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Posts Tagged ‘growth’

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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Friendship is an ephemeral blessing
Swimming through intersecting streams,
Dissolving in sweet memory
Of all that’s been, all that was dreamed.

Friendships change as the delicate fabric
Unravels slowly across the years.
Edges fray and patterns fade
With gently echoing smiles and tears.

Yet bonds like ours transcend the ordinary,
Floating like boats and kites and clouds,
Singing like stars above the earth
In the shape of a radiant, glittering crown.

You inspire profoundly and do not mock me,
You always walk the extra mile.
You see me now and who I can be
With gracious patience in your smile.

You know my faults but see my heart and
Words, though magic, may fall short,
For some friends may speak under water
With little more than rippled thought.

So Friend, please know that I’m your Friend
And smile each time you think of me.
These words of friendship now I sow
That we might climb the Friendship Tree.

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One warm summer’s day, a brightly spotted lady bug and a butterfly with iridescent pink wings like oily paper rainbows flew as far as their delicate wings would carry them, deep into the secret heart of the Magic Forest. Their friend, the blue dragonfly whose outstretched wings could sometimes eclipse the moon’s magic glow, could not accompany them on this adventure – for this was theirs and theirs alone. They fluttered down the narrow rainforest path and alighted upon a tall wooden signpost shaped into an arrow declaring the direction of ‘The Swing’. “Follow me,” the butterfly seemed to say, her pink wings spreading to follow the dusty trail to a large bare circle of earth beneath the thickest limb of an enormous oak tree. 

Suspended from the solid branch by the strongest metal chains, and surrounded by the tall trunks of many lesser trees, swung a heavy wooden swing.  The lady bug followed the butterfly to rest briefly upon the swing, their soft landing barely making the old swing sway or creak at all. They sat for a brief moment in the dappled light that soaked its way through the rich leafy treetops. It was much cooler in this clearing than in the warm world they had left outside the circle on the other side of the path. Then the butterfly beckoned the lady bug to follow her to a nearby tree stump. They landed closely side by side, as though anticipating the arrival of some unknown visitor or visitors to the clearing.

Soon, two children ambled slowly down the path towards the swing. A small girl in pink overalls with bows in her hair led the way; her little friend in a pretty red frock followed a few steps behind. The girl in pink beckoned her companion to remove her sandals and to climb up onto the wooden swing, and soon the girl in the red dress was gliding gently through the air on the swing, tentatively at first, then with increasing gusto. While she swung, her friend searched for a long, sturdy stick, and when she had found it, she began to mark a large circle in the dirt around the perimeter of the clearing. After she had drawn the large circle once around her swinging friend, she traced over it in the dust again, as if to truly reinforce it, then lay the long stick on the ground, blocking the path’s exit.  Picking up her friend’s sandals, she placed them gently but firmly on the other side of the stick, beyond the circle she had drawn. All the while the girl in red swung higher and higher into the cool, dappled light.

“I have brought you here for a reason,” the girl in overalls explained, now sitting upon a pile of leaves atop a nearby tree stump. She noticed a pink butterfly and a lady bug with sparkling spots resting beside her, and she imagined that they were listening intently to the words she spoke to her friend on the swing. “For some months, you have swung back and forwards between joy and sadness, between fear and certainty, between love and mistrust.” The girl in the red dress clasped her hands a little tighter around the strong chains from which the old wooden swing continued to rock steadily back and forwards, back and forwards. “Now with the energy you use to swing yourself higher and higher, try to push sadness, fear and mistrust from the inner core of your soul, sending it out through your pointed toes and into this old tree stump, releasing it from yourself and into the stump forevermore.”

The barefooted girl on the swing sighed deeply. How she wished to release her fears, her sadness and her misgivings forever. But the feelings always seemed to be locked so deep inside her, ready to swing backwards again after each brief moment they managed to swing forwards. Each time she would declare herself free – soaring, gliding! – only to find herself swinging backwards yet again with her very next breath. Swinging slowly now allowed her to look deeply into her heart. “Yes,” she decided. “Now is the moment I have waited for for many months. Now is the moment that I shall be truly free forever.” And with that thought, she leaned herself back fully on the swing, surrendering herself to the dappled sunlight that streamed through the tallest leaves and branches and onto her rosy cheeks. Every trace of the fear and sadness she had brought with her into the circle dissolved. And at that moment she knew that she would never be the same again.

Her friend in pink sat silently in awe of the transformation she witnessed before her. She watched as a small dark cloud centred over the other girl’s heart seemed to lift, travelling slowly, steadily upwards along the chains of the swing, past the tallest branches and back into the sky where clouds belong. But like a balloon that floats from the hands of a child into the sky, transforming slowly from a bright, beribboned ball into some vague distant speck, the cloud dissolved, disappearing – never to be seen again. Light and lightness washed over the girl in the red dress like a steady stream of speckled sun, her face aglow with complete serenity. Raising her body from where it now lay almost still across the wooden swing, her eyes met those of her friend in pink, resting like a butterfly on the nearby tree stump.

The ladybug and the butterfly watched in awe as the two girls now stood before the decaying stump, just above a large knot-hole. Solemn but smiling, the children gathered handfuls of leaves and twigs and stuffed them deep into the stump’s hole. “These are the fears you used to cling to,” intoned the girl in pink. “And these are the doubts that used to fill my heart,” her friend in red replied. Then they each gathered a handful of dust and sprinkled it over the knot-hole. “Now they are locked inside this stump forever,” they said together, “Never to be released.” A magical breeze blew threw the clearing, causing the swing to sway ever so slightly, as though taking on a life all its own. “See?” the girl in pink overalls smiled to her friend, “We have this butterfly and this lady bug as our witnesses.”  The deepest, strongest serenity had found its long-awaited place in her dear friend’s blue-green eyes that now radiated a new kind of confidence and joy. She moved slowly away from the stump which held her fears locked inside forever, each step taking her closer to the stick her friend had laid across the exit of the clearing. 

“I’m ready to leave this all behind me,” she beamed. And she stepped outside the circle her friend had drawn twice in the dust, over the stick that formed a barrier between the past and the future, and into her sandals which seemed to sparkle just a little in the dappled sunlight. “I don’t need to come back here again. I’m ready to move forward into a whole new adventure.” The lady bug and the butterfly sat quietly by as the two girls embraced, linked their arms, then made their way back down the windy dirt track and out into the bright new world that awaited the new fearlessness of their friendship.

As the girls disappeared from view, the butterfly and lady bug flew their way gently over to the old wooden swing as it swayed slowly in the magical breeze. For at the precise moment when the girl with the pretty red dress and the serene smile had put her sandals on, the old tree stump – with her fears locked tightly inside – had slowly begun to disappear from all existence.  And, as can only happen in the truest of fairy tales, in its place a magnificent red rose had begun to grow, small and fragile at first, then blossoming and blooming with all the strength of the sun itself. Its sweet, heady fragrance overwhelmed the clearing, filling the magic forest with more beauty than it had ever known before. It was a fragrance that would linger for all of time, drawing many other sad souls to the swing, helping them to find their eternal peace. 

Years later, a small boy in a long blue coat made his way down the long dirt path, guided by awe and wonder, then by the fragrance and the warm red glow of the magical rose. He had heard the legend of The Rose and The Swing many times during his eternal childhood, and he had earnestly longed to see them for himself. As he entered the clearing, he sat upon the old wooden swing where once (legend told) a pretty girl in a red dress and a butterfly and a lady bug had gently landed and a magical transformation had taken place. But before he climbed onto the swing, his eyes followed the shimmering wings of a sparkling blue dragonfly as it danced upon the magical breeze to land upon the petals of the legend’s red rose, still glowing after all these years in the fullness of beauty. Beside the rose was a small bronze plaque, and upon it were inscribed these words:

Here on this spot an old stump stood,
A remnant of decaying wood. 
Now in its place this sweet rose grows
So everyone who passes knows:
You can release the fears that bind –
So free your heart, release your mind.
The sadness that once filled your face
Is now eternally erased.
So sit and swing here for a while
Forever to become the child.
Please join your voice with mine to sing
The Legend of the Rose and Swing.

The young boy wiped the happiest tear he had ever cried from his sparking blue eyes. Yes, this truly was the most magical place, and the magic breeze caught his feet from under him and sent him rocking gently on the old wooden swing. He did not need to look skywards, for he already knew that the branch that held him was stronger than any branch of any other tree that had ever grown. He leaned himself back fully on the swing, surrendering himself to the dappled sunlight that streamed through the tallest leaves and branches of the most beautiful tree in all the world – the magical, eternal, legendary Friendship Tree.

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Consider the year that has just been,
Reflecting on all that you’ve seen.
What have you learned from all you’ve done?
Reflect on all you have become.

The hardest lessons sometimes are
The ones that left you with a scar.
They hurt you deep and caused you pain
You know you’ll never be the same.

Reflect on all that you now know,
What you may keep or must let go.
Remember what you’ve gained and lost,
Relive the joys, lament the cost.

Those things that beat you down are past –
You’ll rise again, so strong at last.
A new year brings new wings to rise
Above the old year’s sad demise.

And as this year draws to its close
Reflect on how it’s helped you grow.
Its lessons near ripped you apart
But in the end strengthened your heart.

Though you feel lost, you’ll find your way
To navigate the brand new day
And all the brand new days to come
For life’s next stage has just begun.

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