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Folklore tells us of the existence of the mythical continent of Atlantis. Centuries ago, on the extra moon day of the sun revolution cycle, a male child was born in the town of Haven. He was named Donafirma, which meant "Protector of the Land." In those times, a boy was taught his father's profession. Therefore, he was destined to be a Lolella farmer.

It was said that the power of the Lollela plant was extraordinary. Merely smelling the sweet scent of the blossoms of the flower could sustain a human soul for eternity, and provide the essential needs of body, mind, spirit and heart. The secret to growing the Lolella plant was hidden in the ancient writings of the scholars. Only a few select farmers were able to interpret those teachings. That knowledge, coupled with ideal soil and climate conditions, allowed Haven to be the only place on Atlantis where the plant was grown. It was the highest honor to serve humanity in that selfless profession.

The first moment that Donafirma met Aquasina, "Daughter of the Sea," they pledged undying love to one another. Their miraculous courtship was the subject of many poems, songs and dances. They planned to be married on the first earth rotation of the next sun revolution cycle. On the last rotation prior to their wedding, the couple was called to appear before the great scholar, Sonorkian. He told them that on the next rotation, there would be a great shift in the core of the planet. "Our beloved continent will slip beneath the ocean and the secret of the Lolella will be lost forever. The only hope is that two lovers who have pledged undying love will survive to pass the secret through the ravages of time. It is only by merging the salt of the sea with the minerals of the earth that allows the Lolella plant to thrive."

"But, we are to be married on the next rotation," Donafirma insisted. "That is not to be. But, if you marry now, and are able to escape to another land, your covenant will be fulfilled." Sonorkian promised. They both agreed, and at the end of their vows, Sonorkian placed his hands on their heads and cried, "I pray that you will always remember Atlantis and the special knowledge about life and love that you both possess."

That night, with one Lolella seed carefully packed in his sack, the young farmer and his beloved, riding on the back of two dolphins, left Atlantis, and began the dangerous journey. Weeks later, exhausted from the perils encountered at sea, they safely reached the easternmost shore of a dry body of land called Usania. Then, after many months of traveling, through many exciting adventures, they finally settled in the village of Plethoria, which lay at the foot of The Holy Mountain. There, they raised a family, and lived together, as husband and wife, for a century.

The soil and climate of the fertile valley below the mountain were very similar to the conditions on Atlantis. In their garden, they grew a great variety of vegetables, herbs, berries and mint. The Lolella seed they had brought with them from their homeland was planted beneath a white birch tree on the bank of the stream that flowed from The Holy Mountain. Every summer, when the Lollela bloomed, the villagers would congregate to celebrate its beauty and message of life and love. The white birch tree quickly grew to an enormous size, and towered above all the natural and man-made structures in the area. It was the tallest and most beautiful birch tree that anyone had ever seen. Completely out of proportion to the landscape, it stood nearly 95 feet tall and 35 feet in diameter. The tree appeared regal and seemed to glow in the moonlight. It was believed that there were two reasons it grew so large; its proximity to the Lolella plant, and that the roots received their nourishment from The Holy Mountain. Because the tree could be seen for miles, anyone given directions to the house was simply told to look for the gigantic birch tree.

The old couple held a position of great honor in the community. People would visit from all lands, far and near, and sit by the Lolella under the white birch by the stream, or sip mint and honey tea in front of the red brick fireplace, in order to learn the secrets of the couple's legendary love affair. It was remarkable that even at the age of 119, both were still filled with the indomitable spirit, the irresistible charm, and the undeniable passion of a young lad and his fair maiden. Donafirma often referred to her as the "flower of my garden."

It was said that he had not cut his long salt and pepper beard since the day they were married, and that he kept his love for her safely wrapped within the whiskers. The beard was so long, in fact, that he often had to tie the hair around his waist in order to avoid tripping on it. For as long as anyone could remember, the villagers called him the "man with the love belt."
On the 100th anniversary of their wedding day, while a snowstorm raged outside, they sat in front of the red brick fireplace, and entertained guests from another city. While they rocked on their rocking chairs, they responded to questions about the truths they had learned about life and love. "What is to happen when you both die? Where will we go for the answers," one young man reluctantly asked. Aquasina looked deep into the flames, then into the eyes of Donafirma. She finally spoke, softly, just above a whisper, so that all the people present had to lean toward the warm fire to hear her voice.

"We, like you, have sometimes been damaged by fear. We have often stood on the edge of the abyss, looked over, only to turn back from the dark. Now, it is time to pass the secret of the Lolella, so that love will always overcome fear. All of our lives, we have been travelers on the path of truth in search of the answers that you seek. On our journeys we have sipped wildflower honey in the Gardens of Delusia, bathed our bodies in the earthly springs of the Valley of Enani, and crossed the hidden desert of Volturis into the land of the Zinnets. There, we scaled the cliffs to the top of this Holy Mountain and flew with the Lamanese birds high above the clouds to The Holy Land. When we stood holding hands in The Holy Land, our minds, our bodies, our hearts sang, and we proclaimed that love was the answer. All one need do is to proclaim love for oneself, each other, and all of the creatures that inhabit this planet. This is all you need to do."

The rumble of the snowstorm gave way to the silence of tranquility. Donafirma looked deep into the flames and into the eyes of Aquasina and spoke. "The music of a thousand harps fills the space between us. I love you now, my beautiful wife, as I loved you the day we were married. I love you now, my beautiful woman, I love you now and forever." Aquasina sighed. The reflection of the burning coals sparkled in her eyes. They both grinned a Cheshire grin. Hand in hand, they rose up from their rocking chairs and slowly walked out the door toward a white mist of light on the foothills of the mountain. At the birch tree, they turned toward the back porch and both repeated, "proclaim love." They and glided toward the light and were never seen again.

One year later, on the anniversary of their wedding day, the villagers discovered an astonishing site. Although it was the middle of winter, the Lolella plant had bloomed. Its perfumed scent, reminiscent of a blend of rose, lilac and honeysuckle blossoms saturated and warmed the cold mountain air. Its red, pink, yellow and purple flowers sparkled in the crisp morning sunlight. Even more miraculously, the birch tree had sprouted a new growth. A ring of black and white branches had grown around the entire circumference of the middle of the tree. From a short distance, the trunk looked like Donafirma's black and white spotted beard tied around his waist. Carved into the bark on the base of the tree was a heart surrounding an angel with the following inscription:

A+D Proclaim Love

Since that time, on the anniversary of the couple's sacred union, the Lolella blooms. Visitors still come to sit beneath the ring of branches of the giant white birch tree. They come to smell the sweet scent of the Lolella blossoms, to gaze at The Holy Mountain, and to drink from the crystal clear stream. They come seeking peace and the simple answers to their questions about life and love. Throughout the day and into the early hours of the next morning, the villagers, their friends and their guests sing and dance while they joyfully recount this tale of true love, and the miracle of Donafirma's love belt.

Dennis Wayne Bressack
Woodstock, New York , January 1, 2001