Willowmena, Donovan the duck, and the Wild Man are sheltered under the overhang of a large boulder they have found in a wide space in the mountain path. The Wild Man has found wood again, astoundingly, though wood and water are not as difficult to come by in the mountains as they are on the plain. Still, they are never plentiful, and Willowmena is grateful to have a fire. She is even more grateful for her friends, these new friends, whose presence she never could have foreseen. Yet here they all are together, and she couldn’t ask for more in the way of companionship. She has become quite attached to them both, but particularly the Wild Man has stolen her pure heart. She cannot say why, but she loves him profoundly.
What suffering he has been through! She cannot even guess at the magnitude of it. Eons it’s been. More years than anyone can count has he been in the Land of Bleak. She would know more of him, his story. For Willowmena, and maybe for you too, story is everything. But she knows she must be patient. Without patience nothing unfolds as it should, especially a story.
Willowmena sits across the cozy fire from the Wild Man. The duck dozes peacefully, his head turned backwards, his bill nestled in the feathers of his back. It is quiet. The rain has stopped for the time being, and of course, the Wild Man doesn’t speak. Not with words anyway. But his eyes are so expressive. Willowmena thinks she can see his whole story there. She has glimpsed part of it through the magic of the horn. She would know more. For now it is enough just to be with him. There is the warmth of the fire, the security of the little camp. It is as close to a home as they may get for now. Willowmena finds herself filling the silence with a song. It is a mournful little tune, and she knows not where it comes from. She sings it sweetly and purely with the high, clear voice that only belongs to the Girl With the Pure Heart. It goes like this, though I cannot do its beauty justice, the way Willowmena sings it:
Where is home?
Lost and alone
On a barren plain
Without a name
Wanderers are we
As far as the eye can see
Alone . . .
Not to be so alone,
The Wild Man gazes at her with that almost brutally honest way that he has about him. And then the strangest thing occurs. He opens his mouth and howls, and a tear runs down his cheek. The sound of it is most unnerving, quite unearthly. Willowmena stops her song abruptly and just looks on as the Wild Man howls out his sorrow. It is nothing she would interrupt, but it is difficult to witness. The duck, Donovan, comes awake with a start and momentarily quacks his dismay. Then, he is silent, struck dumb, as is Willowmena, in the face of such a thing.
Presently, the Wild Man quiets himself and it is peaceful and still around the little camp once again. Willowmena cannot be sure, but she thinks she perceives a certain, new calm about her strange new friend. He seems ever so slightly less wild, she thinks. But it could just be her imagination. Truly, he is a mystery.
Copright 2018, Sandra Rhea and Blissful Light Press