We are in the heart of the wood. It is dark and damp and still. I sit by the pool of the white lotus. The trunks of ancient trees tower over me. The ground is thick with ferns. My companions are scattered in the ferns. There is an occasional murmur of words among them, a quiet laugh. And then stillness again. I can hear the lotus singing. The singing is a kind of listening.
The Ferryman sits close, one knee touching mine.
I am here. I am everywhere at once. I take a breath.
He smiles at me.
I see it now. Every breath is a crossing. Every breath a joining, an exchange.
I reach out my hand to him. A small flame sits in my palm. I cup one palm over the other, containing the flame. It flows into me, flows through me always. I reach out to the Ferryman, touching flame to flame.