When the wind rages and windows rattle, but all else is quiet about you, you can hear echoes of distant stories as they unfold and invite you in to take refuge in amongst crowds of familiar faces. People you know by heart, though not by name.
“Come and sit!” one person says to you, throwing out an open arm of welcome.
“Sit and drink with us, smoke on a pipe and tell us your story.”
The wind rides over the now dwindling planes of the usual consciousness, appearing as eddies of smoke spiralling and coiling around the furniture of perception, as memories would fill a room with possessions.
“Have I been sitting here long?” you ask, not quite sure of how much time has lapsed.
“I think twenty minutes, maybe thirty years” says an elderly gentleman sitting quietly in a corner to you side.
“Oh…” you answer, “that long?”
The stories begin, each person in the room recanting tales of their own travels and adventures, each a performance of great merit and sweeping sentiments. Laughter erupts in the room like steady waves crashing against the cliffs of introspection. Shock inspires awe, and awe dives deep into dark uncharted waters salty remembrance.
Your turn has come to tell you story, to perform the act of a lifetime. taking a deep breath you stand from your chair and climb on the table to you left, standing tall making sure that all in the room can see you. You tell of tales of how yo survived a flood and climbed the tallest mountain, then came back down the other side changed and different from before. How you traversed great ravines on the narrowest of rope bridges, then ran rapids and dove from immense waterfalls taller than the world itself.
You audience journeys with you captivated with your tales as you were with theirs; you find yourself surprised at how much you have to say, all apprehension and newness now gone, like the winds rattling the windows of a now distant and empty room.
You dance and sing, and throw your arms wide to take your concluding bow. Then one person from within the crowd calls up to you:
“Tell us about the time you fought a tiger!”
“A tiger?” you ask, concern and smoke filling your mind. But then you see a jungle before you stretching out far beyond where you stand and for miles around you. The people have gone and you are alone in amongst the hushed splendour of the trees and lush vegetation. In the shadows you see movement and a deep purr filters up through the undergrowth. A flock of birds fly high above the canopy fo the jungle, in tight formation speeding effortlessly to an unkown destination. Unknown at least to you. You place one foot in front of the other, leaves and twigs crunching beneath your feet.
Yellow eyes peer out at you, the purring ever closer. You can almost feel the hot breath of the beast before you. Bravely you reach out a hand, and another hand pulls you down from your platform.
“That was amazing” says the person to whom the hand belongs, “what wonderful stories you have to tell!”
“Do come again!” says the man who welcomed you in.
You return to your seat and the familiar faces fade into the distant echoes of stories unfolding across the span of reality, forming mountainous landscapes, deep oceans, and waterfalls as tall as the Earth.
There is a knock at the door, and a man pokes his head in through the gap and says:
“Don’t forget your pipe. And remember the door’s always open!”
You thank him, take the pope and listen as the wind rattles the windows.