Thursday, October 13, 2016

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learning to burn part 6

Please begin at the beginning.

The council was surprisingly supportive of Ofonode's plan. They did attempt to assign a travel companion, but when Ughegbe urged them to allow the boy to go alone, they argued their desire no more.
Kokofeko's normal productive activities picked up as she began to gather things for Ofonode's journey. He was relieved that she was thinking for him because her efforts were more productive and efficient than his would have been. She included things in the pack she prepared that he wouldn't have thought to bring.

How will I leave the plateau, Auntie?”

That and your return, I believe, will be the most arduous of your journey. I want you to speak with Ifueko. She left the plateau when she was about your age and returned safely. She is the only one to do so with as few problems as she experienced. I think you can learn much from her.”

Do I know her, Auntie? I don't recognize the name.”

Perhaps not. She is a mother of many children and stays very busy caring for them. She will welcome you. I've already asked her to speak with you.”

Oh? When am I supposed to talk with her?”

Tomorrow evening. You should arrive to her dwelling just at sunset. She may still be busy putting her children to bed. She asked that you sit on the bench near the front door. If she's finished early, she will wait for you there.”

Okay. That sounds good.”


The next day passed slowly for Ofonode. His pack was full and he couldn't think of anything else to do in preparation for his journey. There were only a couple days until the day he planned to leave. He wondered if his conversation with Ifueko would change anything.


Ifueko was not waiting for him when he arrived, so he sat quietly as she'd told his aunt he should do. Ofonode daydreamed about finding the village of Ughegbe's wife. He thought he would surely find it pretty quickly because he was sure this was the path the Great Planner had in mind for him.

His hostess sat down and said his name before he realized she had joined him. “Yes. I am here.”
I see that. And deep in thought. Would you rather talk with me at another time?”

No. Now is best. I will depart in only another couple days. If I try to reschedule it may not happen and my aunt believes you may be able to help me return safely.

Yes. We all hope you will have success and return safely. Well, I guess the main and most important thing I have to tell you is that you must first travel away from the edge nearest us to find the easiest descent. It is definitely counter-intuitive because it seems you are making your journey longer. But, you see, before I left to visit the outer-land, I spoke with the three men who had departed our plateau and returned. They all fared poorly in their departure and sustained injuries. One of them found the path I urge you to take when he was returning to the village. The entrance was still there as of a month ago, so I believe the full way is intact.”

You visit the entrance?”

Sometimes a mother needs to run away. Not for good. And not so far that it takes too long to return. I have found that if I run away every so often, I am able to handle my life far better than if I try to just stay here all the time. So, I take a day trip every so often. Last month I took a trip to the entrance and down a bit. The distance I traveled, there and back, took only a day. I've been a better mother for taking that time away from my duties here.”

That does make sense, I guess. I mean, I don't really know, of course.”

Yes. One cannot truly understand what you have not lived. That is why our Savior lived in a tabernacle of clay.”

That's true! I've heard that before. It must be so.”

Do you think I will be able to make it all the way down the path in one day if I leave early in the morning?”

Perhaps. It took me two days to find it because the man who told me about it wasn't sure which direction it was in. So, I started out the wrong way. You definitely have an advantage in that I've been there so recently. Before you leave tonight, may I share the images with you?

Oh! Do you mean you are able to show me from your mind to mine?”

Yes, Ofonode. That's exactly what I mean.”

I have not heard of anyone alive in our village who can do that… I thought it was a myth. Is that something I should keep safe, also?”

No. The elders are aware of this among my gifts. If there is a need, you are more than welcome to tell someone I am able.”

I am very grateful you will show me how to get to this place, Ifueko. Is there anything else you would tell me that might enable me to return more safely?”

Yes. Your aunt told me that you do not have your fire under control. I believe I understand. She does not know what I'm about to tell you. Very few do. So, please keep my words safe in your mind-heart and share them only if you believe they will enable you to bless someone else to have an easier time in their path.”

Your words are safe with me.”

Thank you. I believe I can count on you.

I could not burn when I left for my journey, Ofonode. I didn't even accidentally burn as you do. I thought I was not meant to be here because of it. I was sure I did not belong. This is why I left. While I was away, I began to burn in anger and on accident as you do. I didn't know it, of course. Your aunt told me about you, so I know you understand this.”

Yes! How did you ever get it under control?”

Well, I was taken to a place the people called a jail. They felt it necessary to contain the fire they saw on me. I angered more by a great degree. It is then, there in the dark room of the jail, that I saw that I was on fire. I wanted to be happy and rejoice, but I was so angry that I only felt angrier that they'd put me there because of this thing I wanted so very much.

It was in the middle of a great storm of flames that I knew I would die soon if I did not control my flames. So I began to sing. And the flames moved with my song. As I grew calm, the flames disappeared.

I was able to convince the people that I would leave their village and not return again. They wanted me to promise that I would not grow bright with fire again while near their homes. It was easy to make such an agreement. And they released me.

So, my way is song. Your way, the method by which you gain control of your flames may not be song, though, Ofonode. Each of us have a different kind of fire and the way we burn is impacted by many variables. I do not understand it. I think only our great Creator truly understands the magic of our hearts and minds. I do know because I have asked many questions of many people, that even though it may seem to us that those who seem to have such easy control of their flames do so in their minds, it is not always so.”

Really? Do you know others who sing for control?”

No. But many with whom I've communicated about control have revealed that their control is in their heart… some control their flames with their mind, but this form of control really seems to be the minority. I have not asked everyone in the village, of course. Of those I have asked, there is one who controls his flame with his words. Another controls hers by the way she breaths. I'm sure there are many other ways flames can be controlled. You will find your way, Ofonode.”

You are definitely right. Since the idea for this journey occurred to me, I have felt that it was important for me to take it to learn to control my flames.”

That makes perfect sense to me. May you have swift success in your efforts to that end and in searching for the village of Ughegbe's wife.”

Thank you! I hope for that also.”

Just remember that worthwhile things that turn out to be very difficult are worth doing until they are complete. And I'm certain you are capable of doing difficult things.”

Why do you think so?”

Because your mother and father were. They were striving to be good. I was very sad when I learned they had died.”

Did you know them well?”

As a very early teacher. So, perhaps not. But I could see strength in each of them. I never knew them together, but knowing them apart, I'm sure they were even stronger together.”

It is really nice to know your perspective. My Auntie never really talks about them. I only just learned a few days ago how they died.”

Does the how change things for you, Ofonode?”

I don't know. I've been preparing for this journey and haven't spent any time thinking about it, really.”

When you return and you have come to a conclusion, come speak to me and tell me what you decided.”

Okay.” Rising, Ofonode decides he needs to get to bed, “Thank you for meeting with me. I really need to get to sleep.”

May I touch your hand? It is easier for me to transfer information when I am in direct contact with whomever I want to receive it.”

Uh, okay. Sure. That's fine.”

Ifueko holds her hand up and waits for Ofonode to place one of his there. When he does, he feels a warmth that is deeper and more heart-encompassing than the temperature of the skin or air. He feels her smile in his mind before her lips move. Without words spoken from her mouth or even in his mind, he knows she is asking if he's ready for the information she wants to share with him. He is, but doesn't get to nod his head before he sees a still imagine in his mind.

Stillness turns to movement as he feels himself move into the image. He feels as if he is walking along the edge of the plateau near his dwelling, heading around the village and walking at the edge of the plateau. The eyes through which he looks refocus on the village during the walk. The moving image stops and a frozen moment reveals a path he knows well. He recognizes this as Ifueko's way of showing him where to begin his journey.

Movement resumes and he is walking along the path. He's not walked it very far before, so quickly he is surrounded by new landmarks. The path begins in from and stretches farther in and away from the edge of the plateau, but is always within sight of the edge. After walking for a while, Ifueko shows him another frozen moment. He sees that the path ends at a large rock. Movement begins and he watches carefully. Frozen moments occur much more frequently as Ifueko shows him landmarks he will use to get to the path.

He wonders for a moment why he doesn't just walk the edge of the plateau. The eyes turn toward the edge and he realizes there is a dense forest there. Of course there is. That's one reason he's never walked this path before. The forest is very useful to the village for plants and animals upon which they live, but it is a fearsome place to most of the villagers. So much so that they would rather build with earth than cut even one tree from the edge of the forest.

Ifueko continues to show him the way to the path with frozen images interspersed with moving ones. The path itself, when he comes to it, is very easy to see. It's almost as if it was built by hands that cut the path into the stone on purpose. She shows him all of the path she traveled so recently and then the vision sharing ends as she releases his hand.

That's amazing! Thank you so much for sharing all that information. I'm sorry I forgot about the forest. That was really ridiculous of me.”

No problem. I'm glad it came up in the sharing so that you didn't try it and make your journey longer than it need be right from the start.”

Ofonode nods his head and notices that the sun hasn't moved at all. “Were we long in the sharing?”

No. It feels like it takes a while, I know. I think the way we experience time may change when in a sharing.”

Wow! Time distortion… do you think it's completely perception based?”

I have no way of knowing. I guess all time is merely perception, right? They say, time is a man-made construct. So, in that case, yes. Definitely.”

I guess that's true. I don't really believe it, though. That'll be one of the questions I want to know the answer to after this life is through.”

My thoughts and prayers will be frequently with you, Ofonode. Take care on your journey. That is my final advice. Do not take chances that you can avoid.”

Thank you, again, Ifueko!” Ofonode walks away, his thoughts newly turned to meanderings about time. To such a degree that he arrives at his dwelling more quickly than he expected.

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