DREAM OF THE ASHWALKER
The Way of Walking pt3
And so it seemed, he walked all the night long ~ until at last, when he awoke ~ he found himself, still walking, only now walking amidst sunlit grass and the flitting of more dragonflies! And amidst the dragonflies winged dances, joined fluttering butterflies, and noisy honey~bees; and beautiful giraffes tall as acacia trees ~ curiously watched him walking by…
Soon his footsteps were made wet ~ as he found himself walking amidst flooded grasses, where waterbucks and red deer grazed, and then the grasses got so wet he began to see frogs, turtles, and even fishes swimming amidst the grass!
At the sight of the fish, he was hungry, but he kept walking, ignoring his hunger ~ walking further and further ~ not knowing really where he was walking ~ only certain to keep walking!
He kept walking even when he walked knee~deep, then waist~deep in the flooded grass, and still, he kept walking! Walking so far, the waters reached past his hips; and snakes and lizards swam past him, and he knew crocodiles too, must be near! And though he was afraid of the crocodiles ~ he was more afraid to stop walking! And though he struggled to keep walking, he did keep walking, deeper and deeper into the flooded grass…
He walked until he was nearly neck deep in the flooded grasses, and his feet struggled to touch the bottom; but still, he went on further. And somewhere close by ~ unseen ~ but very much heard ~ hippos were snorting under the water; and still, he dared to walk deeper!
Finally, not too far from where some happy elephants were noisily splashing amidst the flooded grass; at last, the waters began to recede, and then he began to find by strange surprise muddy places with footprints made of ash…
The paths of Ashwalkers!
The Ashwalkers, the ghost~like ascetics who, wearing only sacred ash, lived not with other people but amongst the farthest grasslands, amongst the animals learning the wise ways of elder wild ways. Sometimes, following along the strange Ashwalker tracks, he would feel as if one was near, maybe watching him with knowing eyes, even letting him walk in left over footsteps ~ as if, urging him to follow…
And so it was in that way, strangely following the footsteps of Ashwalkers, walking their endless ways, he lived for a good while ~ seemingly to be taught many of the ways of the wild ~ all by following the footsteps of Ashwalkers.
He learned many things about the ways to move amidst the wild and ways about finding food, shelter and more. And he continued learning the ways ~ for many months ~ until the rain came, and all the ashy footsteps were suddenly washed away ~ and then the paths of the Ashwalkers were lost!
And he was just a boy, once again all alone…
His lonely footsteps were made wet, as the rainy season filled the grasslands and again, frogs, turtles, fishes, and snakes were swimming everywhere amidst the flooded grass. And the dragonflies, butterflies, and honey~bees became like darting fishes diving amidst the rain!
Endlessly, the rain fell, and so alone and feeling so desperate ~ he tried to scream aloud, but his cries were drowned, and the rain washed inside of him, flooding into his very bones ~ still he cried aloud, but there was no one to help him. Soaked and alone, and too thin with his endless walking in the rain, he struggled helplessly ~ and at last, when he couldn’t take another step, he collapsed in the drowned grass! And as the waters began to take his body, then it happened ~ the first time, he left his body!
As a ghost he had stepped from himself, and looked upon his own small, helpless body ~ witnessing his drowning. But suddenly, through the monsoon of rain, an older girl came and found him! She came through the rain with her sisters and aunts and their mates, and all together they gathered him up out of the tangle of the long wet grass. They carried him through the rain, back to their village, to the dry bush~made hut of the mother of the girl ~ and there ~ they had all given him care.
Later, he awoke, back in his body ~ laid to rest in a dry grass bed, with warm hands tending him, and soon feeding him. And as much as they nourished him with food ~ they nourished him more with their smiles and kind eyes. And when he would fall asleep, how he loved to wake up again ~ to their smiles and kind eyes. And when at last the rainy season was over and he was well again, they continued to favor him with kindness, especially the older girl, and he was invited to be a part of their way of life, the way of the Red~Tailed~Hyena.
To be continued…
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