MARIGOLD WOMAN: Answer a fool according to his folly; do not answer a fool according to his folly

There is a wolf made of leaves that watches the road north. There is an elk made of clouds that watches the mountains of God to the west. There is a worm made of asphalt that watches the way to the coast.

Go to each of these, I tell that small animal, and ask them their advice.

Go to the wolf and do not be afraid, for not all wolves are the one wolf, the imitation bluesman and his dirty disciples. Ask the wolf to inquire of the vines and the moon. He will look at you solemnly, shaking so that a few red leaves drift from his shoulders to the ground. The season is turning and soon he will be a wolf made of twisting branches, but for now he is turning from green to every color of the sunset. He will tell you, my small animal friend, that he wishes you did not need to carry that skull with you. What will you tell him?

Go to the elk and do not fear its hooves, for though they are made for striding through the treetops, and though its antlers reach towards the sun, its has sufficient eyesight to spot small animals from a distance. Ask the elk to send messages to the trees and the wind. It will lower its head and snuffle at you with its broad and misty nose, and you will see ancient birds and leaves and garbage suspended from the tines of its antlers. It will tell you, my deep-voiced creature, that it cannot understand why you turn your claws inward. What will you answer?

Go to the worm and do not fear the automobiles droning and whining along her spine, for she can shake them off with one twist of her head and tail, and she cares for them less than she does for those who stand under the bowl of the sky with their pain in their hands. Ask the worm to speak to the earth and the rain. She will chuckle so that the telephone poles along her sides wobble to and fro, disturbing the hawks and grackles and causing the lines to buzz. She will tell you, my lost young driftwood, that she is afraid you will walk right off the face of the world. How will you reassure her?

What will you do, heart of mine, with the chill of winter-is-coming picking at your shoulders and the whole dying world in front of you?

Whatever you do, get wisdom.

And when you get it, tell me.

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