Have you ever said to yourself, “I made myself breakfast.”
This morning, I made myself breakfast, and the picture below is what was left. A few shreds of sauerkraut and one moldy blueberry.
The complete breakfast included an English Muffin, Peanut Butter, blueberries, kale, sauerkraut, two garlic-stuffed olives, and a cup of coffee with cream and sugar.
I made myself breakfast.
But did I?
In this picture you see a plate, a fork, and a napkin. Not only did some person initially come up with idea, but hundreds of people vastly improved the making of pottery and silverware and napkins. These particular items probably travelled many miles and were touched by many people’s work before they ended up in my possession. I can afford them because we live in a peaceful, mainly cooperative society. I certainly couldn’t make them on my own. And if they were made the way that they were a thousand years ago, only royalty could afford them.
The wooden tray? That too shows obvious signs of change over the years from the time one of our ancestors decided to eat off a half-log. You might see some lettering. The tray says, “LET IT SNOW!” None of the other things mentioned above would have been possible without the invention and improvement to language.
So far, my “self-made breakfast” involves thousands of ancestors who made any of this possible.
My “self-made breakfast” also involves thousands of contemporaries from around the world who cooperated to bring these particular items to the San Diego area.
We haven’t even gotten to the food.
Let’s take the English Muffin, just as an example. Some of our ancestors might well have procreated and then “tried out” something as a possible food but guessed wrong and died. They figured out which grains could be eaten, how to grow them, how to harvest them more effectively than to shell one seed at a time; how to make flour; how to bake bread. In my case, there’s another whole line of inquiry related to the discovery of electricity and its taming and distribution so that I can toast my English muffins. There are similar hundreds of our fellow human beings (and their supportive communities) who were involved in today’s peanut butter, today’s sauerkraut, garlic stuffed olives and so on.
Once again, there are not only countless people from all over the world who were involved in the development of these food items. There are thousands of people from all over the world who helped get these particular items to our kitchen.
It’s also true that if I’d been brought up by wolves, I wouldn’t know how to access or use any of these items. Not only that, my life has been saved numerous times by modern medicine. But “modern medicine” didn’t just drop out of the sky one day. None of these modern luxuries popped up like a mushroom. People worked hard and thought hard in order to all me to have a nice breakfast. However, it would be more accurate to say:
Many Paths & Shadow Walker glanced at each other. Instantly, each saw that the other had also heard the shuffling. Shadow walker continued in the same tone of voice he had been using, being careful not to inflect his voice with any hint of worry or concern. “Perhaps the next persons with whom we should dialog are Tu-Swift, Cat Eyes and her parents, Tree Vines and Gathers Acorns. These are the people who best understand the Z-Lotz.”
Many Paths nodded. “I believe that Tu-Swift and Cat Eyes are going to share their recent findings with us tonight or tomorrow and then, they will be headed back to the library that lies over the mountain. We can talk with them and perhaps accompany them to gather still more information from her parents.”
Shadow Walker replied, “Great. I’ve had enough blackberries anyway.”
They began to stroll off. Once they judged to be far enough away, they split up and stalked back to the blackberry thicket from two sides, like the pincers of a crab or the jaws of a cougar. Weapons drawn, they moved only when the wind stirred.
For his part, Shadow Walker was sure their “mystery guest” was human. At first, he considered that it might be a small child from the Veritas hiding among the old stems of the blackberry bush hoping to overhear some adult talk that could be shared with friends. It would be a secret kind of knowledge and the child would gain status but providing this little seed of truth. His friends would plant that seed in their play activity and eventually try to grow a story, or even a whole moon’s worth of inter-related stories. A smile flitted across his face as he recalled doing this himself. As he re-neared the blackberry bush however, the sounds seemed too loud to be caused by the movements of a child. Whether child or adult or someone in between, the sounds were far too unskilled to be anyone from among the Veritas.
For her part, Many Paths considered a large, clumsy animal to be the most likely cause of the sound. She kept imagining various animals and dismissing them, one by one. At last, she was left with an odd sensation. What is this thing, she wondered. It’s clumsy, large, but … apparently wants to stay hidden. It can’t be a boar who would simply crash out. She noticed the teeny hairs on the back of her neck stood up as though a sudden chill wind stirred.
In a single moment: a scrambling figure in a dark cloak; a trap sprung, the jaws snapped together; scrambling, strong but ineffective struggler; same figure pinned by Shadow Walker while Many Paths stood near with long knife close enough to the stranger’s face that he could not avoid seeing it. “Who are you?” Shadow Walker insisted but the stranger screamed something back that was completely unintelligible. Shadow Walker looked at his adversary more closely and realized that he seemed vaguely familiar. He glanced at Many Paths. “This man is Z-Lotz or at least is dressed as one. This is exactly how the priests dressed. I saw a few on execution day. Some “priests” making a sport out of killing innocent people.” He turned back to the priest. “So, why are you here?” Then, he realized speaking in Veritas would not reveal much. He tried to think back to his time in captivity — and as king — where he had learned a bit of Z-Lotz. At last, he said haltingly, “You Z-Lotz. This is Veritas. You Z-Lotz. Why? Why you are here? What do you desire? Blackberries? I don’t think so!”
Many Paths glanced at Shadow Walker. His face: a storm front; his forearm ready for a deadly strike. “Shadow Walker, my dear heart. I do believe this man has some very useful information for us. I’m quite curious to hear his story, just like you. But let’s hear the story to see whether it satisfies us. If it does, we may chat still more. If and when his story gets woven into some web of lies, we will recreate this wonderful scene and you will be free to break his throat if you wish.” During this time, the arrow eyes of Many Paths connected completely with Shadow Walker. She did not even glance at the Z-Lotz.
Shadow Walker nodded, “Well said Many Paths. That is the wiser course. Now, who are you?” Shadow Walker grimaced as he remembered the language barrier and he repeated his last question in that tongue. “You name is?”
“OLIE” the subdued man replied.
Many Paths drew near. Removed her dagger from the sightline of OLIE but kept it close at hand. “I am curious how you came to be here. You must have a good tale to tell. It isn’t at all common to see an individual Z-Lotz. So, go on. Earn your dinner with your tale. We have more to offer than blackberries.”
Shadow Walker narrowed his eyes and stared at Many Paths. What is she doing, he asked himself. She’s being nice to him. Why? Another part of his brain was processing the reactions of the stranger. Many Paths is being nice on purpose. She thinks he may volunteer the truth. I should have thought of that as well. Then, once again, the thought struck him that he could be more effective in life, if he would sometimes ask himself, “What would Many Paths do?”
Shadow Walker’s attention now zoomed in on what the man OLIE was saying. Shadow Walker listened intently, but still couldn’t comprehend very well so he asked the man to supplement his telling with the more universal sign language. The stranger complied and Shadow Walker found he could apparently understand the basics of what was being said. Shadow Walker made it clear that he could get up and they would sit together but not to run. Here then, is OLIE’s tale. Shadow Walker translated to Many Paths.
“I was born, of course, in Read-It, the chief and most populous home of the Z-Lotz. My family was in the priest class and I did well in my studies so that I became a priest as well. I’m here basically because there is nowhere else to go. Read-It is gone. Z-Lotz are gone. I mean, most are. Many died in a plague. Then, we — ?! You are he! You are the king who left! Never in history has someone volunteered to step down. There was much chaos about the line of succession. Finally, the priests stepped in and said, “Look. This is absurd. We’re killing each other off. We should all work together as one team. When he said, ‘all’ he meant men. Men. Not women. So, the priests took over, including me. But soon, women started rebelling. The priests had gone too far, and fighting and chaos broke out. Many wanted to kill the priests. I barely escaped with my life! I didn’t have time to even grab my robes. I only had a simple shirt. But I found this on a dead priest. I looked at him and thought how that could be me. I took his cloak. I was hungry. I ate some blackberries. Then I heard someone coming. You two. So, I hid among the blackberry stems.”
To Shadow Walker the story seemed plausible, but he knew that did not make it true. It could just as well be that he’s really here to find out where our defenses are, how many of us are there, what are good places to attack from. Or, he could be bearing another sort of poison for us — different but equally effective as the last nasty stuff they left behind. He glanced at Many Paths. If she were having similar thoughts, nothing in her face gave such thoughts away. Shadow Walker realized that his own face was not so well trained as that of Many Paths. He replaced his angry face with an inscrutable one. Over the next few minutes, Shadow Walker noticed both that OLIE continued to become apparently more relaxed and that after he put a neutral face on, OLIE began to glance at him as well.
At the same time, Shadow Walker decided he would test whether OLIE truly understood Veritas. He added this phrase to his translation to Many Paths: “I wonder whether we’d be better off torturing him for information. That’s what they do.” He carefully observed the face of the priest and saw no clue there that OLIE had understood. Many Paths frowned and then her eyes widened. Shadow Walker added quickly, “Sorry. I was just testing whether he knows Veritas.” Again, he looked carefully at OLIE and saw no sign that he did.
After a long silence, Many Paths spoke, using Shadow Walker as her interpreter. She said that she appreciated his story. She said that she would like to learn more about the Z-Lotz. She said that she would like to invite him to a dinner where he could feast on more than blackberries. But she explained that not everyone in her tribe would be immediately trusting of the Z-Lotz. She described the strange stuff that had been given as a “gift” but that destroyed the arms of Stone Chipper. She described the plague which had nearly killed one of the tribe elders, their former chief, She Who Saves Many Lives. She did not describe how her own brother T-Swift had been stolen by the ROI as part of their agreement with the Z-Lotz.
“I see. Yes.” OLIE’s reply seemed insightful, yet blind. Shadow Walker & Many Paths waited for him to elaborate; perhaps, even to apologize. OLIE made no move to flee, nor did he seem to show any interest in conversing. He glanced back at the blackberry bush. Despite the predations of at least the three of them, there were still plenty of berries left.
Many Paths smiled. “Let us return to the Center Place of the Veritas. I will introduce you to a few people first and explain your circumstances so that you will be safe. In order to do that, and ensure your safety, it will necessary to know a little more. Do you believe you are being pursued by any of the Z-Lotz?”
OLIE made a quick, almost ritual, shake of his head. “No. No-one would bother. People are hungry and tired of fighting as well. For a short time, it seemed as though we might conquer the disease. Just as you said.” Here, the man looked directly at Shadow Walker. “But, you see, there was the matter of who was to be leader. After you left, fighting broke out. Many wanted to claim the throne. The fighting meant … everyone got close to everyone and there was little time for medicine or rest. Some few, including me, never got sick. We may have claimed…some may have claimed that it was because they followed God’s directives more fervently. At first, this sounded like a good plan. Many tried to be more pious, but they got sick anyway. And, then, they became quite angry with us. They were angry at the priests who had given such useless advice, but the anger spread to all priests.”
OLIE paused and looked down. Shadow Walker & Many Paths glanced at each other. “The priests are perhaps responsible partly. But…” He glanced at Shadow Walker. “When you left so suddenly and unexpectedly….it made everything worse. We didn’t know what to do. We made up new rules and tried to give the men privileges. They were pleased, but eventually, it backfired. Too much violence. My faith…? I don’t know. I don’t know. But without the Book, without God, what is there? Once the people stopped doing what we said, how could they be in tune with God. Imagine what would happen to your people with no-one to tell them how to interpret the Book.”
Many Paths looked intently at OLIE’s face. She was astounded. Many Path saw no hint that OLIE was trying to deceive her. Yet, it seemed to her impossible that the Z-Lotz, or at least this one, would know so little about the people they made their enemy. She frowned. Could they possibly know that the Veritas had no real “Priest Class”? Could it be that the Z-Lotz hadn’t known that the Veritas were ignorant of books until a few months ago? Or, that everyone among the Veritas created or discovered their own relationship to the Great Tree of Life? She took a deep breath. She tried not to scoff at OLIE’s apparent ignorance but instead to use it as a guide to reflecting on her own ignorance. What had she, or indeed, any of the Veritas, known even a few years ago about the Z-Lotz or the ROI or the Cupiditas? About the Fierce and Formidable warriors from the frigid north or the Nomads of the desert? The Veritas had not even known for certain that there were more Veritas on the other side of the mountain. Many Paths thought back to the empathy test that required them to try to see the world through the eyes of various animals. Even before those tests for the Rings, every hunter learned the ways of those who would be prey or predator. How was it then that the Veritas as well as the Z-Lotz had learned so little of the ways of their neighbors?
You and I and King Cobra and Queen Anne’s Lace and every other living thing on earth are small and temporary little leaves on the ancient (4.5 billion years and counting), vast, and diverse Tree of Life. Typically, you know a lot more about the neighborhood surrounding your little leaf than you do about mine and vice versa. Yet, I may discover things that are of use to you. And, you may discover things that are of use to me. So, humans, have one gift that is valuable above all others.
But before we explore what that valuable gift is, let me ask you a question about how you would react to a hypothetical.
Suppose you were so poor that you barely had enough to eat, no clothes to wear, a small damp cave for shelter. You were cold in the winter and hot in the summer. Now, suppose I gave you a magic ring that changed all that. If you wear this ring — voila! — you now have clean water and sufficient food and plenty of clothes and a house that really shelters you from the extremes of the environment. In return, you must wear the magic ring at all times. If you remove the ring, your life reverts immediately.
How tempted would you be to throw that magic ring in the toilet?
Yet, that is precisely what many people do.
And, if a sufficient number of people throw away the ring, everyone will essentially live the life of a beast.
That “magic” ring is, like most rings, circular. It represents the whole of humanity. It represents the family. It represents a club, a marriage, a lodge, a company, a church, a school, a class, a group of friends. It represents our respect for each other as human beings. It represents our ability to communicate with each other.
You could call that ring love and I wouldn’t object. It need not be imbued with so much positivity that people feel love. But it must be overall positive. It represents truth. It represents empathy. Love is strong and it can overcome both a few misdeeds by everyone and many misdeeds by a few. But if lies become more commonplace than truths, civilization will run downhill and eventually cease.
Similarly, if hate and fear and contempt are how we mostly regard each other, the marriage, the family, the club, the school, the church, the party, the lodge, the company, the group of friends will eventually disintegrate. In many cases, it would disintegrate into a self-destructive war except that most people will stop themselves because they don’t want to be ostracized or jailed by the larger society. If, however, the entire society becomes rife enough with hate and fear, no one will come to anyone else’s rescue.
Our entire survival depends on our gift, our ring, our community, our country, our fellow human beings.
Our gift is not our lightning speed of running.
Our ring is not our ability to out-swim the shark.
Our gift is not our powerful jaws, or our steel strong talons.
It is our ability to communicate with each other by sharing experiences. It is truth, caring, and cooperation. That is our one gift that enabled us to survive and thrive.
A democracy can take many specific forms. What it is, at base, is that it recognizes the gift as a fundamental value to be cherished and used. The fundamental purpose is to ensure that government is aware of and takes into account how policies and people and processes actually impact people who live in the democracy. In a representative democracy, the people, in turn, can vote for people to represent them. They can vote for any reason they like; e.g., because they admire a particular person; they believe they will do a competent job; they like the candidate’s promised policy changes; they find that the candidate reminds them of his funny old uncle Al who always had the best candy on offer.
No democracy is perfect. There has to be in its structure and processes more truth than lie; more empathy than indifference; more love than hate; more hope than fear. In some democracies, there are basically two parties; others have dozens. Parties may differ on philosophies, priorities, platforms, programs, etc.
A “party” who rejectsdemocracy itself however, is not an actual political party. The term “political party” only makes sense in the context of a democracy. If “elections” are determined by those in power, they are not actual elections and there is no party. It’s just a group of thugs who want to rule by hate and fear and lies. That is not a political party. It is not a legitimate part of a political process. They want to throw the ring away in the toilet. They want to subvert the truth to lies. They want to severely limit love and enhance fear and hate. They divide rather than unify. Oh, and guess what else? Historically, they want war. They will ensure that war just as Putrid is doing right now.
Democracies have also been known to start wars. When they do, it’s often based on lies. As communication has become more ubiquitous, it has been harder and harder for democracies to lie, cheat, and be cruel. Most people don’t want that! Most people want there to be more truth, love, caring, and cooperation. There are plenty of differences about how to go about that. That’s fine. That’s just the sort of difficult and messy problem that democracy is particularly less bad than any other system.
As I said, I really think most people prefer interacting in a caring and cooperative way. We see that it’s more effective in getting things done and it simply feels better for everyone. For that reason, dick-tater-$hits have to provide lies to help assuage the consciences of its citizens. “Oh, they are all murderers and rapists! You shouldn’t feel bad about being cruel to them!” Another favorite is: “Oh, they aren’t really human beings, the way we are. No need to treat them any better than a fox trying to steal your chickens!”
Needless to say, this ploy completely fails on many people and isn’t completely effective on anyone. Any time you’re cruel, whatever story you tell yourself about it, you know you are destroying a bit of yourself. Except, what you are really destroying is something much vaster than a bit of yourself. In fact, what you are destroying is something much vaster than all of yourself. What you are destroying by being cruel, whatever story you tell yourself is the human branch of the Tree of Life. Lies weaken that branch. Cruelty weakens that branch. Bullying weakens that branch. So too does cowardice.
The architecture of karma shows that the future impact of your present day behavior is much greater in scope than your present impact. Behaving well is in your interest because what you are is essentially a very small and very temporary part of that ancient, vast, and diverse Tree of Life. The more you can enhance that tree with truth and love, the better for the whole tree.
Don’t throw away the ring. Wear it proudly. It is truly an amazing gift!
Today, I decided to change up the photo scene so I walked to a nearby State Park. Some nice flowers presented themselves on route. For instance, the bright yellow flowers under the bright blue sky reminded me of the bravery of Ukraine.
When I arrived at the park, two flags I am proud of greeted me. Of course, it doesn’t mean the State of California is perfect — nor is the USA. But most of us at least are trying to make them better.
I was also rewarded with beautiful flowering trees on my walk on the park.
Many bright beautiful flowers also greeted me in my walk in the park.
Some of the beautiful flowers who greeted me on my walk in the park (as well as on the way there) showed their support for Ukraine and the bravery of her people.
The most beautiful gift of my walk was completely unexpected— a very large & very colorful celebration in an Indian tradition. I strongly suspect it was a wedding since I noticed a nearby restroom said “grooms”; people were in a good mood; the celebration included all ages; and everyone looked beautiful.
In addition to the color fest, a band arrived and played beautiful music beautifully! I thought about trying to record some. Where this picture was taken isn’t far from the highway. Since it was behind me, it was easy to block that noise out with my brain. It would be far harder for you listening to it on your device though.
The walk in the park also reminded me how wonderful is the music made by little children. It is the same music regardless of language if you listen with your heart.
Once more, I find myself grateful that humanity survived & thrived in so many diverse ways. So many solutions to so many problems! Amazing wealth of experience! We can become wise at a whole new level — if we are respectful and kind to each other. Is that too much to ask? I really don’t think it is too much to ask.
I love also the way plants have invented so many solutions to so many problems. We have much more to learn from them — and each other — than we can currently even imagine.
For example, I saw this “Wild Cucumber” as I began my walk home, still enjoying the music & the chattering children. This plant uses hydrostatic pressure to shoot its seeds out at 11 meters/sec. We can learn much from every living thing — including other humans.
After some delicate and delicious love-making with Shadow Walker, Many Paths decided to check on She Who Saved Many Lives. If she seemed well enough, it might also be good to see whether her mentor had any further wisdom to share about Many Path’s plan to gather all the tribes. Her goal was to bring about peace but she realized that in trying to accomplish that, she might trigger the very things she hoped to avoid. Her tentative plan was therefore to gather as much wisdom as she might from many sources — but not to wait overlong. As the story goes, she thought to herself, if you waste the entire warm season deciding where to plant, you will starve in the season of great ice and snow.
Many Paths called out to her friend and mentor and received a surprisingly strong and cheery response. “Come in, Many Paths. Come in! I’ve been meaning to ask your advice about something. Do sit down. I will get you a cup of tea this time.”
Not for the first time, Many Paths wondered whether it was actually possible for She Who Saved Many Lives to see into her heart and mind. After serving them both a cup of spicebush tea, ever so slightly flavored with mint, She Who Saved Many Lives went to her work area and brought over two patches of weaving. She placed one on each knee of Many Paths. The older woman smiled and said, “It never fails to amaze me how strong a weave of reeds is! It’s so wonderful. Just as I hope our community is.”
“I have had that exact same though,” Many Paths replied. Then, she laughed and added, “Likely because you pointed that out to me before I was even old enough to remember.”
The Elder Shaman tilted her head and nodded ever so slightly. “Perhaps. But you have made so many wonderful discoveries. And, not only you but the entire tribe. That’s because you have been open to learning and seeing what is there. But enough of that. I did have a question for you. Which of these two do you think is better?”
Many Paths frowned. “Better for what? What are you making?”
She Who Saved Many Lives considered, “A basket to carry things.”
Many Paths nodded, “What things and how many? This weave has these stiffer switches to help support the weight. If you’re making a small bag to collect mint, for example, you wouldn’t have any need. If you’re making a large bag to collect apples, however, you would want the extra structuring support.”
She Who Saved Many Lives nodded. “Yes, yes. That sounds obvious when you say it. I guess the fever must have addled my brain a bit. Anyway, thank you for reminding me. Soon, I will have to decide on what I want to use the bag for; then I will know which one is likely correct. Now, what did you want to ask my advice on?”
Many Paths took in a deep breath and slowly let it out. “I am quite sure I didn’t say anything about asking your advice.”
She Who Saved Many Lives nodded. “I think you’re right. Sometimes I confuse us.” She laughed. “I know it sounds crazy but any way, I will get back to my weaving — or at least deciding why I’m weaving and let you go about your business — unless, of course, there was something else you wanted to talk about.”
Many Paths chuckled. “As it turns out, I did want to ask your advice about something. You know I want to convene a — Let me ask you another question first. Are you going to teach me how to see into another person’s mind?”
She Who Saved Many Lives laughed surprisingly long. At last, she caught her breath and said, “Many Paths! You won all seven rings of empathy! Of course, you can see into others. Of course, you can never be perfect at it. But you already do it. I knew you were busy. Yet you came to see me. You probably wanted to see whether I was dead or not, but even your footsteps and the way you called out told me you had something else on your mind. In fact, whether you knew it or not, you assumed I was alive. There was no edge of anxious worry in your voice. It was friendly — but also a bit — plaintive. I knew you wanted something from me. Now, you can see I have very few possessions. I find too many to be intolerably distracting. I am not going to help you with any arduous physical task. What is left? You want to offer me the opportunity to share my experiences; that is a great gift. For once we die, what else is left? So, naturally, I am more than willing to try to see what grows from our discussion.”
Many Paths looked down and slowly shook her head. She realized that she could read people. She simply forgot sometimes to do it. If you really take the time to put yourself in their sandals, of course, you can make a good guess at what they’re thinking, she thought. Aloud, she said, “Yes. You’re right. So, I want to convene the tribes and I am wondering how, exactly, to go about it. How can I make sure it helps bring greater peace and doesn’t somehow spark off violence. Maybe it’s better not to try?”
She Who Saved Many Lives replied, “I can say that no-one has attempted to bring all the tribes we know about together — not in my lifetime or the lifetime of my mother or the lifetime of my mother’s mother. During that time, there have been many wars and other atrocities. People stealing other people’s children? Even in our own tribe, we had some who forgot they were not the Tree of Life but a small and temporary part of the Tree of Life. I judge it’s worth the attempt.”
Many Paths. “As to how…?”
She Who Saved Many Lives said, “What comes to mind for what you are trying to do is more akin to growing things than it is to making things. I am making a basket, and I will use it for a time. I don’t ever imagine that it will live forever any more than that I will or you, my dear. But if I know your heart correctly, you don’t want to make a thing, which will at some time break or dissolve. You want to make something grow for a hundred years, like a giant oak. Ideally, it would be an oak that would seed still more oaks when old mother oak also died.”
Many Paths nodded. She realized that her mentor had described her desires precisely even though she herself could not have articulated so succinctly. “Yes, that’s exactly right.”
She Who Saved Many Lives nodded. “Let’s suppose then that you want to plant something so that it’s likely to grow. What do you need?”
“A seed. Fertile ground. Water. Sun. That’s it. Is there more? Love! It’s all more likely to grow with love.”
She Who Saved Many Lives nodded. “Yes. That’s it. I would start with the love. You already have that. Then, you need to know what seed. The seed determines what will grow though not exactly how. But you will need the ground, water, and sun so it can grow at all.”
Many Paths continued the thought stream. “If you know what the seed is, then, you know what kind of place to look for. You know whether you need to plant it in bright sunlight or in shade. You know whether it needs very fertile ground or if it can grow in dirt and rocks. And, you know whether it needs to be in very wet ground or if arid ground will do.”
“Yes,” Many Paths, “and it occurs to me, that you might choose a place with enough light first, because, you can make the ground more fertile and bring more water, if need be. But brining light is more difficult.” She Who Saved Many Paths sighed. “Once, apparently, we knew how to bring light as those which lit the tunnel that leads to the Veritas on the … on the other side of the mountain.”
“I do wonder, Old Mother, whether such light would is strong enough to grow plants. And then, Shadow Walker used reflections of the sun, along with other captives, to escape from the City of the Z-Lotz. It seems too contrived and elaborate for growing plants, but … perhaps writing is a little like that when it comes to providing enough truth so that peace can grow. It allows you to bring the light of wisdom to places that are many days walk from where they started. More importantly, you can place the light in a different time as well. We have all learned so much from the books uncovered in the great library. But, as usual, you are right. We must determine what type of thing we want to grow. That decision will determine the type of seed. The type of seed will determine the proper material, sunshine, and water.”
Many Paths arose and began pacing around in the Old Leader’s shelter. “Of course, since the outcome could impact everyone, I need to know how everyone believes it should be. Or, at least, find out as much as they know about how they want it to be.”
“Yes.” She Who Saved Many Lives considered for a moment before answering. “I suspect some will have many ideas about that while others may not care that much. Nearly everyone wants peace. On other matters, there may be great differences.”
Many Paths sat back down. The two sat in a comfortable silence for a time. Many Paths rose at last and said, “Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I will look for some to walk with me a bit and contemplate the plants and their nature and try to see among them what it is that the people may be seeking. I’m glad you seem so much better.”
“As am I, Many Paths. You know, you give me much to live for.” She Who Saved Many Lives smiled and added, “But I do think I will lie down for a nap now. Though some time in the near future, I might accompany you on such a walk.”
Many Paths left and saw Shadow Walker coming toward her. From the look on his face, Many Paths judged he had some news. His smile broadened as he approached and he said, “Hello my love! Can we go for a bit of a walk?”