spring eternal

By | December 22, 2012
All GIFs are from the film Baraka

All GIFs are from the film Baraka

My post on permanence reminded me of this story I read back ages ago from Owning Your Own Shadow by Robert Johnson.
All gifs are from the film, Baraka.

Once upon a time, many moons ago in the middle of a tiny village there was a natural spring that flowed with the most magical water. The water brought health, healing and eternal youth.

For many years the villagers shared the spring for the more it was shared, the more it flowed and its effects were even more magical.

Magical waters brought health.

When word spread of the spring across the lands and overseas, many foreigners made great pilgrimages to visit the village just to take a sip of this wondrous spring.It was such a great journey for some that they would carry containers to capture and bring back the spring water with their friends and family from home who were too weak to make such a great journey.

When some of the villagers saw this, they became concerned and decided that they should limit how much of the spring water foreigners could take away. Some decided they would stand guard around the spring all day. They created tickets and made everyone stand in line to visit the spring. Some people, not wanting to wait in line would sneak in at night and take the spring water when the security was not present.

Eventually, the villagers noticed the footprints of these nocturnal trespassers and decided the best solution would be to create a fence. Over time the fence became a wall. Any villagers who disagreed with the walls were outcasted, pushed out of the village; their land was sold and huge buildings were built to accommodate the paying visitors.

birds around the towers

The wall grew into a towers

As the wall grew in height and width it changed into a series of towers and this not only blocked any view of the spring but in some places it obscured the sun altogether.

In the dark shadows around the tower, makeshift markets popped up selling trinkets and other useless memorabilia that made a mockery of the spring.

What none of these people noticed was that the spring lost all its magic. It no longer had any special characteristics. It became plain water, which if you even tasted it wasn’t even safe to wash with it, let along to drink and quite possibly instead of giving your eternal life it would make you ill.

Down the path, far away from this madness, where the villagers who had been exiled and ridiculed continued to share and be open, a tiny little spring of water popped up. And it was magical.

It was magical

It was magical

Every time greed grew and people tried to control access to the spring, it lost its magic and the spring would pop up in new place.

Where you least expect it

Where you least expect it

2 thoughts on “spring eternal

  1. Ben

    That’s a gorgeous short story. I love the metaphor the spring provides for our own generosity and humanity. Hoping that I can remember not to shut myself out from others and share this coming year….it’s been a trying time to be an educator in Michigan recently, and it’s enough to make us want to hide, protect, and build walls around the little we have left that we can call sacred.

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