Sir Thadeus, the Knight, journeyed through the forest. Xerxes, his faithful steed, had broken its leg several days earlier. Without his steadfast companion, Thadeus felt very alone. He could not travel quickly nor carry adequate supplies. He was also very aware that as a single man marching through the woods, he was vulnerable and would most likely never see the castle again.

Having traveled by foot for many days, he sat exhausted against a maple tree.

Quietly, an old man approached him. The man was ancient with long white hair, a long white beard, and a long white robe that hung loosely over his frail frame. He was the oldest a man could be without departing, full of experience, wisdom and possibilities. For some reason, Thadeus was not surprised to see him so deep in the wilderness, even though he was feeble and barefoot. There was something familiar about him.

The old man slowly sat next to Thadeus and asked, “Aren’t you afraid of me?”

Thadeus gently realized who was talking to him and while they looked at each other, the old man was suddenly younger. He was the youngest a man could be without being a boy, full of muscles, energy and possibilities. The white robe was now filled, his frame stretching the fabric. He was handsome and innocent, clean shaved and growing out his hair.

“No, I’m not afraid of you,” Thadeus answered, not sure why. He hesitated, and then asked the youth, “Don’t you usually appear through fire, or with thunder?”

The young man was now a young woman, like the opposite side of a coin, full of beauty, fertility and possibilities. She had beautiful, braided hair, her body was like a ripe fruit, curving against the robe.

She laughed and answered back, “Only when I can’t get people’s attention any other way.”

She rose to her feet as an older woman with long, gray, unbraided hair. Thadeus noticed the resemblance to his mother, to all mothers, full of support, kindness and possibilities. She kissed him on the forehead and walked off, her robe brushing against the grass.

Every blade she touched turned bright green, like it does after a spring shower. The trees all shook their leaves in the still air as she passed. Then the entire forest waved back and forth as she became the wind, blowing gently on the Knight’s face, kissing him one last time.

He breathed in the cool air, stood up, and continued on his journey.