Lilanthro spent the day with Talas in the safe cocoon of his garden. He was, as ever, acutely aware of her state of being and treated her with an all-embracing acceptance that soothed her. He did not talk much, and did not ask her to talk, but he remained near her and encouraged her to engage herself in the daily tasks of tending to the garden.
Lilanthro realised how much she had regressed to being that timid, feral girl who had first appeared in his garden, seemingly so long ago. How scared she had been then, how scared and confused and full of conflicting emotions. It had been the start of a long road of learning about being human, navigating the complexities of human thought and feeling, and touching lightly upon the deep mystery lying behind the ephemeral world of form. Talas had taught her many things and she had grown immeasurably from his teachings. But now, and she could not help but laugh at herself as she thought this, now she had come full circle and felt as if she was beginning her lessons all over again, as if she had never learned them. Talas noticed her moment of self-amusement and gave a gently questioning glance, inviting her to share her thoughts with him.
She accepted.”How can it be that I have learnt so much and yet now feel as if I have forgotten it completely?” She asked.
“Aha!” Talas replied, “Now that is a challenge which many people stumble over. The secret is that this is just how it is meant to be. The things in life which we most need to learn have to be learnt many times over, in an almost endless cycle. Each time we learn it, the learning sinks a little deeper into our being, and only eventually does it sit so deeply in our core that we no longer have to relearn it, it has just become us. You will feel like a timid, confused, unknowing child so many times in your life young Lilanthro; welcome each moment of this for it means the lesson is sinking in ever more deeply.”
Lilanthro smiled and nodded. “Yes, I can sense that is how it is, I just forgot for a moment because my veil of fear clouded my sight. I remember now, I will dance with the fear so that it releases its hold on me… Thank you for the reminder!”
For the rest of the day, Lilanthro felt her strength, fluidity of being and confidence returning. Her fears evaporated and she accepted what lay ahead, whatever the outcome may be. That evening, as the day was once again loosening its grip on the world and allowing the night to take its hold, Lilanthro returned to the edge of the clearing on the other side of the village from Talas’s garden. When she arrived in the shadows she saw and heard many people ahead of her. As she looked out at the clearing she could see not just the village children waiting for her, but also many of the village adults, standing expectantly in huddled groups. Once more she steadied herself with a deep breath before stepping out of the undergrowth to meet them.
The children gasped excitedly as she walked calmly forwards and the adults became still and silent as she neared them.
“Are you going to sing to us?” Called one boy.
“Can we dance together again, like we did two evenings ago?” Asked a girl.
“I want more stories about the wolves!” Exclaimed another boy.
But Lilanthro shook her head. “My name is Lilanthro,” she said, “I grew up in the forest with the animals and birds for company, far from here. Recently I came to the village and saw humans for the first time. I was scared of you so I hid myself and did not show myself to you, although I did sometimes leave white flowers on your pillows at night as you slept.” There was a murmur from some of the adults as they realised the identity of the mystery giver of flowers. “Then I met Talas and I stayed with him learning many things. With his help I became brave enough to show myself to you. My dance and song and words are all I have to offer. Other than that I know only simple things. I can tend to a garden, I know what plants in the forest are good to eat, I can track animals and I know how to make nests in the trees to sleep safely at night. This is who I am, this is all I am, these are the only things I have to offer. Are they enough for you to accept me as a friend?”
Not all the children understood Lilanthro’s words. One called out, “Why aren’t you singing or dancing for us? That is much more fun!” Other youngsters stood with uncertain faces and fidgeting bodies, wanting to play again and not stand around talking. But a slightly older girl ran to Lilanthro and threw her arms around her saying, “I am your friend. I will show you all around the village and look after you. Do you want to come and see my home?”
With that, many of the older children also went to her, asking to be her friend and urging her to visit their home. The young ones soon caught on, seeing this as a new game in which they could demand attention, and they all ran to Lilanthro, calling out to her and tugging at her. Suddenly, Lilanthro was surrounded by a tornado of children, swirling around her and calling out in ever louder tones. But this did not last long. One by one the adults called the children back to their sides and reluctantly the children left Lilanthro alone in the centre of the ring of villagers. Only two remained, the girl who had run to her side and the boy who had first spotted her two evenings previously, still stood resolutely by her side.
“No!” The boy called out, “She is our friend and we want her here. You can’t tell us not to be friends with her and you can’t make her leave!”
The boy’s father stepped forwards with a patient smile on his face, “My son, it is mischievous of you to ignore your parents calling to you, but courageous of you to stick by your new friend. Lilanthro, on behalf of us all I would like to welcome you to our village. You have shared so much with us, will you now do us the honour of allowing us to share with you and show you our lives and homes?”
“Yes of course, I would be delighted!” exclaimed Lilanthro gladly, holding on tightly to the hands of her two new friends.
“Then maybe you would like to visit Silja’s family this evening, seeing as she asked you first. Tomorrow morning I hope you will visit my family so that my son Onari can talk to you some more, and then I think you will be kept very busy visiting all the other families here.”
And with that, the matter was settled. The children spoke excitedly to their parents urging them to invite Lilanthro to their homes. Not wanting to be left out of this turn of events, the parents all approached Lilanthro, introducing themselves to her and asking her to do them the honour of visiting them soon.
Once this flurry of activity was over, Silja took her hand once more and led her to her parents who stood nervously to one side. Lilanthro remembered their soft, timid natures from her earlier studies of the villagers and she knew they were warm, kind people. She greeted them respectfully and waited for them to invite her home. This they did in a humble yet sincere manner, and together they walked companionably to the family’s hut.
That evening, Lilanthro was treated to a delicious meal, honest heartwarming conversation, and the generous offer of a bed for the night. Realising that she would offend the family if she refused, Lilanthro had the strange experience of sleeping in a bed for the first time, side by side with Silja. As she lay awake in the darkness, listening to the soft sound of Silja’s breathing, Lilanthro marvelled at how it was that she had come to be here.
“I am human!” She thought to herself, “I am human and I have found a new family of humans to live with. I am still the feral girl, who runs with the wolves and knows how to connect to all that is around me. But now I am also Lilanthro, learning about dancing with the veils of my human thoughts and feelings. And I am something other than Lilanthro, just a fleck of silken thread weaving this tapestry of life. What a marvellous journey I am on!”
Then she slept, dreaming of the forest, dreaming of what might lie ahead in the days to come, dreaming of a silken thread endlessly weaving planets, stars and whole galaxies into existence…