Last night I had a dream.
I dreamed of an endless expanse of forest.
A cold rain was falling, the kind that gets into your bones no matter how you try to stay warm. It was a dark rather and forbidding place, this forest. I was lost and alone there.
Here and there I began to notice campfires. I walked to one of the brighter ones and introduced myself to the people gathered around. There were many people there, most talking quietly, a few arguing amongst themselves. Sitting next to a pile of firewood was a storyteller. When she started to speak the group grew silent, fixed on her tale.
I sat and listened as the storyteller spun tale after tale. She told of the adventures of strange people in far off lands. She told of strange creatures and people who do the silliest of things. Some of the tales were funny, some were not, but all taught a lesson.
As I walked from fire to fire I noticed a common thread. Every fire had a storyteller who kept the fire burning and the guests entertained. They all had stories to tell and people were happy to sit with them at the fire and listen in. Some burned brighter and hotter than others, some had a large crowd, some just a few close friends.
Time passed as I walked from fire to fire listening to tales and making new friends.
I started to notice as I was making my rounds some of the fires were slowly dying. The storytellers stoked the fire less often. The crowds at those fires became smaller. Some fires were left unattended completely and slowly burned to coals, perhaps with a few people gathered around the dimming fire waiting for the storyteller to come back.
New fires were started, new stories were told. Yet as the older storytellers left I found I could feel the cold a little more, and the lights grew a bit dimmer in the forest as they departed.
As I floated back from the dream to being fully awake It came to me that I should have thanked all the storytellers I had visited for the stories they had told.
To all those who’s fire I have visited, thanks for the tales.