It was a resolute triumph to find the river. Every Dark Forest has one. When she’d left the security of her orphanage, it was with the conviction that she would find a river. As long as she’d lived in the forest, she’d been certain there was one. Her fear of traveling too far alone had kept her from searching for it. She could imagine the river, sometimes almost hear it; the need to reach the river had grown too strong to ignore.
She had set out on a pilgrimage, with nothing but her instinct to guide her. She was completely lost and she knew it. She was terrified, but she couldn’t go back. She’d set out to find the river and now she had to keep going until she found it.
It was remarkably easy to find a river, actually. It had been far, FAR harder to set out to find it than to reach it once she’d begun travelling. Just a short distance beyond the comfortable radius of her regular paths and she could hear it. She followed the sounds until she found herself soon at its bank.
There it was, the River. Flowing away from its inception, flowing towards an imperative destination. All she had to do was follow the river and it would take her to its vital somewhere. While all else around her stood still and sluggish, stuck in time, the river was alive, in an endless journey towards the future, without any doubts about the impetus of the trip. The river held the answers she was seeking, the keys to living the progression of life and sourcing the creative force to carve a way forward.
A jealous, stationary tree had flung a branch into the stream, commissioning a limb to explore the way the river winds. But the branch had snagged and wedged between some rocks, its exploration stymied.
She went out onto the rocks to retrieve the branch, to use it as a walking stick as she followed the river’s lead. The river was fearless in creating a course to continue forward. It was willing to twist and wander, bend and ramble, make any accommodation the landscape required, slow to a trickle or rage forward, never losing the drive to flow onward.
She was not so steadfast. Before long she wearied. Her walking stick became a wall stud as she built herself a shelter. The comfort of the river beckoned her to stay. Day after day she lay by its side, wondering at the creative ferocity of its mission, listening to the endless wisdom of its babble, watching it pass ever on with a growing sense of loss. She wanted to stay and sit forever by the lulling waters of the river.
The river knew better. A stagnant pond grows algae. The creative heart impels movement, always streaming, ever on. And so her walking stick, wall stud became the prow of a little boat. And both she and the curious tree limb continued their exploration, guided by the intuitive direction of the river.