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Posts Tagged ‘death’

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

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

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

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

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

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Where the shadows stretch so long and deep and linger well into the night, that is where I sit in silence waiting for the night owl flight. Upon the misty winter breeze an echo carries wide and far, until it echoes never more muted neath a sky of stars. Life and death like night and day so far apart yet one the same, captured now together held forever more in tight embrace. To close your eyes and drift away and find a peace so few will know, one day to see beyond the veil into that other world will go.

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As the ether of the night slowly envelopes the daylight hours, and the distant stars sparkle like something lost, so time slows and turns.

In the deepest darkness the colours like a rainbow twist and turn, as they have always done, far more distant than a tiny mind can comprehend.

I think, I wonder, yet there is no answer to be found, no age to be told. One more light in the midnight sky amongst a million others.

If I knew what may truly be would I consider at all or would I continue in wonder that something else may be?

The midnight chime in the winter chill echoes its resonating sound, to where it fades, never to be seen or heard again.

Gentle breaths in slumber state, slow ever more to finally end.

Silence.

What now lives on?

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Losing who I am, who I was and who I could be
Drowning in the infinite deep sorrow that confounds me.
Some days I dangle lifeless from the limbs of this great tree,
Succumb to all the tumours that have set up camp inside me.
‘She always smiles and rarely cries’, is what they think about me,
But there is so much pain inside that they can never see.
‘You must stand firm,’ I hear their voices urge me,
But there are days when I could sink to the bottom of the deepest, darkest

Sea, the sea – please take what’s left of me
And carry it far from this place where I’m no longer me.
The darkness falls, the moon hangs high over
The sea, the sea – the song that cries her every night to sleep.

Closed eyes now blink, she finds a new dawn waking.
Pain dissipates, her soul no longer aching.
There’s light and hope, deep fears are now abating.
Then one more step she finds the strength to take into

The sea, the sea – please save what’s left of me
And carry it back to the place where I am truly me.
The sun shines bright, my soul feels light under
The sea, the sea – restoring dreams of who I’ll one day be.

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    Angelica sat upon the large, dark, damp circle not too far from the water’s edge. She had expected to wade into the water to find the glistening treasure box of shells again, but here they all were, gathered strangely and almost dry, as if waiting for her to come and sit quietly, to seek and sort and sift. This time, the sun did not sparkle onto the tiny jewels, bringing out of them the radiant fire of colour and the sparkling illusion of life. The sky was grey, a reflection of her own dimly lit soul, for she had just learned that she was very sick again and fat drops of rain threatened to fall in the place of the self-pitying tears she refused to cry.

    The tiny shells, thousands of them, formed a cushion around and beneath her. She unclasped the silver chain around her neck, with its shiny Friendship Tree medallion, diamond butterfly, sparkly pink rose and the long dragonfly charm set with small square pink stones, all reminding her of the dear friends who had so often been within arm’s reach, those she cherished the most. But today she sat on the beach alone, searching for those shells that were special, pretty and strong enough to be threaded onto her silver chain.

    ‘When I am trying to recover, to beat this illness again,’ she explained to herself, ‘this will be my way of keeping the ocean close to my heart, giving me life and strength.’ She knew that it would be a very long time before she would be well enough to dive again beneath the nearby pier that seemed now to fade into a distant fog before her. ‘No, I will not be here with you,’ she sighed to the ocean, ‘So I must take part of you there with me,’ and she searched and sorted and selected those tiny, treasured trinkets that would carry all the fullness of the ocean inside them around her neck.

    ‘Did you think I wouldn’t come?’ a sweet voice spoke softly behind her. And looking up she saw the beautiful girl in the flowing red dress move like a dream towards her, an unexpected sadness in her eyes. The girl was older than she had ever been before, full of elegance, grace and understanding that had somehow come through transcending all the trials and suffering of the past. ‘How she inspires me,’ Angelica breathed, rather than whispered, and instinctively she held out the silver chain, asking the girl to ‘Choose’. Carefully the girl with rubies for eyes perused the small collection on the chain and selected a pearly shell with a soft pink hue.

    ‘I will take this one to remember you by,’ the beautiful girl smiled, ‘But in its place, you must take these two.’ And she threaded onto the chain a long, dark spiralled shell and one that was tiny and almost perfectly round, like a child’s plastic bead. ‘The first,’ she explained, ‘reminds you that your path will be dark and windy, but that you will never, ever walk it alone. The second – ‘, she paused, as though hesitating to find the words, ‘will remind you that life is simpler than we sometimes think, and that when you see it through the eyes of a child, you realise that there is nothing to be feared.’

    A magic breeze blew gently across the water and up onto the shell-strewn circle, and with it the girl in the red dress carrying the scent of roses vanished and Angelica’s most magical friend, the white haired boy, appeared. ‘Please give me that shell there,’ he pointed to the chain, ‘For it is small but very strong, the same colour as my hair. And in its place, I leave you this – ‘, his eyes threatened to swell with rain, and indeed at that moment, a cold rain began to fall steadily and the boy in the long blue cloak dissolved from sight. Angelica looked down into the palm of her hand where he seemed to have placed an intricately folded note on pale blue paper.

    Her first instinct was to open it, to see what magical words would be written inside, but then she knew without doubt that this paper must never be unfolded. Standing carefully, for it pained her now to lift her body up from the dark, shell-encrusted circle on which she sat, she moved with all the courage she could muster down towards the water’s edge where she sent the tiny paper boat out on its unfathomable journey. She watched as it bobbed, threatening to be overcome by the smallest wave, then surfaced again to travel the length of the misty pier, almost disappearing from view.

    ‘What’s that?’ she heard the smallest voice beside her, then felt a tiny hand reaching up to hold her own. Here was a child she had never seen before. A true child – maybe five years old, with long dark hair and kind, mischievous eyes – not just a child in spirit. ‘I’m Autumn,’ the child explained, and as she spoke, her words smelled like the sweetest rain and falling leaves. ‘You are very sick and I have come to bring you joy.’ And despite the pain that gnawed at her body like a towel being wrung dry between one’s hands, Angelica reached down and lifted the child high into her arms, and they squeezed one another tightly that they might give each other strength that would last each of them their lifetimes.

    Setting her gently down again, their eyes locked them deeply together into tiny waves of laughter, like the ones that carried the paper boat off into its happy journey. Hand in hand, Angelica and Autumn ran from the water’s edge, the sound of the shells dangling around Angelica’s neck chiming like the ice in a sweet summer’s drink. Together they skipped away, away, up onto a rolling green hill where they collapsed together in a delightfully messy pile of the sweetest giggles. Angelica wrapped her arms around the child, feeling the strong, young heartbeat pounding blissfully against her own. Yes, she was tired and sick, and when she closed her eyes, she could almost believe that right now she was just a step or two from heaven.

    Angelica sighed, breathing in the crisp Autumn air, the nearby sea breeze and every sign that, at this very moment, she was still quite fully alive. It would be many months before she would be strong enough to return to the water’s edge, to search once more for tiny shells or to slide again beneath the long, misty pier like a bright fish, full of energy and possibilities. But for now, this one moment of life was enough, and she would take it like the shells around her neck with her into whatever the next moment might hold. She felt herself float and disappear like the tiny blue paper boat. It was no longer within her view, but she knew that it was still on its adventure into unknown waters and she determined, with everything within her, to see her voyage through to its mysterious, unknowable end.

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The little girl with pink bows in her hair sat by the window in quiet contemplation, her back resting against a shiny satin cushion on her favourite plush pink chair. Most other days, she would run and play and laugh with delight as she suspended herself upside down from the sturdy branches of her beloved Friendship Tree, alone or with one or both of her dearest friends. She smiled gently at all the fond recent memories that swirled now like blissful butterflies through sun-dappled, day-dreamy meadows. How she loved more than anything to spend time with her two friends – the pretty girl with the dancing eyes and ruby lips, and the magical white haired boy in the long blue coat – hearing the funny stories they made up and seeing the wonderful smiles that beamed like sunshine from their sweet, lovely faces. Their smiles and their words were always so generously given and they worked like medicine to make her sometimes tired heart happy again.

Blinking herself back from memory into the present moment, she sighed to realise she had not seen her friends for some time, then in the next moment she realised that this was not entirely true. She had seen them briefly several times, crossing paths with them for a few brief moments here and there, but the exchanges had been more like fireflies than candles – so brief and so fleeting! It seemed as though they had snorkelled quickly over the surface of things, but never somehow found the time to dive deeply, to explore, to talk and think out loud on any deeper level. ‘They probably think I don’t care anymore,’ the child whispered to herself, ‘I truly hope they know they are wrong.’

For in truth, the little girl had longed with all her heart to laugh and run and play again, to be nothing more than the playful Child without a care in the world. But life had crowded in on her, and lately, the bright bread of time had seemed to turn into dark, meagre crumbs. It took all her effort each day to gather even just a few of those crumbs together, to send them to her friends, all dressed up like dreamy, creamy little cupcakes, all pretty and sparkly and sweet with pink frosting piled into happy swirls, higher than the cake itself. Her dear friends inspired her to reach lofty heights, to climb every tree to the highest branch, and to peer out through the thick blanket of leaves and send a twinkling giggle up into the dark night sky to join the glittering stars. ‘And yet,’ she thought, now back upon her favourite pink chair by the window, ‘I would not trade the two of them for all the stars in the galaxy.’

Yet here she was, and the two apples of her eye were nowhere in sight. She knew they would be off playing, running through a field somewhere or climbing into the Tree together. Perhaps they would pass all the pleated paper butterflies she had hung from sparkly string on her favourite branch. They would brush their hands across the strings, sending the butterflies into a wistful illusion of flight. ‘She hasn’t been here for so long,’ the girl in the pretty red dress would sigh. ‘Do you think she’s gone forever?’ The white haired boy would shake his head uncertainly, then with confidence that grew like the tree’s greenest leaves, small and supple, with all the secret life of the bigger leaves inside. ‘No,’ he would reply, ‘She is small but we know that she is strong, and she is the most loyal, true and abiding friend that we could ever have. I do not know where she been hiding lately, but she can’t be far.’ Then something would catch his eye, which would make him catch his breath and exclaim, ‘Look!’

As if on cue, the children watched in awe as a pale white paper butterfly appeared inside the tree’s thick canopy of leaves, fluttering now above the branch where so many other bright paper butterflies danced on the slight bright breeze. ‘That must be the magical breeze our friend spoke of so often,’ the girl in red whispered in wonder. ‘I’ve seen so many of her paper butterflies dangling here, but never any so frail and pale! Where is its colour?’ she lamented, a gentle tear forming in her eye. The boy beside her put his hand out flat, and sensing the invitation, the white butterfly lifted itself -with some difficulty it seemed – to drop limply onto his outstretched palm. Somehow, it did not seem entirely well, and although they could not let the thoughts that filled their minds take form upon their lips, the girl reached out to clasp the boy’s other hand, and both wondered how long such a fragile creature might be destined to remain upon this earth.

‘I think this butterfly is dying,’ the girl in red started to sob softly, the compassionate heart within her starting to break at the sight of the fragile creature with wings that seemed to lose strength with each passing moment. ‘We are all dying,’ the white-haired boy replied, ‘It is part of being alive. But no, this little one shall not die, at least not yet.’  The girl in red brushed away the last tear that had fallen onto her cheek, for she knew that this boy that she loved with all her heart always carried a special kind of magic hidden in the deep pockets of his long blue coat. The white paper butterfly had now faded almost to grey, and all the strength it had used to land upon his open palm seemed now to have sapped from its tiny body as it lay, lifeless, in his hand. Without disturbing it, he motioned the girl he loved with all his soul to reach inside his pocket, and she was both very surprised and not surprised at all to pull out a long paintbrush from the boy’s magical coat.

‘I think I understand,’ she told him softly, ‘But then again, I don’t. Maybe you can paint it back to life, but where will you find any paint?’ The white-haired boy looked so deep into her eyes, she thought he had fallen into her soul. ‘My darling one,’ he replied, ‘That is where this little butterfly will need your help more than mine. You have the most beautiful heart in all the world, and your tears are more precious than every gemstone that has ever been found, for the love in your heart is the greatest treasure known to man or beast.’ His gentle words, so full of adoration, moved her heart deeply – how loved she was by him, and how much compassion seemed to pour out of him towards the lifeless, winged creature upon his palm. A single, clear tear, purer than any diamond, rolled from the corner of her eye, collecting the rosy hue of her cheek as it moved towards the paintbrush the boy now held in his hand.

Gently, the boy dabbed the soft pink watercolour onto the ashen butterfly. Astonished that her tear had added such a delicate tint to the lifeless creature’s wings, a second tear escaped the girl’s beautiful blue-green eyes, and caught once more upon the paint brush in the boy’s hand, a sparkling sapphire was layered over the wash of pink, and the palette began to build upon the butterfly’s form. A wave of hope flushed the girl’s cheek red, and now the brush caught a ruby tear as the boy finished painting the mosaic of rainbow colour – pink, blue then red – onto the butterfly’s wings. Still it did not seem to stir, but the illusion of life was breathtaking. ‘You’ve made it look alive,’ the girl spoke, her voice a mix of admiration for her beloved boy and infinite sadness for the butterfly that could not be revived, even by all the watercolour tears in all the world.

The white-haired boy looked deeply into the watery pools of blue-green eyes, now overflowing onto his beloved’s cheeks in coloured drops too numerous to catch. The soul within him stirred to find the words that would help her to understand that life would always be very short but very beautiful. He deeply wished he could have painted the butterfly back to life, so instead, he tried to paint his love with words:

My dearest love in all the earth
How precious are your tears.
Compassion runs so deep in you,
Despite all of your fears.

The colours flow like priceless jewels from
Deep inside your precious heart.
Though life is sweet, it is so short,
An end to every start.

And as she crumpled into his arms, high up in the tree, neither noticed that their painted paper butterfly had disappeared – dissolved? – never to be seen again. ‘If only our little friend in pink had been here,’ they spoke between sobs and sighs, ‘Surely she would have known how to bring that poor little butterfly back to life.’  But they had not seen her for such a long time – now only the pleated paper butterflies that she had folded with care and hung from her favourite branch with glittery string danced to remind them that she had ever been in this tree at all.

Far away, but not entirely too far, their much-loved but little seen friend with pink bows in her hair sat by the window in quiet contemplation, resting against the shiny satin cushion on her favourite chair.  That instant, the subtle sun of morning had given way to bright bursts of light, streaming through the window glass. Slowly she stood, and desperate to feel more of the sunshine, more directly on her face, she opened the window wide to let the bright beams kiss her skin. She closed her eyes and inclined her face towards the sun, letting it soak into her skin, lifting her spirits far above the room in which she had been resting. The sun flickered as though through water, dancing and smiling so that she smiled too and all her woes seemed to utterly dissolve. She breathed the warm air deeply into her lungs, renewed and revived by the life-giving elements.

Looking deeply inside her heart, she could not help but bubble with joy, knowing that each moment of life was indeed a tremendous gift to be celebrated. Yes, she may be alone right now, but she would not allow herself to feel lonely. The memory of her two dearest friends, probably this moment climbing and laughing together high inside the thick canopy of leaves of their favourite tree, caused her face to give way to a delighted smile. One day they would all find a way – somehow – to play together once more. Their presence would warm her heart again, just as the rich, golden sun now warmed her face and arms. Taking one last, deep breath, she opened her eyes again and pulled the window shut. She would sit again, just for a few moments, before finding the strength to make her way from her room to all that life demanded of her. She counted her blessings as she often did, finding that each day they were more numerous than before. ‘My friends. The sun. My room. This chair.’

And as her eyes fell upon her favourite chair, one more unexpectedly bright blessing presented itself to be added to the list. A magnificent butterfly with wings so vibrant they looked newly painted, rested quietly upon the soft satin cushion. And though she had often thought that butterflies were fragile, destined to adorn the world with their beauty for only the briefest of times, this one seemed so strong, so full of radiant light and life. She opened the window one more time, then cupping the beautiful creature gently in her hands, she guided it out to where the sunlight intensified the glittering hues of pink, red and blue on its wings as it flew – as she knew it must – disappearing in the distance like a bird towards the magic forest. ‘I must follow it there’, she knew with certainty, climbing now as children do through the open window, running with all her might down the well-worn, much-loved, never forgotten path towards The Friendship Tree. There – she hoped – she might find the magic butterfly and her beloved friends once more.

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As age it wearies me and my mind wonders fair,

I look to find the last piece of me that the puzzle completes.

As I wander along on the path that is laid,

I look at the wonders which form before me,

Reaching here or there yet never to take hold.

 

Children play where once I had stood,

Singing words full of wonder of dreams I once held.

I stop in my tracks now surrounded by the memories,

Always looking back at what had been,

Wishing it could be once more.

 

Nothing lies before me now except the dark night,

Is this a blank canvas for me to paint or is it the end.

Like a paper boat that travels a stream,

Words written sailing out to sea for one last time under starry skies,

Blow strong winds to carry me to my destiny.

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