”They’ve said it has some magical nature power,” I was sitting in the coffee shop on my way back to work as usual, when I overheard [not eavesdropping!] two men talking about a gigantic forest called ‘The Black Forest’.
”Hey mate, next time, when you’re eavesdropping, stop staring at us,” the man seemed humiliating me rather than angry.
”Sorry, the topic is just overwhelming, but I don’t believe in magic,” they stared at me, like I’ve just fallen from the moon.
” Be careful mate, they say the ones who underestimate the magic of The Black Forest, end up regretting it,” he picked up his coffee, and walked out through the door, eyeing me through his way. Who would believe in magic anyways? I was a twenty-two working, mature adult, no kind of magic, fairies, Santa Claus, vampires or goblins were ever getting into my mind.
Obviously, I was an irresponsible, clumsy man. My friends and family would never trust me with their personal belongings; I’d always end up losing them or ruining them. After paying for my coffee, I left the shop, heading home. My apartment looked like the apartment of a sixteen year old in love with football. The walls were lined with pictures of football players, I had statues of them; I admired them. It was already 9:35pm when I was done with all my ‘chores’. Mostly, my chores were; talking on the phone, eating, and probably goofing around. After a while, my head started feeling heavy, and decided it was time to doze off. I headed to bed, and before I knew it, I was already hearing my own snore.
Pain. It was all I felt. Huge trees surrounded me, their big falling green leaves brushed over my face.
My mind couldn’t work, and my feet couldn’t move. Every time I stood, I landed on my face. Pictures started playing in my head; fire, water, air, and earth, it was all I could see, hear, and feel. Unable to fight any more, I just laid there, trying to capture images and recall where I was at the moment. Then, it hit me hard in the face; The Black Forest. I was there. But it was beautiful. Instantly, my eyes shifted to the dangling white flowers on the trees and the beautiful, but deadly poisonous Blueberry bushes just above my head as I scrambled up to my feet after I eventually calmed myself down.
And once again, I was on my feet, twirling around in circles when what I thought was a shadow appearing across the bushes. My eyes focused on the void, but there was nothing to see. Though, the bushes were still in movement, and I don’t think it was the wind.
Then, I saw it again. This time I was sure there was someone around me.
“Please stop! This isn’t a joke!” I shouted not knowing where to look, “come out!” then, an old wrinkly voice played in my mind like it was whispering through crumbled paper,
“Silence.” Did that voice just tell me to shut up? But uncontrollably, I did. And it felt peaceful. I just sat on the green grass, watching the wind swing the bushes playfully in silence like I was watching a silent movie of two cheerful children playing together.
“You, my son, have just passed the first test,” the same voice played in my head, but now I saw him. He was an old man with pale skin wrinkled like a crumbled paper and a crooked nose. His white hair stroked the wind as if he could talk to the air. Not knowing what to do, I stayed silent, like I was put on mute. He continued,
“Silence. Isn’t it so beautiful? But you know, the wind can be very devilish sometimes. Wrecking houses, setting things on fire, but I guess I should leave the fire part to the little mess not-so-happy. Anyways, I am the wind master; you may call me Master Walton.”
“The… wind master?” I was far beyond confused.
“The four elements; fire, water, wind, and earth. Every element has its master, the person to claim it. I, for one, am the wind master. The one who seeks the beauty in silence and the swift moving of the wind.” As I was about to speak, he motioned me to stay silent, so I did. Honestly, I saw wisdom in the old man’s eyes, I saw knowledge, and I wanted to seek that knowledge, I wanted to be the first in line to learn anything that man says out of his mouth.
We walked through the forest in total silence, wandering around the beauty of nature. He spoke to me about how silence could sometimes explain much more that words. How animals were much more peaceful than humans because their mouths were not always ranting meaningless words. He told me about how the wind can save lives like washing someone’s tears off their face and putting them into sudden realization to their wise mind part, or end them simply by acting stronger to push someone off a cliff. Wind, I realized, made me feel joy, made me feel relaxed. Also, Master Walton told me how no one was born with anger, and how the wind could, by just blowing across our face, brush away the anger we were never born with anyways.
“Now,” he said after a long walk, “tell me what you have learnt.” I looked at him, boring into his eyes in silence, and smiled faintly at him. Instantly, he looked at me with a bright, proud smile, and broke into dust flying with the wind.
“Get up!” I was lying soundless on the grass again when a green eyed middle aged boy appeared in front of me.
“Do you know what you’re standing on? Earth! Then you must stand in a strong posture!” his voice was hard and steady, not shivering one bit.
“How are you?” his question confused me, but I still answered him,
“I’m fine I guess,”
“You guess? Well I’ll keep this short for everything must be simple. Earth master; Shawn,” he reached out his hand and I took it instantly. His grip was firm, very firm.
“The ground is strong, and we stand upon it, therefore, everything we touch affects us in some way. Mankind have learnt lots of matters because of earth; pride, not showing our feelings, destroying, caring, it is all from the ground beneath you. One thing you must learn, stay strong. I know you heard this lots of times, but this time it’s different, because this time, you really must stay strong.” He smirked at me as I felt the weights of the world at my shoulders, no, they really were. Two huge rocks were just above my shoulders. As I moaned and screamed as the pain strangled me, I heard his voice echoing in my head, ‘stay strong’. Pictures of my family and friends appeared and it hit me, I must stay strong, for them. Then I blacked out before watching myself yank the rocks away.
Was I drowning? I couldn’t tell. But there I was, at the bottom of the water, watching the fish glow in the dark, and breathing absolutely fine. So I swam, pushing every limb in my body into swift motion through the colorless water.
“Come now,” my eyes lifted to her, or should I say, to her tail. My eyes drifted slowly, eyeing her blue shaded tail up to her tanned skin, beautiful face, and bluish soft hair flowing in the water. I took her hand, and we swam together.
Blue, master of the water, was one of the most sensitive, understanding and beautiful women I have ever seen. She listened to me as I spoke my heart out. Telling her how my day was, how I reacted when I was sad, how I liked to isolate myself. She listened with such an open heart and understanding mind. She told me, that everything had its too extremes, then she showed me. Now, we were at the bay as she moved her hand upwards making the waves crash and fall. She kept repeating the motion till the ocean was redundantly at a frightening storm with itself. It looked destructive; images of hurricanes flooded my head. I never noticed how one sad motion can affect an entire nation. Then, she lowered her hand, causing the ocean to play at the walls and waves, moving quickly in excitement. It looked beautiful, but it felt wrong. Like a wrong move can end up to destruction. So she explained,
“These are the two extremes, Jacob.” I was surprised how she knew my name,” Never be at an extreme. You must always take things calmly. Never care too much, for it will break your heart, and never be emotionless, for you will break other’s hearts.” Then she made me close my eyes, and dive into my emotions.
Opening my eyes once more, I knew it was the last time. I stood in the same spot I woke up in The Black Forest staring at a redhead young girl. As she looked at me, I was pulled inside of her mind. Inside, she had so many thought, I thought about how her mind could take it all without bursting. When her mouth parted to speak, a hurricane of words flooded out. Blood was streaming from her wrists, fire circled us, and she started talking.
“It’s okay to be angry, Jacob. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to wake up one day and not be surrounded by the memories you once lived, it might be painful, but feeling the pain is okay,” she pointed for a spark of fire to touch me. As it did, I felt the pain, but I knew I’ve felt it a lot, almost every day of my life, “you woke up with pain in this spot Jacob, remember? You woke up to life as a baby with pain, you will leave with pain, but pain, Jacob, is beautiful. Once you understand the pain, you only realize that you are the pain, not anything else.” I looked downwards to notice the spark of fire still touching me, but I no longer felt it.
“Fire roams in your head. Every thought is a spark of fire. Don’t let them stay trapped inside, they need oxygen to stay alive, just like you, let them fly, Jacob. Set them free. Speak them out,” so I did. I spoke everything out. Every feeling occurred in my mind, trapped inside. After I was done, I let the wind comfort us – Bloom and I – like what master Walton taught me.
I blinked, then, the four of them – Master Walton, Shawn, Blue and Bloom- stood in front of me, behind was the golden gate out of The Black Forest. Master Walton spoke,
“You have learnt the elements to a happy, wise life. You may leave, or stay. But remember Jacob, you either go with one of the two choice; to live in the golden cage- The Black Forest- but a golden cage is still a cage, or to live free to go anywhere, but only surrounded by people who will not understand your wisdom; people who will only trap your dreams.” They parted from the door, expecting me to leave, but I didn’t. I chose to stay. To forever speak my hurricane of words out with Bloom, forever stay calm with Blue, connect strength with emotions with Shawn, and enjoy the silence with Master Walton. The Black Forest was never black; it was, for sure, millions of shades coloring my life.