The Ancient One Speaks of Family

IN MY BOOK, Old Turtle:Questions Of The Heart, the ancient one speaks of family. This is what she says, when asked by a little girl:

“Family is the doorway into the house of life, little one. When you are very young, your family is all the world and everything in it. The stars shine in your father’s eyes, the sun rises in your mother’s smile. When your family gathers around a table together, it seems that all the world is there. And in many ways this is true. For our family is the world made small enough to hold.

“Family is the breeze that lifts the kite of your childhood into the sky, and it is the string that ties you safely to the earth. Without its string, no kite can fly.

“Family is a living tree, and it is also the root of your own young tree, allowing you to stretch your branches toward the sun.

“But no family is perfect,” said Old Turtle. “Sometimes the string becomes frayed, the tree stunted or poorly tended. Then extra care and support is needed, to mend the string, to nurture young roots and lift broken branches toward the sky.

“No one can say all that a family is,” said Old Turtle, “nor does any family fulfill itself completely. There comes a time when you learn that your family is not all the world—that the world is wider than any family’s arms can reach. But this is as it should be. Then, perhaps, a new family is begun, and the world is once again made small enough to hold”

(Old Turtle: Questions Of The Heart, Douglas Wood, Scholastic Press, 2017)

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