The woods called to me. They sang a song, an ancient song, for the first time. It enveloped me, stirred my heart strings, urged me onward.
I took a step. A second step. And before I knew it I was thrust deep into the soul of the woods, where darkness was both friend and lover. The path ahead was singular, and clear.
I came to a clearing, and though I had just begun my journey, I knew I was halfway to the end of this beginning. In the center of the clearing grew a single willow tree with dark leaves that straddled the floor and hid its deep, deep roots.
Blood pumping, heart heaving, I approached it. The silence of the woods was like the bated breath of a lover. The tree beckoned.
I tentatively touched the trunk and saw the memories of the beginning and end flow through me and I sighed, a great sigh of contentment, and in response, the trunk knotted free and created an opening big enough for my hand to slip through.
Within I found this.
A ring, knotted and sculpted like the willow trees ancient trunk. It shone brightly silver, stark in its simplicity. I bowed my head and accepted the soul of the tree, which I would carry unto my dying days.
The willow tree then hummed, a sound that reverberated through me, soothing my tempered heart. The sound which carried me away, up into the light.
I woke up and she loomed closer, the gentle smile on her lips which I remember well. I gently held my hand up to her.