Once upon a time, a woman gave birth to a son, and carried him deep into a forest to raise him on her own. Not wanting him to have any influence in his life other than her own, she had sent away his father and now she set up a home for them in a tiny wooden cabin far from any other human beings.
The boy grew up small and pale-skinned, for she kept him inside and away from the shaping forces of sun, wind and rain. His health suffered from the lack of elements, but the woman refused to acknowledge this need in his life and continued to coddle, protect and shield him from the world outside their heavily curtained windows. She taught him herself, believing that no teacher, however learned or experienced, could offer her son what she could.
When he was ill, or injured, she provided medical care from her own hand and sparse knowledge. Because of this, he often remained in bed, suffering needlessly from some ailment. An ailment that might have been easily treated or prevented had she allowed him access to the care of those who had studied modern medicine, or the art of natural healing remedies. As a toddler, he once climbed up onto a chair and then lost his balance and fell off, breaking his left arm which, poorly set, grew twisted and nearly useless as he approached his teen years.
The boy had no friends, of course. Family members were barred from visiting, so he never experienced love, physical touch or interesting conversation from anyone other than his mother. What he did receive from her was so limited in its scope and variety as to be almost completely ineffectual in shaping his mind, character and personality.
He rarely laughed as he had no frame of reference for humour or fun. He never knew what it was like to run and play in a field of wildflowers, or splash through a muddy puddle, or lie, spread-eagled, on soft, cold snow leaving the imprint of an angel behind him when he scrambled to his feet.
Shortly after the boy turned eighteen, his mother died, leaving him on his own to face a world he had never experienced or known. Filled with fear and trepidation, yet somehow sensing there was more to life than the extremely limited existence his mother had allowed him to experience, the boy filled a bag with provisions and set off to explore the world beyond his door.
The sun beat down on his tender skin until it stung and burned so badly the slight pressure of the shirt rubbing against his flesh caused him relentless pain. His muscles were weak and atrophied from disuse, so that the few belongings he carried in his bag weighed heavily on his back and shoulders. Still, not knowing what else to do, he pressed on, as the sights, smells and sounds pressing in around him filled his senses almost past bearing.
He was ill-prepared for what he encountered on his journey. Every thought in his head had come from the same source, and his knowledge and experience were so extremely limited that his viewpoint on the world was narrow and shallow. Those few people he encountered who attempted to engage him in conversation quickly gave up as he had little or nothing to offer by way of insight or empathy.
With no knowledge of how to survive on his own, the boy struggled along for weeks, alone, hungry, weak and exhausted. Finally, he stumbled into a ditch, dropped his cumbersome bag to the ground, cradled his crippled arm to his chest, and slumped down in the thick grass, a lonely, dejected waste of a mind, body and soul.
I know what you are thinking – that’s a horrible story! And in terms of writing quality you may be right. However, if it will ease your mind any, I’ll tell you that I do have a point and a purpose in crafting the tale. A point and purpose I will be happy to share with you if you do me the honour of dropping by again this Friday.
In the meantime, do yourself a favour and go outside today. Run in a field of wildflowers or splash through a muddy puddle. If you live anywhere near where I do, you will also, unfortunately, be able to lie down and create your own snow angel, something I would highly encourage you to try if you haven’t done so recently. Have fun and I’ll see you at the end of the week, point and purpose in hand.
Press on, my friends. Press on,