Being of a generous of nature, this was an insight the plum tree would willingly share with any who put might forth the effort. After all, the Grand Mother’s language was not so difficult that men could not learn it. The fact that they chose not to do so was contrary to their longing and perplexed her. The common speech of the wild could be mastered in less than a lifetime and to infinite reward. Once acquired, it would open the way to the archives of not only her recollections, but make available the combined memory of all life.
Perhaps due to their unfathomable sense of separation, combined with the brevity of their stay they simply remained unaware, but whatever the reason, having recorded each successive master of the temple over the years, she had experienced the joy of conversing with those gifted with greater perception. Of those who came before however, none shone so brightly as the current master of the hilltop. He was a man of rare prudence and a thoroughly awakened extension of Tao. Not only had he persevered in learning the language of nature, but possessed the intuition to interpret its significance. Thus he was fully knowledgeable of the ways of the Mother and understood his place in her plan.
Though a mere sprig in comparison to her own plethora of seasons, this Tzu Tam, was well ringed in the reckoning of his kind. Acknowledging his wisdom, his companions appointed him their spiritual leader antecedent to his first leaves of gray and upon assuming this appointment, his initial act was to attend to the scaling down of the perimeter walls.
Unveiling a vista she’d garnered only in glimpses over the past two hundred years, he further insisted that all seedlings for the orchards should be placed down slope as not to impede the view. In all her vast experience, he was first in foresight among humans and understanding his stay to be also evanescent, she was covetous of his companionship. It pleased her to be regarded by this unusual man and the Plum even came to appreciate the imagistic name he bestowed upon her.
He called her the Lady of Winter Moon and throughout his stewardship, Tzu Tam maintained a daily practice of sitting in quiet contemplation beneath her branches. It had been this way since their first meeting. He was no more than a child then. Of late however, he came less often to sit with her. The honorable Tam seemed presently weighted with concerns. The reason for his absence, as speculated by his companions, was that the bonds between the two had become so strong, that he no longer found if necessary to leave the confines of the Temple to commune with the tree.
Although there was much truth in this, it was not the reason for his absence. The real cause being, and the one which his fellow monks thought responsible for the bulk of his worries, was the amount of time he applied to training the unlikely student he’d taken in.