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Archive for February, 2014

 

Like a candle in the breeze he flickered and faded before coming to life once more, and as his thoughts came and went,  he felt like he was a drowning child trying to keep his head above the water’s surface, grasping into thin air with his outstretched hands, waiting and hoping that someone would finally come and save him. His tiny body lay submerged, holding onto his last breath for what seemed like forever as he fought to stay alive, but then was it really him or the Tree that now wavered?
 
The visions had come and gone and the small boy stood with his eyes tightly closed as he ran his hands across the rough tan and grey bark that was ridged deep with lines like fingerprints which lay embedded in the surface of the broad tree trunk. It stood tall and wide, and in the breeze the leaves rustled like tiny strips of sand paper rubbing together, making a sound like gentle summer rain on a rusty tin roof. It had been a long while since he had taken the time to allow his senses to stir, feel so deeply so that he had became one once more with the Tree, and as he did he felt that something was not quite right. As flecks of bark broke between his tiny fingers, so he remembered that it was only with words, which were air and water, that the Tree could be sustained and of late they had been few and far between. He climbed into the Tree, and standing quietly he looked at how empty it had become, the desolation was almost tragic, with the bedraggled remains of the last of the butterflies and dragonflies, hanging like glistening raindrops on string. As he wondered he struggled to comprehend it all, at the same time digging deep into himself to find where it was he went wrong. He gazed at the ‘Book Of Dreams’ with its cobweb laden cover, and he brushed it clean, giving a final puff of breath to blow the last of the dust away that had fallen upon it. He sat down and reflected on the past and the wishes that had been cast, and he wondered to himself, ‘if only I had made a wish for me, what would it be?’ He had known no other way than to look at what others needed, it was something that he believed was his responsibility, as if wearing his magical blue coat had come with some ingrained proviso, and then he did get something, it was the smiles that were more precious than the stars. 
 
As he thought, a vision formed upon the branch where his friend would usually sit, an apparition of a young girl with her hair tied in pink bows, smiling widely across at him. Of all the times and all the mysteries that had materialised before his deep, ever wondering bright blue eyes, he had never imagined that he would find himself faced with this vision that now sat before him. The butterflies and dragonflies took shape once more and they spun in the sunlight that filtered through the leaves of the Tree, the breeze that brushed against them made them hum like the fast beating wings of a tiny bird. The air became a whir and the small girl reached out as if to grasp at the delicate glittering objects as they spun wildly, and then in a moment she vanished once more as though she had never been there at all. The mobiles began to slow down and as they dangled in the soft dusk glow, their colours reflected across his face and filled his mind with the many memories of the words that they contained, the many words that could now be found in the ‘Book Of Dreams’. With his long blue coat wrapped tightly around his body, he climbed down from the Tree and there standing with his feet firmly planted, he looked towards the wheat field searching for any sign of the bright bushy tail of the little fox that he had come to know and tame some time ago. He cut a path through the tall grasses, running his finger tips across the coarse husks as they brushed on by his long slender legs, and as he searched he listened for the tell tale sound of laughter he remembered from long ago. 
 
He paused for a moment, and as he did he heard a sound, a soft whimper drifting on the breeze from nearby. He followed the sound, returning to the path and as he stepped upon the rough pebbled surface he looked along it and there, not far away he found the little fox looking tired and worn. He approached carefully so as not to alarm it, then he knelt beside the fox and as he did so it looked up at him with sorrowful eyes. He could tell that like the vision of his friend before, it too had begun to fade, and that the life had begun to subside from its being. The small boy sat close, and in the fading light the deep blue of the daytime sky gradually transformed into a soft silken blue, before the pink and orange tones began to slide across it, reaching out to the darkness in the distance and pulling forth nights veil with the colours receding once more below the horizon. As the daylight faded, it was as though a million eyes were opening one by one from their slumber and looking down upon him. The stars shimmered like tiny tears that the night wept, like a handful of diamonds, but more precious than the much sought after stones. He stared at the distant southern horizon and admired the slow dance of the infinite stars as they drifted into view and then  disappeared once more, rising and falling as quickly as they came. 
 
It was mesmerisingly beautiful, capturing his gaze like a child holds fast to the vision of the dragonfly that sits quietly within his upturned palm, glistening wings reflecting rainbow magic in the sunlight. The sounds of the the forest added to the mystique in the night and as the boy and the fox sat quietly, the heady aroma of the perfume laden night air drifted and filled their senses. The little fox lay its head upon the soft bed of flattened grass and closed its eyes, with the small boy watching over it whilst he listened to the all the sweet sounds he had come to know and thought of days gone past. He had never expected they would meet again, and a story from long ago reminded him that sometimes friends come and go yet he had held onto hope as he so often did that it would be once more. He closed his eyes and upon the breeze he was carried away like a dream into the darkest places of the mind. Here anything was possible, almost anything could come true, and nothing really mattered, because with the dawns light it would all fade and the realities of life would grasp hold of his fragile body as if it were being tossed upon the stormy ocean and dump him into what ever realm it had chosen.
 
In his mind he was a prince. Not a normal prince, but one whom spent his time in search of the mysteries that filled his days with wonder, like the glittering of water drops that hung, suspended from the tiny leaves of a forest tree, reflecting the image of anyone that should choose to stop and admire. As they shimmered in the breeze, the images that could be seen danced like they were captured in time for any that chose to look. There was a chill in the air and the night winds howled through the trees like the call of a lone wolf in the deepest darkest reaches of the forest searching in vain for something lost long ago, and the chill it brought was like death as it threatened to wrap him in its cold embrace. He remembered many a frosty morning when the small boy would come across the frozen dragonfly, clinging to the last bit of life as it lay motionless upon a blade of grass, covered in tiny flecks of ice, almost like snow flakes. The fox remained beside him all this time, fast asleep and oblivious to the small boys wonderings, with a tiny twitch every now and again as it dreamed about something that only it could know. The small boy reached deep into the pocket of his jacket and with his fumbling fingers he removed a small handful of magic and sprinkled it upon the fox, making a wish for good health and fortune to return. As the small boy wiped the strands of white hair from his eyes, he thought about the magic of the Tree and how it was far greater than could ever be perceived by a small child. How it could reach deep into the mind and extract most every thought that ever existed there, at the same time carefully wrapping them in the finest silken cloak protecting them from those that may wish to shatter them like broken dreams, scattered in pieces on the ocean of life and lost forevermore.
 
The darkness in the sky began to fade once more, and one by one the stars disappeared for another day, giggling as they went. The mother sun was rising to put her children to bed, and as the small boy stared into the bright orange orb, his face was bathed in its soothing light with the wispy clouds that filled the sky dancing off into the distance. There was a chill in the air, but a warmth filled him, sending a little shiver through his body as it absorbed the first rays of the morning light that radiated as the new day had begun. The warmth bathed the little fox and as she woke she gave a smile, then climbed to her feet before the small boy giggled and turned once more to look at the Tree, now silhouetted before him. As the clouds shifted shape, awash in the warming tones, it was like a dream turning to reality before his eyes. He thought about the past and how it was intertwined into the future, and now the hope for what the future may hold once more with a wish come true for him. Stirred by a familiar sound he turned his gaze from the tree and the fox was gone, yet in the distance a whispering voice came echoing to him upon the breeze, “I shall return my friend, I shall return.” Her laughter could be heard echoing through the forest, and he laughed back, smiling widely.
 
Today there were no paper boats, and no wishes upon stars, just a small boy and the Tree, contented with what he knew life had to offer, never fearful of what the darkness brings because sometimes it is what we wish for. After all are not some of the best things in life born from our wildest dreams.
 

 

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As the rain gently tumbles upon my weary head,

The wind blows a chill that seeps through my veins.

As I wait for the clouds to clear in the sky,

For the sun to shine brightly above once again.

 

All around lays the beauty of so many things,

Each one intertwined in the lives that we lead.

Never a care or a thought may we have,

Until our time’s done and from this earth we must leave.

 

Is it ever to late to give in to your mind,

So that deep from your heart all that’s true will arise.

Unfolding before you like the most ancient text,

More than what ever will be seen with your eyes.

 

Grasp at the minutes the hours the days,

Like trying to hold a kite in the wind.

Carried away like a fast fading dream,

Ending once more at where we begin.

 

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The deep blue sky stretched as far as his eyes could see to where the orange glow of the sun teased itself above the water, as if tipping a toe into the blue green ocean which lay so calm and cool beneath it. The gentle breeze carried the smell of the rotting seaweed that had been washed up on the sand during the last violent storm that had ravaged this fragile coastline. It was spread like a carpet along the beach into the distance with the glittering of shiny shells intermingled amongst it, although to him it looked more like a sequinned scarf than a carpet, or so he thought as his imagination began to take hold. He listened to the lapping of the small waves as they rolled into the shore and over the rocks, making a tapping sound as the pebbles rocked back and forth against one another. The squawking calls of the silver gulls carried in the air, with a sharp shrill fading as they flew into the distant reaches of the beach towards the derelict light house that stood high on the prominent cliff-top which jutted out like a finger pointing towards some distant object far out to sea.

“Hello,” a voice called from behind the salt bush covered sand dunes as if it were hoping someone would answer in return. The strands of grass were clumped like a hundred porcupines spread out across the land, and as her pony tales and pink bows bounced into view, he smiled and then gave an apprehensive wave. It had been a while since she had shown herself, having spent many an hour sitting calmly in the ivory tower where she had finally found some semblance of balance between the different lives that she had chosen to lead. “What ya doing?” She squealed as she caught sight of her friend the white haired boy. His eyes reflected the sun and at the same time they glistened like the stars in the night sky, and she wondered now that she had found him once more what it would be that the days would bring, because she always found wonder in the words that he often shared, and it had been a while since she had taken the time to listen and truly reflect on them. He thought for a brief moment then explained, “I’m just admiring the beauty of this place,” as he turned himself towards the ocean once more. She smiled and then told him, “I came here yesterday and I found a paper boat washed up on the shore.” He smiled and turned to look at her once more and without asking she continued. “I liked the words very much because they were special in their own way.”

There had been many paper boats set to sail, each one with a purpose, each one searching for the answers to the many questions the enquiring mind of a child seeks. He turned, taking a few steps, and with a wave of his tiny hand he called to her, “follow me and we will have an adventure.” He began to run and she darted after him, together their tiny legs carrying them as fast as they could along the top of the undulating sand dunes, weaving through the prickly sea grass tufts that stung their legs as they flicked against them. She giggled as she chased him, and he laughed in return, because it was so much fun and it was like they had not been on an adventure together ever. “Woooo hoooo,” he shouted as he leapt through the air, landing on his bottom and sliding down the steep slope of the dune like it was a water fall that fell onto the soft beach below. “Yeeee haaaaw she cried as she followed, rolling and tumbling with a consummate, but at the same time, awkward ease down the embankment, landing flat on her face. She broke out into a riotous laughter as she rolled onto her back, picking herself up and dusting off the fine sand from her pink overalls. There, before her stood her friend with his hands on his hips like Peter Pan of the faerie tale stories she had read. He shook his head and then smiled before pointing to the crumbling tower, with its grey wind and rain weathered stone walls.

They stared at it for a while as it was bathed in the pink glow of the sunset, which made it look less foreboding than maybe it could do and she marvelled at how it was similar to the ivory tower in which she spent many of her days. He nodded his head in the direction of the old lighthouse and they trudged on, beginning the arduous final climb over the tumbled ragged rocks that surrounded it, making sure that each measured step was carefully taken. They stood at its base and looked skyward marvelling at how it seemed to reach forever into the sky. They walked around the light house running their hands across the surface of the smooth grey stones, circling it until they came upon a slightly ajar old wooden door. The white haired boy brushed away the silken cobwebs that hung around it and he pushed his hands against the door which held fast. The small girl joined him and together they pushed as hard as they could and the rusted door opened, with its hinges letting out a high pitched creaking sound like that from some old horror movie. It was rather dark and dusty inside, with the only light being that which reflected through the broken glass windows at the top of the wrought iron stairs that wound its way around the wall to the very top. “Can we go up?” she whispered as if afraid to wake some long forgotten soul. He nodded and she lead the way with each step taken sending a small puff of dust spiralling into the air, with the tip, tap, plop of footsteps echoing in the air. It was cold and dank, and in the air a damp musty smell signalled that no one had been there for a long while which made sense with all the scattered note paper that littered the floor.

“Wow,” she exclaimed, catching her breath as she reached the top of the stairs with the warmth of the sun’s rays painting her face with light. Here the breeze blew stronger as it whistled through the panes of broken glass, tossing their hair as they stood in awe of the view. Out to sea they could just make out the Island of Lost Children, silhouetted by the sun and shrouded in an erie mist that drifted all around it. As they walked around the walkway at the top of the tower, they could see far past the flower filled valley and onto the Friendship Tree, with the barren desert that stretched on for miles past it fading in the distance. The small girl stood soaking up the life giving sunlight that she needed, so that she would grow strong, whilst the white haired boy thought of the many words that would paint this picture if he was ever to re-tell the tale. They looked at the silvery light dancing on the ripples of the ocean, and as they did a dark shadow, then a second one became visible just below its surface moving effortlessly. With a woosh and a puff of misty air a whale broke the surface followed by a smaller calf. They rolled and played together putting on a show for a long while as the two friends watched on in awe. Their majesty was inspiring and the gracefulness was like nothing they had ever seen, and in a final display, they leapt from the water, landing with a splash before they swam into the distance.

They had marvelled at the life of another creature in a show that if you did not know better, could have been put on just for them, and as the last of the sun slowly fell below the horizon and the light began to fade, the small boy beckoned his friend to leave. “Come, we must go because I still have something special to show you.” As they left the lighthouse they gave it one last look, and for a moment he thought he heard a whisper, “come back soon,” it said, but then that could just be his vivid imagination along with the wind as it whistled through the structure. They climbed the sand dune with its soft sand running like trickling water behind them as they pulled their way up to the top and walked the well worn path leading into the distance.

They ambled along the path in the fading light and talked about many things, and she kept hinting at the surprise he had promised to share with her, but he remained quiet because he knew when the time was right she would receive it. The sounds of the Magic Forest echoed to where they walked as they wound their way from the sand dunes through the field of pink daisies. They paused along the path and looked as a soft glow radiated from the canopy of trees in the twilight and she closed her eyes so that her senses could carry her back to the memories of long ago. The flickering faerie lights, the hypnotic music with its swaying rhythm, and the sounds of laughter that she had not heard for so long. All of these things and more could carry her away into a dream, the place where the reality of life lay intertwined with her imaginations. There, now, she felt the words forming in her mind and she was stirred by the presence of her magical friend, so much so that she began to see the words as they drifted, forming sentences that told of a friendship and a tree and all of the wonders she had come to know. This was more than an adventure it was the journey of a dream, it was all the wonders of the world unfolding like the wings of a butterfly as it came to brilliant life, transformed from a humble caterpillar.

They continued on their journey through the forest with firefly lanterns lighting the way, and the sounds of song and laughter to celebrate her return to this special place, and no one even questioned why it was she had been away, they were just happy that she was back. As they walked along side the cool stream, the life giving water reverberated with a soothing sound as it ran across the pebbles that lined it. She cupped her hands and drew a sip of its crystal clear liquid, giving a look of absolute pleasure as she did so, wiping the tiny droplets from her chin with her sleeve. There was so much she missed about this place, so many things she had learnt along the way, and it had become clear that until now there was much which had slipped from her memory. They walked from the forest and stood beneath the mystical canopy of the black velvet sky, filled with tiny stars, all twinkling like diamonds or distant candlelights. Looking hard they could make out the soft colours that were smudged within the deepest reaches of space, and the shapes that the stars formed when joined together. It was here on the path that he sat down and asked her to do the same, as she did he asked, “did you remember that I am magic?” She hesitated for a moment and replied, “I think so.” He smiled, reaching into his jacket pocket and he produced a tiny brightly coloured caterpillar at which she became very excited, and then he asked her to close her eyes and hold out her hands. He placed it in the upturned palms of her outstretched hands, then wrapped them around his gift, asking her to think happy thoughts and make a wish. As she did, so she felt a little tickle against her skin, and as she opened her hands, holding her palms skyward, there lay a pink butterfly with its paper crepe wings beating ever so softly.

“This is the magic of your transformation my friend, it signifies that life becomes life, and that change is sometimes inevitable, no matter what was in the past.” For a moment a sad look fell upon her face, and he knew what she was thinking, so before she could say a word, he explained. “Butterflies are usually ephemeral, but this one is special. It will grow strong as you grow strong and just like you, it will never grow old.” This put a smile on her face, and then in a moment the butterfly flapped its wings and took flight into the darkness, showing no fear of what lay ahead. She watched as it flitted away, with its wings sparkling like glitter in the starlight, disappearing into the vast sky above. She smiled and she wondered, but then life was full of wonder and somethings would only ever be revealed over time as the journey we take unfolded before us like the pages of an unread book. On the distant horizon, the moon began to rise and the light from it radiated soft and white, bathing the land eerily with shadows and silhouettes. The Friendship Tree stood tall and in the light it came to life as the gentle glow  wrapped around the trunk an bounced off the leaves that flickered in the breeze.

It had been a while since the small girl had tried to climb the Tree and find the essence of the child, allowing her to see beyond the reality of life, into the imaginative and dreamy world that had so often given her a quiet solitude. She had also missed the stories that her magical friend had so often weaved, with either words of wisdom or pure fantasy. After so long away from the Tree, the time had come to make a choice, take a chance and rekindle the many memories that lay hidden in the depths of her mind. As the boy stood, his shadow fell long across the land seemed to sway in the breeze blown tall grass. He climbed the tree and before long she pulled her way onto the branch and sat quietly, staring at the butterflies and dragonflies that he had meticulously cared for in her absence. She pointed to the Book of Dreams and asked, “Tell me a story please,” to which he welcomely obliged, opening the book to where it all began, hoping that she would remember once again. The truth is that even though she may not remember every moment in time, she would not forget that they were true friends. So now the journey would begin once more, with the old mesmerisingly melded with the new and the thoughts of two children once again shared with all those that chose to read them.

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Who is the small boy that now comes and goes,

Like the soft burning candle he flickers and fades.

Burning so bright with a smile like the stars,

Thinking about all the wishes he’s made.

 

Searching to find all the magic and wonder,

Looking for words that are spoken in rhyme.

Climbing a tree where his friend had once been,

Hoping that soon again he will find.

 

Tales that are told of a journey so bold,

Gather around and his words you will hear.

Minds that are filled with the dreams of a child,

Grasping at clouds and drawing them near.

 

Fine paper boats that sail on the sea,

Drifting so aimlessly tossed in the waves.

Upon the horizon the silhouette forms,

Endlessly searching returning one day.

 

Butterflies spinning in dawns ethereal glow,

Dragonflies dancing alone on the breeze.

Suspended there now by fine silken threads,

Protected so deep in the arms of the Tree.

 

These are the things of which friendships are formed,

The visions there now that flicker and fade.

Never forgotten and never once lost,

There for all time with the promises made.

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