“Go,” said the wind to the little girl, as she stood with her eyes on the horizon. “Don’t be afraid. Go. The water is calm, and I am at your back.”
“I am a good swimmer!” said the child, her toes in the sand. “But it looks so far. What is out there? What is on the other side?”
“Who knows?” said the wind. “Maybe a whole new world. Maybe more treasure than you can imagine. Maybe you will find love. There are many other swimmers. Maybe they will know.”
“You know,” said the girl, and laughed at the wind. “But I will find out.”
A moment, or a thousand years passed, and she came to the other side. Weary now, she dragged herself ashore and sat in the sun, grateful for the warmth.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” asked the old woman of the wind. “I am a good swimmer—but you lied. You were not always at my back. Sometimes you blew so hard against me that I nearly drowned.”
“There were other swimmers,” said the wind, “who needed me at theirs.”
“There were other swimmers. Some were with me for a short time, others much longer. We would try to hang on, but even so, we left each other behind. Now I am alone. Why didn’t you tell me?”
“No two journeys are the same,” said the wind.
“Some days the water was clear and sparkled with the sun. I could see clearly in all directions. Some days the sky was so dark I was afraid of what I couldn’t see. Sometimes the waves were so tall I lost my way. I was dashed against rocks and pulled under. There were days when it seemed I would never see the sun, and I didn’t think I could go on,” she told the wind, her face in her hands.
“But you did go on. Did you find treasure?”
“I did, but when I tried to carry it the weight made me sink. Why didn’t you tell me?”
“And did you find love?” asked the wind.
The old woman smiled. “I did. I thought I lost it many times, until I understood that you can’t carry it. It carries you.”
The wind smiled back. “So you found out. Was it worth it, then?”
“It was, most of the time,” said the old woman. “But the people I loved—so many times I had to let them go. And now my heart is broken and scarred with memories. Why would you want that to happen to me? Why didn’t you tell me it would be so hard?”
“I couldn’t tell you, my friend,” said the wind. “If I had, you never would have gone.”
Author: Renee Robbins
Editor: Toby Israel
Image: Josh Felise/Unsplash // ramos alejandro/Flickr
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