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The small boy walked alone along the winding forest path, with the flickering light playing on the leaves as he kicked his way merrily on through. His long white hair reflected in the dappled light and the buttons on his magical blue coat glistened all golden and bright like small stars. It was that magical time of the year and he had delivered all but one gift to all those that he knew, and although he could not see them, he knew that there were smiles across their faces as they removed the coloured paper that was so neatly wrapped around each and every present that he had left. A toy here a memory there, a thought or words that rhymed. There was so much he had tried to fit into the moment that he was nearly exhausted.

Tiny faeries flew along side him as he walked, and they filled his coat pockets with magic dust, before flying away once more to tend to the forest. He paused by the River of Redemption, where his reflection danced upon the ripples in the still water alongside the river bank which brought a smile to his face, and he watched as his eyes lit up wide at the imaginations he was having. He was a dreamer and his tales would hold those that cared to listen transfixed on every word and, the pictures he painted were magical, where his adventures carried even the most fearful souls to places where dreams do come true. He knew no fear, or at least none that anyone else may ever know, and in the simplest of words he gave courage and strength where before there was only confusion and despair.

As he sat quietly, he listened to the sounds of the singing birds as they chirped out beautiful tunes, with the whistle of the breeze as it gently rustled through the leaves in the trees, and the gentle of the pebbles in the fast flowing sections of water before him like the heartbeat of the forest. He watched as dragonflies and butterflies came and went from the water’s edge, sipping from the life giving crystal clear coolness that flowed on to the sea, before they moved on once more. ‘Life was surely so wonderful,’ he thought to himself as he watched the delicate fluttering butterfly, with its colourful crepe paper like wings as it was carried aimlessly by the wind, then in distinct contrast to the bold blue dragonfly with its speed and agility in full control of his destiny, keeping a close eye on the other creatures there.

As he sat, he thought about many things, and then he reached into his jacket pocket and from it he removed a tiny folded piece of paper, and he ran his fingers along its neat creases before finally pulling it into shape. He carefully placed it on the water’s surface and watched as it bobbed and weaved in the eddies that formed as the river wound its way into the distance. He did not know where this paper boat would finally end, but he did believe that it would find itself a home and that maybe one day it may even return like so many before.

The light had begun to fade as the evening drew near, and he climbed to his feet brushing the loose leaves from his trousers. He looked around at the small lanterns that hung from the weeping branches of the trees like tiny teardrops, and then he made his way to where the forest opened up onto the wide fields, becoming an ocean of soft pink flowers. As he stood admiring the undulating landscape with all its shape and mystery, he saw a small fox, reddish brown with a flash of white on its tale. It leaped and bounded here and there as if chasing something, although there was nothing to be seen, yet that did not seem to matter. It paused for a moment as it stared back at the small boy, tilting its head side to side inquisitively as though it new the child and trusted who he was, before it continued once more in its joyous dance.

As he watched he remembered a tale from a long while ago, where a girl with pink bows in her hair had found the injured fox along this same path, and how she had shown compassion enough to offer it life. The white haired boy tossed his head slightly, flicking away the few strands of hair that had fallen across his eyes, and as he held his gift tightly in his hands, he wondered if he too could offer the same to his friend. In the distance, the tall wide branches of the Friendship Tree reached into the cobalt blue sky that was beginning to come to life with the many stars that were a wonder to him. They flickered and sparkled like faerie lanterns held high in the distance for all to see. Where most people felt afraid in the dark, he felt a quiet solitude, but at the same time togetherness and comfort with the stars smiling back at him like tiny friends.

He stood staring at the Tree, where a warm inviting yellow glow radiated out through the leaves, and as he listened, he heard the familiar lalalalalalalala of his small friend, whom he had been looking for. He became excited in anticipation of the smile she would give in return for the gift he had for her. He ran to the tree, with his tiny legs barely managing to keep him upright, and when he reached the bottom of it, he ran his fingers along the coarse bark as if to greet it before calling out. “Hey there, are you here?” The singing stopped, and he waited in the silence. “I know you are in there, I heard you squawking from way up the path.” She poked her head through the leaves and with a pouty mouth exclaimed. “No fair, are you mocking me?” He smiled back and cheekily said, “nope, but I knew it would make you show your face.” She smiled then noticing his hands behind his back asked. “What you got there?” He stared all around pretending to not know what she meant, before looking in her direction once more. “There, behind your back?” she smiled, pointing to his arms tucked behind him.

He took the gift from behind his back, with its nice Santa paper neatly wrapped around it, and he held it out for her to see. He told her it was for her for Christmas, and also in celebration of the journey that she had now found herself taking. She clapped her hands in excitement as he carefully climbed the Tree and in the soft candlelight that flickered on the leaves overhead, he gave her his gift. “It isn’t much,” he explained as he watched her sit down then shake it to see if she could guess what it was. The puzzled look on her face told him that she was trying very hard, but unsuccessfully guessing what was contained within, and impatiently he whispered. “Come on, open it, cause it won’t open itself.” Her tiny fingers wrestled with the sticky tape, and then as the first piece of paper came away, so the rest followed in quick succession to reveal a brown cardboard box. She opened the box and within it she found the small statue of a boy holding a balloon.

She smiled and as she did he explained the gift. “Up until now, I have told you to believe, offering many words of strength and courage, and I have seen you grow and become strong. Now the road you walk is the destiny you created and with that I have a new word.” He smiled and as she held the small statue aloft, so that the stars sparkled around it, she read the word that was formed in the intricate wire shape held tightly in the small statue’s hands. The word was ‘Hope’. She had battled all adversity, she had fought the darkness and she had conquered her fear, so that now she had truly given herself hope. He looked at his friend, and he told her. “So many people live in hope and that is all they do, and hope on its own is just that. However when you have strength and courage, and you truly believe in what you are doing, you no longer live in hope, but instead you have given yourself hope that has true meaning and worth.” She nodded her head because she understood his words and she knew beyond all doubt that she was now in full control of her destiny. In the distance a flash of electric blue light filled the sky and the sound of thunder filled the air, startling the small girl to turn. As she turned to look at her friend once more, the small boy had disappeared, the only memory remaining being the small statue she now held. In the deep dark sky a single star sparkled brightly above all others, and a childish laughter filled the air.

Throughout our lives, we come to learn much, regret some things, and if we are truly lucky we get to meet people that understand us, people who are prepared to share the best and worst of whom we are without any further thought. Some say they are many, but I say they are unique, and those people are what I call true friends.

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To all our followers.

This blog is now some 15 months old.

When it began, Angelica and I wanted to show people through simple words that two people of the opposite gender could be just friends, and the use of children as our characters was our way of expressing the innocence of it all. Could this break the mould, the stereotype that this sort of friendship would normally be perceived as being? We did not know, but we did know what it was that we shared, and that friendship is still all it is. Nothing more than two children climbing a tree, in the adventure that is life.

So why is it I write today. Simply, my friend has not been well for the last nine months and the journey we have shared has been documented in the many words / stories that have been written that maybe only those close to us understood. If you did not understand, or you felt a darkness in the words then you will now know that those were the trying times and each and every story has a very large element of truth that speaks of pain, acceptance, courage, strength, believing and the magic that the simplest of words can have to lift a spirit.

Until now my gift to you has been my words, and whilst Angelica has struggled to find hers through all the life decisions she has had to make, I ask for one favour from you. As the people that enjoy, become inspired, or are taken in a dream to the special place that is the magic of youth, I ask for you to send your words of hope and courage so that Angelica can now be inspired in return as she continues to grow stronger. We will win because we believe, please show her that you believe too, and if you choose to journey back through the writings with the eyes and a mind that now understands more, then I hope the stories hold an even greater relevance for you.

Thank you.

LP 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

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As another paper boat begins,

To sail the stormy seas,

The winds will blow and stir the waves,

To bring what there may be.

But sometime on the journey,

In the waters cool embrace,

Calm will fall upon it,

In a very special place.

Where birds will fly and call aloud,

Between the water and the stars,

And all the wishes to be made,

Will make us who we are.

Where dreams come true because they can,

In minds that truly see,

The wonders of imaginations,

Of all that there can be.

A part of us resides within,

The words all written there,

Carried on the tide of life,

To live without a care.

And when one day the boat returns,

And lights upon the shore,

The words all written on it,

Will be remembered for ever more.

Paper Boats And Wishes

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Sometimes in life the paths that are laid out before us twist and turn with no discernable end in sight and even worse, where they lead is often not fully understood. Even for a grownup the choices can be daunting to say the least. So how is it that a small child faced with what she feels is such an overwhelming task begin to navigate what is needed to be done, and at the same time remain positive about the outcomes.

It was a warm summer’s afternoon, and as the clouds meandered across the deep blue sky, with the shapes shifting like desert sands to bring them to life in his vivid imagination, the small boy sat and waited just as he had done so for many months now. Strands of his long white hair dangled across his face, with the gentle breeze flicking them to life like a puppy dogs tail wagging across his wide blue eyes. He had seen so much in his short life, and as he sat patiently he wondered about the many dreams he had seen and how much there was that may yet come to pass, and at the same time he wondered whether or not he still had the magic that had been so prevalent in the past. As he looked along the branch on which he sat, he stared at the vacant space that would long ago have been taken by his friend with her hair tied so neatly in pink bows, and a giggling laughter that came with some of the silly stories they shared. Overhead were suspended the sparkling dragonfly mobiles that he had continued to hang in recent times, which danced upon the slightest breeze and created rainbow reflections on the soft green leaves that surrounded them. Nearby were the last of the tiny butterflies that his friend had hung, and although few would read them, he kept them alive by blowing a gentle breeze of kind words upon them so that they too would spring to everlasting life. He had been told that butterflies were ethereal, but then he knew differently, and he believed that they could be whatever a young inspired mind chose them to be.

In the distance the Magic Forest had become quiet, and he had not visited it in a long while as he explored newfound places full of all sorts of wonderful adventures. Although in the evening the light still radiated from within, it had become dimmer and the soft sweet sounds of the faeries as they celebrated the life they lead had become subdued as if muffled by an ever-present force. He looked closely at the rough bark on the tree trunk that he had laid his back against and he thought about how it looked like a finger print that made it stand out amongst all other trees.

“Hello,” called a familiar voice in a slightly desperate tone. He sat bolt upright from where he rested against the trunk of the Tree, at first wondering if he had fallen asleep, but then it came once more, with even greater desperation. “HELLO, are you in there, it’s terrible?” she shouted as she caught her breath. She stood at the base of the Tree puffing and panting and then she looked deep into the leaves, just in time to see him peer through with his wide smile, and she too formed a smile upon her face for a brief moment before being replaced by a desperate look of a confused little girl. He could not hide his excitement that she had come to the Tree once more, and as she stood below, he beckoned her to climb so that they could sit and talk, but she shook her head, before turning to look along the path she had just run down. He sensed the urgency now in how she had reacted and with a concerned voice he asked. “What’s wrong, why the look of dismay?” She was beginning to catch her breath, and at the same time she was trying to blurt out the many words that were needed, but in the end all she could simply say was, “it’s dying.” He looked at her rather questioning and asked, “what’s dying, what are you talking about?” She turned once more and still puffing she pointed the tiny finger on her outstretched arm in the direction of the Forest.

He swung down from the branch on which he sat, and by this time she had already began to lead the way along the lush grass covered path lined with soft pink and red flowers that swayed in the wash of breeze as she ran past. He chased after her and before long he was just behind her and as they neared the forest, he could see why it was she had shown the concern she had, as the wide path tapered into a dark tangled mess of blackberry brambles, which twisted and turned and made any further journey almost impossible. They entered the forest and as they wound their way along the tight path, tiny butterflies and dragonflies could be seen caught, now lifeless upon the sharpened thorns that adorned the long strands that reached out to catch even the most unsuspecting of creatures. She shed a tear, and at the same time he also felt sadness at what he now saw. Even more so he felt a great weight upon his shoulders, because had he have taken the time and shown a greater concern, it may well be that this had never even got this way. ‘Off on adventures of less importance,’ was the thought that went through his mind, ‘if only I had not neglected something that had been such an important part of the life I led.’ Very little light penetrated the matted, thorny vines, and here and there rats and mice ran, terrorising the creatures that usually called this place a home. As they reached the centre of the Forest, the heart of its being, the twisted tangled mess was still evident, but so were signs that a fight had begun. The faeries had been hard at work, and although they had begun, it was very clear that they needed help. The statues that had been placed here long ago were slowly being uncovered, and the sunlight penetrated the depths from above.

They made their way back to the beginning and stepped out from where they had entered, emerging from the dim light of the forest into the evening light that had begun to paint itself across the land, with a soft pink glow penetrating only slightly into the twisted tangled entrance. With a puzzled look upon her face she whispered as if not wanting to let anyone else know, “It’s bad isn’t it, what are we going to do?” The small boy sat quietly on the edge of the path and pondered. He looked up at her worried face, then suggested, “We could poison it and do the same with all the rats and mice.” I know it will work, I have seen if done so many times before. She nodded at first, but as a pink butterfly landed on her arm, and a dragonfly landed on a nearby flower she hesitated and then she thought. “But what about everything else that lives there, the trees, the small creatures, what will happen to them?” A vision formed in his mind of the dead and desolate state that the forest would become as if it were foretelling the future, with the indiscriminate bombardment that method would entail, and at the same time the damage it would do to all the creatures that relied on this place as a home, and for the food that would sustain them. “You are right, and I have seen it so often before, and in its depleted defenceless state, the brambles will return and they will thrive where before they grew but were at least able to be contained.”

They sat quietly once again, staring into the distance across the wide expanse of the distant wheat field. There a single fox leapt as it ran, enjoying the freedom that sometimes being alone gave, and seeing this the boy remembered and smiled, because he had another idea. He looked at the small girl and smiled and she returned his look wondering for just a moment what had come into his mind. “How strange it is that something so obscure could mean so much?” She looked at the fox and was perplexed with what it may have meant, what it was he saw. Then he went on to explain, without trying to confuse her. “Remember a book you once asked me to read? One about a little prince?” She smiled as she remembered, but then she was still a little confused, so he went on to explain. “In the story, the little prince wanted a sheep, and that in turn got me thinking about something I had seen recently. It was about goats and how they can be put to use because they eat brambles like chocolate.” She smiled because she liked sheep and chocolate, the organic kind mind you, but she was a little unsure about goats? “So what we do is, we get a flock of goats and we set them free in the forest. They will eat all the brambles and their digestive system actually kills all the seeds so that the brambles don’t come back. Nothing else is destroyed in the process.” She clapped her hands gleefully and then he went on to explain that once the brambles are gone, the owls and other birds that that live in the forest will take care of the rats and mice, so everything will be restored to its natural beauty and balance. She was so excited by what he had said and she could not wait to put the plan into action.

They found a farmer and brought a flock of twelve goats, each of them healthy and strong, and within days they had begun to clear a path through the Magic Forest once more. Time flew and in six weeks the brambles were gone and the owls and other birds had decimated the rat and mice population. With this the faeries rejoiced and the two friends watched on with glee, as they sang and danced to merry tunes. Now the forest was back to its natural state and the white haired boy set the goats free to roam the fields and live a happy life. One single goat with long white hair remained as if at home in this wonderful place and it would ensure that if for any reason the brambles tried grow again, it would dispatch them without a further thought.

The two friends now sat in the Tree on the branch of old and they thought back to a day not long ago when a fearful child came looking for help. In the fading evening light they smiled at what they had achieved and how the choices that were made were done so for the better of all. They thought how over many years grownups had sought the quickest options to deal with life issues on a daily basis, and how greatly that had impacted on so much that was now wrong in this unfortunately ever changing world. Long ago before all the quick fixes that now exist, things used to just fix themselves and what two children did was prove that for fact. “So I guess my friend that we have learnt something new, but at the same time we believed in what can be, and the outcome was more than wonderful.” Despite all her fears the small girl now understood much more about herself and the trust she had in her own life choices. The white haired boy would continue to grow strong and share his strength and magic. He too would continue to believe, and as a matter of fact he would never stop believing. Just for good measure, a shooting star raced across the night sky, and instead of fading it burst with a flash of colour, sending a resounding laughter from the stars, through the valley, and in the distance, dancing in the glow, the fox could be heard to call, Yeeeee Haaaaw.

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The child was more terrified than she had ever been before. Though to most she had looked like a little princess – and little more than a diminutive damsel in all-consuming distress – she had proved herself a warrior, stronger than any princess could ever dream of being. She had navigated the darkest forest with its coarse, cold blanket of nightmarish shadows and confronted her own death face to face, before defeating it as she had done before. She had not vanquished her formidable foe alone, but had been equipped with arrows of the love and support of the many who had rallied their thoughts around her in some distant world, whispering words of encouragement into the air that somehow reached her ear, filling her soul with strength and light and life. They had hoped and believed, and she had clung to their far-off words and thoughts with all her might, knowing that she must somehow keep herself alive, if only for the sake of those who had made her the object of their worried wishes and desperate prayers.

Slowly, the child had lifted herself from the dank forest floor, running her hands mournfully over the bruises and scratches that covered her arms, leg and shoulders, clawed and torn by the sharp branches of indistinguishable, sinister trees that lined and spread themselves with malice across the forest path, covering it from her view almost completely, causing her to stumble and crash into the jagged bark of their rough trunks. These were nothing like the beloved tree she had known before the darkness had come, the one that reached skywards into the sunshine, beckoning her to flit her way from branch to glorious branch til she landed like a butterfly on the one from which a dazzling mobile of delicious dreams and sugary words fluttered in the magical breeze. That was the tree of Infinite Childhood. These were trees of Inevitable Death. 

And though she knew that death could not be fought forever and she doubted herself for more than a moment, she came to remember with all her heart that she was truly only a child, and that this was not her time to die. Exhausted and broken, she had searched within the curls of rusty brown leaves and found within them an extra drop of strength each day. Some days she could not drink them in at all, her dry throat struggling to swallow anything that might hope to sustain her. Days and weeks passed before finally she had completed her transformation from vanquished victim to pale, frail princess to the triumphant heroine of her own fantastic fairytale where darkness had been defeated once more. Somewhere, in some far off land, those who had hoped and prayed and wished and believed for her recovery sensed her growing strength and rejoiced for her in their streets.

Now the child stood at the final edge of the forest that had threatened to devour her, and nothing in her compelled her to even think of looking back. She only desired to move out and forward, leaving the darkness behind her. But from where she stood now, there was no discernible path to lead her out. The dark, familiar path she had travelled over the past few months seemed to have dissolved entirely beneath her feet, and stretched endlessly before her now was the absolute desolation of unimaginable nothingness. In moments of prior delirium, she had dreamed that at this point clear paths would reveal themselves, presenting brightly-lit choices by which she would navigate herself either back to the life she knew, or onwards in a better direction. But the distant, dimming horizon held no clues how she might traverse the barrenness spread before her. 

And even though the battle had been won, for Death was now banished into the indeterminate future, the future that spanned between this moment and death had become so absolutely unknown, and this frightened the child more than death’s former certainty. She had reached the edge of the path, but her heart was overcome with the fullest fear of the infinite nothing that seemed to lie before her. A brief moment tempted her to take a few short steps back into the forest, which for all its savage darkness offered some familiarity. Instead, because she could not figure out what else she might do, she slid down onto the edge of the darkening path and wept herself into some sort of confused, distracted sleep. In the gurgling mubble of slumber, she dreamed that when she woke, some path might unexpectedly present itself to her in the morning’s gently filtered light. 
 

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Each and every day unfolds,
With a different outlook there,
The thoughts I had the day before,
Have changed some what again.

The many things I thought I want,
Were maybe others dreams,
Now I feel undecided with,
What I need to be.

I seek to find the truth now,
Of what it is that I must do,
But somewhere in my thoughts,
I think of others too.

Then a voice it balances,
Upon the precipice with me,
Assuring that the choice to make,
Is what I need to be.

Like an echo from a distant past,
Known a lifetime maybe more,
Telling me it is okay,
Reminding me I’ve walked this road before.

So now I know without regret,
The choices made I’ll see,
Will let me live the life I want,
Be what I need to be.

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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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