The Old Barn
See Red Again
Once upon a time in a land that was painted by the golden sun was a town. There was something magical about this place, it was unlike any other town in the entire world. Lightsdream Village, a name chosen after an explorer that aspired to change the world: his name was Hugh Lightsdream. As its history goes, Hugh was a true nomad with roots of the unknown. Born as an orphan Hugh never felt a rooted connection to any specific place, instead he created his soul from the bits and pieces of places and people he'd come across that felt familiar. The journey to find his roots allowed him to teach all kinds of people The Art of Alchemy, and brought him to destinations like the peak of Mt. Rainier, to the sandy beaches of an island in the Pacific Ocean called Guam. This was where Hugh discovered the most important lesson of what it means to be an explorer.
While Hugh was in Guam, he experienced the most profound culture he could’ve imagined stumbling upon. The Chamorros taught him the ways of their culture unselfishly. Hugh learned how to weave baskets from coconut tree leaves, how to cast a net for fishing (talaya'), how to cook native cuisines, about their history and legends, and most importantly: the true meaning of hospitality. One night, Hugh had woken up from a nightmare, he decided to go for a walk to clear his mind. The path had been paved by the light of the moon, and to his surprise he saw a clearing in the distance with an old barn at its center. It matched the description of one of the legends he had heard earlier in the day. The natives told him it only appeared to the souls meant for true adventure. A childlike joy began to fill his heart, and with one foot in front of the other he began to make his way to the barn. As he walked closer, trees began to spring from the ground until he was forced to stop at the entrance of what was now a jungle. Hugh recalled the Chamorros telling him about asking for permission before entering. Although he couldn't recall the correct words, he asked to enter and explained how he had found his way to Guam. Once again, the path was lit by the moon and took another step closer to his destination. As the Moon guided him and the land making his way, Hugh was within arms reach of the barns doors. To his surprise, he was greeted by two of the islands medicinal teachers: Sirahanu Joe and Sirahana Bonita.
As they began to walk towards the entrance, Joe and Bonita stopped abruptly and turned to Hugh. "This is the moment you've been searching for your whole life. Every choice you have made since you were a young boy has led you home." With confusion expressed on his brow, Bonita grabbed his hand and looked into his eyes and said "Apmam tiempo ti umali'e' hit, guiniya'ku." Suddenly, the words that were once foreign and hard to pronounce translated in his mind. He replied "It has been so long since we've seen each other. I don't understand what's happening. Why do I feel like I've heard that before? Who are you?!" Joe placed his hand on Hughs shoulder, and with a long pause began to guide him to the doors. As they approached, Bonita explained to Hugh once he went into the barn his heart, mind and soul would become one with the light of the Moon. In disbelief, doubts began to fill Hughs mind and he slowly started to take a step away. Bonitas eyes began to fill with a great sadness because she knew Hugh would find what he had been seeking. Bonitas eyes held the truth of a thousand lives and oddly enough Hugh didn’t want to disappoint her. Hugh could see how much this meant to her, but he didn't know who she was, he didn't know who Joe was either; just that they felt familiar. He looked away from Bonita and into the distance where he could see the moon touching the ocean and the silhouette of palm trees dancing in the wind. Suddenly Hugh felt at ease in their presence. Every doubt he had about who he was began to disappear, every question was met with an answer. He felt as if he had finally solved the greatest mystery of life... Where do i come from?
Hugh returned his gaze to Bonita and Joe and took a step forward. Every step closer was an instant sensation he felt throughout his body. He knew he was opening his life up to the possibilities of being more than who he was and to the potential he knew laid dormant within him, waiting to be ignited at the right time with the right people in the right place. With one hand grabbing the edges of the old barn, a light began to illuminate from his fingertips and every fear he had began to disappear. The light filled the spaces where it once lived, and with a leap of faith he opened the entrance and walked inside. A wall made of mirrors outlined the back of the barn which looked as if it was 10 feet away. The sides of the walls were lined with doors labeled things like "This is not the door you want." "Now's not the right time". While Hugh was busy reading the signs he hadn't realized he was almost 20 feet in.. Space was an illusion and nothing made sense while making all the sense. He decided to make his way to what he could see being the end of the barn which was further than he had anticipated. As he was making his way he noticed the light again, it was shining faintly through the bottom of a door labeled "Unconventional timing". Despite the label of the door not making any sense, he realized his body had already made the notions to prepare for entry. With his thoughts becoming in sync with his actions, he went inside. What he found was the middle of the barn again. Growing tired and frustrated he made his way to another door labeled "In which you seek". Once again he found himself in the middle of the barn. At this point he didn't care what door that he went through, he wanted to get out of the old barn. He went to the door closest to him "What you've been missing" and went inside, in the middle of the barn he reappeared. Anger began filling his body, and all the light that once filled him turned into a red glow until it was all he could see. Something caught his eye in the reflection of the mirror, he walked closer to the door he saw in the reflection and it was labeled "See red again".
When he walked in, he found himself somewhere new and different. He was on the sand that held the warmth of the sun, while the gentle breeze held tiny kisses from the ocean. The anger began to drain from his body and with how vast the ocean was, so did all his frustrations. With his feet in the water, his back parallel to the shore, his hands buried in the sand, and his head looking up at the sky he realized the very thing he knew all along. He didn't need to be rooted to one specific place because he was rooted to the Earth.
He realized his passion was like the sand that could be warm or hot depending on how much he allowed the sun to shine upon it, his emotions were as vast as the water with depths unexplored, his thoughts were as open as the sky with the ability to flow freely with the wind, and he was chosen and gifted with the ability to control how each part of him was affected. He finally realized why he had no roots to just one place. He was the Traveler; The soul that created the intention that fueled his passion, and the freedom to learn from all he came across. He was the Explorer of this unconventional lifetime, the bridge that wasn't a bridge; but the creator that bridged the answers to the questions. He was the alchemist that transmuted everything he was surrounded by.
Upon his profound realization, Bonita and Joe emerged from the jungle behind him and together they sat on the shore for what felt like minutes but had actually been hours. With the sun beginning to set, Bonita and Ben began dusting the sand from their hands and slowly rose to their feet. Hugh, with his head still facing towards the sky, lowered his gaze and watched Joe and Bonita walk into the water. Every step into the water was a faint light imprinted by their feet, until a white glow surrounded them. Hugh sat up and watched the water cover their body more and more until it was chest high. They looked at Hugh one last time and smiled. Together Joe and Bonita dove into the white glow and emerged from the surface each as a koi fish: One white and red and the other black and green but both with iridescent scales. He watched these beautiful fish swim at the surface until he couldn't visibly see them anymore.
The glow that once surrounded Joe and Bonita began to fade away, and with tears in his eyes Hugh began dusting the sand from his hands, rising from where the three of them had just been sitting. and started to make his way to the jungle. With one last goodbye in his heart, he turned back to the ocean and waited for the sun to rest fully in the waters. Just before the orange, yellows and reds were replaced with the blues that reflected the ocean's depths, he could see the glow again, it was beginning to intensify until it was bright enough to blind him. He squinted his eyes and saw the outline of a bird with majestic wings and a dragon that readily breathed fire start to penetrate the surface. The further these magical beings flew, the darker everything became. He watched the dance between the bird and the dragon in the sky, their silhouettes causing the stars to dance with too. The bird flying gracefully had begun spiraling downward and with momentum gaining the once majestic wings began to set ablaze.
Hugh thought to himself how any bystander would think it was a falling meteor. The bird crashed into the sand, not far from where he discovered the value his soul held. With the flames still towering, he waited patiently. The moment the flames became smaller, he ran up to the bird and did everything he could possibly think of to put the fire out. Nothing seemed to do the trick; covering the remaining flames with sand didn't help, and water reignited the fire with flames even bigger in size. Feeling helpless Hugh surrendered control of the situation, and waited for the flames to diminish on their own. Ready to admit defeat, he heard a noise coming from that direction.
The pile of ash began to move and what stood in front of him was a bird much bigger than the one before. Not knowing what was happening he stepped back.. Little piles of ash formed around the bird until what had happened was no longer evident. He looked into its eyes and saw the same eyes that held the love, wisdom and trust of a thousand lives. He stroked her feathers and said "Apmam tiempo ti umali'e' hit, hu guiya hao." After his words kissed his lips goodbye the bird began to flap its wings and rise to reunite with the dragon. Every motion to return to the sky caused waves, and traces of fire shaped by their size as evidence of where they once were. When they were reunited, flames began to surround them. In sync their wings began to disappear into the depths of the nights sky. The dragon and the phoenix continued to ascend until all that could be seen were the glistening of the stars. Just as these magical beings disappeared, the last bits of oranges and reds that pervaded the air vanished, neither left no trace of what had just happened .
Hugh woke up the next morning in bed with no recollection of how he got there. He replayed everything that happened the night before in search of some kind of explanation as to how he got back into bed. With no conclusions he decided to accept it for what it was and take the lesson he learned from i, whether it was real or just a dream. Hugh decided it was time for him to make his journey back and explained everything he had learned to his soul tribe. With the help of the Chamorros, he was on his way in no time. Still trying to recall his memories of the old barn, he caught himself lost in the moment, but noticed his left had words written on it "Find your center, and go left". How had he not seen that there before? With his gaze searching for an answer and mind trying to solve the riddle he looked out into the water and recalled the warmth of the sand on the beach. Suddenly he saw something in the water, something glowing brighter and brighter. He began to feel an ache so intense he became scared.
His eyes retreated from the water and back down to his hands. His heart began to beat faster and faster. He began to panic in fear this would be the moment his life ended. He put his hand on chest, which had started tightening, and found a paper folded 3 times in his shirt pocket. On the front of the note were The Scales of Balance, with a water and fire symbol on one side, and an air and earth symbol on the other. As he opened the note he began to hear a voice, it was far away and foreign to him. The voice started getting louder and louder. Hugh trying his best not to become distracted opened the note that read "It's time!!" Almost immediately Hugh recalled the door labeled "Now's not the right time" He began to panic not understanding what any of this meant. The voice became louder and louder and the words started becoming easier to understand "PUSH" "You're doing great Josefa just one more push" With his thoughts in overdrive, his eyes slowly began to close. "We're almost there! You got this" he heard another voice say. It was the voice of another woman. "Mom stop, I’m trying! It hurts!" Josefa screamed in anguish. The sound of the word 'push' made Hugh feel as if he was being put under hypnosis, in and out of consciousness controlled by a single word. Oddly, he felt calm and serene. He had surrendered to what was happening and let things be. With one last "Push!" he began feeling pressure at the top of his head that traveled down his body, and a tugging that started at his shoulders until he went through whatever tunnel he was in with ease. Instantly a cold feeling came over his body and a loud slap on his butt to follow. "Congratulations! It's a girl!" he heard.
What did he mean by a girl? Who were they calling a girl? Hugh thought. While his eyes remained closed, he could see a maroon burgundy color that was outlined with a bright pink taking the shape of an oval. "Please let me hold her" said the second voice while choking back tears. Hughs' thoughts of who they were calling a girl slowly began to fade as he attempted to open his eyes. He wanted to see Bonitas face again, he needed her to reassure him everything was okay. Hugh opened his eyes and found Bonita had already anticipated meeting his gaze. "Look at my sweet, sweet girl" she said. Hugh realized he had been reborn into a different life, and was no longer his old self. Small cries began to escape from lips that felt like they were no longer his, but he found Bonita! She looked different but her eyes, her eyes were still the same, her eyes still held the comfort that everything was okay. Hugh began to lose his train of thought but kept his eyes on Bonitas. With his consciousness disappearing faster than before, his eyes didn't dare break their stare. Hugh knew something was happening but had no idea what. Beginning to feel afraid, the sound of a newborn's cry began to fill the air. "It's okay Una, everything is okay '' Her words held the same familiar warmth her eyes did. Hugh understood that because he had learned the value of his soul he was now to bring the same lessons with him to a new life as Una; and learn how to transmute it. She had Bonita by her side, and knew she would be there to guide her in this life and the next. Una released one last cry as a goodbye to the last thought that held the truth of the last life she had lived.
"There, there my wee Una, Grandmas got you” Bonita said with a smile. “And we’ve got a whole journey ahead of us, guiniya-ku’”