An old friend from Montenegro once told me of a fairy tale from his homeland.
The tale told is that if someone counts nine stars for nine consecutive nights, they will find their soulmate.
He said that nobody has ever done it as there are very rarely, if ever, nine clear nights in a row.
"If you can do this, you can do anything" he told me.
Either out loud or in my mind came the words, "I'm going to do it" and the journey began.
Every night, wherever I was in the world, I would look up and count the stars. On the nights when the sky wasn't clear, counting one or two then when the wind blew, count more, wouldn’t do. It was nine, at the same time, or none at all.
My heart tells me that I may have reached the sixth, seventh or even the eighth night but the thick, unmoving clouds would always come.
They would hide the sky, smile and whisper “Not tonight”.
The ninth seemed forever out of reach.
Beyond a commitment, it became an obsession and though it took weeks, then months and then years, there is only one night that I truly remember……the last one.
It is a cold, winter evening and I have at last seen those beautiful lights, for eight consecutive nights. After years of searching the ninth has arrived.
I stand looking out of the window but there is no sky to be seen. There is only a covering of dense, white cloud, thicker and deeper than I could ever have imagined.
It changes nothing.
There Is only one place I wish to be and it is the most magical part of the most magical place. It is where I have run to on so many occasions, to sit with nature in dark and light. I will be there on this night and I will stay, if needs be, until it is through.
With unwavering faith I wrap up warm and head to The Heath.
As i arrive, I make my way to the meadow and wait. I stand, sit and lie down, stand, sit and lie again. The cold is of no matter, this goes beyond any level of resolve. How much time has passed, how many hours, I have no idea, my only focus is on the clouds.
When will they pass?
I pray and say "Please" and then……
As if blown by a gentle gust of wind the tiniest of gaps appears for less than a moment the clouds open and I count as fast as my eyes can see –
one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine.
The clouds close.
There my memory fades.
Many, many moons later after coming out of a deep, deep sleep I heard a song in my mind. It was a song from the past and it dawned on me, it was one I once sung.
Slowly the words come back, "If you can do this, you can do anything".