The track ahead led through a swampy area over the submerged ruins on an ancient road toward the opposite bank. Several slimed steps emerged from below the surface of the dark waters up to the top of the bank. Climbing up the steps I stood for a moment pondering the parting of the ways that were before me. To the right lay an old rutted cart path that wove its way into a damp, dark, and murky forest. Another smaller path, single, simple, went up the hill before me.
Thinking that the cart path looked the most likely to lead somewhere I struck off down the road. Only a dim and grey light filtered down through the over-arching branches. I felt an inner caution; several pathways branching off one side or the other would offer themselves. An inner voice old me not to worry, I would know where the danger lay. As I travelled on several avenues beckoned me, but at once a sense of antipathy, almost dread, warned me away. Going on a little further a grotesque birdlike spectre loomed over me bidding me enter a branch leading further off beneath the shadows of the trees. From that offered pathway a faint, subtle, stench of death drifted on the air. The sense of dread deepened and I backed away. The old rutted cart path and all its branches led nowhere that I wanted to go.
I returned to the river bank and looked again at the small path leading up over the hill before me. The path itself was narrow, but on either side was a broad margin dotted with tiny meadow flowers, pink, white, perfectly formed, presenting a cheerful alternative to the old cart path that I had abandoned.
The path led up over the crest of a small rise and emerged from the forest into bright light. Before me a broad slope led gently down to the sea. The sky was blue, the air freshly warm, the scene serene, the horizon infinite. As soon as I set forth down the slope to the sea I saw before me an immense Golden Lion standing on the sandy shore. Love and awe, desire, awoke in my breast and I hastened forward and lost myself in His embrace. It was Love Himself that met me, embraced me, filled me with a deep and reverent joy. With great gladness I lost myself in Him.
Thus I awoke from sleep, but the numinous Presence of the Lion enveloped me with a warm radiance that endured throughout the next hour, despite the distractions of my morning ablutions. He who loved me most of all said to me, “You are precious in my sight, and honoured, and I love you” (Isaiah 43:4), and I knew the truth that He dwelt in me, and I in him, twined together in the harmony of love.