Barefoot, she silently padded along the wet stone path, ancient boughs reaching out above her, shielding her from the sharp needles of a heavy rain.
She is surrounded and embraced by the greens and browns of the forest, damp and pungent, the earthy scents filling her being with nature's miracles.
Birdsong brings a smile to her rosy lips as she imagines the birds are singing just for her, urging her forward down this meandering path as if toward her destiny. The air is cool but she feels no discomfort. She realizes that her clothes must be wet, and they should be heavy and sticking to her skin, but instead she feels silk and satin against her body.
With each seemingly weightless step she takes, her toes press into the slick stone, memorizing each vein and crack as if they were a map leading her to her destination, her future. What should have been an ordinary walk through a beautiful woods is something else entirely, this much she can somehow sense.
A gentle breeze caresses her face, bringing with it the sweet smell of unseen flowers hiding among the green of the woods. She cannot see them but she can picture them in her mind and loves them for their very existence. Here in the forest there is the eternal cycle of life and death, and life again, renewed.
In the distance she spies something standing in the center of her pathway, small, but blocking the way to her final destination, her future, her truth. Her easy gait falters; she is suddenly unsure of her journey. Feeling overwhelmed she pivots on her toes, her intention to follow the stone path back to its beginning. But to her surprise, the path has disappeared, in its place the forest, dark and impenetrable, surrounding her on all sides but one.
Now fearful, she turns back to her original direction and sucks in a quick breath, for there, before her, is an owl of such breadth and height as to be other-worldly. Standing motionless, his golden eyes large, perfectly round, he gazed back at her knowingly. She sensed that he was looking beyond her physical self, perhaps glimpsing her very soul.
Disconcerted, yet oddly comforted by the owl's presence, she took a moment to study him as he was studying her. Larger than any owl she had ever seen, she gazed with wonder upon his snowy white feathers, wanting to rub her cheeks across their silky softness. As if sensing her curiosity, the owl lifted and unfurled his wings, impressing her with their immense length.
He gathered his wings to him once again and turned his head 180 degrees, as if to show off his incredible ability. When once again he turned his regal head to face her, it was not his golden coin eyes she was looking into any longer, but instead, a reflection of herself. It was as if the owl's eyes had turned into a mirror, but one of magic, because the image she now saw of herself was vastly different than the woman she had glimpsed in her mirror that very morning.
Gone were the flaws that marked her skin, leaving her face unlined and glowing with youth. Gone were the many extra pounds of flesh, her body now beautifully rounded and curved, but healthy. She also felt an inner peace, her heart filled to overflowing with love given and received unconditionally.
She was beautiful. Both inside and out. For the first time in her life she felt total comfort within herself. Never did she want to break this image of herself; she longed to sit here with this owl for all time, for it was only here that she could ever be this happy, this content.
The owl blinked once, and when his eyes opened once more, she saw something new in the reflection, something she was sure had not been there before. Standing behind her was a man, tall and broad, wavy black hair flowing beautifully in the soft breeze. His eyes were of turquoise seas, clear and bright, looking directly into those of the owl. One of his long-fingered hands rested lightly, gently, on her shoulder, their only physical connection.
Suddenly confused, she shouted out, "I don't understand any of this! Why is this happening to me?"
And amazingly the owl answered her plea.
"You have come on this journey for a reason. You thought yourself unworthy of love and beauty and refused to see that you have always possessed these traits. I lured you here in the guise of a dream to show you what your future could be if only you believed in yourself .
The reflection you've seen in my eyes, the feelings of peace and love, have not been of your own perspective. The man behind you. This is what he sees, what he feels when he looks at you. In his eyes you are utter perfection and truest love. You are his every dream, his sole desire, the half that completes him.
The man behind you? He is your future, if only you are brave enough to believe it is so."
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