Practical EnlightenmentThe basket of fruits, veg, and assorted nuts, was patiently waiting for her to return from her swim. Not having been able to withstand the deliciously refreshing pinkish-greenish pastels of the water, she had carefully put the goods down and carelessly unwrapped herself from her purple dress and apron. Running up the rocks and taking flight as she gracefully jumped and dove in. Releasing herself from the worrisome things she had heard the trees talk about today.

Deep gratitude for life and living washed over her when the water did. She waved and laughed at her many underwater friends as she swam by them on her way to her secret art installation. As she had told her entire village and whoever else would hear it about it, it wasn’t really a ‘secret’ secret. But…as it was underwater and slightly hidden, she reveled in the idea that it was only hers for now. That thought alone, made her twirl with excitement, upsetting some of the older fish sleeping on the bottom of the lake. ‘Please don’t wake us, little girl, we’re old and weary and need the rest,’ their collective voices said as their eyes winked.

She winked back and smiled, ‘I’m so sorry, my gentlefish, I’ll be more careful.’

Hovering over a spot she had found an abundance of jewels before, she dug around and picked up some especially beautifully shaped rocks. Holding them up to the surface light, she admired the depths of their colorful translucence and gathered as many as she could find and carry.

When she reached her installation, she put the rocks down on the little pile already there and pushed herself off to the surface for a breath of fresh air. Shooting out of the water, hands up high above her, she drew the invigorating oxygen into her lungs and dove right back in.

Floating around, she cherished what she had been able to create so far. The dome was slowly taking shape and was projecting the most delightful mosaic of soft colors onto the bottom of the lake, the waving plants around her, and on her arms and body. She was crazy about the angular shapes forming a gentle curve and couldn’t wait for it to be finished. It would take her many more dives she knew, but the prospect of maybe…, maybe…, being able to show the finished product to Jorí thrilled her more than anything.

Closing her own eyes, she pictured his black ones. The dark lashes, his dark-brown hair, his long and luscious whiskers. They would dance, she imagined. Dance to the music of the lake and in beat with the scattering arrays of dazzling sunlit iridescence. He would tease her like he always did, and she would laugh and shyly look away when his gaze fell on her too long. Still uncomfortable in the naked vulnerability, though her ‘Open Heart’ lessons at school were helping her get there. But she would definitely be as proud as he would be impressed. One more breath, she thought and whirled up to the surface once more to dive right back in and continue building.

When she saw that the light was slowly starting to dim, she swam back to shore, leaped out, shook herself free of the water best she could, and put on her dress and apron again. ‘Hello, my dear friends, I hope you haven’t been lonely,’ she said to the basket and its inhabitants. After pawing her ears to make sure they too were dry and clean, she picked up the container and hurried back to the village to enjoy dinner and the company of her fellow Fée family.

‘Hey Mama,’ she yelled as she bounced into the hollow of the tree, its inside lit up by the glow of the golden vines hanging from the high ceiling. Placing the basket on the big round table, she ran up the stairs curling around the circular inside. She hid the gem from the lake in her closet with the other ones. Then she hopped down again and started peeling the potato-like veg she had picked earlier.

‘Hey, sweet Fría, thank you for bringing the beautiful food. Have you had a good day?’ her mother asked, not at all concerned with the treasure she knew she was sneakily hiding from her.

‘Yes, we learned all about the principles of enlightenment this morning.’

‘Really? And what about it did you take away from the lessons?’

‘That enlightenment is not an end state,’ she answered, rapidly peeling as she did, ‘but, instead, it’s a verb. It’s something that you do. Something that you need to work on every single day.’

‘And what does that practically look like for you?’ Her mother asked as she cut the peeled vegetables up in small cubes and chucked them in a big pot.

Fría had to think about that for a bit. ‘What does practical enlightening look like?’ She murmured to herself. ‘Maybe to not let the things that burden you weigh you down?’

‘Maybe…’ her mother answered, knowing full well that something was burdening her daughter even though she wasn’t willing to face or express it yet. ‘Maybe…,’ she repeated and smiled.

‘Also, my secret ballroom is a bit more gorgeous and great now than it was before,’ Fría said, unconsciously changing the subject to something she was more comfortable with.

Her mother smiled as she put the giant pan on the fire, ‘That’s so great. Are you just about ready to show Jorí yet?’

Fría let out an involuntary giggle, ‘No Mama, only when it’s finished, you know that.’

Of course, her mother knew that, but the sound of her daughter’s giggle lit up her heart. ‘You’re right, my sweets, there’s no rushing love…,’ she said and was delighted by yet some more bubbly giggles.

Practical Enlightenment
Practical Enlightening

ABOUT PHILOSOFICTION

Bi-weekly, short, fictional stories around a philosophical theme for you to ponder on (or not). The stories are stand-alone, but might just all end up being scenes adding up to a full-blown novel…

Inspiration comes from real life, from people, from art, from music, from anything… And I am open to suggestions and collaborations.

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