We walked on, more powerfully then before into the ever rising wind. And as we neared the ending of the plain, an unexpected weary traveller approached, having merged from the maple woods into which our road would enter. He was a worn out soul, calloused hands, weathered skin, bent back, and unsteady step. He was wearing but his summer shirt, a cotton denim shirt with threads appearing from years and years of being worn. I could tell he was journeying on into the wintry realms that we had left behind. "He would shiver in the cold," I thought.
Mt grandfather gave him a hearty hale and I, a sympathetic smile. Just as he was about to pass, he stopped and asked suddenly with all humility, "Might I carry upon my shoulders your sweater coat."
But this was a gift from the Willow Woman, a gift she had made for me in the wee hours of many lonely nights. How could I possibly toss away such a gift? But the weary traveller sat in patient wait, not staring, but glancing now and then. I argued within myself. My soul felt compassion for the weary traveller on a course into deathly cold. But my soul felt obligation to the Willow Woman.
"Where are you headed, " I asked.
He answered, "To meet by cherished Willow, who has so longed for me."
And then I came to an understanding. The gift of woolen warmth is meant for those who must endure the cold. To keep it beyond its need is to deny the gift its meaning.
I removed the woolen sweater with the green forest scene upon it and gave it to the man for his journey home. And from where, I know came the words I said, but to the man I whispered in his ear, "Your Willow has sent me to give you this so that you might make your journey home."
And it has been true through the all the miles of my lifetime, gifts are forever gifts. They are given so that they might given once more. That is how we all do make it in our time, taking the inheritance we have received and bestowing it as legacy to those who follow.
The woolen sweater is warmth in the winter cold; but it is burden in the summer heat.