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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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Tale: From A Dream

 

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

 

Poem: One Life

As the rain gently tumbles upon my weary head,

The wind blows a chill that seeps through my veins.

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

For the sun to shine brightly above once again.

 

All around lays the beauty of so many things,

Each one intertwined in the lives that we lead.

Never a care or a thought may we have,

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

 

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

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

Unfolding before you like the most ancient text,

More than what ever will be seen with your eyes.

 

Grasp at the minutes the hours the days,

Like trying to hold a kite in the wind.

Carried away like a fast fading dream,

Ending once more at where we begin.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poem: Flicker And Fade

Who is the small boy that now comes and goes,

Like the soft burning candle he flickers and fades.

Burning so bright with a smile like the stars,

Thinking about all the wishes he’s made.

 

Searching to find all the magic and wonder,

Looking for words that are spoken in rhyme.

Climbing a tree where his friend had once been,

Hoping that soon again he will find.

 

Tales that are told of a journey so bold,

Gather around and his words you will hear.

Minds that are filled with the dreams of a child,

Grasping at clouds and drawing them near.

 

Fine paper boats that sail on the sea,

Drifting so aimlessly tossed in the waves.

Upon the horizon the silhouette forms,

Endlessly searching returning one day.

 

Butterflies spinning in dawns ethereal glow,

Dragonflies dancing alone on the breeze.

Suspended there now by fine silken threads,

Protected so deep in the arms of the Tree.

 

These are the things of which friendships are formed,

The visions there now that flicker and fade.

Never forgotten and never once lost,

There for all time with the promises made.

Tale: Where We Are Now

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.

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.

 

 

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