ENDURANCE

I may bend but I will never break. Through all things, I endure. Though I am scarred and ripe with bruises, I have survived, while the storm that assailed me has died away. Still, I am not the same. Whereas I once stretched out, trying to pluck the moon from its perch, my arms are now content to hang idly by my sides. Why should they not be? You could not count the years that I yearned for the stars, all the while my limbs assailed by the rage of that tempestuous gale. So long I stood out in the cold, clinging desperately to life, that lines began to form and grow across my countenance, marring my already rough features. If you traced the lines they would form letters, weaving tales of damage wrought. But the words have no power in themselves. They are but reminders of lost time, etched upon my visage by seasons as they howled past, forever locked in their cycle of savagery. I watched this progression with weary eyes, and as I did, I began to tire from the blows of Thor’s hammer, raining ceaselessly upon my tangled brow. Yet beneath the weathering of my exterior, my soul became inured to the pain precipitated by each drop of that hammer. Here, beneath the deluge, with the peals of Mjölnir’s thunder splitting the coruscating sky, I recalled the great Tree of the World, Yggdrasil, “that tree of which no man knows from where its roots run”. Ancient , older even than the worlds it joins, it will outlast them all. Was it not written that “it stands forever green over Urðr’s well”? Like Yggdrasil, I too am deeply rooted. While this thought was gestating in my mind another recollection came to me. Thor is God not only of storms and thunder, he is also God of the oak tree.

He who personifies the hurt that has been done to me, is the same who is given credit for my sustenance. This is the way of life. I once cursed the winds when they rose to buffet me. I hated their constant shrieking, the tugging at me until I felt stripped bare. I even cursed the clouds that they bore, with their thunder and ferocious lighting; such power, and so unpredictable that there was no way to avoid it but chance. Truly, I hated it all, or so I thought. Only now have I come to recognize the necessity of these things. Those same clouds, bursting with untamed fire, are the same that transport that precious gift of life, water. Without them neither I, nor any living thing could could exist. Water, cold and stinging though it may be, has never tasted so good as it does every time it touches your parched lips on a sunny day. To think that I used to curse the vessel that carries my lifeblood. Just like the scorching Sun, always lurking behind the storm clouds, waiting for the chance to fix me with his menacing glare, while I drenched and weary, droop at the thought of that wilting heat. The Sun at high noon bears dread for he who must cast his own shade. But despite pain and fear, it has now dawned on me that I need the Sun as much as I need the Earth beneath me. Those blinding rays of sunlight, unwelcome though they may be, have provided me the fuel that keeps my heart pumping. A hidden furnace smolders quietly in my belly, giving me the strength to stand, relentless in the face of adversity. Without the Sun, painful though it’s revealing splendor may be, there could be no spring when winter’s time has passed.

Perhaps these thoughts give rise to the notion that I have learned only gratitude from the ordeal that has been my life. That now, I have learned to take the bad with the good, and to find small things, even in miserable situations, for which to be thankful for. The truth, however, is much more pragmatic than mere optimism or blind acceptance of what Gods and Nature afford. I have learned to endure all things. I have accepted that I may not realize the dream I once had of growing up in a direction of my own choosing. Though the path ahead be unobstructed, and the sky above clear, the wind would not agree. For that was the direction from which it came, traveling from far off to come push me in a way in which I did not want to go. Powerful though I may be, I have not the strength to defeat the will of Thor. But still I refused to follow his guidance. And a heavy price I paid. The deterioration of my physical self can be attributed to this battle. Through it all though, I have held on to myself, and though I be twisted and haggard, there is no one else like me. If I am thankful for anything it is for having learned the importance of staying true to yourself, no matter the storm overhead. All storms pass….what will the sunshine reveal to you?

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