THE FORK IN THE ROAD - Bettye Johnson (Copyright)
One morning I awoke and knew this was the day I would seek my future. I looked around my house and already noticed the cobwebs and dust forming and I told myself, 'this is the past.' I walked outside and became aware the atmosphere seemed different. I shrugged my shoulders and went outside the gate without closing it. As I walked on the road, everything appeared to be different. It was the same, but not the same. Strange. My energy was high and I felt a lightness in my chest, or as some would say, my heart. I became unaware of time and as I became aware of the road, I noticed it began to narrow. Soon I came to a fork in the road.
Perplexed, I paused to ponder which path I would take. Hmm, two paths. Is this what is meant in the old song "I'll take the high road and you'll take the low road…?" Swiftly my decision came and I chose the road to the right. After what seemed a long time, I came to a river with a path bridge over it. I was about to step on it, when a troll-like figure came out from under the bridge and shouted to me, "Halt! Ye cannot pass until you pay the toll!"
I was amazed at this little figure with his gnarled body something like an old wizened stunted tree. He stood there glaring up at me. He only came to my knee. Looking at me from under busy brows and eyes somewhat beady, he held out a blackened pot. "In here," he said in a booming, crackly-like voice. "Yew'll not pass until yew pay me a toll."
Upon realizing I had not brought any money with me, I showed him my empty pockets. "I, I have no money to pay you," I managed to say while he glared at me with baleful eyes. "I want none of yare money. T'would do me no good. No, I want yare hidden treasure – that which yew thinks none would know." And he cackled a loud booming sort of laugh.
"I, I don't understand what you mean by hidden treasure." I stood perplexed while my mind was working in a flash review to understand what hidden treasure this troll might want. He continued to glare and finally said, "I want all yare guilt. I want all yare hidden, shameful acts. I want all yare jealousies." He again cackled an odd-like laugh while continuing to hold the pot before me. Searching within my memory, old hurts and resentments began surfacing. The odd troll cackled his raucous laugh again. "He, he. Spit 'em out. Spit 'em out in the pot. T'will give me a feast to eat this day."
Slowly I began spitting the words out into the pot. I finally felt emptied. "Yare holding back!" he shouted as he jumped up and down. "Spit it out! Spit it out!" Again, I searched within my mind and I remembered I had found a coin purse on the sidewalk in a far off place when I was so young and unworldly. I had not attempted to find the owner and kept it. It had bought me a bag of candy. Could this be it? I thought. The wizened old troll cackled it again. Ye see? Ye did have one more old treasure and I want it. Spit it out!" Following his directions, I spit it in the pot and looked at him.
Still cackling his raucous laugh, he stepped aside and I crossed the bridge. I noticed the road was getting wider and the landscape appeared to be bright with a shining sun. I became aware of a field of flowers that were the colors of the rainbow and my heart began palpitating with excitement. I was approaching another river and there was a footbridge to cross, but ahead of me on the bridge stood a regal figure in a long robe. In his hand, he held a staff carved with many symbols. As I neared, he held the staff up and shouted, "Ye cannot pass this way!" Shocked with surprise, I halted. Somehow, I knew he was a wizard with his long white beard and silvery white hair that flowed down to his shoulders. Of course, he wore a long midnight blue robe trimmed in gold at the hem, the edges of the sleeves and around the neck. Then I looked into his eyes and could not move my eyes away from his. I felt I locked into a vise of power and I was.
Somehow, I found my voice and asked him if he was a wizard. "And what if I am?" he replied. I managed to stammer that I was seeking my future and surely crossing this bridge would assist me. Never moving his eyes away from mine, I felt him smile a bit. With a flash, he disappeared and there before me was an old bent man wearing what looked to appear as old threadbare pants and shirt with tears and holes in them. His long white hair was a tangled mess and his long beard was yellowed and as he opened his mouth, I noticed gaping spaces where there should have been teeth. He was holding a branch of a tree as his staff. I gasped and found myself speechless. "So ye want to see a wizard. And what do yew think a wizard should look like? Suddenly with a quick flick of his staff, my eyes were released from him and instantly in front of me was an old woman dressed in the long midnight blue robe trimmed in gold. Her hair was white as snow and was wrapped around her head in a braid. A gold crown was perched on the top of her head. Beside him – uh her was a stand with a big thick book opened to a page. I gulped and I think my eyes bugged out. With a tinkly-like chuckle, she asked me whom I was expecting. I was so flabbergasted that I could not answer.
She smiled in a gentle way and asked me, "Do you think all wizards are men? Don't you know that there is a large cadre of female wizards?" I shook my head with a no nod and she continued speaking. "We are the Sisterhood of the Way." The way? I was about to ask about the way when with a long pointy finger, she began turning the pages. "Hmm," she uttered. "Here is a future that might fit you. I see some trouble in this one."
"Trouble?" I squeaked. "Oh no sir, I mean madam , I do not want trouble. I have lived enough trouble in the past."
Looking at the book again, she turned a few more pages and I strained to see what kind of writing it was, but all I saw were blank pages. This perplexed me and I was about to say something when she stopped on a page and muttered, "This might fit what you are looking for." Quickly I asked, "Are there any wars?"
"Wars?" The wizard looked at me sadly before replying further. "Yes, there are wars but not major ones."
"Oh no, I cannot live that future. There has to be something more. I have seen all the wars I need to see." I replied.
With her long pointy finger, she turned some more pages. "Ah, here is one that fits you," she said as she again looked at me with is deep piercing eyes that were dark as dark as can be."Yes, it could be the one just for you."
I managed to say in a small voice, "What will this future be madam?" I really did not know how to address a wizard of the Way.
Now her eyes began twinkling a bit, as she looked at me. "This future is about the merging of science and spirituality into one."
"But madam, how can that be? There are so many religions and different ideologies." I managed to say.
"Ah, but that is changing in this future." The wizard looked at me with a sparkle in her eyes and went on to say, "It really depends on your level of acceptance."
"Acceptance?" I managed to stutter.
"Aye, acceptance." Too many people have a low level of acceptance and fail to see the miracles that abound around them."
"But madam, how can one see a miracle?"
The wizard locked her eyes on mine and I felt as though my feet were glued to the ground. "That's because the inner eyes are stuck on the past and the inner eye cannot see the miracles. You must turn away from the past. This is why you took the right fork in the road. You want a future and I have seen it for you. It is up to you to live it."
"But, how can I live it when I'm not sure what it is?" I managed to stutter.
"Ah, that is the journey and its mysteries to be unveiled. Before you leave, I will give you magic words. These can be used for either good or bad. It is up to you to remember the right use. These magic words are 'I Am.' These two powerful words determine your future."
"I am?" I squeaked with trepidation.
"Yes, I Am. If you were to say 'I Am tired' then you will be tired. However, if you were to say "I Am filled with energy,' then you will feel energetic. When you think I Am, remember to use it for what you want and never for what you do not want." The wizard looked at her book again. "Here are two more words that are powerful when used correctly, 'I know.' As an example, you can tell yourself, 'I know the right path to take," and you always will. The wizard closed her book and she moved aside so I could cross the bridge. I was about to step on to the bridge when she said, "P.S. Never look back. There are more forks in the road ahead and if you use the words I gave you, you will move into the future you seek."
Trembling, I stepped on to the bridge with my mind churning with what I had heard. I was in the middle of the bridge when I stopped and looked back to see if the wizard was still there and plop! I stumbled and almost fell off the bridge because there were no handrails. As I was attempting to pull myself back on the bridge because I was hanging on with my hands to the edge, I heard a roar of laughter and a voice boomed, "I told you to never look back!"