Once upon a time…which, as good folk of all ages know, is when all good stories begin…there was a remarkable woman. She was a beautiful girl with a beautiful mind and a beautiful spirit…she had long dark hair and sparkling brown eyes and a smile that could effortlessly warm the coldest heart.
It was a glorious day and the woman and the man…a stalwart fellow of seemingly dour mien (though those who bothered to look close could see the twinkle in his dark eyes and the evidence of many, many smiles and laughs plain to see at the corners of his mouth where his full lips met his full black beard)…were on a verdant cliff over looking the lush seaside valley where they both lived.
“I’m a grown woman,” the woman pouted, futzing with the golden cord secured around his waist, “I don’t need this.”
The man, holding a coil of golden cord in his big hand, stepped close to her. “Do you trust me?” he asked looking directly into her eyes.
The woman smiled shyly and folded into him. “You know I do,” she said in a small voice, burying her head against his chest and feeling so very comforted by the sweet music of his tender heart.
The man smiled and gently kissed the top of the woman’s head. “Then trust me in this.”
The woman sighed petulantly even though she was smiling warmly inside. “Oh, all right.” The woman closed her eyes and hugged the man, part of her never wanting to let go, and then she took a deep breath and stepped up to the edge of the cliff. “I’m ready,” she said her eyes full of awe and wonder as she looked down on the roaring sea and the lush valley and then up into the azure sky.
The dropped the coil of golden corn to the ground and took hold of the tether that went from the coil to his hands to the waist of the woman. “I won’t let you crash,” he promised.
She favored him with a creamy, healing smile. “I know,” she said with an impish wink. She turned back to the edge and took another deep breath. “Hey,” she said looking back over her shoulder and said, “I love you.”
“I know,” he said with an impish wink.
The woman laughed musically and then, with one last deep breath, she leapt. She leapt off the edge of the cliff and plunged a little. And then she soared. She soared up above the lush seaside valley. She soared high into the azure sky, the golden cord secured around her waist glinting in the soft sunshine as it wound down to where the man was carefully letting the coil un-spool while keeping a sure hand on the connection between the woman and him.
Glorying in the perspective from so high, the woman laughed and danced and sang as she soared ever higher.
The sun, in all its majesty, looked down her with affection and admiration.
The wind, feeling a bit bored even on such a beautiful day, caressed her as she soared. “Go higher,” the wind sang, “go higher. It will be okay.”
The woman knew that there was only so far that she should soar lest she suffer the fate of foolish Icarus but her spirit was filled with such unbridled joy that she felt the impulse to heed the entreaties of the mischievous wind.
On the cliff below the man watched carefully making sure his grip on the golden tether was strong and sure.
The woman flew higher, her will to soar ever higher undaunted, and she reached out to touch the very sun itself.
“Careful, daughter,” the sun said, “do not get too close to me, I cannot temper my heat and my radiance.”
“Don’t listen, girl,” the wind said, “it will be fine if you go higher.”
The woman stretched out her hand…and then she stopped. There was a tug around her waist and she could go no further. Below, the man had pulled back on the golden cord and was pulling her back from the precipice of danger.
“No,” the woman said, looking longingly up at the luminous sun. But she did not fight as the man gently pulled her back into the expansive azure sky.
“No,” the bored, mischievous wind, said blowing hard and making the woman lose her way for a moment.
Startled by the sudden shift in the wind, the woman lost concentration and began to fall towards the ground…towards the verdant hill and the lush seaside valley…below. At first the woman started to panic but then she remembered the man’s promise and she took a deep breath. She closed her eyes and allowed the warm of the sun and the coolness of the breeze to steady her resolve and calm her mind.
The wind, feeling guilty that the game had gone too far, rushed down to slow her.
Below, the man took a deep breath and kept his eyes fixed on the woman. He reeled in the golden cord furiously and, with the aid of the guilty wind, the woman glided down into his waiting arms.
The woman opened her eyes when she felt herself gently embraced by the man’s strong arms.
“Hello,” the man said, smiling with relief, “thanks for trusting that me.”
“Hello,” the woman replied, looking up into the man’s smiling dark eyes, “thanks for keeping your promise.”
The man let the woman down and she reached up and hugged him. “I want to go back up,” she whispered.
The man nodded. “I’m ready when you are.”
She smiled her bright and creamy smile and went back to the edge of the cliff.
“Hey,” the man, getting a good grip on the golden cord, called out, “I love you.”
The woman giggled joyfully and looked back over her shoulder. “I know,” she said with an impish wink.
And then, undaunted, she leapt off the cliff again and soared back up into the azure sky.
The wind danced with her, caressing her face and making sure she flew high but not too high.
The sun looked down proudly at his bold daughter dancing in the azure sky and his stalwart son holding steady on the verdant cliff.
The man looked up and smiled as the woman’s happy laughter echoed across the lush seaside valley below.
And the woman…the beautiful girl with the beautiful mind and the beautiful spirit…soared gracefully…joyfully…surely. She soared with a wisdom that had eluded foolish Icarus….close enough to the sun that she was bathed in its glory but no so close as to be immolated.
And she lived (and learned and laughed and loved) happily ever after…which, as good folks of all know, is how all good stories unfold.