Word Count: 500
Spring of Wisdom
It began as a trickle—an inkling of an idea. Out of a crevice in the bedrock, it seeped up and burbled: clean, clear, cold. Constant renewal, as water flowed from the depths of the earth, kept it that way.
As a wee mite—barely four—she discovered it when she strayed from Papa’s side, while walking in the glade. No stream nor lake gave rise to the spring’s existence. Its gurgle entranced her, as did the sunlight flashing on its ever-moving surface. Papa had warned never to eat or drink anything in the wilds unless he said it was safe. But surely, this inviting water held no ill. And so she had knelt down and sipped tentatively.
Delicious! Water, crisp as a bite from an apple, pure as the stars, in such an unexpected place. Akin to the water she helped pull up from the well, yet different. Sweeter. It made her feel independent. She became aware of things—sounds, movement—she never noticed before. The powerful response frightened her. Perhaps the water bursting from rock was harmful. Because she had done the forbidden, she did not tell Papa about the spring.
But over the years, she returned often, drawn by the remembrance of the first sip. Dipping her cupped hands in the spring of wisdom, bringing the water to her lips, she felt a special communion with the plants and animals dwelling there. “The spring of wisdom” she had dubbed it, because it made her feel sage beyond her age.
Not until Papa’s unexpected death and Mama’s deep mourning did she discovered the true magic of the spring. It was an accident, really. Slipping away, she poured out her anguish of loss into the pure waters. Not only was Papa gone, but Mama, too, it seemed. Tears mixed with its sweetness. When she finished her story of grief, she looked into the dancing pool and saw the broken face of her mother.
“So this is where you have been coming all these years. I should have known,” Mama said.
“You knew of this spring?”
“Where do you think I wandered of an evening while you and your father shared tales? It is my private place. I come here to think, to unburden my heart, to sip the water that renews my spirit. Its music brings me joy, its seclusion gives me independence.”
“The water makes me wise. Opens my eyes to everything around me.”
“Not the water. The secret,” Mama said.
“The secret? You mean me–doing something I shouldn’t have done?”
“Yes. Forging independence by your actions. Courage to strike out and act on your own—maybe not always wise. But experience teaches lessons obedience never will.”
“The spring was my guilty indulgence. Now that you know, it won’t feel the same.”
“You will visit as you always have, and so will I, being very careful not to arrive at the same time. The only change is that we will be allied—independent together, wisely springing forth.”