All quotes in this section are from the tao te ching
, specifically teh version ocmposed by Stephen Mitchell.
The tao that can be told
is not the eternal tao.
The name that can be named
Is not the eternal Name.
She had fallen silent years ago, in another life time when people knew to listen for her words. They listened more and more, but did not act. They waited for confirmation, they waited for validation; so she fell silent, and silent she remained. They tempted her with bits of forbidden pleasure: they gave her more, they tried to make her greedy, but still she would not speak.
She had spoken once, though, and they waited for her to speak again.
Eventually they grew tired of waiting, so they fought. They planned and talked and made love and wandered her hallways, knowing that she was watching, but angry and bitter at her silence. They went out and engaged the enemy, they acted on their own beliefs, and she was proud. But they were still bitter, so they fought.
When the last of them left, she could feel their anger. They wanted to know why she hadn’t spoken, why she hadn’t told them how to fix the unfixable. She wanted to convey her pride, but knew it was too risky. They would remain for her words of praise, and the cycle would begin again.
When the gate opened once more, she remained silent. She had learned her lesson, knew that if she spoke they would listen, and then wait for her to speak again.
The new group was strong, they acted decisively, took risks, fought. There were some among their numbers who knew she was there, but they never spoke of her. She thanked them for their silence.
Until one day, many days after the gate had reopened once more. She didn’t know why they had chosen that day to speak, but she listened.
“Honored mother, hallowed be thy name,” Willow chanted. Teyla watched in amazement, saw the flickering candles and smelled the incense. “We ask not what you can do for us, but rather what we can do for you.
“We grace your halls, your rooms; your life-force sustains our being, and we are grateful.” Willow’s hair was still the reddish color that she had grown up with, her eyes were unchanged, her demeanor relaxed. “We understand and honor your silence, your trust. Thank you, mother.”
She couldn’t awaken, she knew that, but listening to the words of her child for a second she felt something close to regret. She lived for her children, but her children could never know she lived at all. She had been there, knew that silence would allow for greatness, and greatness would allow for victory.
And on her children’s victory day, she would smile down upon them and shower them with her pride. It was all she could do to prologue the hurt her children were beginning to thaw.
The Master stays behind;
That is why she is ahead.
She is detached from all things;
That is why she is one with them.
Because she has let go of herself,
She is perfectly fulfilled.
“Who did you speak to, Willow?” Teyla asked that evening while they were warm in their bed. Her hand was running carelessly up and down Willow’s arm, reminding her with a touch of their connection.
“I was thanking the earth, the mother,” Willow tried to explain.
“But this is not Earth; this is not your mother.”
“But she is somebody’s mother, and she is helping us. So I thanked her.”
Teyla pressed a kiss against Willow’s neck before rolling over to think about this revelation. It was somewhat mysterious, but she could not piece together the parts that puzzled her. Before she had understood what Willow was doing, but now...
Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.
“Buffy, it’s great!” Willow spoke into the video recorder, recording her personal message for Earth. “I know you had your reservations about trusting the military, but Atlantis is so wonderful. I can feel the connection so much stronger, I know something is watching out for us. And it’s not those stupid Powers-That-Be, either!
“I’m seeing someone, a wonderful person. She’s honest and kind, the leader of her small group of people. I know you have clearance for most of this, but I have to be vague. I don’t know who else is watching.
“I just wanted to remind you all that I love you, and I wish you were here. I understand why you aren’t,” Willow hurried to remind them, “but you would feel so at-ease here. The crew looks out for their own, and my powers have helped in a couple of different situations already.” Willow nodded, pleased with herself. “But now I gotta go—my girl is waiting for me.”
The tao nourishes by not forcing.
By not dominating, the master leads.
They understood, and trusted her—that was enough for now.