Once upon a time there was a boy. And something happened to this boy so that he understood clearly he could no longer trust other human beings.
He told God sincerely one evening when the sky was pink and majestic that he didn’t want to be a part of this world anymore.
The Old Woman took mercy on this boy. She gave him a special gift. The Old Woman presented him with a set of magic wind sails.
The sails were larger than any sails in this world. Imagine the largest set of 12 sails for a ship you’ve ever seen. Now triple the size of those sails, and we’re getting close to what began to steer the boy’s spiritual ship through this world.
The sails were going to be the boy’s flypaper, his spider’s web, but he wasn’t going to catch bugs on his sails. He was going to catch energy, other people’s energy, and even the movement of energy among the people.
The sails were constructed by a legion of angels. The top sail was the most special. The master angel craftsman himself threaded together the top sail, and the green and gold goddess of telepathy calibrated it perfectly to hypersensitivity.
If someone was angry or annoyed at the boy, he would find a splotch of red energy on that top-most sail. In fact, the very first day the Old Woman presented the boy with his new sails, he shimmied up forty stories at the speed of thought and found a nice-sized blood stain on that top sail. That top sail didn’t miss anything. It was built to catch the tiniest speck of dark, dangerous energy.
The boy relied on that top sail to catch those dreaded red and black splotches quickly— very quickly. Those red and black splotches meant Watch Out! The boy’s life relied on that top sail more times than fingers he had on one hand. And it never failed him.
None of his sails did.
Were any of the boy’s sails ever wrong? No. But energy gets jumbled sometimes, and his interpretation was sometimes off. Sometimes people were unaware of the energy they put out and didn't like to be told what they were emitting, as they were not ready to own their actions yet. The boy learned these things.
The boy also learned other things, like what a yellow splotch on his sail meant.
Before anyone told the boy they were pleased with him, he might hear and later see a big splotch of yellow and green hit his sails. If someone was open and transparent with him, then he’d find the colors on his bottom sail, easily accessible. If the person lived with defenses up, as most do, including the boy, then he’d find the energy higher along his mast.
Of course, the boy’s sails worked best if they were all facing someone sitting directly across the table from him, so the boy could view body language as well. But they worked just fine receiving splotches from long distances. As he grew older and became a teenager, the boy began picking up energy from miles and miles away.
After a few years, the boy didn’t even have to look at the canvass anymore. He could tell what sort of energy was coming by the sound it made when it struck the canvass. The boy could tell where the energy came from by which way the winds were blowing in his life and how high or low on his sails the splotch landed.
The boy liked nothing more than finding a big pink splotch on my bottom-most sail. That meant someone was enamored with him, and she was coming. What fun!
As the boy grew to be a man, his sails became like extensions of his own limbs. He figured that was the gift of the sails: Learning how to operate them better and better and better, truly as an expert. He figured he’d take his place in the pantheon of souls who have operated and relied upon magic wind sails to catch energy and thus guide them through this tricky world.
Instead, something strange hit his sails one day. It sounded like something he had never heard before. He snapped his head up at the noise, then shimmied to the top sail and found nothing, which was really strange because, based on sound, the man hadn’t been wrong about the location of a splotch landing in years. He found the mystery splotch much lower, near the lowest sail, in fact.
It was a color he had never seen before. Truth be told, the man recoiled at first because new things are frightening. But he quickly became interested because new things are also fascinating. And this color was the loveliest color he had ever seen. He studied this splotch for days, even tasted it, something he hadn’t done in many years. The man had heard rumors of this sort of energy, but had never seen evidence of it, not on his sails.
Something wonderful was just over the horizon.
And so all his sails were pointed in the direction from which the new and exciting splotches were arriving. The man watched the winds like he hadn’t done in years. The crow’s nest became his home for the first time since he was a boy with a magic new gift. The man scoured the landscape for weeks. He set sail in the direction of the exciting new energy, but found nothing.
He did not understand. As an expert with his sails, he knew exactly where this amazing alien energy was coming from, but he found nothing when his ship arrived. He picked up more new energy, and again found nothing over the horizon. This went on for weeks.
Finally, the man began to understand he was not meant to find the source of this energy. We simply cannot have everything we desire in this world.
One evening, when the sky blushed a deep peach, the man felt a loneliness he hadn’t felt since he was a boy. The Old Woman paid him a visit for the second time in his life.
Do you want to sail in unknown waters? There is only one way.
Our most effective defenses are usually not cinder block castle walls. They are often much prettier and much more difficult to come out from behind, since they become a part of ourselves over the years.
The man spent a few days feeling the fabric of the canvasses, remembering when the first bit of purple arrived, the first touch of gray, and how different his life would have been without that top sail.
He was still the same boy he was, only in a man’s body, with the same fears and hopes.
On the fourth night since the Old Woman’s visit, the man sailed out into the desert, docked next to an enormous orange sand dune and abandoned ship. He thought he would kiss that top sail goodbye when the time came, but instead he only flashed the peace sign as he walked away, headed out into the great unknown.
Danger was waiting over the horizon, inevitably. And something wonderful, too. That was the Old Woman’s second gift to the boy: The chance to find out.