The Sword, Mirror and the Jewel: A True Tale by John Dore

I was feeling terrible about my suspicion that someone I had treated well in the past had taken advantage of my good nature and mistreated my community. I felt badly that the environment that I was responsible for was not as safe and protected as it should have been. I felt responsible in some way. I felt the need to take some action.

Sleep did not come easily that night. I could not get this violation out of my mind. I struggled over the situation trying to determine what action to take. Did I need to protect my students by responding directly? This violation was an affront to the community that I was creating. My students should not have to be on guard within the dojo. The dojo is supposed to be a safe haven where they can leave behind the stresses of their outside world. What results did I want and what was I willing to do to get those results?

Now, this sword that I was trying to retrieve was simply a piece of metal wrapped by a wood and cloth handle and a wooden black painted scabbard. What was its true value? But it was symbolic. Normally a sword is considered to represent the soul and the character. The theft of this sword was also symbolic too. Could a martial arts studio be viable or worthwhile if anyone could just waltz in and out without concern?

By morning I had determined some loose plan of ideas. I will offer a reward for the return of the stolen property. I will post a message on the front door and then I will go talk with Johnny to spread the word around his circle of friends. Perhaps he knew who took it and could get it back for a price. I idled my car behind the building at the edge of the parking lot for a couple minutes and turned off the engine. Stepping out of the car I inhaled fully getting hot summer-like air deep into my lungs, and picked up a boken, a wooden sword. I stared down a steep slope of sand and rocks. Thirty feet below was an abandoned railroad bed. Following it south for a mile would lead to the center of the town. I suspected that following it one way or the other for about 100 yards would lead me to the ‘foreign’ home camp of a small homeless community.

I stepped down the slope and watched pebbles tumble down my future path. I moved quietly and slowly. I was uncertain if this was necessary. I was certain that my direction was not a wise one to take but my momentum was growing. Reaching the base of the slope I looked down the tracks both ways and headed north away from the sun. Deer tracks crossed the path in a couple of places but there were no other signs of life for quite a distance. I turned around after a few minutes and returned to the slope leading up to my car. Should I just step back into my normal world now?