At home inside a small clearing made Eden by the green of branches swaying gently in the breeze around her, Sonia’s attention was drawn to the vastness of the starlit sky above her. The small refuge where a local stream of water ponded was where she’d often come to be alone; a place where in fact, she would come away feeling less alone. Her sense of place had been shifting, and tonight she looked to the brilliance of the stars for wisdom.
When the quiet came, words from a poem by Lowell, read years earlier, were whispered in it. They told the story of a hunted man who, in the attempt to escape with his life became so bold as to request refuge in the desert home of a highly respected Sheik. Sonia went over the leader's reassuring response in her mind:
“This tent is mine,” said Yussouf, “but no more
Than it is God’s; come in, and be at peace;
Freely shalt thou partake of all my store
As I of His who buildeth over these
Our tents His glorious roof of night and day,
And at Whose door none ever yet heard Nay.”
The unanticipated warmth softening the encrusted heart of the stranger, both were given a window into the other, and the visitor was moved to confess that his crime had been against Yussouf. He was prepared to have the Sage’s sword turned on him. Instead, the Sheik moved quickly to provide the young man with the means to complete the break across the desert. As he sent the stranger off on his fastest horse, he gave him thanks for having freed him of a burning wish that had plagued him since the murder of his first-born son.
Sonia wondered at the power of the message as she sat. Then, throwing up her arms, she saw the many words she’d written about forgiveness rising skyward; and next the myriad letters that had once been cast in words returned to cascade freely all around her.