Barefoot Poetry

SS Matthews

Leaving Shangri-La (Part 1)

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Continuing the story of A Lady of Winter Moon and Gate of Demons
“You are leaving.” There was no surprise in Tam’s voice, only an echoing quality as the words seemed to resonate in the air. Not often did the senior monk abandon his meditation to any interruption, but this was going to be an extraordinary day. Seeing each day as a blessing and none of them ordinary, even to the venerable Tam this day would be more so than most.

“Yes, Master Tam.” Rowan replied as he took a last look around the site of his awakening. Though most of the space within the temple held no furnishings; being occupied solely by the monk and a single table covered with candles, the place was anything but vacant. The air was thick with the remembered vibrations of countless chants. Hanging in layers of generations, they collapsed elapsed time into a single flowing moment of experience. When the master again spoke, his eyes were glistening with humor.

“Do you remember when you came to us? Your head was crammed so full of bees that the other monks complained they could not sleep for the constant buzzing! You permitted these bees to be placed there by those you came into contact with and they put them there to weaken your will. But discovering strength in inner silence, you have learned to ‘shoo’ them away.” Upon completion of his metaphor, a broad smile swept across Tam’s face.

The aged monk was no stranger to seeing men effect change in their lives, but he’d been particularly impressed by the tenaciousness of his pupil. It was this determination that allowed not only for the dramatic transformation in his long-legged student, but also served to affirm that great distances between men could be overcome in small steps.

“You have learned to unite the perception of your heart with perspicacity of mind. I believe this balance is what you sought when you came to us. K’ung-Fu-Tzu believed a man should give up his life to perfect moral integrity. I also believe that Master Confucius understood that not all men may walk the same path. Some men will follow the way of the Martyr; others will walk the path of the avenger. This second is the shadow I foresee seducing my western son. Remember this! Your life is not a debt to be paid, nor collected. Live it as you will! You are no longer anyone’s bee-keeper.”

SS Matthews


Author: SSMatthews

Author of The Moon and Rowan Wolfe and Wolfe's Banes.

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