The Carriage Driver³ - Cove of the Sirens
Andrew wandered through his life. He read the philosophers and sought wisdom, insight and inner peace wherever he could find it. Now, he was near his end time; though he remained taut in mind and lean in spirit, his body slowed.
In years gone by, while studying reproductions of some recovered parchment scrolls from the Library of Alexandria he read of the existence of the Cove of the Sirens. Its location lost to humanity now for a thousand years. The coves only link remained in the imagination of the few dreamers and wanderers in the small remaining wilderness.
During his quest of life, he dismissed the supposition of the shouters of the Atlanteans and Lemurians. He was cautious enough to be wary of stories of sea dragons, undines, and Selkies. Ignored the warnings of, ‘here be dragons’ - content to learn. On long summer afternoons, his imagination could muster images of warm coves with mermaids, warming themselves along pleasant shorelines.
The rhythm of their melody soothed his inner doubts about the goodness remaining in the world. The sun against their slenderness confirmed beauty was alive and well. The lapping water reassured him that purity existed. The smell of salt air validated his place in the universe. The call of gulls reminded him he shared in only a small part of nature.
He sat and struggled with the ideas of Descartes and Camus for hours. He found both amusement, and depth of thought in the verbose works of Will and Ariel Durant. He would throw his hands in the air reading the ideas of Sartre and Foucault. All the while the mermaids would tease, splash about, and invite him to play.
With dilapidated sandals, threadbare clothing, and vision accosted with the sights of a tasteless civilization, he fell back within himself and thought back to Casteneda’s teachings, and the journey of Paulo Coelho’s, The Alchemist; and he followed along on the trek of Kahlil Gibran’s, The Wanderer.
He thought of green pastures and sought comfort from quiet waters. His grip on his walking stick loosened and it fell to the ground. It waited for his pending arrival. Andrew as he fell, mumbled, “I will fear no evil.”
Griffin had finished with the polishing of the carriage the evening before. This morning he brushed Nuelle, all the while talking to her in a reassuring voice. “Our fare today is quite a distance from this place. He wandered far and wide, yet he appears in our book. I packed a basket with extra apples and plenty of fresh, clean water.” He took his time, and with care tended to Nuelle’s coat.
Once on the road, they followed the country road that led alongside the local quarry. The trees were green and tall. The weather rejuvenated body and soul. They reached a crossroad and turned toward the legend of two semi-circle shaped lakes, nestled in a valley so deep, that from a distance looked like crescent moons. The place was known to some as the Mountains of the Moon. They reached the location after dark. The full moon reflected the crescent-shaped lakes; in the darkness, to the human eye, there appeared three moons.
There was no sign of Andrew. Griffin lit the carriage lantern and looked at the page. Instructions appeared; Nuelle and Griffin were guided to a location noted as a Secret Garden.
Griffin removed the kitchen cloth that covered the basket of apples. He picked a large apple and cutting it into four pieces gave Nuelle two pieces and ate the other two. “It is a pleasant evening for a carriage ride,” he told Nuelle. “It is a good break for us to take.”
The narrow passage wound along a dirt road, around boulders and past perfumed foliage. The wheels sang out, the lantern cast a warm glow as it rocked with the swaying carriage. Griffin and Nuelle were content in their work. They reached the location given in their instructions; the moon still hung high overhead. The moonlight revealed exotic shapes and forms to please the eyes; a veil of divine exhalation draped them. A mist, from the gurgling hot springs, swirled about the ground. They heard splashing from far away and Griffin thought he heard the refreshing laughter of innocent young souls.
Andrew sat, just out of Griffin’s sight. He marveled at the beauty of Nuelle bathed in the moonlight. He stood and moved toward them.
Nuelle sensed his presence. She alerted Captain Griffin, as she felt his approach.
“Sorry for all the mystery this evening. Your presence here is a bit of a surprise. Sure, I always held out hope, but your arrival in my secret garden reinforces many things presented to me along the way.” The old worn out man paused. “Who is this beauty?” He went to Nuelle and basked near her strength and goodness.
Griffin, who seldom formed an opinion about a fare, liked this man immediately. His opinion was not necessary; the name in his book told all he had to know. “Did you request to be picked up in this garden?”
A wise looked came across the face of Andrew. “I am here to meet you. I have been sent to bring you back, out of your excel in the wilderness. I have wandered for so long and traveled so far, that when asked, I consented to come back and learn from this part of my journey with you.”
Griffin had outgrown being confused or flustered, he looked at Andrew and smiled. “Do you want to climb into the carriage, or would you prefer to walk?” He extended his hand to Andrew.
Andrew took the step up into the carriage and sat down. His clothes were no longer torn and tattered. His shoes were clean and well fitting. The hard creases in his ancient face were gone, and his face and eyes became soft. His hair was thick and dark. His mind rich and full of curiosity. “You do have a choice. I am just here to make it known that you are missed. If it weighs on the scale at all, you can bring your three loyal angels back with you. Or they can be sent for once we arrive.”
“For over one hundred and fifty years, I have delivered my fares anywhere they wanted to go. Speaking of that,” he reached under the seat and took out his map of marked locations and handed it back to Andrew, “do you have a location that interests you?”
“Griffin, I am glad you mentioned the length of your services. That is so important and appreciated. No one questioned when you did not think of yourself the day your angel was sent to you. You are discussed throughout the kingdom for such an unselfish act. It is so rare even here, as most go to their reward with their own idea of the hereafter. The circumstance of your death impacted your choice.”
“The hour is late. Your message has been received, and we thank you for disrupting your journey to bring it to us. After listening to some of your stories, I know you are an ancient traveler, so look at the map and see what it is that fills your imagination.”
Andrew looked at the map. His index finger crossed back and forth, stopping momentarily remembering his time at the Whispering Tunnels. He saw the spot he was looking for, he paused, a smile came to his face. “Take me to Boston.” The Cove of Sirens could wait.