Date: 2007-02-06 06:46 am (UTC)
The first of all lessons that the Tree ever teaches those who touch it is of the nature of time. Humans break time into manageable pieces- night, day, week, fortnight, twenty-eight day cycles- but what the Tree knows, what it holds out, is that the divisions ultimately mean no more than the placement of marking-stones does to water. The river of time flows endlessly from the beginning to a goal ultimately unfathomable, even to those who've been to Milliways. The end, the goal, lies ultimately somewhere beyond even that.

It's a difficult concept even for those born aware, as Polgara was, or touched by Aldur, as Belgarath was, or destined someday for the Choice that would change all existence, as Belar's brother Eriond ultimately was. For someone bound to the lesser cycles as Suzi it cannot be even the slightest bit easy; but the Tree is patient, and can show the way as no other teacher can.

And once that understanding is zlinned truly, there is another: that of tasks that lie ahead. The Tree does not communicate in images, precisely, and definitely not in words- but there is an understanding there, held out and given freely, of duties that lie ahead. Of need- others', her own- and the certainty that it will arise; of living as long as she needs to in order to see these things done. Eriond's understanding of existence opened upon contact with the Tree, and Polgara received the knowledge of the speech of birds, but Suzi's lot is not theirs, and thus neither is the Tree's gift to her. There are deaths averted yet to come in that understanding, many of them, and it is because of her. There is a kind of life that speaks of Keon and other householdings- and more, for there is no rage and mistrust without, only the sense of the sea. This is the task; this is the duty, and the joy, because how could it not be so?

But- and here, and here only, the Tree grows specific: this duty, this gladness and joy and making-things-right, is not a thing all on its own. Without Milliways it happens not at all. Not for Suzi. Not for anyone. And it happens not at all if that is done reluctantly, either, or out of some sense of obligation. It comes of acceptance, as so many important things do, given freely and of her own will.

There is, perhaps, a little wind through the branches. Suzi may well find the sun has traveled quite some way when she looks at the world again with ordinary senses.
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Belar, Bear-God of the Alorns

February 2007

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