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Archive for July, 2013

From the moment she had been told about the illness that now consumed her, she found herself torn from her normal daily life, and now the time she would spend climbing her favorite tree had become a thing of the past. The Tree was a special place to her, a place of security and comfort where honesty, trust and respect were shared with her friends as they sat and told stories of magic and wonder, with a friendship that had become so unique. They had written many words for all the world to read, inspiring words telling stories of a boy and a girl that shared words and nothing more. Within the Tree she had hung her many words of joy and happiness like tiny butterflies, strung into delicate mobiles that reflected the smallest amount of light which played upon the faces of her friends that climbed there with her each and everyday. But now things were different, with the endless confusion that surrounded her spinning like a tornado, blurring so that she could no longer see clearly.

Today she stood within the Tree ever so quietly, her tiny heart beating a fearful tune. Her frightened little face hid behind the dangling spangled butterfly mobile that spun effortlessly in the soft breeze. The coolness of the air that drifted through the leaves that enveloped the tree brushed against her skin as she remained quiet and still, sending a little chill through her weakened body. As the rainbow colors of the butterflies danced upon her face, she grimaced at the thoughts that now played within her mind. Around her now, hands grappled to take hold, pulling her here and there with all sorts of treatments and cures, but not so much as a thought as to how she may be feeling. There is so much to understand, yet to balance her life there are so many things she will never understand, making the decisions she needed to make even more complex.

Hiding in the highest branches her young friend watched and waited patiently. He wanted to reach out too, but he did not want to confuse her, he just wanted to offer her calming and reassuring words that so often before had eased her mind in the complex world in which she sometimes explored. As he moved carefully to get a better view he slipped ever slightly and in a startled turn, she saw him there and she returned his broad smile with the one of thanks she had so often given before. They were good friends and she treasured the words he spoke. Words so calm and well thought, never judging her thoughts, but instead balancing them so that she could carefully guide herself on whatever journey she may need to take.

She waved her arm to call him closer and he obliged, swinging down from where he stood on the higher branch, taking up a place not far from where she sat in the Friendship Tree. Her fearful look had seemed to ease ever so slightly, but then he knew she would always put on a brave face so as not to worry him. He asked her what she was doing and very quietly and carefully she led him to where they were able to see clearly through the branches. There she pointed and he could see a shape, a shadowy form moving from tree to tree in the distance. A puzzled look fell across his face, and she turned her head to look at him, with that touch of fear upon it once more. “It’s the darkness. It’s looking for me, I just know it is.” He knew she was not well, but that the darkness was close was certainly concerning and he knew that they had to do something and that time was of the essence.

He looked at her with the reassurance that she had seen so often before, and then he reached deep into the pockets of his long blue coat. She gave him a quizzical look as he fumbled with his tiny fingers to find what it was he was looking for, and before long he produced a large candle, a pen and a piece of paper. He placed the pen and paper nearby and then he lit the candle, placing it in a golden storm lantern so that its flame could never be extinguished. He hung this from the branch above and then he picked up the paper and pen, and he began to write. She looked at him in a puzzled manner, and then he explained. “Did you know that the darkness cannot survive where there is light?” She shook her head whilst absorbing his every word. “Yes,” he continued, “and the candle will burn from this day forward like life itself, to keep the darkness away, so it may never come near you again.” She was becoming excited and a new strength seemed to grow within her. He then continued. “The darkness can also not live where there is oxygen, and my words are like air, like the oxygen we breathe, and I will write as long as I can so that it will never survive.” The fear had now drained from her face and the courage he knew she had now brought a new lease of life to her, and the confidence that had seemed to of left her before, returned once more.

She had listened to his words so often before, and through all his wisdom he had always told her to believe. “Without belief, what hope do we have?” he would say. Finally, she was ready more than ever to face what lay ahead, to embrace the challenges as they unfolded. She knew it would be tough, but she did believe and at the same time she now knew more importantly that she would never face this alone, that there would always be someone to protect her.

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I look no deeper than I’ve always looked,

I search no higher than the stars in the sky,

I feel no more than I have always felt,

Yet you worry bout the friendship of you and I.

 

You say you think that you have faltered,

Yet I’m not quite sure just where,

You’ve had so much upon your mind,

Much more of which you need to care.

 

You see for me that does not matter,

Because this friendship’s good for sure,

And I know the time will come again,

When we climb the Tree and we’ll explore.

 

There’s a special magic in believing,

In the stories that I’ve come to write,

And though the darkness gives you fear,

There’s a candle burning all so bright.

 

The friend I am shall give you strength,

Encourage you with words so true,

I know one day the time will come,

When again your words will come to you.

 

You’ll hang them from the highest branches,

The butterflies that dance so bright,

Reflecting there for all to see,

Like the stars up in the sky at night.

 

So know now that I am your friend,

And know I know you’re my friend too,

Two children in the Friendship Tree,

Where we will climb again real soon.

 

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Fire in the sky was the impression left as the sunrise lit up the clouds in the brightest of colors. The patterned wisps like wings moving gracefully across the sky were like angels on a peaceful journey. As the light reflected across the valley it sent long shadows in which the soft pink daisies seemed to dance merrily. Nothing appeared to stir in this early part of the morning as the warmth of the sunlight evaporated the last of the dew that had fallen overnight. The Friendship Tree stood tall and wide, covered the most luscious green leaves, and within it all was silent.

He stood quietly atop the hill surveying all that was laid out before him. It was so serene and full of magic and wonder, still it was just not the same. He thought of the laughter that used to fill the valley in the times gone past and the imaginations that were shared. He listened once again and it was clear that he was alone, ‘but what of the others he thought?’ He walked solemnly along the path with a soft breeze tickling his coat tails. Usually he felt like he could fly, but today he would not soar like a bird in those wispy clouds he had admired earlier, no he would have his feet firmly planted on the ground.

He reached the Friendship Tree with its rough textured bark looking like the lines of age on an old man’s hands, and as he looked around he could not see a trace that anyone had been there lately. He climbed carefully and stood upon the strongest bough, the one where he and his friends would always meet. The butterflies and ladybugs that hung there, suspended so that they would spin freely in the wind, looked tired and worn, and in places had become entangled in a confusing mess. He turned to the book of dreams and the dusty cover that protected the many words it contained, then he lifted it and as he blew, he ran his tiny fingers across it so the words that were embossed could be seen. ‘Leave Your Judgments Behind’, read the gold inlayed words.

As he opened the Book, the first words stirred many memories and he knew that it had been a while since even he scrawled the smallest of stories there. He took a pen from his pocket and he turned the pages of the book to the where the last words had been written, and then he thought for a moment.

Is there ever a time or even a place,

Where thoughts and dreams can be truly shared?

Are there words that are written for all to see clear,

And if there are, does anyone care?

 

The magic and wonder does it even exist,

Or is it just wild imaginings formed in a mind?

And if we even had answers to those questions posed,

What do you think it is we would find?

 

The laughter of children that once rang from a tree,

Silenced for now or for time evermore.

Hard as it is to believe what appears,

The challenge we seek now stands here before.

 

Don’t let the dreams go away, disappear,

Don’t let them fade or wither and die,

Hold onto the things that are wondrous and true,

Make them your wish on a star in the sky.

 

Believing in all that believing can be,

Finding the words where they hide also deep.

Here in this Book, where they all can be read,

On pages they are, forever to keep.

 

A gentle breeze blew through the Tree carrying familiar distant sounds, echoing from the furthest reaches of the valley. Intertwined with the soft roar of the ocean waves, overshadowed but there just the same, they spoke of hope. They did not come closer, but they were there and he hoped one day that they would return to the tree where all could hear them. As the sun continued to dance its light upon the wide-open field, like the shadows of his friends running here and there, he closed the Book and placed it securely in the protection of the Tree. He would leave soon, but he would return and when he did he would bring his dreams for all to share. His magic would wait for another day when the stars would come to life like dancing children lost in another world.

 

As he stood once more in the silence, his thoughts drifted and he wondered. ‘Were they just lost? Had they taken a different path, misunderstood what it was all about, and if so where were they now waiting?’ He ran along the path with its sparkling, spangled dragonflies, like tiny blue jewels, and he climbed the hill once again. The ocean lured him now and as it did he became excited at what it may offer. The sound of the waves as they crashed upon the rocks was like life, and again he could hear the cries from a distance, as they rolled in across the deep blue ocean. He took a candle from his coat pocket and he lit it, carefully placing it in the lantern that was now dangling from his outstretched arm. The soft glow gave a feeling of warmth as the candle bathed him in its yellow light.

 

Like a star hung low in the sky, he could see the smallest of lights as it bobbed up and down on the horizon, then as he continued to look a second light appeared. Familiar voices called from afar, followed by the giggling of children as the lights grew even brighter still. The sun had long disappeared and the moon had not long risen, sending its beam of soft light to stretch across the ocean like a path to guide them. The paper boat on which they sailed had locked its course as if pulled by an invisible string. As it came closer he thought of how he had believed they would return one day, but even now it was much earlier than even he expected and he was excited. As they came into view he gave an excited wave, and they returned it with laughter as only they could both share.

“So where have you been?” he asked, in part with concern and at the same time in wondering if they had left and not taken him.

“We have been on a journey to find ourselves, and at the same time we have come to understand even more who you are.” They said as they exchanged words and gaze between each other. “Yes,” explained his friend with the ruby lips. “We learnt so much and we don’t think we will get lost ever again.” Her small friend nodded in agreement, rather pleased with herself. He held out his hand and helped them from the boat, hugging each as they stepped upon the soft sand. They followed the sea grass lined path as it wound its was to the cliff top. There they could see the Tree in all its glory, lit like the night sky by a thousand fireflies.

 

They sat for a while before lying on their backs to stare into the star filled sky, and telling the tales of their adventure. He longed to share his words written in the Book of Dreams, but for now it was their turn to tell him the most wonderful stories of their magical journey. He would listen intently to their every word, for one day a tale would be told for the entire world to know.

 

Sometimes we all get lost, and with time we will find what it is we are looking for. Sometimes a journey must be taken. One which may be shared, or taken on your own, and then there are times that the answers are clear to see and they unfold before you like the pages of a book.

What is the journey you take now?

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Losing who I am, who I was and who I could be
Drowning in the infinite deep sorrow that confounds me.
Some days I dangle lifeless from the limbs of this great tree,
Succumb to all the tumours that have set up camp inside me.
‘She always smiles and rarely cries’, is what they think about me,
But there is so much pain inside that they can never see.
‘You must stand firm,’ I hear their voices urge me,
But there are days when I could sink to the bottom of the deepest, darkest

Sea, the sea – please take what’s left of me
And carry it far from this place where I’m no longer me.
The darkness falls, the moon hangs high over
The sea, the sea – the song that cries her every night to sleep.

Closed eyes now blink, she finds a new dawn waking.
Pain dissipates, her soul no longer aching.
There’s light and hope, deep fears are now abating.
Then one more step she finds the strength to take into

The sea, the sea – please save what’s left of me
And carry it back to the place where I am truly me.
The sun shines bright, my soul feels light under
The sea, the sea – restoring dreams of who I’ll one day be.

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She stood staring, her eyes transfixed on the cold blue expanse of water that lay before her. If it were not for the thought of the cold that would chill her to the bone, she would definitely jump in at this moment. She had walked the worn timber boards of this pier many times, just as thousands before had also done, with the coarse grey knotted texture of the timber rippled under her bare feet. Usually she would be here with her friends, but today she journeyed on her own, the first taste of freedom or independence she had experienced for a while now. She stood there and watched the dark silhouetted shapes as they moved beneath the surface like giant birds and as she did, she made a little wish. She closed her eyes and thought of the many times that she had swum beneath these waters before, and she felt herself become lighter, and in her mind she found herself floating above the cold weathered timber of the pier, about to take a new journey.

Although her eyes were closed, she could clearly see the water which was now turning from dark blue to a warmer softer tone with the sunlight that had now found its way through the tiniest opening in the imposing sky sparkling off the water’s surface as if it was covered in tiny diamonds. As she floated effortlessly above she felt the energy of the imaginations she was now having fill her like a thermos of warm green tea. Slowly she floated downwards towards the waters surface until her feet touched it and as it’s warmth wrapped around her it was like a blanket of the softest wool, gradually taking away all the aches and pains and thoughts of dread and fear that she had come to know of late, replacing them with a calmness that she had felt on just a few occasions before.

Down she sank until she was fully immersed in the crystal clear blue green liquid that now surrounded her. It had been so long since she was last in this world, the watery world she had so come to love, and for so long she had not believed it would ever be again. As she sank she span slowly around turning like a spinning top on its last revolutions, and before her the weed and the fish danced with a hypnotizing sway, mesmerizingly beautiful colors like a kaleidoscope of her wildest dreams with the sun’s golden rays reaching through the water like tiny fingers, touching, caressing all they fell upon and bringing it to wonderful life. As she touched the sandy floor she stopped spinning and like tiny ballerinas the fish surrounded her moving close to place a kiss upon her flushed pink cheeks, then moving away again to see the wide smile upon her face before they joined the others once again on the fishy merry go round. Nearby the resident Weedy Sea Dragons drifted like tiny sticks of colored wood, mystical magic wands of iridescent blues, greens and yellows, carried on the current that had now enveloped her, with their eyes blinking slowly as they too began to drift around her in the increasing whirl.

She was at home, in this place where she had truly belonged and her heart was beating effortlessly, like a tiny drum played by the faeries of the Magic Forest. Just then a shape caught her eye, with its dark grey form moving gracefully towards her. It was like an angel of the sea as it cut a path through the water. A large bull ray, flanked by a tiny squadron of silver fish with small blue tears in their eyes, as if cried for her, swam towards her, then as gracefully as it came it turned and glided away. Its majesty was so inspiring and as she watched it disappear, she had not see that three more had now joined her, each one coming and then going, effortlessly without disturbing a single grain of sand. As they did she became caught up in the pull of the current that was created and with her arms outstretched she too glided above the sand with its finger print patterns flickering in the light that played upon it, dipping and swaying as she went. Leaving the sand she flew like a bird above the thick strands of green weed that covered the deepest parts, on past the end of the pier and the remnants of the wreck that lay rusting there, a testament to mans vain attempts to capture the ocean and all its beauty.

As she turned and headed back once more, she passed a cuttlefish with its body pulsating in waves of color like a rainbow in a sun shower on a warm summer’s day, with the colors coming and going like a strobe light, changing its body shape to blend in with its surroundings, then reaching out with its tiny tentacles to brush her arm as she glided past. She continued to glide above the weed towards the shallow water, dipping down once more to brush the sand that rolled in tiny waves beneath her, and as always the creatures she so loved surrounded her, as if they were protecting her.

In a moment she glided to a stop once more with all four rays, the fishes and sea dragons surrounding her in a final spiraling wave of emotion and beauty. The water spun in whirls and twirls within the vortex that had been created, and she closed her eyes feeling herself being lifted again, spinning slowly in life’s never ending cycle, but now feeling stronger than ever, reenergized by her experience. As she broke the surface of the water she took a deep breath of the fresh salty air, and as she rose the water fell from her body like tiny raindrops. She looked down and said goodbye to critters who were still spinning below her, knowing she would be back one day to see them all not in a dream, but for real and next time with her dearest friends.

She floated above the water like a Tinkerbelle balloon, and as she did she was carried by the gentle breeze to where her form could be seen, still standing on the pier, with her eyes closed. She shook startled and a chill ran through her body as she opened her eyes. ‘Was this magic, or was her deepest imagination responsible for what she had just experienced?’  Then she thought, ‘did it really matter at all?’ What was important was that one believed, that they knew anything is possible as long as you truly wanted it to be.

She opened her eyes once and gave a smile, before she turned and headed on her way excited to tell her friends about her adventure. As she scurried along the creaking and clattering pier, the dark clouds drifted overhead once more as if to remind her that there was still a journey to be travelled, but at the same time she had seen the sun shine today and she knew it would again. The day would come when the clouds would clear and the sun would shine for evermore.

Dreams can come true. Sometimes they need a little magic, and other times needing just a little bit of child like imagination or belief.

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Today was such a lovely day

The sun did shine and pain did fade

I counted my blessings today

And found that they were many.

 

I thought about the dark days past

And smiled that sun did shine at last

And filled my heart that had been flat

With life and light aplenty.

 

And most of all I said a prayer

Of thanks for friends who always care

And those who are just always there

To be the best friends ever.

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He sat within the confines of his tiny world shielded from so much by the knowledge of all that he had learned on the journeys he had taken on his own. Until now he had been responsible for himself, although at the same time he did care about others. Then things have a way of changing and sometimes destiny offers us a different path to choose and without really knowing we are drawn in a different direction, with a new future laid out before us. He pulled the collar of his magical blue coat tight around his neck and sighed. There was so much to be done, yet time did not seem to be his friend, as a matter of fact it appeared to be no-one’s friend.

It was a cold winter’s day and the sun was slow to rise, leaving the wondrous colours to linger as it raised its weary head to shine its life giving light on those that were lucky enough to greet the new day. The intensity of the orange, red and pink tones were such that they added extra warmth, just by way of the vision that it offered. Like so much in life, things changed and spring was just around the corner offering hope for new growth, and here and there the smallest of buds could be seen forming on the tender tree branches, like mischievous children trying to get an early look at a Christmas gift. The chilled air that was carried on the breeze bit into his skin with the sting of a thousand needles, and although the sunlight warmed him, it was still not quite enough to take away that chill.

He was far away from the protection that the revered Friendship Tree so often offered, and he was on a quest to find a very special something that he would share with his friends. What he searched for was magic, but it was not his magic, it was ancient magic that was borne long ago, and his journey had taken him far to a sacred forest full of more magic and mystery than he had ever come to know could be. As he entered the forest the dense canopy shielded most of the light that the winter sun had radiated, with a scattering of dead leaves and moss strewn across the path as he wound his way in. Strange sounds reverberated from the darkest corners of the forest and the strands of grey green moss that hung from the trees like old Christmas tinsel made for a very eerie sight indeed.

He walked for what seemed like forever, with each tree looking the same as the one before, and the winding path made him wonder if he was just going around in a spiralling circle. He had all but given up, when he saw a faint glow from around the next bend, and as he moved forward he was presented with a small clearing where the sun’s light had broken through the canopy of tall trees, revealing wooden monument in the shape of a large bird. He entered the clearing, and as he walked around the statue he marvelled at its detail. He stopped to read some ancient words, in a language he did not know, and something told him this was where he would find what he was looking for.

“Whooo are you?” came a voice, with a sharp then deep tone. He turned and sitting before him on a wide tree branch was an Old Owl. He stared intently as it tilted its head side to side, with its large eyes slowly blinking. “Whooo are you?” it asked again. He stood there with his mouth wide open, because he had never seen a talking owl before, and this was a sight to behold. “I am the white haired boy, and I am on a quest to find a special magic for my friends, a magic that will protect them when I am not there. The owl was silent and blinking slowly he turned his gaze to a nearby branch. The boy followed the owl’s gaze and there on the branch were a hundred tiny mobiles, spinning in the bright sunlight. The owl explained carefully to the boy, the story behind how they came to be and what power they held, and when he was finished he told him to take one for each of his friends and when the time was right, the owl told him that he would receive his gift.

The white haired boy thanked the owl and turned to go, but as he did the owl barked. “Remember these words. Your destiny is written, and when the time is right, you will finally know whooo you will truly be.” The boy did not understand, but he would always remember the words the wise old magical owl spoke. He followed the path once more, careful to retrace his steps so as not to get lost. The forest with all its dark places was less imposing now, and tiny fireflies had come to light the way. When he finally reached the place where he had entered the forest, he stopped and turned, once more thinking about the owl and all he had told him, the gifts he now held in his tiny hand and the words he had come to know.

It was late in the afternoon and he had a few hours travel before he would finally reach the Friendship Tree, and as he walked he took in all the beauty and grandeur that this world had to offer. He knew that if his life was to end, that he would have had the best time ever, helping so many and having the most wonderful friends. He had come to understand so much and in the journey this life had given him, he had gained a whole new appreciation for all life, not just his own. In time he hoped he would understand the owls parting words, but for now his mind was on his two friends.

The unfamiliar path had become familiar once more with the sweet smell of the daisy flowers and a single red rose being absorbed with every breath taken. The sound of the ocean as it rolled and crashed like thunder made him smile widely, as he now knew he was nearly there. Then as he climbed the last hill, there before him stood the valley with magic forest in the distance, and the mist from the ocean further away filling the air like tiny teardrops. The sun was setting, and the last of the clouds in the sky danced as it bathed them in reds and pinks, which made him long for his two friends even more, and become even more excited at the magical gifts he had that he would give to them. The Friendship Tree also stood before him in all its glory, evergreen, ever alive from the many words written in a book by the children that climbed it.

As he walked towards the tree, the sun said farewell for another day, and the stars began to light the night sky so as to watch over them.  A shooting star made a fleeting journey before disappearing and he cast a wish that his friends would be there to greet him when he reached the tree. As he approached in the dimming light, he could hear the sound of giggling coming from within the tree, then the soft glow of the Lantern of Life that was suspended within. He quietly climbed the tree, and as he reached his favourite branch he spied his two friends, the girl in the red dress with the ruby lips, and the girl with the pink bows in her hair and the wide smile. They did not see him as they played, making tiny folded butterflies, but then he coughed slightly and they turned to see him standing there smiling widely at them. They smiled widely back as the light from the lantern danced his shadow upon their faces.

They stood and hugged him, because they had not seen him for a few days, and he explained that he had been on an adventure, a journey to find something special. They both frowned because they loved adventures, but he told them that this adventure was only his to take. He asked them to sit down, and he told all about the mystical forest he visited and the old owl, he then gave them the magical gifts that the owl had given him. They unwrapped them, and found a tiny circle like a spiders web, with pretty beads and a feather suspended from below, they looked closely at them, in a slightly puzzled manner and he explained just as the owl did.

“The gift I have given you will protect you when I cannot. It is called a Dream Catcher. At night, your dreams are caught in its web, and only the good ones go through with the bad dreams caught so they will perish in the morning light. It is also a medicine wheel, with ancient magic and each part of its being has a meaning.” He paused as they sat intently focused on his every word. “The web represents the spider, ever repairing the eternal web of life, weaving your life dreams and energy as you sleep. The ring represents the mother earth and the humble walk we do upon her. Each bead it contains has a meaning too.”  He pointed with his finger at each one as he spoke. “Blue represents the sky, with the sun, the moon and the stars. Purple represents the inner self, with yellow representing the direction the sun rises each day, and it gives us the ability to see far beyond what is in front of us and focus on the task at hand.”

All the while he was smiling that he had remembered all that the old owl had told him, and he felt life flowing from his words. He continued once more. “Red is the wisdom of our ancestors, enabling us to grow strong with honesty, hard work, family, integrity and love. Black represents healing, but it also represents the road of self-destruction, and the lessons learnt that will guide us wisely. White represents knowledge and using that knowledge in a good way. Last of all green. This is mother earth, the one who feeds and protects us from the elements, giving all we need to live on this earth.”

They smiled and the girl in the red dress asked. “So what of the feather?” He smiled. “I was getting there. The feather represents the ability to fly close to the creator. It represents the ability to be love and to love, to take a risk and get out of the nest and to fly on your own. The ability to live beyond your shadows, and last of all once hung, the feather represents the air.” Finally he explained, “The gift I have given you represents the four elements of life. Earth, Water, Fire and Air, all the things necessary to sustain life.”

They took their gifts and hung them from the branch overhead, where they danced in the breeze. The magic they would bring to each of his friends would remain for all time. The white haired boy thought for a moment, and how it had told him he would receive his gift when the time was right. Just then, a sharp pain suddenly came to his shoulder blade, and as he removed his shirt, emblazoned on his skin was a Dream Catcher, except upon his there were three feathers, each one coloured to represent one of the three friends. He had always believed he was magic, but now the owl had bestowed upon him an ancient power which he would use wisely to protect all that he knew. He always had belief, and he hoped his friends would truly believe as well.

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