There was once a female child that had been left in the forest. Nobody knew how she got there. It was a fertile forest filled with mating and killing. The winters were long and cold and yet this child not only survived, but thrived. It was if the forest itself had become her mother. The only thing this little girl had from the outside world was the blanket that she had been left with. And on this blanket was stitched the name Freya. 

Freya was all alone with only the animals and Mother Nature. She had nobody to teach her to read or write, or even to speak. Yet she was a bright little girl and so she learned on her own, from the world around her. She had seen her reflection in the streams and ponds and so she knew she looked different. She also knew all the animals made different sounds to be with each other and also to scare each other away. Some days she would watch the sky for hours with its singing and soaring birds trying to understand who she was and where she came from. She knew some birds screamed as they swooped down to announce their kill. She also knew some birds sang just so they could be close to other birds. She would also listen to the wolves sing their songs late at night. She had a different feeling inside when the wolves sang. She wasn’t sure who she was and so she decided that for now she was something between a bird and a wolf. Although she knew she looked like neither a bird or a wolf. She, of course knew the fragile lightness of the birds as they hung and threaded through the sunlit skies. She had only an idea of the shape of a wolf as she had seen the shadowy silhouettes in the night beneath the far off trees. There was something mysterious and important about that shape she felt. Like if she knew what it meant it could take her into a place exactly the opposite of the sky. Maybe that place was under the deep water or below the roots of giant trees. She didn’t really know, it was only a feeling. Her feelings were all she had to make sense of a world where nobody looked like her or moved like she did. She did not want to be so different. She wanted to be a part of what they were. Here, together living and dying in the forest.

Freya did not know that she was probably the most beautiful creature here of all. Because she had come to be in such an unusual way an embodiment of all the distinctly sacred ways of both the plants and the animals. She was as swift as a deer and as sharp as a fox. She learned to dance just like a flower blowing in the wind. She would even cry like the sky when it rained. This is how she saw it all. That she was as big as that somehow. She didn’t cry very often but sometimes when she did she felt herself to be the raging storms that would blow through the forest with thunder and lightning and torrents of grief. It was because of the eyes she remembered. Eyes like hers that she never forgot. She would cry until her heart was empty and then she would be ok for awhile, then she would cry all over again. It was always in the calm after these storms that the stars seemed brightest and she noticed this. She wondered if they twinkled just for her or if she even mattered to them at all. She had to think it was for her, that someone just like her was listening far away and yet so close they could hear her aching heart. She didn’t know why she was so sad sometimes. She had grown older and wasn’t a child anymore. The forest had cared for her and taught her. It taught her that she was not alone but also that she was…totally alone.

She was a part of it all. But she remembered another place. And that is when she decided to sing. She would sing inside the storms of grief and loss until some strange invisible love would lift her- higher than even the birds could fly. To a place she imagined the eyes must be. The eyes just like hers.

And no, she could not speak like a human. The only singing she knew was from the birds and the wolves. Her voice was from a place in- between. Very loud and clear. For hours and sometimes throughout the entire night her bewitching sounds would haunt the deep forest. It’s not as if the sounds she made were entirely frightening – but they were a little. These sounds were also the sounds of a truth most humans could not bear to hear. The truth of a soul in the forest. The truth of aloneness. The truth of total togetherness. All at once she seemed to express this in the noises she made. Inside the storms she created as she called for the eyes she could barely remember. And it wasn’t just that the eyes had looked like her eyes and not the eyes of of the forest animals. It’s the way she remembered those eyes looking into hers.

Nobody had ever told Freya what love was. She did not even know of the word let alone its existence. But she felt it, inside herself and she pushed it out onto the world around her. Into the sky and the water and dirt. With these sounds she made because of her vague memory she felt less pain. She felt strangely enough that she was touching what she remembered and that was all she could do for now. 

The forest was huge and dangerous. Freya sat wrapped in her blanket possibly for years. Not yelping, not howling, not chirping. But making the sounds that only she could make. Her voice filled the air. Nobody will ever know how she ate or even if she slept. We do not know who left her there or if they will ever come back. We can only listen to her and try to understand the unbearable beauty of what falls from the stars or what flows inside the rivers. Secret things too wild and powerful for words. Delicate things too soft and light to be seen by mortal eyes.

Sharada Devi