Tears welling in his eyes, Robin looked at Talking Panther. He asked in wonder, “How … What? Do you have even this power?”
He stopped and choked, unable to trust his voice. He just listened as Talking Panther said, “I have no power, Robin. I have told you this before.”
MacAllen stared at the horizon. The sun was shining over a distant creek, glinting like a silver thread running through brown winter landscape. He tried to speak, but wasn’t able. Words were more than he could manage; he couldn’t even think of any that might be right. He stopped trying and just pointed instead. He smiled a glorious smile, pushed back his tears and concentrated on what Talking Panther was saying to him.
The three of them walked down a gently sloping path that led into a wood. They stood there lashed by the gusting wind, looking at the valley spread out below. When she began speaking, Talking Panther spoke quietly, her words like a song. “When I was young I dedicated my life to my tribe and to the Golden Words. I learned there is more to life than appears. I also learned what the hardest challenge is – to see the reality that is beyond our illusions. The senses are extremely convincing, and we are easily fooled. I learned a technique using the Golden Words that allows my spirit to be with the most profound forces of nature. Few have known this absolute liberation, but I was privileged to learn it from one of the old keepers of wisdom.”
Both women sat down on a mound with a soft covering of sepia-colored grass, and Robin sat beside them.
“The whole of the cosmos is a thought of the Creator. This mammoth earth upon which we live is only a dream of the forces of nature. The earth first formed as an idea, then turned to atomic energy and then turned from energy into matter itself. All the molecules, the atoms, the earth are really just a dream, a spirit, bound by nature’s will.
“That spirit is within all of us. We too quicken our dreams into flesh. We are all a cosmos within as well as without. When I made a vow to free myself from the oppression of the flesh, I dreamed of Silent Panther, one who never speaks but is ever present, working always beyond the illusions of this world. She has been my balance, my alter ego, my tie to the Gods. Right now Silent Panther is no longer needed in this world.”
Mac Allen watched Silent Panther as she began to glow and shimmer; she transformed into a subtle violet vibration, a faint aura, and gradually merged with Talking Panther. For a moment they were two, then one, connected, glinting gentle blue-white beams. Then Silent Panther was gone.
Robin’s mouth opened once, twice. Nothing came out. He was truly speechless. His animal spirit sprang into his thoughts and brought with it a surge of strength and understanding. Warmth flooded through him.
He reached out, clasped Talking Panther’s hand and said, “Why has Silent Panther’s time come to an end?”
“Silent Panther was my balance. She was my inner being, my closest companion and my friend. She was my wholeness when I walked this path alone. She is with me forever but her presence on this earth is not needed. You, Robin, have replaced her. You are my other half and now you can share this responsibility once again, as you know you have in the past. You can no longer hide from what you have always known.”