. The moment passes and he is a slave once again sitting on the slope of Slieve Miss.
However something of that moment stays with Patrick. His insecurity is gone, replaced by a security he has never known. Rising from the grassy bank at the foot of the Sacred Tree he turns to walk back to the sheep pen and his slave's hut, but he is different. He feels the pull of his mission stronger than ever and resolves to return to the Vanishing Lake once again.
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