than people. The trees would take the woman’s remorse to the universe and return it to her as energy to face life. This was the reason for the ceremony; she would pour her grief into one of these giants leaving it there so she might heal. Ahead of her stood the giant sentinel standing in the forest. The woman drew a deep breath at the sight. Dark, rippled brown bark blanketed the trunk. Deep grooves lined the massive circumference. Enormous limbs reached for the sky above forming an intricate mesh of veins carrying warmth and water to nourish the chief. The leaves of the giant were jade jewels perfectly draping the chief like a robe. Some of the leaves pointed upward, sending life giving oxygen into the atmosphere, while all turned poisons into nourishing air. The woman quickened her step. When she reached the tree she threw her arms around the trunk. The bark was rough against her cheek. The sharpness pressed into her skin bringing back her awareness of her life and memories of her child. As she wept, the woman inhaled a deep breath and filled her lungs with the air of healing. When she exhaled she let out a loud, long, wailing cry. She put into the cry all the dark monster’s hurt, all the dark monster’s pain. Completely spent, she collapsed to her knees and drew her hand slowly over the bark, caressing. She sank to the moss covered earth. A relieving sigh followed as the woman felt the dark monster leave her soul. There was no other sound in the forest but the sound of the woman. It was as if the animals stopped their noises in a moment of silence. The woman looked skyward and said a quiet prayer of thanksgiving in her mind. Using the tree as support the woman rose to face the world. The woman walked back through the forest with the medicine of the forest healing her spirit. She knew in time she would feel happy and whole again. The happy memories of her child would always be in her heart - By going to the forest she placed them there. She put the tragedy somewhere for Creation to take care of. The woman would not pick it up again or let it wash over her spirit. She felt strong enough to face the preparations for her child’s journey. She had left the dark monster in the forest and received rejuvenation for her soul. The sun shone through the leaves of the forest dappling her path. Her faith in Creation had been restored; now she must restore order to her life.
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