Golden droplets of sunlight fell from the trees onto the stone path before her. Yara closed her eyes and let them kiss her freckled cheeks. Today was her 49th birthday. For the seventh time in her life, she would visit the well. The tradition was sacred among her people. Every seventh life year the well shall give you a revelation. The seventh time was considered a turning point, marking the transition from woman to wise lady.
Yara continued her way on the stony path beneath the trees. The dancing shadow was a warm welcome from the heat of the day. Autumn was approaching, but the weather would stay warm until November. While she was walking, Yara thought of all the work she still had to do. Now was the busiest period in the harvest. After that came the endless drying of fruit, burning of nuts, making puree’s and sauces to sell during the rest of the year. Her fruit wine and roasted honey almonds were famous wide and far.
Owning an orchard was hard work. But she loved it nevertheless. She had built it from scratch, against her mother’s advice. She would rather have seen her daughter to go and study a profession, like her older sisters. Nurse, architect, librarian. For Yara it was all the same, as she had seen her sisters, spending their life indoors. She didn’t want that, she rather spend the rest of her life under the trees.
With her savings, she had bought a small piece of land with a couple of fruit trees. Over the years the orchard had grown and grow, until she owned several pieces of land. Fruit trees, berry bushes, greenhouses and a large vegetable garden. She sold her hard work in a shop attached to the house. Her own mother would even help behind the counter from time to time and her daughters had grown with their fingernails ever dirty, like their mother’s.
Lost in thought she reached the stone stairs leading to the sanctuary. She held her long green skirt up and started climbing. The well was a low pond, 3 meters in diameter and surrounded by a low stone wall. It lied in the middle of a square garden filled with old trees and green moss. The garden was surrounded by 5-meter-high stone walls with large circular open windows in the upper half of the walls. The place had its own atmosphere, shutting out all noise. It was as if time had no purpose here, for the place had reached perfection.
Yara walked towards the well, the sound of her sandals cushioned by moss. She sat down on the stone next to the water and emptied her mind. They prepared you for this, teaching you the prayer unique for every visit. Yara prayed for wisdom, for she had reached a threshold on the path of life.
Suddenly, she was standing in her orchard. In front of her was an old apple tree. It was one of those trees that had been there from the very beginning. Yara didn’t even planted this tree herself, for it had been there already when she bought the land. She still had to harvest this part of the orchard. Now she had a basket under her arm and she was reaching towards the fruits. The first apple Yara picked made her feel generous and she thought back at that times she gave an extra bag of roasted nuts to that family with the eight young children. The second apple made her feel love, as she thought about the picknicks she had with her daughters in the middle of the orchard during harvest.
But when she picked the third apple, she felt stern. Reliving all those times she snapped when the sauces weren’t exactly made as she wanted or the plants weren’t watered in time although she asked for it. Then the perspective turned. She felt being snapped at, again and again. “I didn’t sow this!” Yara said. But she knew she did. She let it grow and grow into the big fruit it had become. “But I can get rid of it.” Yara looked at the apple and took a big bite. It tasted horrible. With every bite her stomach felt sicker and sicker. Until the last bite. As she felt her body came to peace again, she knew the fruit had died and it would never lay a seed into the ground again.
She smiled back at her reflection in the water, thanking the well for the experience. Yara left the sanctuary and when she joined her daughters at the party that evening, Yara felt just a little wiser.
The inspiration for this magic tale grew by seeing all the reflections on the mirror like fjords throughout Iceland and Norway.