The Man and The Mirror ~ Ch 1 ~
Once upon a time, way up in the mountains there was a delightful little village. The land was healthy and strong and the fruit of it was bountiful. Being a temperate country, they enjoyed the passing of each season and the blessing that each one brought to them. The people that lived there reveled in the beauty and quaintness of their wonderful village. They knew that they were different and they personally believed it was because they lived so near the sun.
In the center of town, there was a lovely warm, bubbling seep. Many people from all around came to soak in its soothing waters. Ville D’eau was the favorite village of all who entered its borders, not just because of the beauty and soothing ministry that the land itself performed – but because the joy of the people was as welcoming as the spring.
(Read at your own risk. This is at least a 4 part series. The story IS done, so you won’t be left hanging this time, but it is long and drawn out.) 🙂
Years before, in an attempt to keep the spring available throughout the year, the people of Ville D’eau built a stone shelter to surround their precious waters. The stones were all chosen with care, that they might reflect the sun that shone so often in their country. Each stone much have a pristine whiteness about it, so that there was nothing in the stone itself that would distract from the beauty of the sunshine it was intended to reflect.
Inside, there were two changing rooms – one for each gender – allowing the people to slip into attire appropriate for lounging about in the healing and soothing waters of Ville D’eau. In between the two rooms, there was a co-ed sitting room, frequently decorated with some bit of beauty, brought in from the surrounding countryside. In addition to that was The Mirror.
No one remembered where The Mirror had come from. No one remembered who first thought of putting a mirror in the bath house. No one understood why The Mirror always made one look better than any other mirror they looked in. The entire bath house was structured around The Mirror – the design itself positioned the windows high enough to allow the sun to stream in and bounce off The Mirror. This resulted in The Mirror being the main source of light in the bath house.
The Mirror was as wide as it was tall. It nearly filled the entire wall. The wall facing it had a view of the mountains and the orchards that lined the hilly paths leading to the top of the mountain. Oddly, the reflection in The Mirror seemed somehow more beautiful than the actual scene. The colors richer, the tones deeper and if you asked those who frequented the springs often, they would even tell you that The Mirror reflected the scent of the panorama it displayed.
In the spring, the entire sitting room seemed like a bride, filled with the pure whiteness and pastel shades of the fruit trees in bloom. The colors that were sent bouncing around the room were so brilliant in the fall, it was almost difficult to breathe in the presence of such glory. Winter required a fire being built just to take the edge off the chill that the reflected mountains and gray wispy trees caused to settle in the air. During the summer, the windows themselves were opened and the fresh mountain air playing in the orchards came dancing in filling the entire bath house with the smell of apples, peaches, blueberries or grapes – whatever was in season at that time – the entire room green with the jewels of the fruit showing in the midst of it.
Those coming to Ville D’eau for the first time always stopped and stared into The Mirror. They could hardly believe that they were seeing themselves. It seemed that years and the stain of worry and concern was erased from their face. Somehow there was a freshness about them -a newness, a lightness to their step. It was said that as many that came to soak in the waters, even more came to stand before The Mirror and have their hearts lifted by what they saw.
It was early fall when the Man first saw The Mirror. The sitting room was rich in the smell of grapes and the room was lit not only by the sun, but was tinted gold by the aspen and black cherry leaves beginning to turn color. He was captivated by the quiet and subtle majesty of The Mirror. He completely stopped, totally forgetting why he was there. He simply stood there. Looking at himself, he didn’t see the weakness he was so accustomed to seeing when he looked in his mirror at home. There was only a quiet strength and power that emanated from his reflection. He thought it odd, but that image remained with him for days.
Getting to Ville D’eau in the winter was no mean feat – but it simply wasn’t an option for The Man. He had thought of, dreamed about and longed for another time before The Mirror. His heart ached to stand before The Mirror and experience his own strength staring him back in the face again. He felt so weak.
Cold and weary from the trip, he skipped eating despite his great hunger and went straight to the bath house. After changing, he entered the sitting room, walking straight to The Mirror. He was so glad the room was empty, he didn’t want to share this moment with anyone else. Almost shyly he turned and stared into the depths of The Mirror. The strength he longed to see again was still there – only this time, it was even greater. It didn’t dance in the midst of his own reflection, instead it seemed to almost take on a persona of its own. He didn’t know whether to rejoice or to weep. The temptations that faced him at home were so great and he ached to see the strength that The Mirror revealed made manifest in himself.
He wasn’t aware of the passing of time while he stood there, waiting to find the strength he so longed for. However, when he noted that the sun had set and the room was no longer filled with a greenish glow, but rather – a gentle ultramarine now filled the room, as twilight descended on the small village. He turned to find that someone had entered the room and lit a small fire and left a bowl of soup, a hunk of warm, heavy bread and a pitcher of water (he assumed it came from the springs due to its purity). Suddenly the hunger that was a constant companion since arriving now became a ferocious enemy that demanded his submission.
He sat down and greedily consumed the entire bowl, dipping his bread as he ate. Thinking that this had to be the most refreshing meal he had ever eaten, he leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes. Before he knew it, he had fallen asleep. When he awoke, there was a bowl of fruit and a large tankard sitting at his elbow. He nibbled slightly, but the sound of the gently bubbling spring seemed to call his name and he wandered off to soak his weary body.