Sunwielder Moments

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“I don’t think I can die, Estriilde,” Gryff said quietly, his first words since the peak of the bridge.

“You’ve pickled your head in wine, Farmer,” Estriilde replied. They hurried toward her tent, so close to being free of the wind.

“It’s not the wine,” he persisted. “It’s the sunwield. I don’t believe it will let me die.”

“We all die, Farmer.” Her cloak opening wide as wings, she flew ahead. He plodded behind her, entering the dark tent as she fumbled to light the brazier. Sparks flinted to life and the fire began its fight to banish the cold. He sank onto a stool as Estriilde sat back on her heels and studied him. “Every one of us dies in our time.”

Drawing on the leather cord, he lifted the medallion from inside his shirt and let it hang exposed around his neck. She shuffled forward on her knees, close to him, and caught the bronze disk in her hand, silently counting.

“You have seventeen left.” Her gaze rose to his eyes. “That time may pass in moons or years, Farmer. Every one of us side-steps death without a glimmer of awareness. We are a moment early or late before the arrow flies, we decide not to swim, to travel a lesser road. We aren’t hungry the day the food spoils, we leave the house before the roof collapses, we decide to ride the wild stallion the morning the placid gelding breaks a leg.”                   -Sunwielder

***

I wrote Sunwielder three years ago, and since then “sunwielder moments” have become a mainstay of my household vocabulary.

Sunwielder moments aren’t always those instances when a decision prevents unknowable catastrophe. How many times would each of us have died if not for the minute choices that led us down alternative paths? It’s a question without a reply.

Side-stepping unknowable death stirs a sense of destiny. Yet, for my lover and I, sunwielder moments tend to rise from our reflection on the choices that were pivotal in steering our lives. Each road traveled required another passed by. What if he or I had turned the other way?

There are thousands of them, long strings of seemingly inconsequential forks in the road that brought us to where we are now. Alter one, only one, and the dominoes would have cascaded down completely different paths. Even the wrong turns, the miserable things that happened in our pasts contributed to where we are now.

If you think about it, the billions of choices made by your collective ancestors led to YOU. If a prehistoric youngster hadn’t chosen to clean the scratch on his arm, you might not exist.

Sunwielder moments extend beyond our individual lives as our power of choice impacts the lives of others. We may be the catalyst that unwittingly saves a life, transforms a future, or reaps despair. Even if ultimate outcomes rest on thousands of choices and influences, why not choose the path of kindness. You never know where that road will lead.

In Sunwielder, Estriilde focuses on the present — the past unchangeable and future unknowable. Easier said than done. As humans we tend to spend much of our lives peering over our shoulders and inventing the scenery ahead. Randy and I are no exceptions to the rule.

Yet, as we grow, our sunwielder moments reside more frequently in our present. They appear on the cusp of choices, as we attempt to peek into the future and catch glimpses of how each decision may sway the trajectory of our lives and the lives of those we come in contact with. We attempt to live with more awareness of the gift and power of choice. For we, unlike Gryff and his sunwield, can’t journey back in time and travel the path unchosen.

Do you contemplate the sunwielder moments of your past? Do you choose with an eye on the trajectory of your future?

 

72 thoughts on “Sunwielder Moments

  1. reocochran says:

    I am going to copy your book titles down and request the library purchase them, D. Sometimes I have to let friends know my life is in a simple “down-sized” place now so I cannot start buying books (or knick knacks) and am busy in a manual job trying to save for the future. I appreciated the interesting plot, some romance and intrigue here displayed. It would be great if we had these sun wielder medallions and could have more than one chance to get our life together. 🙂 You write beautifully!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
    Many moments of action.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this, and yes I sometimes contemplate the choices I have made or not made. I wonder why I made some, and then wonder what would have happened if I had chosen another direction.

    As a simple yet very good choice we can always make is not to get upset in traffic or at other drivers. Someone once said, we don’t know if God is protecting us from being in an accident. Just think about the times one could have happened, when a choice we made or another driver made and we missed being hit by a whisper.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment Ann. I think about the traffic situation too! How funny. Where I live we get stuck behind slow logging trucks all the time. I just figure the driver is saving my life from the accident that might have happened if he wasn’t slowing me down. 🙂 At the same time, it save a lot of road aggravation. 😀

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  4. thefeatheredsleep says:

    Beautiful

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have just read “Sunwielder”, and loved the way you handled the alternate reality that could come from a different decision – sometimes a seemingly very small one.
    Leally enjoyed the book & the thoughts it has provoked. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. inesephoto says:

    The story is beautiful and I want to read more. How did I miss it?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “Do you contemplate the sunwielder moments of your past? Do you choose with an eye on the trajectory of your future?”
    I think that many of my past sunwielder moments influenced who I am today. Although I sometimes choose with an eye on the trajectory of my future, more often than not the person I’ve become and hope to become influences my decisions. Sometimes my character determines my choice unequivocally, because the answer to “Can I live with myself if I do–or don’t do–this?” is clear. At other times, it’s not so much my current character, but rather one to which I aspire, that makes me ask, “Is this the kind of person I want to become?”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Your question, “Is this the kind of person I want to become?” is key. For my husband and I, sunwielder moments highlighted how important each little decision is and made us more conscious of asking your important question going forward. Thanks so much for the comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Rajagopal says:

    The seemingly inconsequential forks, tees, crosses, and inflection points in our paths and how we choose to navigate our way based on images appearing on our radars, constitute our current situations in life, Diana. We can all be wiser by hindsight and hypothesise on what would have been if a certain option was exercised. But life does not work that way. It is a river flowing onwards attaining fullness in wholeness of the ocean; there is no course correction beyond the forks and permitted deviations. We win some, we lose some. There is always an unattainableness about life, signifying that we are only at the end of one stretch in the immensity of our evolutionary journey. There are many miles ahead in an unknown region for which the charts may become available at the next leg of our journey. These are the thoughts crossing my mind after reading your wonderful post…best wishes… Raj.

    Liked by 2 people

    • No, life doesn’t work that way (unless perhaps you write time travel books 🙂 There’s a benefit to looking back if you believe hindsight helps make better decisions going forward. It would be a lesson from which the world would benefit. Life is an amazing journey and part of what makes these discussions so interesting for me is the mystery, the many unknowns that shape us and our paths. Thank you greatly for the reflective thoughts and comment, Raj.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Loved the post.

    What resonated with me was this sentence, “………sunwielder moments tend to rise from our reflection on the choices that were pivotal in steering our lives. Each road traveled required another passed by. What if he or I had turned the other way?”

    So what is it really that makes us exercise a choice at any point in time? It comes down to how a situation or person involved occurs for us. And this occurring directly correlates to our way of being in that moment. And our ‘Way of being’ can be significantly influenced by the ‘way we have wound up becoming’ and all the inauthenticities, fears and masks that we don.

    Shakti

    Liked by 2 people

    • Beautifully stated Shakti. It’s more a tapestry than a single thread. That’s what makes it so interesting and mysterious. We can look back at a few moments and ask ourselves,”What it I had chosen that instead of this, but most of our choices are hidden and the long stretch of life ultimately unknowable. Thanks for your wonderful comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This is very beautiful! I love the “sunwielder moments”

    Liked by 2 people

  11. yuthika5 says:

    Beautiful! I want to read more!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sue Vincent says:

    Great concept, Diana… and one I bet many of us have pondered. Hope you don’t mind, but I have set this up to reblog over at mine while I’m away.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Dr. Suess-Zues Zen says:

    Elegant composition and imagery. Imaginative language and curiosity grabbing dialogue/dynamics. I’ll be reading your writings.
    Thank you
    -J

    Liked by 2 people

  14. It is mind-blowing to think that the moment we have made even a small choice and act on it, that choice becomes “knit” permanently into the fabric of the universe and will be built upon as the foundation for other choices, some which may carry enormous importance. I will be thinking about the sun wield today and will surely be mindful of my actions 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. olganm says:

    Fabulous excerpt and interesting reflection. Yes, it’s right, we don’t even know what got us where we are now, although I’m with you on enjoying our Sunwielder moments now. A great philosophy, and as we know, mindfulness is highly recommended because of the benefits of enjoying the moment. I’m very intrigued by your book.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Olga. As you well know, fantasy authors let their thoughts wander in unusual directions. I love it when the themes overlap and what is magic in a book has an application in “reality.” Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

      Like

  16. Belinda Crane says:

    In our house, we live for right now. We learnt how to let go of the past. We know from remembering our past that every choice we make impacts on your life and the lives of others. The choices you get to make are more abundant when you do this. I want to read your book now. I love the essence of it! Adore books that make me think D!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Belinda. Living in the present takes practice! How wonderful that you’ve gained that centered perspective and a strong awareness of the power you wield 🙂 I love that pathway to happiness. If Sunwielder makes its way to your reading list, I hope you enjoy it ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Belinda Crane says:

        I’m sure I will D. The concept you have described is the concept that you need to be aware of in order to fulfil your life. Not by gaining “things” but by looking deeply into yourself to find who you are and how you impact others in life. D … your book is on my reading list!

        Liked by 1 person

  17. balroop2013 says:

    Hi Diana,

    What a wonderful description of moments that slip through our hands and change our path…’Sunwielder’…what a name! let me look at it this way – Sun wields all the power, the love, the warmth and the light it spreads around us. We take it for granted but where would we be without it! It too gives us those moments we love and wish they would never change anything.Yet our choices are like arrows…once they get shot, they just go…

    I absolutely agree with you… ‘Sunwielder moments extend beyond our individual lives as our power of choice impacts the lives of others’ but at the same time it influences our own life too. Some choices that we make about our future are like blind turns but life is like that!

    Thanks for sharing a terrific post about your book. I wish you all the success.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Balroop, for the insightful comments. I laughed at the “blind turns” as so many of them are! It would be great if we could look ahead in our crystal balls or go back for a redo like a video game. Since neither are options, we can only hold our best intentions and choose. :-).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wouldn’t it be great if, at the end of each day we were prompted with, “Would you like to save this”? I can think of many times I’d have chosen not to, but regrets are unproductive unless we use them as prompts to make amends and make better choices in the future.

        Liked by 1 person

        • “Would you like to save this?” Great idea for a short story, Connie. You are so right that the value isn’t so much in the regret but in the way we can use an experience to heal and/or learn. A huge piece is mindfulness of the “now” where those things occur. Thanks for the comment 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  18. I haven’t had a chance to read this one yet, but if it’s half as good as the Bone Wall, which this excerpt makes me think it is, I’ll love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I love this story, Diana! ..”why not choose the path of kindness. You never know where that road will lead.” Splendid!! Sunwielder is a fabulous name too! I can’t wait to read it and enter the realm of the Sunwielder.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I love that illustration

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Fascinating stuff, Diana, we have had so many Sunwielder moments; many involved the “road less travelled” . They all made for a very interesting ride ! 💕

    Liked by 2 people

  22. jacobemet says:

    More work to add to my “to be read” list. Good stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Dawn D says:

    I don’t know about life and death choices. But I have two stories for you.
    One, when I had told my child that I was working and couldn’t possibly be there on time at the end of his exam. And then I figured out I’d been mistaken and I could make it. But he didn’t have his phone and I couldn’t reach him. I decided that I’d drive the 20 miles nonetheless, that who knows, we’d find each other.
    I got stuck behind a truck on a mountain road and thought ‘that’s it, I’m going to miss him’. I got stuck at a traffic light. And then my satnav took me to strange places and I had to ask for the way. But as I drove up to the parking lot by the exam place, I saw my son walk out and towards me. At first he hadn’t realised it was my car, because he didn’t expect me there, but when he realised it was me, the smile on his face said it all. And if there hadn’t been a truck, if I hadn’t got lost, if the examiners didn’t decide to let him go first, we could have missed one another. But all the way to the place we met, I focused my energy on seeing the smile on my son’s face when he saw me there, on having him sit next to me in the car, and on accepting that there would be no annoyance on my part if we missed one another. It was a long shot, lots of little cross roads that could have led us to a different outcome. But it worked out!

    There are a few versions of the tale of a taoist farmer, but your post reminded me of it.

    This farmer had only one horse, and one day the horse ran away. The neighbors came to condole over his terrible loss. The farmer said, “What makes you think it is so terrible?”

    A month later, the horse came home–this time bringing with her two beautiful wild horses. The neighbors became excited at the farmer’s good fortune. Such lovely strong horses! The farmer said, “What makes you think this is good fortune?”

    The farmer’s son was thrown from one of the wild horses and broke his leg. All the neighbors were very distressed. Such bad luck! The farmer said, “What makes you think it is bad?”

    A war came, and every able-bodied man was conscripted and sent into battle. Only the farmer’s son, because he had a broken leg, remained. The neighbors congratulated the farmer. “What makes you think this is good?” said the farmer.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks, Dawn. Yes, how those little things like getting stuck behind a truck can change things, some visible and some perhaps invisible. I’ve heard the taoist tale and can relate. The road that took me to the here and now had its potholes as well as its smooth pavement.

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      • Dawn D says:

        You know, the funny thing for me was that I didn’t get angry. All the while I was stuck behind the truck, I kept focusing on the meeting rather than start fuming at the truck and try to overtake it. It’s the combination of many little details that lead to where we are now. And if we change one little detail, who knows where we’ll end up! Is it going to be better, is it going to be worse? I don’t know. No one really does!

        Liked by 2 people

  24. Annika Perry says:

    Fascinating post Diana and this has me thinking. I adore the phrase sunwielder – is that your word? I have dwelt many times over such moments, thinking about them to distraction when I had was younger and had time to dwell more. Never thought much further though about the impact on others and beyond, although some literature and films have explored this concept. Thank you for such a thought provoking post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment, Annika. Sunwielder was a word I made up, but there are people named Sunwielder out there (I googled when choosing the name). I toy with the idea that these infinite paths exist in alternate realities – the reason for deja-vu. Ha ha. Exploring the concept in a book was great fun.

      Liked by 2 people

  25. Kiri says:

    So much of this resonates with me, when I think of how I got to be where I am, as a twice divorced bereaved mother and the choices I am on the brink of making that may take me in a very different direction. And of course walking the path of kindness and encouraging others to do so is is what The Angel Zoe Kindness Project is all about (links on my blog). Now I have a name for those moments 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s a winding path, Kiri. I’m so sorry for the loss of your daughter and the emotional hardships. There are things in my life I would go back and change if I could, especially around the loss of loved ones. Since that isn’t an option, we can only take stock of where we are, reflect on the journey and make sound choices for our now and our futures. Kindness is never the wrong path to follow no matter where it leads. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  26. Carrie Rubin says:

    “Every one of us side-steps death without a glimmer of awareness.”—Love that line. It’s quite chilling, actually.

    What an avenue for contemplation. I don’t tend to dwell on it, but it’s a mind-boggling concept once you open your mind to it. And I agree–knowing our actions could change the course of others, “why not choose the path of kindness” indeed.

    Liked by 3 people

  27. You do now you’ve made “Sunwielder moments” a common phrase in our household too, right? 😀

    I really loved that book 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

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