Ruby’s story continues. This one immediately follows The Road to Mt. Liebe. You can catch up with her past stories on this link:
As Ruby stepped off the road pointed to her by her spiritual teacher, she felt a presence pass by. She looked around and then upwards in case it was the kuldne kull flying by.
She saw no one.
She looked down and noticed a beautiful white feather with black speckles on the ground. She picked it up and interwove it into her hair over her right ear. Then she continued towards the sounds of the celebration.
After a few moments, she heard a woman’s voice shout, “Welcome!”
A tall woman with long blond hair down almost to her waist waved. Ruby was impressed by the woman’s stature, clear skin, intense green eyes, and yellow and green dress perfectly accenting her body. “Welcome to Padreson Chemin!” Her deep voice resonated with enthusiasm.
“Thank you!” Ruby replied.
The woman gave Ruby a big hug. “I’m Magav. But I go by Maggie. Who are you?
“Renee, it’s nice to meet you. You’ve come on a great day. We’re celebrating Mt. Liebe!”
“Really? Wow. That’s why I’ve come.”
“That’s why we all come, Renee. Well, most of us.” Maggie’s eyes sparkled like emeralds.
Ruby followed Maggie through the festive atmosphere. People sang, danced, ate, joked, performed, and created art. She paused at an amazing mountain sculpture. “Is that what it looks like? Mt. Liebe, I mean.”
Maggie hugged Ruby again. “Yes, Renee. Wait until we get out of the woods and into the center of town. There’s an amazing view there.”
As Ruby followed Maggie, she realized she was getting further and further from the road.
But it couldn’t hurt right? And it shouldn’t be too hard to find my way back, Ruby thought.
Ruby entered Padreson Chemin. Despite being fairly small, the people all seemed to be engaged in lively activities. Lively discussions. Lively construction of homes and other structures.
“They sure are building a LOT,” Ruby commented.
“New people come here all the time. They hear the call,” Maggie replied.
Ruby followed Maggie to a viewing tower in the center of town. A structure rose up out of the marketplace that offered a view above the tree line. Ruby reached the top platform and saw it: Mt. Liebe. Despite an already warm spring, the mountain was still crowned white with snow. It rose above a sea of evergreens and stood alone, apart from any other mountains. Ruby felt her heart beat faster.
“Yeah. Woah and wow,” Maggie agreed.
“Have you ever climbed it?”
Maggie laughed. “Oh no. That’s way too dangerous. We all learned long ago to appreciate it from afar.” Maggie grabbed Ruby’s hand. “Come on. I want you to meet some people.”
Ruby was surprised by Maggie’s familiarity and regular touches. When she met Maggie’s friends, she was even more surprised by their warmth and hugs. She began to cry.
“What is it, Renee?”
“I’ve never experienced anything like this before,” Ruby sobbed.
The whole group gathered closer around Ruby, holding her while she cried.
“Thank you.” Ruby wiped her eyes.
The group peppered her with questions.
“Who are you?”
“Where did you come from?”
“Why are you here?”
Ruby tried to keep up with their questions, but she felt overwhelmed. After so much solitude in the desert, this kind of interaction with people felt foreign.
Then one person commented about her clothes. Maggie also noticed Ruby’s clothes. “Wow. Those things are about to fall off of you!”
Ruby felt very self-conscious as she too noticed her loose, dirty and stained clothes.
“Take her to Gwen,” someone said.
Others agreed. Maggie nodded. “Gwen is the best. She made my dress.”
The two women headed to the northern outskirts of town to see Gwen, the local tailor. Maggie warned Ruby that Gwen was a little odd.
They walked into Gwen’s home/shop to find fabrics strewn about and big cobwebs of thread and yarn hanging from everything from the rafters to the doors to the windowsills. Everything except a neatly spun spool.
“Gwen?” Maggie called. “Are you here?”
“Be a minute, dearie. Have some tea.”
They looked around for the tea, but couldn’t find anything. Instead they sat on over-stuffed cushions and waited.
Perhaps a half hour passed before a wizened woman with wild gray hair and a crooked smile emerged from a room.
“Hello! Did you find the tea?”
They shook their heads.
Gwen looked around with eyes half-hidden by sagging folds of skin. “Hmm. Must be here somewhere.”
“Gwen. This is my new friend, Renee. She needs new clothes.” Maggie indicated that Ruby should stand up.
Ruby hesitated, feeling bashful.
Gwen cackled. “Indeed you do! Well, get ’em off.”
“I gotta see what I’m working with. Let’s get to it.”
Ruby felt strange stripping in front of two strangers.
Maggie gasped. “You’re beautiful,” she said softly.
Ruby looked at herself in a mirror–the first mirror she’d seen in a year or more. Again, her reflection startled her. The clear lines and curves of her body carried what they needed and little else. The desert had stripped away much. Her eyes, however, held her more.
“Who am I?” Ruby asked, as she stared deep into her own eyes.
“You’re naked!” Gwen laughed. Then she measured Ruby swiftly and precisely. She suggested fabrics and ideas, colors and possible uses. Ruby went along with most of the suggestions until she caught sight of a deep red fabric.
“I want that.”
“Then you shall have it.”
“And…” She spotted some silver thread, “can it be stitched with that?”
“Silver and red. Interesting. Yes, you shall have it.”
As Maggie and Ruby prepared to leave, Gwen saw the feather in Ruby’s hair.
“Renee? Is that what I think it is?”
“What do you think it is is?”
“One of HER feathers.”
Maggie suddenly noticed the feather. “Ohhhh.”
Ruby pulled the feather from her hair. “I found it on the ground.”
“Oh ho ho! You just found it. It was just lying on the ground,” Gwen half-mocked.
“I don’t understand.”
“The village has a guardian,” Maggie said. “An amazing owl with magical abilities.”
“Magic isn’t real,” Gwen chided. “And this owl is real. More than real. I’ve seen her. With my own two eyes.” Gwen grabbed Ruby’s hands. “This is a powerful omen. A powerful omen!”
Ruby thanked Gwen for the advice and promised to come back when her new clothes were ready.
Maggie offered a room in her small cottage to stay at while Roby got used to being in the village.
As Ruby went to bed, she told herself that she’d be back on the road soon. Then she went to sleep.
Interpretation of Padreson Chemin
How quickly the student diverts from the teacher’s advice. The simplicity of the spiritual path with its “come back to awareness,” “breathe,” “watch your thoughts,” and other simple tools is often no match for the excitement and drama of human ego, emotions, and sensations. Those are represented by the celebration going on in the village, and that’s part of what is luring her away from her goal.
In short, Ruby is getting lost.
The village and people are all lost and confused. The name “Padreson Chemin” is a confused version of the French term, “perdre son chemin” which means to “lose one’s way.”
We meet Maggie whose given name Magav means sleeping in Estonian, and her confusion is immediately seen when she thinks she hears a name–Renee–instead of a state of realization–Renais. Actually, both basically mean reborn in French. But I liked the way these two words could show a conceptual misunderstanding. So often in life we use what we think are the same words with other people, but in reality, we have different understandings of the same words we’re using. In this story, calling Ruby by the name Renee is meant to show that confusion. Renee is not who Ruby is, but when everyone is used to ego identities, that’s how a state of spiritual realization can often be misinterpreted.
Additionally, the reader is introduced to a common idea that certain spiritual levels of attainment like climbing Mt. Liebe are too hard or dangerous. Ruby has come to a village that would rather adore spiritual things from afar than to engage with them directly. The people there also indulge in fantasies like magic, omens, and other spiritually exciting concepts and practices that generally have little to no use on the actual path to spiritual realization and freedom.
Additionally, Ruby is still processing how the stripping away of attachments in the desert has changed her. That’s the metaphor of her losing fat and just seeing her body as it actually is. Despite all that happened in the desert, Ruby is going back to sleep.
After so many powerful spiritual experiences and her initial awakening, how could this happen to someone like Ruby?
Oh, but it has, and it happens to people all the time.
What is going to happen to her now?
Will she stay asleep/unconscious?
Will she wake back up? There’s more to tell in her story.