Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Meeting the Stranger Dragon

Once upon a time, in a land much like this one, there lived a person of which many things could be said and were often said; depending upon whom was doing the talking.  But in actuality, no one really knew her.  On this particular day she dressed choosing her outfit carefully.  Kissing her children goodbye, she straightened her crown and headed quickly to court to begin her day.

It was a lovely autumn day, warm with a light breeze.  The sun shown on her golden hair making her feel warm and little happy for just a minute.  But truth be told, she barely noticed, not even on this day, her birthday.  She arrived at court to be greeted with a flurry of activity.  A preparation of sorts was underway, for a visitor she would meet for the very first time, a stranger she thought.

That morning she was nervous and fretful for many reasons.  Some of the reasons she knew and understood well, while others were a complete mystery to her.  She was perplexed and out of sorts, not something she was accustomed to feeling.  But, being a somewhat stubborn person, used to pushing her way through things successfully, and creating things from her shear will, she ignored the feelings of the morning and soldiered on.

Ignoring the court jester on her way in, she was debriefed by several advisors.   Finally after a rather unproductive conversation with Merlin, she quickly retreated to the parlor for a few moments.  Here she did a very uncharacteristic thing; she removed her crown.

If you ask her now, she would say she has always done this before meetings with strangers, but that is revisionist history at best.  If you asked her back then why she did it, she would not have had an answer for you and would have stared at you blankly.   Needless to say, asking her then or now would bear no truth.  The only truth is that it was the first time she had done such a thing.

The visitor arrived as she was entering court from the parlor.  She heard him while nearly simultaneously seeing him.  Here is the part no one will believe, nor should they, for this moment belongs to her alone; but I share it with you at her bequest.  She received a double shock to her system upon first hearing his voice, then seeing his face. But no, shock is not the right word, it is not the word she would use.  She actually does not have a word for what happened but rather an impossible picture, perhaps better described as a feeling,  flashed in her mind; twice, nearly simultaneously.

Upon hearing his voice, a picture of home flashed before her mind.  A place, matched with a person, matched with a feeling, of belonging, safety, sweetness, and calm.  The picture was so vivid, she could smell the air, see the light, and taste the goodness of it.  Upon seeing his face, the picture expanded, filling itself with immense emotion.  Feelings made tangible and solid, so strong she could actually see strength, freedom, and truth along with tables for food and chairs for conversation.  But these are words that mean little and barely do justice to the picture she saw and felt and touched…and loved.

It is a curious thing to be shown such a wonderful picture by a stranger in such a public way.  For she was so unprepared for what had happened to her, assuming anyone can be prepared for such a thing, that the meeting which took place with the stranger after that was a blur for her.  Although she has been assured that she performed quite well in her duties, she could not attest to the accuracy of those assurances.  Even now she struggles to remember much of that time except for the voice, the face, and the resulting pictures.

In the end, the stranger left, her court and her children grew, and the queen cherished the pictures and lived in them all alone.

Time marched on, but the pictures never faded.  One day, a handsomely fierce and dangerously fiery dragon came into the village.  He announced himself proudly, as fantastic trouble and mysterious loneliness.  He bounded around loudly without regard for her kingdom, her court or her children.   He blew a perilous fire that seemed to threaten everything the Queen held dear.

The queen tried everything to rid her realm of him. She tried fighting the dragon by sending her knights, but the dragon was too strong.  She tried outsmarting the dragon by sending her best advisors, but the dragon was too smart.  She tried bribing the dragon with food, wine, and riches, but he gobbled up all she sent and was ravenous for more.  She even tried hiding from him, but he seemed to be drawing nearer with each action she took.  She put all her effort into banishing the dragon from her kingdom, but nothing seemed to work.

She had nearly given up all hope, when she thought of the pictures, her pictures, the pictures that the stranger had given to her.  She was more afraid than she had ever been in her entire life.  If she revealed the pictures to the dragon, he might take them away from her or he might destroy them.  Worse yet he might laugh and think her pictures worthless, something that she knew would finish her completely.

After much contemplation, she did what had to be done; she went personally to meet the dragon.

The dragon was standing on the beach looking out at the ocean, his back to her.  Trembling, the Queen approached him.  She cleared her throat.  She opened her mouth and began to speak.  As the dragon turned around, he first heard her voice, then, nearly simultaneously he saw her face.  The pictures came flowing out of her and into the dragon.  The dragon stood still for a moment, a very long moment, a moment so long that it stretched over time and space and took forever within a second.

Then the dragon smiled.

The dragon took the queen into his arms, and for the first time, there on the beach, the stranger and the queen stood together inside of the picture and kissed.