Once there was a man and woman who were very much in love. After they had been married many years, the blessing of bringing children into the world still had not been given to them. Though their prayers reached to the gates of heaven itself, for reasons know only to God, their greatest hope was not granted.
One day, after a long heart rendering plea to the Almighty to open the treasure house of holy souls and to let the ones destined for them to descend, the woman broke down in dejected sobbing. She was sitting in a chair that faced a mirror; the wind blowing through the room added to the feeling of melancholy. As she glanced up and into the mirror, she saw in place of her face a young sapling. At first she thought she was seeing things because of her tiredness, or the weariness of her eyes, but as the vision stood fast and became more clear, she realized that the appearance of the sapling was rooted in a very high place. With a flash of insight she interpreted the sign according to her understanding, and with rising excitement waited till her husband came home. When he arrived she gave over to him the vision and her feeling of what they must do.
So the next morning they awoke, prepared the necessary provisions, and with a feeling of hope they started out to look for the sapling that appeared in the mirror. This was no easy task since the place where they lived had very little vegetation and even fewer trees. After a few days and many adventures, they came upon a place of steep cliffs and jagged rocks, and there wedged between two giant rocks, was a small sapling. Surely this must be the one we’ve been looking for their eyes said to each other. With great care and anticipation they dug up the sapling and began their journey back home Early the next morning as the sun rose, the man and woman planted the sapling near their home.
The time passed quickly, but with each passing month their optimism faded like the morning dew, for a child was still not growing in her womb like the sapling was growing outside. And so the woman found herself sinking further and further into melancholy and despair. Over and over she asked herself – what was the vision that I saw and if I did not interpret it correctly, what did it mean?
One day as she was in such a state of sadness that she began to question even those things one should never question, her husband came through the door with a great smile on his face.
“Just like it takes a man and a woman to bring a baby into the world, perhaps we need to plant two saplings to fulfill our wish.” It sounded like a good idea and at that point they had little to lose, so once again they set off to look for another sapling to plant next to the first one.
After many days of searching they came upon a place deep in a ravine, where hidden from view, a small spring trickled through the rocks. There, a tiny pond collected the water and next to it grew a small sapling. Relieved beyond belief, the husband and wife looked at each other with the intuitive knowledge that this time something would surely come from this. Their trip home was spent mostly in silence, while a quiet of contentment filled their beings. As they planted the sapling the next day near to the first one, they prayed together to the Almighty that the time had come to open the gates.
One morning a short time later, the woman awoke with a dream still fresh in her mind. She waited patiently for her husband to awake, and when he did, she told him her dream.
I dreamt that the two trees pollinated each other and that a seed had formed in the ground and had begun to sprout.” Without a further word they dressed themselves and went outside, and just as in the dream, a tiny little tree was growing between the first two. With joy and amazement they began to await their child to be born. And though they never spoke of it, they wondered to themselves what all the signs and visions and dreams meant and what would come of it all.
Each day flowed into the next as if they knew exactly where they were going; and in the right time and a good hour the woman gave birth, not to one, but to two souls, a boy and a girl. The new parents were overjoyed to see all their prayers and longing reflected in the new shining faces; and as the seasons went by they saw the world all over again through their children’s eyes. New discoveries and experiences, everyday’s newness and excitement, the tears and fears and growth gave the four of them a deep closeness and harmony. Also their house became more of a home, and the three little trees began to spread till the wilderness all around the house slowly turned into a small but growing forest.
As the children grew up their favorite place was the green forest. They always felt so at home among the trees and flowers, the sun and wind. The parents took great care of the forest, tending and guarding it with the same great love as they raised and taught their beautiful children.
And so the children grew in years as well as in knowledge and slowly they began to take on personalities of their own. The parents taught them to be kind and responsive, giving to all and yet independent and strong willed. Of course, the more they taught the more they learned, and as a strong interdependent family they shared each others time and space. Their house that stood in the midst of barren rock was now a home in the middle of a vibrant and spreading forest.
One day the children were playing in the forest and they said to each other: “let’s make a little hideaway in a place that no one will know.” It sounded like a good idea and they began to think of places where they could make it. For many days they thought of little else, until once day when they were walking they came upon a place deep in the forest that they had never seen before. “Let’s make this our hiding place,” they said one to the other, thinking that if they had never seen this place then surely no one else had either.
In their great excitement they began running all around looking for something to build their hideaway from. When they didn’t find anything in the forest they looked at all the trees and said, “surely the forest wouldn’t miss just one tree.” With great zeal they took a saw and cut down a tree. As the tree hit the ground a great sound shook the forest, sending an unknown echo reverberating for miles. The children were very frightened at first, but didn’t think much of it, but far away their parents heard the echo and a deep fear filled their beings. Where great wholeness had filled their hearts since the time that their children had been born, a sharp pain of anxiety filled their beings and they didn’t know why.
When the children returned home their parents were relieved. “Do you know what that great sound that shook the forest was?” they asked. The children sensing a pang of guilt but not wanting to lie, told them how they had cut down a tree to build their secret hideaway. “You cut down a tree! How could you have done that” they asked in disbelief. “Well, why not?” the children replied. “Don’t you know how special this forest is?” the parents said. “Of course we know it’s special, but no one ever told us we couldn’t cut down a tree,” they answered defensively.
The parents and children looked at each other and for the first time in their lives a distance could be felt. The parents realized that they had never told their children the mysterious story of their birth, partly because they didn’t understand it themselves and partly because they didn’t know how their children would react. Yet they were disappointed that their children didn’t know better than to cut down a tree in their forest. Though the children felt bad that they hadn’t considered the consequences of their actions, still it was just one tree and they felt that their parents should have told them that they shouldn’t cut any trees, if that was indeed the case. What was done was done and a certain shadow was cast, but soon it was past and the family was at peace again; but something was definitely different, one could say that their world was never quite the same.
And so the years went by, seasons turned, lessons learned, rain and wind and long summer days, and the children became adults, strong and thinking individuals. The forest which had once seemed so huge and in fact was, seemed to shrink in the eyes of those who now looked beyond. Then one day the inevitable happened. The young man and woman, sitting and discussing with their parents their plans to travel, and their desire to experience and to choose. Though the parents were a bit sad, they had prepared themselves for this eventuality, and at the same time they were glad to see their children with gleaming eyes and a spirit of strength and vibrancy. One morning, even before the sun had risen, the parents blessed their children to find what they sought and to return in peace when the time was right.
Beyond the forest was a world the children knew hardly anything about, and into this new realm they entered, eager for adventure and fulfillment, longing to ease a certain emptiness in the depths of their souls, that they could not longer trace or comprehend. Many seasons went by and many adventures were experienced. Joy and sorrow, fear and exaltation , loneliness and completion; each emotion was felt to its depth, till they became the embodiment of all these feelings. Many times they contemplated going home, but a certain destiny awaited them, and it was still hidden from their eyes. They thought of their parents with great fondness and appreciated more than ever their strength and tenderness. The incident of the cutting of the tree was all but forgotten, but the roots of that tree grew very deep indeed. The parents had also lost the event somewhere in their memory, but deep within they felt maybe they had let their children down, and they prayed for their happiness and eventual reunion. But the distance was very great between them and so became the time also.
Then one day, when the past seemed very far away and the future even more so, the young man and woman decided to seek their own separate ways; to attempt one last time to find the inner fulfillment of their souls. Before they separated they talked deeply of their journey and search, and decided that in one year’s time they would meet again. To part seemed an almost impossible task since they had spent their entire lives together. And just then, they received instantaneously the same message – plant two young saplings in the desert, and meet again at that spot. With feelings of sadness and joy they found two little saplings and planted them in dedication to their past and future. Tears welled up in their eyes, and deep in their hearts a real turning occurred, the wheel of destiny turning full circle.
So brother and sister departed one from the other with a promise on their lips to meet in one year’s time. The winds of fate blew heavy that year, and the stream of time carried each on their appointed way. Like seeds turning into plants and then into flowers, their lives began to bloom in colors that neither imagined possible.
As the time of pollination drew near, their souls opened to a nectar they never knew existed. And in the springtime of their creation, each in their own place, they met their soul-mates; the missing link, the completion of their inner essence, one step higher on a completely new ladder. The year drew to a close and with singing and shining faces, four young souls met in a baby forest.
Conversation soon turned to the future, of each one’s desire to marry and settle down, to raise children and live in peace with the earth and the heavens. The more they talked, the idea was somehow planted that before they could marry and begin a whole new life they had to finish the cycle by returning to a long overdue reunion with their parents. In this way a bridge could be built between the old and new.
The dew was still clinging to the grass and flowers when they started off on that destined road home. For so long, the path back to their origins had seemed lost or overgrown by weeds, and there were times that it was impossible to find at all, but now with peaceful hearts the road itself became the guide.
As the children, now grown themselves, came closer and closer, their parents felt something moving within them, though they could not quite grasp what it was. For so long they had waited and for what they were never sure. The great signs had faded in memory, but still something else was yet to be revealed.
Through mountains and valleys, over rivers and streams they traveled till one day when the air seemed unusually still they entered into a clearing in the middle of a thick green forest. In utter amazement they gazed at an ancient tree that stood in the middle of the clearing. The trunk, gnarled and twisted, seemed to wind itself into the earth, a remnant of some primordial age. Its leaves glistened as if newly sprouted and fruits which they had never seen hung ripe and inviting. The stillness in the air filtered into their hearts and secret doors opened silently. Without knowing why they all began to circle the tree as if to find something hidden within it. From each and every angle a new story could be heard, another truth revealed, till they all felt the oneness of all time and space. With no words exchanged they knew that this is where they would be married. Somehow they would be brought back in white garments and a canopy of stars over their heads.
That night, with the moon waxing in strength, they left the clearing and re-entered the forest. Immediately, old landmarks became visible and places from the past greeted them. The forest in which they had grown up now reached almost to the heavens, or so it seemed, or maybe the joy at seeing their parents soon made them appear to fly skyward. It was shortly before sunset when the children stood humbly before the house of their birth, and their hearts leaped as they heard the familiar sounds of supper being prepared. When the parents heard someone approaching, they in their usual way of hospitality went to the door to greet them. In the excitement of those first few moments, all the kisses and tears in the world hardly seemed enough. Around a simple table they broke bread together, and with great zeal traded stories and anecdotes, hopes and disappointments, plans and possibilities. The parents were glad to see their children so much in love and ready to start their own lives. As the conversation continued, flashbacks from their lives passed before them; all the years and trials, the many accomplishments and failures. And the children saw how much they were like their parents and yet so different. As always, their appreciation for their parents loving care grew even stronger. Day after day they continued their wonderful discussions and for all of them many missing pieces began to fit together, until it seemed only one piece remained.
The subject of the tree that was cut down so long ago was raised and for just a moment they all felt a sharp stab of grief at an incident that had been like an invisible cloud which nonetheless blocked the full light of the sun. In vivid emotions they relived from each one’s perspective the hurt and shock, the false assumptions and their own lackings. The parents now understood that this was the right time and perhaps the last real opportunity to reveal to the children the wonders surrounding their birth. As they told the story of the sapling and the longing that caused it to grow, a new spark was lit in them all, one that would not rest till it lit up the meaning of it all. A deep silence overtook them and united them in a search they would have to undertake together. And so it was that in the very same room where so many years before a young woman looked into a mirror and saw a vision of a sapling, now a new image rose up, an ancient tree standing majestically alone in a hidden clearing imprinted itself simultaneously in their mind’s eye. In great excitement the children related their experience at the primordial tree, and the vision that this was the place where they were destined to marry.
As if there was no time to lose, they began to prepare for the journey that would take them to the place where the wedding ceremony would be. Though they didn’t know exactly how to get there, at least they knew the general direction. As they set out the parents could not help but see the connection between this search and the morning they left to find the mysterious sapling. To the children this was the last stop on a journey that had begun in search of their own self expression and freedom.
How long the trip took no one could really say because time is no reliable factor on a quest such as this, but never did they lose sight of the goal; it was as if their whole lives lead them to this trail. The children and their soul mates, and the parents, gave one to the other strength and support, and at each resting point they prayed together to reach their destination. One day the going got so rough, that they had to stop in the midst of a jungle like forest. The desire became so great to reach the tree that they could practically see it in the next clearing. Their prayers wrapped in fervent heart beats reached heaven’s throne itself, and like an answer, a fragrant wind began to blow. Now they knew that the time was near, so they began walking again. Suddenly the forest opened up before them and they all stood across from the ancient tree.
Glistening in the sun and with dancing leaves and fruit, the tree greeted them for they were certainly expected. Despite the giant stature of the tree, the parents in a day dream saw that it was the young sapling now come of age; and the children for the first time recognized that the tree that they had cut down now stood once again straight and tall. The fresh breezes that were blowing all around brought to them all a great clarity of mind. Then they saw how deep the roots of the tree reached and how high the branches stretched, until the whole world seemed to be standing in it glorious shade.
In the midst of pink clouds and song birds, the sun began to set, and without delay they began the preparations for the wedding. And as it was foretold, all the stars and flowers, rocks and heavenly beings, joined together in a chorus of harmony and peace. Under a canopy of heavenly light a simple ceremony of the unification of souls took place. For seven days blessings flowed down from Above and sprouted up from below and for each soul that stood under the shade of that tree a new sapling was planted in their hearts. Then G-d Himself sang a wedding song and blessed the whole creation with peace.