And so it came to pass that the woman, being neither young nor old but in-between the two, became distressed within this place, tormented by the grasping of her vanity. And growing vexed by this false calling—the incessant, prideful murmurs of her clinging and desire—she took herself alone into a high dark cave and swore an oath to there remain, in battle with these voices in her head, until she conquered such temptations and gained sovereignty of body, speech and mind.
And though she feared at times she would be sorely beaten, she was determined to prevail. For 20 days and 20 nights she fiercely fought and argued with philosophy and logic, but the voices did not cease. For 20 further days and 20 further nights she battled on, weeping and imploring them to leave, yet the voices still remained. Again for 20 more days and 20 more nights she continued to fight mightily, this time with piercing screams and cries, beating hard against the echoing walls with rocks, until her throat was sore and her hands were scraped and bleeding.
But even then, although the voices grew less powerful and cunning, their shadowy whispers still remained.
And having fought so hard and long, employing volume, force and wiles for all those 60 days and 60 nights to small avail, the woman grew quite weary—so weary that she could no longer struggle on, and fell instead into a brief and restless slumber.
When she arose, the woman knew defeat. She felt a great remorse for having failed, and in this shame she finally surrendered. So vanquished, she bowed her humbled head and quietly went out of the cave.
And passing through the cave’s wide mouth, the woman saw the night was black as coal. Dawn had not yet spilled across the heavens, and there were only stars by which to see, for the moon, being new, had set at dusk, and the woman held no torch or lantern. So stepping through the rough arch empty-handed, she came out into the open, finding dark and silence all around.
Thereby, guided only by starlight, the woman took twelve steps to the East, whereupon she reached the edge of a steep precipice. From that high point she outward gazed upon the starry firmament, which looked to her like tiny diamonds sprinkled wide across a vast obsidian dome.
And as she stood upon that cliff, the woman saw the pitch-black sky begin to brighten, first to deep blue-black, and then to brighter blue, revealing color all around. And this was the first color the woman had seen for 60 days and 60 nights, having dwelt in naught but dim and gray for all that time before.
And when these rays of color struck her open eyes, she felt a sudden lifting, accompanied by deep and certain understanding that light always returns. And with this understanding, the woman became instantly suffused with joy, and felt forgiveness for herself—forgiveness for her brave but fruitless struggling, and for her weakness, too. Relief flooded her heart and softly spread outward, filling her entire self with calmness and content.
The woman swept her palms out, open to the sky. She gave thanks to the light for always returning, and she gave thanks to the darkness which, in truth, had brought her to this wisdom place.
And as she breathed deeply of the sweet, cool morning air, the rising dawn gained strength, making visible the many forms of branching trees, and velvet moss and stones about her feet, and far below, the river curling like a silver ribbon through the thickly wooded valley of her home.