"So many tears..." he utters..
He's reminded of a time long ago...A bonfire blazes...drums beat..and a young boy with tear-stained cheeks sits before an ancient, craggy-faced shaman.
"Grandfather, why do we cry? What are tears for?"
The shaman smiles an ageless smile and reaches out with a gnarled hand. He touches the boy lightly on the forehead. Multitudes of charms and rattles clamor with the movement of the Old Man's hand as he draws his thumb over the boy's forehead in a movement that resembles a wave.
"We cry when we hurt.."
The Old Man lowers his hand, and leans into his furs and skins, still smiling that smile. "When pain becomes much..and the Heart grows full with ache.. That pain leaks out our eyes...When we cry long enough...the tears will cease to come. If we then take the time to think...we might notice that the pain is lessened.."
"So tears are pain?"the boy asked "They should be destroyed then.."
The shaman laughed heartily"No Cub, they are only vessels, if there were no tears...there would be no sea...If there were no sea..there would be no fish...and we...We would have no food." He gently rests his hand on the boy's head "Tears carry our pain to the sea..where the sea gathers them and shows them to the gods. It is then that the gods will know our sorrows. If there are enough tears and enough sorrow..The gods will decide if we've learned enough in this Land..and carry us Home to the Spirit Land."
"Then tears are good?"the boy queried
The shaman chuckled again.."Not quite, Wandering Wolf. They are neither good nor bad. They only are. Tears are neccessary. If we feel pain, then we know we are alive."
"Then the World must be very much alive Grandfather.."
"Yes, it must be...."
The Traveller smiled thoughtfully, and brushed a tear from a weather-worn face...
"Yes Grandfather..it must be" he stood and shook a stray leaf from his long hair, smiling at the Moon and leaning on his staff.
The Traveler looks down at the Wolf beside him..and reaches down to scratch his friend's ears.
"Very much alive.." he pulled his hood up over his head and placed the long-stemmed pipe between his lips.