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Archive for the ‘recovery’ Category

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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What is it that a child sees within their mind? What dreams will come true, unfolding then drifting like the mists of time as they traverse the known and the unknown realms that exist within the deepest reaches of time and space? Could the innocence of a child be all that was needed to open the door to that mystical, magical place that rides parallel to that which we know? Is this the place through which paper boats laden with thoughts and wishes shall sail, going far beyond the horizon to the nether reaches of the widest oceans before returning, ragged, but intact all the same, carrying the answers to the questions that we have sent?

As the small boy stood with his arm outstretched, he waved his hand as if it held a mighty sword, yet within his steely grip was a simple pen and in his other hand was a single piece of parched white paper upon which he had scrawled but a few carefully chosen words. The sun shone brightly bathing him in its soft yellow glow as it held fast for the last part of the day, and the stiff breeze that blew from across the dark blue ocean stung his skin as it carried the salt filled air. His coat battered against his leg like a loose tent flap in a storm, with a hollow, yet sharp sound like that of a cracking whip. He stared across the ocean into the distant unknown and there, just above the horizon, the vapours of a large dark cloud twisted and turned into shape. His eye in tune with a wild imagination saw large dragon form, bathed in the red glow of the sun, and from its mouth spewed forth the electric blue fire of lightning and the rolling roar of thunder that accompanied it carried across the ocean to where he stood in awe. So much never did cease to amaze him, and so often he would stand alone and ponder the intricacies of life and death.

Elsewhere, a small girl huddled in the solitude of The Garden of Life. The soft pink bows that tied her long dark hair and the pink runners with spangled sparkly pink laces gave only a little away of who she really was. She watched as the glow of the dragonfly and butterfly ornaments that adorned her garden bed changed colour before her ever wondering eyes like a rainbow light show. Some time ago she fell from the Tree, bruised and battered from the blows that life had dealt her and it was here that she landed, here that she felt safe and secure in a place full of blissful moments that would sustain her when no other moment could. It was warm like a soft feather doona, and on the darkest of nights with a clear sky, she could count the millions of stars that shone from above, carrying her back for just a moment to where she would grab a fleeting glimpse of her past. Long gone were the memories that had filled her days with joy and laughter, replaced by the careful, considered thoughts and words that now filled her life. Yet she was gaining greater courage with each passing day and week, and although she did not realise it yet, the time would come once more where the magic of being a child would carry her away.

He was small, but he was strong, with his words belying the true self that he had become, and as the sun bade him farewell for another day, so the stars began to twinkle in the blackness of the night, greeting him like a million children all wanting to share in the wonders his words would bring. He turned his back to the dragon in the distant sky that had faded like so many of his childish dreams, and he walked slowly along the path that wound its way through the undulating sand dunes, marked by the finger print lines of the wind. The ripples in the sand twisting and weaving like a snake from a story he once knew, ready to pounce and take him if it so chose. No longer did the stiff winds batter his tiny body, instead replaced by a soft breeze that now carried him in a drifting state as though his tiny feet did not touch the ground. Onward he went, into the Magic Forest, where fireflies danced like tiny candles suspended from an invisible string, their light painting him in an eerie glow as they went about their business. Faeries darted here and there, every now and again coming in for an inquisitive look, before disappearing once more, visible to only those that believed in their existence, and he certainly believed they were real.

With his long white hair and blue jacket he was a sight to behold as he bounded here and there, with the exuberance of the imaginative child that he was. Often he would pause and turn quickly as he tried to spy some cheeky faerie as it played hide and seek with him, giving a little giggle each time he succeeded in catching a glimpse. “Hello,” he called as he stood in the clearing, but all that returned was an echo from the hidden places deep within the forest. He called again, this time louder with more purpose, at the same time with a saddening desperation that his friend for whom he searched may hear his cry. Again it was only his echo that responded, with the fading repeat as it bounced from tree to tree. He had sailed many paper boats and for fleeting moments she had shown herself, but like a ghost on a calm dark night, she would appear and then fade to be lost once more, never managing to grasp her dreams for much longer than she felt safe. He looked mournfully around, yet here and now in the stillness of the forest he knew that she may not come again, but he could only believe.

As the stars sparkled overhead, through the clear roof of her garden, she looked to find just one that may come to life and smile ever brightly upon her. Ever so carefully she climbed to her feet, stretching her weary body and offering a tiny yawn before sliding the door to her Garden open.  She peered out into the dark distance with all the unknowns obscured by the shadows cast, yet she felt compelled to take another step beyond the comfort and safety she had found. She had been stirred by a soft familiar sound which had now faded into the hum that filled her head and in the darkness she had felt drawn to some far off place, but still a part of her was tied to where she had been hiding. In the starlight, an old metal swing glistened, smudged with the brown rust of time, and it creaked as it moved ever so slightly in the breeze as if calling her to sit once more, encouraging her to break the bonds that had restrained her for so long now. As she stepped through the doorway, she let her fingers slip free from her hold on the last piece of what had protected her, and at the same time she let her mind drift almost becoming numb until she found herself sitting alone upon the wrought iron etched seat of the swing.

She felt a calmness wash over her, and as she looked at the scars carried by the nearby statue, so she saw herself, recovering from what she had endured and this put her even more at ease because it was a sign of what could be where there once was no hope. As she sat in contemplation, the last chirping of the small birds that filled her garden could be heard emanating from the nearby bushes in which they had made their homes, and it was as if she understood the stories they were telling of what the day had delivered for them. With the calmness that surrounded her, she began to drift back into that childlike state in which her memories had begun to stir once more, and she began to wonder now if it could ever be the same again. She could only believe, but she did not want to be dashed upon some rocky shore, never to be found, so she would be cautious and only time would tell what was to be.

Of all the things that he had seen and known, there was no one thing that stood out more in his imagination than any other, and as he stood in the opening of the magic forest, he gazed all around. The many dreams, the many tales came flooding back into his mind like a giant picture show that played his life like one big fairy tale. He was mesmerised by it all and the journey that he and his small friend had taken before she disappeared. They had sought out courage and strength, truth and believing and with this they had conquered the darkness and set alight the candle of life that still burned strong. They had seen the best and the worst that the world had to offer, but they had never once given up, and the Magic Forest stood as a testament to who they had become. As he looked, he could see the twinkling of the first star with all its magic and wonder, and nearby the tiny dragonflies and butterflies that flitted from flower to flower in the soft dusk light, each with its own purpose, each with its own meaning in the cobweb that life had woven magically for them.

As the last ray of the sun burst from beyond the horizon, it reached out like a finger pointing, and it reflected from the distant ivory tower, sending a glint of light as a reminder that some thing’s still remained and that only with time and patience would they be tamed. The rainbow colours that had adorned it had been replaced once again by the stark white paint of before, yet he hoped that his tiny friend would see beneath that. He hoped she would remember what it had become and the adventure that had unfolded on a bright summer’s day a long while ago when she had been rescued from its upper most confines.

He heard a sound, and as he turned he saw a fox dancing in the nearby wheat field, as if chasing some imaginary child as is leapt here and there. As he watched the fox, he remembered a tale from his past and although he could see the fox he wondered if like his friend it was truly there or just vision from that parallel world which may or may not exist alongside our own. He turned his gaze looking once more deep into the night sky with all the stars that now shone like tiny diamonds, and then to the deeper colours of space that made this canvas upon which they were laid even more wondrous. A shooting star raced across the sky, burning bright then fading, and as it did he cast his wish before it disappeared into the distance behind the tall wide silhouette of the Friendship Tree. If he did not know better, he would have imagined that it had landed within the Tree itself but then that was the magic of his simple imagination.

Sitting quietly on the metal swing, the small girl felt the breeze of a butterfly kiss upon her cheek, and as she did so she closed her eyes to dream. Ever so slowly the old metal swing began to squeak as she was rocked back and forth. The sound was reminiscent of the old see saw on which she had found herself not too long ago, and as she opened her eyes, the soft light of the rising moon lit up her smile and for just a moment she thought she saw the silhouette of a dragonfly she had once known. She closed her eyes once again and in a moment a shadow flickered upon her eyelids, tempting her to open them once more. As she slowly opened her eyes, she sat aghast at the ethereal form of the small boy that wandered before her, side to side as if searching for something he had lost, yet he did not see her. He was calling for her, and even as she called back, he could not hear. He came close to where she sat on the swing and with her tiny fingers she stretched to touch him, calling his name as the swing made its forward motion, but as she did, so he disappeared. This left her with a lost and empty feeling as though the future had come then gone in the instant that was time as she had come to know it.

In the distance a voice called softly and she placed her feet on the ground stopping the swing in mid motion, and as she listened intently the familiar call drew her from the darkness of where she had been into the eerie glow of the moon. At the same time the small boy also heard a familiar voice and as he watched, a soft light began the radiate from the Tree in the distance. The fox stopped what it was doing, then turned and watched as the smile on the face of the small boy grew ever wider before it too was drawn forward, cautiously moving to where the Tree stood bold and strong. The small girl had let go of all that had held her, abandoned all the fear that had so consumed her, and as she ran, the laces on her pink runners danced like octopus tentacles to a silent tune. As she came closer to the tree, she recognised the shape that was her friend on the path that wound from the forest in the other direction and she called, as did he. They both stopped at the bottom of the tree, puffing and panting.

“Where have…….” She stopped him before he could say another word and she explained as best she could. “I tried, and I knew that everything would be alright, but at the same time I just could not see as clearly as I usually do.” He wanted to say something but she was so full of words and after all his paper boats he was glad to just let her speak. “I had forgotten it all, everything that I had learnt, all the simple things you had shown me, and worst of all I had become lost in my own little world, drowning in everything that had overcome me.”

He needed not say anything in return, because he understood and all that mattered was that she was back. A soft mist began to drift across the valley floor like the white foam on the incoming ocean tide. It tickled their feet as it rolled across their shoes, drifting in tiny wisps of vapour. The fox stood there, first raising one paw, then replacing it before raising another in astonishment as the mist wrapped itself around it. The two friends climbed into the tree, and lifted the fox up with them, and as the mist filled the valley floor, all around them looked like the ocean. In the pale moonlight, the fox lay its head upon the wide branch and fell asleep, whilst the two friends talked in endless conversation, making up for the time that they had not spoken over the long last while. This was not the end, nor was it the beginning. It was where they were now, it was where the journey they were on had placed them and they knew that there were more adventures, more wonders to be seen, greater lessons to be learned. Today there would be no magic, no more than the simple words written on this page, the magic of words on their own. For now they were just two friends sitting in a tree, filling the Book Of Dreams with words that told of something unique, but at the same time something that others would one day embrace and find of their own as well.

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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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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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“You never signed up for this,” she explained as she tried to make him understand the full extent of her predicament. He looked at her in a puzzled manner, and not knowing whether to nod or shake his head, he began to reply. “But I …..”. She stopped him and as the breeze tossed his long white hair, she paused for a moment, before she continued to explain. “I’ve been here before and it is not nice, as a matter of fact it is too much at times even for me to comprehend.” He listened to all she had to say, telling of a myriad of treatments and side affects, not to mention what the future may hold for her. The look on his face was one of sadness as all that she said began to sink in, but then for a moment he began to smile. She looked at him with her eyes all scrunched up, and an expression that in some way questioned how it was that he found the situation so funny or how it could be that he was happy. He knew what she was thinking, but then his outlook on life was always a positive one, where believing in yourself was so important, so he very quickly explained.

He looked in her direction and then he began to speak. “Did I ever tell you I was magic?” She looked at him and wondered, then she sat listening intently as he explained some more. “Do you know what magic is?” She nodded her head so that her pink bows bounced. “It is like pulling a rabbit from a hat, or making something disappear, isn’t it? I like magic.” He shrugged his shoulders and he continued. “Well, it is sort of but, that is more of an illusion than magic. You see magic is something more, it is believing when others may doubt, it is not an illusion, it is something special” He knew right now she was more confused by all that had happened to her and how it was she had come to be where she was once more. So in the fading light he began to weave his words. He told her stories full of hope, he painted pictures in her mind that only a crafted imagination could weave, and as he continued so his words became like air and water that would give her the strength to believe in herself. When he was done, she smiled and she understood that with the complexities that had filled her mind she would navigate what lay ahead and she would make the choices she needed for the right reasons.

She looked at the white haired boy as he sat staring into the distance in deep concentration, and then she posed a question that she wondered if he would ever be able to answer. “The future.” He broke from his thought and turned, “huh?” “The future, what does it hold for me?” His gaze turned towards the dark sky above, sprinkled with a million or more stars and he carefully pondered his answer before he explained. “I will be there one day, somewhere there,” pointing with the finger of his outstretched hand towards a coloured smudge across the darkness. “We will all be there and it will be amazing because we will get to look down on all these wonders that we can only dream of seeing now.” She heard him but then she still did not know. “What about me? What is my future?” He smiled as he looked at her once more, then he clarified his observations. “You will be there too, but not yet, not for a long time. I see that you have much to teach and much to learn with a lifetime to go before you that is yet to be fulfilled. She smiled again, almost relieved at what he had told her, and she felt more assured, more at ease than ever. “So do you believe?” He asked excitedly. She nodded, hesitantly at first but then with the confidence that made him smile.

She realised that as her friend  he felt no burden, he understood what it was that he had signed up for. As a matter of fact it had not been her choice, her request, but his because that was what true friendship was to him. He would offer his words, his encouragement so that she would remain strong, never to stop believing, and as she took this journey she would grow to know what it was that lay ahead for her. It would never be easy, but she would survive and her story, one day written, will tell a tale that was against all odds.
The stars will shine tonight, and every night to come, and each time she looks into the sky she will hear the laughter of the children that look down upon her sending their wishes her way.

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He stood overlooking the rolling valley in the soft evening light, with the Tree bathed in the glow of the sun’s golden rays. His long blue coat with its polished buttons flapped in the breeze, gently tapping on his legs like a small child seeking his attention, with the buttons making a tinkety tink. As he studied all that lay before him, he watched as the wheat field swayed like the surface of the ocean with an ever changing texture. He glanced in the direction of the Tree and as he looked closer he thought he saw with his tiny eyes a glint of light as it reflected from within the Tree, and as he concentrated harder he could hear the smallest sound of laughter echoing from within. ‘No, it can’t be,’ he thought to himself, but there it was again, ‘surely not?’ Excitedly he ran through the wheat field, nearly falling as his tiny legs almost lost all control as he leaped and bounded on his way, and when he finally stood at the bottom of the Tree, he waited and he listened intently. The laughter was still there, but it had become weaker, almost more distant as if fading into obscurity far from the deepest reaches of his imagination as if drifting away from where it had begun.

He climbed the Tree to where he would usually sit and once inside he gazed around, but there was not a single soul to be found, not a sign that anyone had been here in the last while. He bowed his head and he wondered, then as the breeze blew through the dangling green leaves he heard it once more. He turned then looked overhead and there he noticed the familiar sight of a mobile with the remnants of shattered butterflies suspended precariously from the fragile pieces of string. As it wavered in the light he saw one final in tact butterfly, the last one hung from a rainbow coloured string and as it span in the breeze so the softest laughter could be heard. He thought to a time not long ago and he remembered this one, the rescue one, the one that had sacrificed all to search for the small boy that had drowned in all his sorrow and self-pity, the one that told of the lengths to which friends will go for one another. He approached it cautiously, with the light reflecting like a kaleidoscope from its silken wings and as he did so it fell, and with an outstretched hand he grasped and held on tightly so that it would not disintegrate on the barren ground below as so many others had.

Held now tightly within his tiny palms, he could see that whilst it was the same one, there was now more. Its words told of misfortune and despair, joy and suffering and waiting for the joy once more, but how could he be so sure, was that the laughter mingled with a sadness? He thought long and hard, and then he climbed down from the Tree, planting his feet firmly on the desolate earth below with a tiny puff of dust as he landed. He stepped away from the canopy that shielded him, and as he stood there with the hum of the night echoing he looked deep into the night sky. He reached out and grasped a small piece of the delicate velvet that spanned the sky which in turn held the many stars of hope in his vision and then he clenched his fist and took a piece in his hand. He made a soft velvet bag and he placed the delicate butterfly within mingled with just a few stars for protection, and as he did it began to stir before he closed the bag tightly. In the distance the light radiated from the magic forest and the faintest sounds of the faeries and elves carried upon the breeze to where he stood, their songs drawing him towards them. He trod the path of fortune that he had travelled so often before and as he reached the forest he watched in wonder as the small ones danced and sprinkled their magic dust upon the ground around them. He watched in amazement as everywhere it landed tiny flowers grew, in pinks and reds and blue, and dragonflies flitted carefree here and there. ‘Was this life giving, did it really have the magic he had come to find?’ he thought to himself. He thought no more and he quickly gathered some of faerie dust and he placed it inside the black bag alongside the butterfly mobile and stars, and as he did so the butterfly began to stir to life with its delicate wings fanning slowly like the beat of a tiny heart, which brought a smile to his face.

His soft blue eyes sparkled in the moonlight as he stood looking out from where the forest met the wheat field once more, and he watched as a fox danced in the moon’s glow. He sat quietly, unseen, admiring the enthusiasm with which she moved, full of life, full of believing, not a care in the world. Then as he looked on a flash of light raced across the sky, exploding like a firework and sprinkling hundreds of tiny stars across the land and like little diamonds they sparkled here and there and he searched through the field gathering each and every one of them adding them to his magical collection. Everything inside the bag now glowed bright and strong and the energy it contained was stronger than any he had made before. All this time with his concentration so intense on his task, he did not see that the fox had stopped and was looking on with a smile on her face, because she understood who he was and what it was he was seeking. He had nearly filled the bag but he wanted more, so he looked to the sky and his favorite constellation of Orion where stars are born, and he reached deep into it with his mind. With his imagination he gathered up a handful of the brightest ones that would shine like only a candle could shine, and he placed them into the bag as well.

With his prize held firmly, he made his way back to the Tree and he climbed inside with the silence all around him. There was still no sign that any one had been there and he wondered if they ever would again, but then maybe there was still time? He went to the Book of Dreams and he tore out some of the blank pages it contained and placed them inside like tiny blank butterflies waiting to be filled with words, then he took a single piece and put it in his coat pocket. Before he closed the bag to protect all that it contained, he made a tiny dragonfly.

 

Believing in the one you are,

Thoughts that give you strength and hope,

Words that carry you away,

At times when you don’t think you’ll cope.

 

Laughing in the morning sun,

Crying in the midday rain,

Then smiling at the stars that shine,

Because like you they’ll shine again.

 

For each and every star that falls,

A wish awaits for you to make,

A dream come true in times to come,

With every little step you take.

 

The stars you hold within your hands,

Are gathered there for you to see,

So even in your darkest hours,

You will pull through it’s your destiny.

 

He finished and put this into the bag, and then he placed his hand into a hole in the solid trunk of the Tree, searching with his tiny fingers, and when he removed it he was holding a small candle, like the light of life to be shared, to glow when the darkness was at its worst, a reminder of all that life is and ever will be. His treasure was now complete, the magic was captured, and now he placed the bag where his friend would usually sit with her pen and paper in hand and then he turned, but before climbing down he made a wish. It was a wish he would not share, but a wish just the same, a wish upon the star that he had seen earlier and had waited to use. He climbed down from the Tree with its rough-hewn bark and as he stood there, all was silent. The forest was asleep and the fox was gone, but as he always knew, the stars still shined, they would always shine, they would always smile and their laughter would be heard by all those that believed. He knew his friend believed just as he did, and he only hoped that his gift could give her the strength that his words had so often given before. Only time would tell, but like before he truly believed and he would never let any other thought cross into the enquiring mind of the child she was, and that one day she would realise her wildest dreams.

He sat now by the ocean blue, with his bare feet resting in the cool waters as if drawing from the magic that it offered. He took the piece of paper from his jacket pocket and he folded it carefully into the most wonderful of paper boats, and then he added some words of hope, of believing. In the moonlight, he watched as it set sail as so many had before in search of a dream. He had sprinkled this with some of his magic, yes his. He thought he was magic, no, he knew he was magic and his words would always be like air and water, they would always speak of all the positive things that life has to offer and they were there for all those less fortunate than he, all those that needed a helping hand. That was who he was and always would be and his happiness was found in the happiness that he gave to others, the most wonderful of gifts that costs nothing but a simple smile. He would wait here until this paper boat returned and he would hope that his friend would find the gift he left for her. Now as he sat quietly, the stars smiled down upon him and he smiled back, and the colours of the Milky Way glowed in reds and pinks, with just a touch of cobalt blue smudged across, intermingled amongst the stars. He laughed, and they laughed to. Yes life was a wonderful thing.

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Within my mind sits a haunting vision,

One that mingles with countless dreams,

No matter how long I search inside,

There is little of nothing that is what it seems.

 

Ghostly voices are calling my name soft and low,

Memories flood in as if the dam has been burst,

Words like the story of the life that we lead,

Treading briskly but softy at first.

 

Now looking out as the colours abound,

I shout at the top of my voice,

As the breezes they blow like a whisper,

My echo returns as if it had no choice.

 

Now in the darkness of night as it falls,

The sweet silver tinkling of smiling stars,

And now and again as one falls from the sky,

We make a wish from where ever we are.

 

Clasped all so tightly in childlike hands,

The light that is life sends out it’s glow,

Radiating on all that may care to see,

Challenging all that we know.

 

The past and the future are one in the same,

Then the vision appears a familiar face,

Tell me your tales of the wonders you’ve seen,

As I sit all alone in this quiet place.

 

 

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