Monday, January 01, 1990

The Garden

Not all is dark in the world of Alyria. Somewhere, just out of sight, just out of reach, there lies the Garden. Soft sunlight falls like rain on soft green grass and cold clear water. The wind pirouettes between the trees and dances beneath the fountains and waterfalls of that enchanted land. There the unicorns come to rest, lying beside the pure streams. All is peaceful. All is calm. It is a taste of heaven on earth.

No one really knows what the Garden is. The Keepers try to study it, but in vain. The dragons wish to destroy it, but they cannot find it. It is nowhere, and it is everywhere. Many have quested to find the Garden but have returned empty-handed. But to the helpless, to the needy, to the wounded, it is near. It matters not where you are. The next alleyway, the next steam tunnel, the third tree from the right, all could be the entrance to the Garden. It has appeared even on the Sea of Mist itself to offer comfort and solace to those who need it. You cannot find the Garden; it must find you.

All is light in the Garden. Soft grass and beautiful trees spread in all directions. Gentle animals meander through the thickets and drink from the crystal water. In the distance a fountain speaks its watery voice, spreading a giddy joy. Here by the stream, the rustle of the leaves and the babble of water mix in a symphony of joy. The sky is clear and bright, a blue so intense that it almost hurts to see it. Not a cloud mars that intense blue, nor does the sun drown it out, for there is no sun. Certainly there is light, but it is everywhere. Perhaps the very air is luminescent, as everything seems to glow with an inner light. Here there is peace. Here there is joy.

Not only animals dwell in the Garden; there are also the Ones who Wait. They pass silently through the Garden, clad in white robes, ministering to those who are brought here. Some need healing, and it is given. Others need comfort, and they are given a shoulder to cry on and good counsel. Others simply need to gaze on the beauty of the Garden, and they are left to themselves to watch in wonder at the beauty that surrounds them.

No one can stay within the Garden forever. Eventually it fades away and the weary traveler is left precisely where he had been, with the taste of Paradise on his tongue and the songs of Paradise fading in his ears. And yet, the legend says that one day the Garden will come to rest and it will spread across the land. The pain and ugliness, the death and the mourning, the hatred and the bloodshed will all be wiped away in a final blaze of glory as once and for all the Garden finds those for whom it was sent.


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