I tear through the forest, branches ripping at my skin. The trees thin and my feet bog in mud. I fight to lift them, heavily weighted, until bursts of vegetation give way to drifts of sand. Then stumbling, I sink to the ground. Too weary for tears. Beside me, a brook struggles over dry dirt. It weeps for me. The blistering sun threatens its existence. Nowhere left to go, nowhere to hide.
I cradle my head in my hands for hours, I don’t know how long. Then the sweltering air begins to flutter. A humming swells. Too tired to look up, I welcome the breezes teasing across my shoulders. Then the whirring modulates into flapping, the unmistakable lift and fall of mighty wings. An offering falls from the sky, dry crusty bread. Food for the day, mercy for the moment. As suddenly as they came, the deliverers are gone. I eat the morsels, slake my thirst with the trickling water at my side.
Day after day yields to night and back to dawn. They come and go. And I survive.
It’s only looking back I see the brook leaking into my soul, the morsels lodging like time release capsules in the architecture of my spirit. Not consumed, but accumulated like gems.
A Voice calls. It’s time to get up and walk away, time to leave the brook Cherith. Although now its treasure belongs to me.