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Archive for the ‘new beginnings’ Category

The small boy clasped the clear round crystal between the tips of his tiny fingers and he raised it to where it sat balanced before his deep blue eyes. Its polished surface glistened like starlight as the rays of the sun reflected upon it and penetrated to its core. The sun’s rich light sent tiny rainbows radiating out and bathing him in colours that danced like faeries wings across his face. As he stared past it’s etched surface to deeply within, he caught a glimpse of his reflection with his flowing white hair flicking in the breeze, and the twinkle that had not shone in his eyes for some time now. As if by magic words he used to know began to flow once more through his mind. It was like a dream of old where all the imaginations that he had ever known had begun to seep through his body and like a thousand paper boats, they now glided effortlessly into the pale blue distance in search of that place, that special place that only a true child could find or understand. A smile formed on his face and at the same time a tear ran from the corner of his eye, and as he wiped it gently with the back of his hand, he knew now that what he thought had gone, what he thought had left him, had never gone away at all. It had all just lay deep inside like a dream waiting for that moment where waking merges with sleep and carries you in its arms and into the place where those dreams become visions all so true.

He closed his eyes and listened intently to all the murmurings around him, hearing at first the soft beat of his heart, ‘pom – pom, pom – pom’, then the breeze as it carried the sounds that now drifted from the magic forest in the distance. There was a faint echo of laughter emanating from its deepest reaches, down a darkened winding path draped with deep green vines that formed a tight canopy where sunlight would not penetrate. It was here that the children lost so long ago would play, watched over by the future, the spirit of the old man that was yet to be. It was a truly magical place, a place of dreams where a child could hide and choose never to be found. Where lost was a choice, not something that happened to be. As the sounds grew louder, he felt himself lifted from his feet as if in the grasp of something even he could not comprehend, like he had invisible wings that had unfolded to stretch out glistening in the late afternoon sun, like those of an agile bright blue dragonfly. Below him the wheat field swayed as if in time with the tune that now inspired him to believe like he had never done so before, in the magic of the child that he was. The deep green leaves of the nearby tree rustled like tiny violins as he was carried through its canopy with them brushing against him, and as he was taken to that all familiar place where he had been so often before, he stood once more staring at where it all began, the ‘Book Of Dreams’. Behind him there was a whir of sound as the dragonflies and butterflies that were suspended from the branch above came to life in his presence, spinning from their silken threads at a heady pace, whirling and twirling almost out of control as he now watched on in awe of the glistening menagerie.

The dappled light that filtered through the leaves of the tree danced upon the gnarled finger like roots that radiated out from below as if themselves in search of something lost. The light had begun to fade, with the last of its warm orange tones now bathing the undulating hills that stretched across the land into the distance, to where the fine fingers of light could no longer reach, and the darkness had begun to take hold. His grip on the round crystal object had never faltered, like his belief in life and all it had to offer, and as he stared into the sky above where the dark velvet veil had begun to form, where the faint twinkling of tiny stars had begun to peak through the curtain of night as if peering at what lay below, his imagination came to life. Fireflies began to dance, suspended in the lead lit lanterns nearby, and the soft whispers, like lasting echo’s reminded him of all that he had known, and all that he had been. Where once stood a man, there now stood a child, lost to this world and all the intricacies that threatened to fall and shatter like crystal teardrops on the rippled ground below. He had reclaimed his life, and at the same time, he had maintained his greatest strength, his resolve to believe. Not just because it was the thing to do, but because he truly believed, and just as the stars would always sparkle in the sky, so it would be that he would always remain a beacon of hope for all that sought to find that little something that had been lost.

Today as he stood silently contemplating all that had flooded back into his tiny mind, he realised that for all that he had thought had been lost, now more than ever he knew that this world he had created was more alive than ever before, and no tears, no pain could ever take it away or tear it apart. This was a special place created in a dream and forged within the deepest realms of time and like time it would never fade, and it would never be forgotten. He thought for a while and then he understood that we all lose our way, and at times we look so hard to find ourselves again, we look so deeply inside the complicated world in which we have lived, that the simplicity of the child goes unseen. Like the crystal ball he held, life is fragile, but also transparent if we look beyond what appears opaquely upon the surface. Who you are is important to you and you alone, and how others see you, well, in a world where so many ideals exist, does that really matter and do you really care? He understood now that he must enjoy life for what it is, because tomorrow is never far away and may never come at all, and sometimes the darkness closes in so quickly that we just don’t get the chance to say goodbye before that light of life is extinguished forever. Dream big, dream loud, for a dream is but a wish to be made in world so complex yet so simple, where the boundaries of reality sometimes cross into the imagination in those times we let the mind slip beyond the known.

Remember that just as the sun shines bright in the big blue sky, or as the stars twinkle in the darkness of the night, with their voices, their laughter calling to be heard by the child in us all, so our life unfolds. It is forever a mystery of where it is going and where it may end. We are born into this world with nothing, and when we go we take nothing with us. But we do leave the memories that may linger and then fade, or even better still, last forever with those people that we have come to know, those we have touched so deeply with who we are and for what we will therefore always be remembered for.

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I closed my eyes and visions formed,

Just like I slumbered in a dream.

The things I saw were all surreal,

It had me drifting so serene.

 

The magic that I thought had gone,

Had somehow found its way again.

The child that had been lost inside,

Within this dream had come to play.

 

In the moon light glow I spied a form,

With silken wings so fine.

It danced upon the golden dunes,

Beside the ocean deep and wide.

 

As quickly as the vision came,

So it had faded into night.

I knew it would come back again,

Another day it would take flight.

 

So I made a wish upon a star,

That glistened in the velvet sky.

A thought I had which came and went,

Within a tear drop in my eye.

 

Now I wait for dreams to be,

For faded hopes to shine once more.

The past is gone the future’s here,

A child waits near life’s open door.

 

 

 

 

Faeries

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The path was familiar, but the terrain seemed unknown. The child’s hands brushed the long purple cat-tail grass, then caught a drifting dandelion head as it bobbed upon the blissful breeze, making a wish before releasing it to dance away towards the sun’s bright rays.

The sweet scene proved but momentary delusion. The jaded adult stared blankly, mocked by words that no longer flowed where gentle streams once meandered through forests towards some iconic tree, embellished with fanciful stories like kite tails caught in branches where only children dared to climb.

When the feathery dandelion dissolved from sight, small feet skipped the pine-needled path to the place where kite tails dangled like mosaic mobiles from ancient branches; small hands traced the textured bark like a puzzle to be solved or a tower to be climbed.

The memory of childhood was rusting and eroding, tarnished by trials too terrible for small minds to comprehend. Some part had passed into dispassionate past, moving almost beyond recall. Thoughts that once danced brightly on air now suspended dimly in dust, threadbare and motionless like a forgotten child’s toy that might never bring joy or bright smiles again.

Hand over hand with bubbling hope, the child searched through leaves for any trace of life or light or laughter, any scraps of words or tails of kites that might unhide themselves in the tell-tale breeze. Then a reconnecting squeal of delight severed the silence. ‘You found me,’ the old man’s voice trembled, washing his tired spirit new like a breeze and a river and a kite taking flight.

‘I never forgot where to look,’ the small, white-haired boy replied. ‘The stars appear and disappear each day, turning days into endless years. Yet still this tree stands where it has always been.’

‘Another year has passed indeed,’ the old man lamented, the twinkle in his eye clouded by the threat of tears. ‘Once more, I am reminded that I am older than the universe itself.’

‘Yes,’ the child replied, ‘But you are as young as the universe too. You are the moon, but I am a star. A moon by itself is not a universe. Nor can a universe be made of a single star. I have climbed here today to show you the galaxy.’

The old man trembled as he received into his ancient hands the small box the child proffered. Actually, it seemed more like a wordless book than a box, and as he opened the cover, a galaxy of tiny paper stars and planets swirled endlessly before his eyes.

‘One day your time will come to join the stars,’ the little boy explained. ‘But until that time, you hold the stars within your hands, inside a book you must learn to read so that you might never forget what it means to be a child, though others might not understand.’

The old man closed the cover, forever protecting the paper stars that the child had cut one by one from coloured paper with tiny hands. And he sighed to know how painstakingly the little boy had glued and glittered each one, so that when light touched them, they would beam like cosmic jewels to remind him of the life he had now and the universe that would some day embrace him. And though he was eternally grateful, he also felt a sadness well inside him, for the child who had found him hidden in the tree was not the one he had most wished to see.

‘It has been so long,’ the old man’s voice trembled, ‘since the laughter of the little girl with pink bows in her hair filled these branches. I am truly afraid she has forgotten how to climb. Once upon a time she used to hang her tiny butterflies from long pieces of glittery string; I would hear her giggle from some distant place when I discovered what she had left for me to find. But now it has been so long, I am sure she has forgotten.’

Then the small child realised that the old man did not understand. ‘She is the one who sent me here! She is the one who cut out each star by hand. She is the one who gave each star its shine and placed each one inside this box for you. It may seem as though she has forgotten everything, but on certain days, her memory is awakened, and the universe that dances inside her smile flows only in the direction of this ancient tree. She knows that today is your special day, and she alone has sent me here with this gift for you.’

And as the old man’s weathered eye released a tired tear of relief, it washed down his cheek, smoothing the ripples that time had etched upon his ancient face. As more tears fell, they washed him clean and new, smudging the furrowed lines and erasing the countless years since childhood was all that he might ever know. Even now as he looked at the hand he lifted to brush the next tear away, he marvelled at how small it was, how totally devoid of any sign that he might be growing older rather than younger.

Opening the book shaped box once more, he drew from beneath the paper stars a tiny planet, made of glass so shiny and pure that it reflected his image back to his eyes so that he knew for certain now that he was indeed only a small, white-haired boy. The old man still sat beside him on the branch, but in the long distant future, gently reminding him to take all the time in the world to be a child, to marvel in the mystery of all that it meant to be so young and small.

And as the sun began to set, the boy sat quietly, his leg dangling over the branch, humming a tune, completely alone. The old man and his box of paper stars had faded into some future time and space. The child breathed the crisp air into his tiny lungs, infused with the strange scent of magical winter leaves that grew only on this tall tree while all other trees bore the barest branches. An early star shot across the dusky sky, and the child closed his eyes to whisper his wish. Today was his special day. He kept his eyes scrunched tightly closed til he was certain he could hear the almost forgotten sounds of another child’s steps skipping with delight in the sparkling starlight.

Wishing the happiest birthday ever to my dear friend, LP – may all your wishes come true today and always – Angelica 🙂 🙂 🙂

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The little girl climbed the tree rather tentatively as it had been a long while since her small hands had clasped the rough branches. She was not truly frightened, but some days she wondered whether she had somehow forgotten the strength and agility needed to ascend to the lofty heights of the familiar branch which had borne her weight so many times in the past. After such a long absence, everything seemed so strange and familiar at the same time, and that in itself seemed very strange.

The boy was not here, but everywhere there was evidence that he had never been far away. Glittery blue dragonflies dangled from odd lengths of string, not just from one branch but in fact from them all. She smiled then giggled as she brushed past them; how her imagination set them free from their strings and sent them into frantic, blissful hovers, each wing moving in a different direction to achieve their magically perfect stillness, like falcons riding the rolling wisps of wind, suspended from distant clouds.

Yes, the tree was full of dragonflies, their gossamer wings glistening in the tranquil sunny haze. It took some time to spot any butterflies at all, and when she finally found them, they were somehow dull and faded and tattered from neglect. They looked like lost whispers, like tired, grubby napkins. Like a child’s toy – once cherished, now almost forgotten. Yet somehow the small child’s presence in the tree filtered soft rainbow prisms of light onto their tired paper wings, spinning ever so softly so that one might think they might almost twirl back to life. She took a breath, and exhaled slowly, savouring the air, the light and life itself.

The next time the young boy climbed, the magical breeze blew against his skin like a whispered secret. He brushed past many twigs that scratched his arms and legs as he searched for what he knew he would find. He darted between the dragonflies he had suspended from every hopeful branch. He scanned for shimmers of colour amongst the myriad of worn butterflies, but everything was old and nothing was new. Disappointed as he had been so many times in the past, he lowered his back against the tall trunk, one foot upon the branch, the other barefooted leg dangling like lost hope.

Idly, his fingers played along the rough bark of the branch that held him. The tree that once had been so young and vibrant had now grown to ancient wisdom; every furrow of bark was familiar. The next moment, something felt strange to his touch, small and soft, somewhere between the feel of bark and leaves. Careful not to dislodge the tiny unseen mystery, he bent down carefully to see whatever secret his branch now held. The magical breeze blew again, and with great care the wide-eyed boy made his way back down to the earth’s thick carpet of leaves.

Though excitement flickered through his thoughts like a ripple, he knew he would need to be more patient than he had ever been before. It might be a very long time before the chrysalis would transform, but when it finally did, the stained glass mosaic of butterfly wings would bring a new flush of colour and renewal to the tree’s ancient branches. He had already waited a very long time. And now as he looked back over his shoulder to the silhouette of the tree in the fading sunlight, he knew he could wait just a little longer, and maybe even forever, for a new butterfly to emerge.

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What remains is what once-was, transformed
By thunder’s memory of ancient storms.
Lightninged limbs detached from trees
That fell to rot on forrest floors
Can never be restored.

New branches do push slowly through
The trunk’s gnarled bark, adorned with dew;
The feeble green afraid to glow
For fear it too will someday go
Down to the ground where it decays,
Where listless hours lament the days.

Will fragile leaves detach with wind
Along with twigs that break, then spin?
Or will they persevere and grow
Like branches that we used to know,
Ones strong enough to bear the weight
Of all that children contemplate?

Future, past, dark then, now bright
Imagination taking flight, but
Hiding now again until
All fear subsides –
I pray it will.

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Sometimes there is a simple magic that can be found in what a child sees or thinks, and in the way that they communicate their thoughts. So often what is said can be and is misinterpreted as being far deeper than the depths of thought that the child is even capable of thinking, yet a true child knows no other way.

 

There was laughter echoing through the deepest reaches of the forest as the children hurried their way along the winding path which was scattered with crisp brown leaves that crinkled underfoot with each step taken, sounding like ruffled paper on a Christmas morning . “Hurry up,” he called excitedly as he ran barefoot through the trees, kicking the leaves as he leapt from fallen tree trunk, to ragged rock, to ancient mound and then another fallen tree. All this time she carefully tiptoed her way along the same path as he had chosen, but with much less dexterity than he was showing. “Slow down,” she cried, fearful that he would disappear and that she would be lost in this place, alone forever. She knew this boy from somewhere and as she chased after him, she struggled to remember how or when, but that there was just something that stirred in the deeper reaches of her mind that drove her to follow him. Now and again he would stop and wait, staring back with his hands on his hips and his usual smile, never too far ahead so as not to let her lose sight of where he had gone. The blue sky beamed through the canopy of trees above and the clouds that were draped upon it drifted as though chasing the two adventurers. “It’s not far now,” he called as he watched her pause, with her hands on her knees, almost out of breath. “Come on, it is just around the next bend.” He waited at the last corner in the path, and then as she came close he whispered. “Shhhh, you must be quiet or you will scare it away.” He took a few cautious steps and turned his head in her direction, before waving his hand in a gesture calling her forward, and then he disappeared from view. When she rounded the corner, her mouth fell open wide, and in amazement she uttered a soft, but enthusiastic “Wow.”

 

The sun shone through the trees into the clearing that lay before her, glistening off the dew drops that hung like tiny jewels from the tender tree branches that surrounded it. The nearby babbling brook played a delightful tune as the water danced upon the pebbles that lined it, almost in tune with the racing beat of her heart. Before her she saw a circular form, a hole in the ground with stepped sides, that looked like an auditorium or a mini Colosseum and standing in the middle was the boy she had chased. “What is it?” She asked in wonder. He looked at her and he understood that right now she had been so long gone from this place that it would take a lot of explanation to help her to believe, and let the visions form in her mind once more so that she would remember it all once again. He explained, “this is a special place, a place where all your imaginations, all your dreams will come true as they form before your eyes.” She clasped her tiny hands together in anticipation, and then the childlike smile that had been missing for so long formed upon her face once more. This brought a smile to his face, but she would not see it because by now he had turned his back to her as he gazed all around stirring memories in his own mind, but he knew that the transformation had begun. “Sit down here, on the second step. That’s it,” he gestured with an outstretched hand, as she shuffled carefully forward. “Watch you don’t fall off,” he said with a wry smile.

 

She sat quietly on the step as he had asked and he stood before her bathed in the bright sunlight, with his arms outstretched. The sun’s rays shimmered on his face with a soothing playful light, as he stood soaking up every bit of energy he could get from it. She started to speak, “What does…” But then he stopped her mid-sentence and began to speak himself. “Now, you must close your eyes and with my words I will paint pictures in your mind and your journey will begin.” She grew even more excited because she had begun to remember things as the thoughts stirred in her mind, as if she had experienced déjà vu, and something told her his words would hold wonder like no other words she had known, and if she was to believe in anything, now would be the time it would happen. “Are you ready?” He asked. She nodded her head, daring not to open her eyes, no matter how tempted she found herself for fear of everything vanishing like a mist on a warm summers morning. “Let me begin, but you must listen carefully, you must feel each and every word and sound as it rolls from my tongue.” He was like an artist with the most intricate brush and with his softly spoken voice his words began to flow, and as they did, so it all began –

 

He explained, that a long while ago there was a small girl that ventured into the forest quite unexpectedly on a warm spring day, not much different to today. The trees had begun to come to life after a long winters sleep, and the buds that formed on the tiny branches were like babies wrapped in soft green blankets, popping their heads out for a peek. The sun shone brightly and the soft blue hues of the sky were like the deep sea she so loved, dotted with clouds which as they drifted, reminded her of the foam on the ocean. She was lost, having run away from some of the most dreadful thoughts a child could ever have, and when she arrived in the forest, she was so lost and confused that all that remained was the grown up body and mind. For her there and then, the forest was just a place where trees grew and scary creatures waited behind every darkened bush to eat you alive, and when you are lost and alone you know nothing more.

 

She had stopped to rest on a log, where the only beauty she saw was butterflies and dragonflies dancing in the flickering sunlight on the soft breeze that blew, and there she began to weep. “What are you crying for?” a voice asked. She stopped her gentle sobbing and she looked around but there was nothing to be seen. “Who’s there?” She called. The light was dappled and where ever she looked shadows formed and her scared imagination ran wild. “In a pretty bad way I see, I will have to do something about that?” the voice barked again. She sat quietly with her eyes wide open, trying to see who was there and wondering what was about to happen next. “Close your eyes please,” the soft reassuring voice asked and although she was unsure, something about the voice told her it would be okay, and when she did a small bell rang three times. “You can look now,”  the voice called, soft and low. She opened her eyes slowly and standing before her was a small boy with long white hair and a long blue coat, with silver buttons that glistened in the sunlight like tiny stars.

 

She gave a cry of “awe,” as he smiled widely at her, and she asked. “Who are you?” He turned his head slightly to give a quizzical look then he responded. “I am magic and wonder”. “Really?” she replied. “Yes, and it is my job to find all the lost children in this world.” She wondered for a moment, but then she thought to herself, just maybe she was not so lost after all. “You are certainly in a sorry state, but the fact that you see me at least gives hope, because it means there is some part of you that still believes.” She smiled more in relief than anything else and as he waved his hand in the air he uttered some words. “Faeries far, faeries wide, come out from where it is you hide.” Then one by one the faeries magically appeared, wearing their silken clothes of rainbow colours with fragile glittering, glass like wings that fluttered like a dragonflies, with each one no bigger than her hand. As each faerie vision formed she remembered what it was to be a child, what it was to truly believe again and as she clapped her hands in delight, more and more faeries appeared. Faster and faster she clapped and more and more of them filled the clearing. “Slow down,” laughed the boy, “We don’t have a lot of room here. He smiled and as she giggled they hovered above her singing their faerie songs and sprinkling magical dust upon her head. With each passing moment her smile grew ever wider, ever more childlike and the grown up began to evaporate, until instead of the unbelieving adult there sat a small girl with pink bows in her hair and wonder in her eyes.

 

The small boy had worked his magic and he danced circles around her, with his coat tails flapping behind him as he ran and he laughed as only he could. She began to giggle even more, and as he continued so she became ever louder, which brought the sleepy forest to wondrous life. The boy ran so fast that when he was done, there remained a circular hole in the ground, a monument, a special place, a place that would remain now for ever more. It was a place where the lost would come to find the child inside. He slowed to stop, and as he caught his breath he asked. “Did you know I was magic?” She smiled and nodded her head and he went on to show her all the wonders that he had seen, and teach her how to dream like a child. From that time forward they became friends and together they climbed a special Tree where simple thoughts were shared and where the magic of being a child was all that was protected within. So tall, so wide, the Friendship Tree it was, for now and forever more –

 

She had listened to his story all this time and she had kept her eyes closed, never once opening them, with the visions his words described filling her imagination to overflowing. “Can I open them now please?” she asked him politely. “Yes you may,” he answered in return and as she opened them, there before her stood a small boy with long white hair, and the magical blue coat. He was just like the one in his story, as a matter of fact he was the same and around him were a thousand spritely coloured faeries, all smiling at her. “I do know you, don’t I?” She asked. He smiled and he said. “But did you remember I was magic?” She nodded and smiling back she said. “Yes, I remember it all.” She bowed her head as if in shame that she had forgotten, he laughed and then explained. “We all get a little lost sometimes, but the truth is that what we seek is always in our hearts. This is the place I always come to when I need to remind myself who I am, this is the place where you remember where it is that the magic lies. Deep within the memories of a child that resides within us all.”

 

The light had begun to fade so he turned and pointed towards a tall, wide, leafy tree in the distance with an ethereal glow that came from within, and as the stars began to twinkle like tiny candle lights in the deep dark blue sky above, the sound of children playing echoed throughout the forest. He smiled and he asked her to climb once more and to dream within the Friendship Tree, and to never forget who she had become, and to never forget the small boy that taught her how to believe.

 

We never lose the child inside,

It’s always there for us to be.

Let imaginations all run wild,

You will find it wait and see.

 

Hidden from the hurt and pain,

That growing up can often bring.

Let the child inside run free,

And deep inside your heart will sing.

 

The magic of a friend you know,

Will never let you lose your way.

Carried on a paper boat,

Upon the breeze his words to say.

 

So laugh as though there is no time,

Dream and know dreams will come true.

The magic’s there to take a hold,

All it takes is there inside of you.

 

 

Faeries_Path

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All the wonders of the forest unfolded before the small boys eyes, as the sun set slowly on the last day of the year. The birch trees, tall and slender, with their white paper bark sat motionless, bathed in the warm yellow glow at the end of the day. Nearby tiny birds could be heard singing their last joyful tunes in the fading light as if saying good night to one another after a long day, tucking themselves into their nests for the evening. The whistling hum of cicadas began to fill the air as the warmth of the day was replaced by the chill that a clear night sky would bring. The small boy pulled his blue jacket around himself, and ran his tiny fingers through his long white hair, flicking it back from where it had fallen across his soft blue eyes. His tiny fingers carefully fastened the golden buttons so that he could keep the cold away from his small body.

He lay on his back, with the tall grass and soft yellow daisies gently wrapping around him, and as he stared deep into the blue sky above, he could only begin to imagine all the wonders he would see as a hundred billion stars unfolded before him when night finally took hold. Staring into the sky, his view was framed by the green heart shaped leaves that melded into the blue as it grew deeper in tone. Strange sounds could be heard in the distant reaches of the forest and in his imagination he formed creatures with large ears and noses, and fur that was long and white, with large clawed paws that left foreboding footprints where ever they went. That they even existed was highly unlikely in anywhere but his mind, but then that was what young boys did, especially this one. All his thoughts were intermingled with just a touch of reality then told in stories bold and full of fantasy, yet with the vigor of a seasoned storyteller.

He would often smile to himself as he watched the look of amazement on his friend’s face as he recounted journeys that had only ever been taken in dreams, yet were always so much fun to share. “Shhh, listen and you can hear them stir,” he would say as the breeze opportunistically rustled a nearby bush. “I think the faeries are here to play. Don’t turn now, but there it one just over your shoulder.” The smiles would form and then without even daring to turn she would ask. “Tell me what it looks like?” He would pause, then with a cursory glance he would begin. “Well she is not much bigger than my hand, and she is wearing satin and lace, in rainbow colors, with her hair tied in a single pony tail. Her wings are glistening in the sun, and her eyes are like magic and wonder rolled into one, ready to cast a spell on any that she may see fit to do so.” “Go on,” his friend would ask as he paused in thought. “There is nothing more I can tell you.” He would say as he smiled in return.

Today, in this moment he was on his own, and his thoughts and imaginings were all his to have and he could just believe without any further explanation. In the forest the shadows of the trees had begun to reach out, stretching like tiny fingers over the undulating fields that lay between him and the Tree, and as the light grew dimmer, so the shadows faded into the darkness that had gradually taken over. Within the forest, the glow of tiny firefly lanterns began to illuminate the trees and the forest floor, with a gentle breeze making them sway, with their painted light bringing the forest to eerie life.  His eyes followed the path as it wove its way to where it divided into two, and in the fading light the path to the left disappeared into the mist and the ruins that lay beyond. At times like this, he would just sit and listen, with ears pricked, to the faint sounds of children laughing, and the reassuring voice of the old man that protected them all. So often he wished to join them, but he knew his place was here keeping the Tree alive with his words, and so it was he remained.

Dew drops hung with a delicate grip from the tiny tendrils of the small ferns that dotted the forest floor, sparkling in the starlight like tiny diamonds. Ever so slowly the forest began to come to life as the creatures stirred from their daytime slumber, stretching and yawning as they wiped the faerie sleep dust from their eyes. As he stood and turned his back on the forest, the glow cast his shadow long, and he raised his arm so that his shadow touched the very base of the Tree. He walked from the twisted, knotted entrance of trees with their dangling branches flicking against his hair, and as he stepped into the wheat field he could see the ghostly forms of children that had long ago disappeared from his memory. They ran and played, laughing with echoed cries as if taunting him to bring them to life once more with the words of dreams, but he wondered could it ever be again. Time had seen them vanish and no matter how hard he tried, he could not find them, although he was sure of where to look.

He stood quietly with a tiny tear welling in his eye, and he thought about the many paper boats so intricately folded and so carefully set upon the sea of life in search of answers, in hope of words to be returned. As he watched the children laughing, the tear lost its steely grip and fell from his eye, and as it did it spun and twisted and a small blue dragonfly formed, coming to life, hovering and watching them play just as he did. The children paused for a moment and looked in his direction, and he thought once more before some simple words formed in his mind.

 

The simple innocence of a child at play,

Dancing upon this sacred earth.

Holding on to all their dreams,

Carried with them to death from birth.

 

Long lost laughter and words so bright,

From imaginations drifting with the tide.

Floating aimlessly on the sea of life,

Waiting all so patiently to find.

 

If only to grasp to truly glimpse,

For real the words so often sought.

Laid out upon the paper fine,

The many things a mind has thought.

 

To find the child inside once more,

Without a care for all to see.

The time I know will one day come,

When all we know will come to be.

 

As quickly as the words came, so they faded from his mind, and as they did the ghostly shapes that played before him faded into the darkness with only whisperings as they went. Left behind were the dancing lights of three fireflies that spiraled into the dark sky above, taking their place amongst the many stars that flickered there. The dragonfly was all that now remained, his only friend, and he reflected on all that had become. Together they would walk the path that wound its way to the Friendship Tree, standing tall and wide in the sparkling starlight with a soft glow radiating from within its branches. They stopped midway along the path and the small boy turned his gaze skyward, with the breeze gently tapping his coat tails as he stood admiring the plethora of stars that spread from horizon to horizon. From beyond the forest he could now hear the sound of the ocean as it rolled like thunder, before crashing like the sound of summer rain on an old tin roof as it tumbled the many pebbles on the shore. It was a peaceful sound and it added to the atmosphere of the night as he continued to look skywards at the smudges of red, pink and blue, that were intermingled with stars, the vast unknown that lay unexplored, except within his imagination.

As his long white hair began to toss in the breeze, he let his thoughts take him into the sky and for a moment he imagined the big blue ball that would be seen from the deep dark reaches of space, and he wondered if that was what the stars saw also and if that was why they always smiled. A shooting star cast itself across the sky, with a bright burst of electric blue light as it ended its journey. He held onto the thought, a wish to be made at another time, and then he continued on his way. As he walked, he placed his hands into his deep coat pockets, with his tiny fingers fumbling desperately, but he only managed to find a small piece of what he had searched for, leaving it hidden for later on. The Friendship Tree was looking old and the rough bark that wrapped itself around the trunk was showing signs of dying. He ran his fingers across it and it spoke to him of the many stories protected within, the many days of children playing, and now the endless days of silence that it endured.

He climbed into the Tree and he sat quietly, almost mesmerized by the mobiles that spun in the soft lantern glow. The dragonflies sparkled and spun as though suspended on a fine gossamer thread. Their words echoed out for all to hear, with the rainbow colors reflecting off their wings. Nearby, hung the worn and ragged butterflies, spinning momentarily then stopping, almost lifeless. The words they held were truly wonderful, but they had become tired, jaded, and even as he looked on they seemed to age before his tiny tear filled eyes. He reached into his coat pocket once more, and in his tiny hands he held his last piece of magic. He looked carefully at it, then as he cast it upon the butterflies he also made his wish. The butterflies came to life and began to dance on the breeze, but he knew this could not last, he knew it needed more. He sat in the silence, with only the sound of his heart beat and shallow breath to be heard. Then a whisper came. He missed it at first, but then he heard it once more and a voice told him that he could not stop trying and that one last paper boat with words so simple must be set upon the sea to sail. He carefully lifted the dragonfly from where it sat on his shoulder and he placed it near the lantern so it’s shadow fell across the Book Of Dreams.

He climbed down from the Tree, falling and tumbling the last bit as he could not contain his enthusiasm, rolling to his feet before running along he path. His tiny legs carried him faster than he had ever run before, leaping over tall tufts of grass, weaving through the forest with the faeries watching on in wonder, then the arduous final climb to the cliff top overlooking the ocean with its cold deep blue in the darkness of the night. He paused to catch his breath, before sliding down the dune to the beach below. Seagulls called as they flew overhead, searching in the night as if they had lost something. He sat on the pebbles and he folded the stark white paper meticulously, so that it formed a paper boat. He took out a pen and upon it he simply wrote, ‘please come back.’ He walked to the waters edge and he carefully placed it upon the shimmering surface, guiding it on its way in hope that it would be found. As he stepped back he watched and waited, then sat amongst the shells and seaweed watching some more. ‘The stars are sparkling all so brightly tonight,’ he thought to himself as he continued to watch his paper boat sailing away. Many had gone, and few returned, though he always believed that they were seen and that the words they carried made a difference for someone, somewhere.

He stood and taking up a small stick that lay nearby he drew a picture in the sand of a tree with a dragonfly hovering in mid air, and below it he wrote.

 

In friendship I trust,

With words I grow strong,

The thoughts of a child,

Shared with everyone.

 

Decorated with shells, pebbles and colored seaweed, the image was as if it were alive and he dreamed that it could seen by all the tiny eyes sparkling from the sky above. As he left the beach and headed back to the Tree, he turned and caught a last glimpse of the paper boat as it sailed on and he wondered, he hoped and he dreamed of what would one day be, of the butterflies that may live to spin their magic, and of a friend that would climb into the Tree once more to share her words.

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