Posts Tagged ‘paper boat’

    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 lines that formed upon the ocean as the waves rolled in, with the white foam caps that move effortlessly forward, tell of the strength that lies hidden beneath the surface. A single soul paddles out, and then returns once more carried by the ripples as if carried by time itself. Today the sky was covered in clouds, heavy and foreboding, casting deep dark colors upon the ocean he loved, which, had he not known its true beauty, would have instilled a deep fear within himself.

The white haired boy reached, deep into the pockets of his long blue coat. His tiny hands fumbled as they searched frantically for the smallest remnants of magic that they once contained, yet all that now remained was emptiness. He looked out to sea once more, then as he prepared to launch the latest paper boat, he wondered how it may ever sail beyond those waves that are now like a barrier for all he had come to know. For the last days he had worked ever so hard to find the words that he needed, the gifts of life that he so longed to share, but now he risked watching them dashed upon the rocky shores before himself.

He bowed his head in contemplation and sadness, and then he looked to the sky and without uttering a word he spoke. Within his mind the questions spun like tiny ponies on a merry go round, almost so fast that the tiny candles each carried would be blown by the breeze, forever extinguishing all he had come to understand. He had to believe, there was no other choice, and without magic, belief was all he had. As he stood on the sandy shore, the waves gently lapped at his feet like the gentle flick of a puppies tongue upon his face. He waited for the right moment and he released the tightly folded paper shape with each fold playing a part in its being. It floated precariously at first, but then steadied and rocked back to him briefly, before being carried on the next outgoing current as if being pulled by an unseen hand.

He ran after it, at first in anticipation that it may topple and need his rescue otherwise it may sink, then as if encouraging it, willing it on, blowing gentle breezes from his lips followed by excited smiles. He had been so overcome by all that was happening that it was not until the last moment that he realized he was waste deep in the water, and as he stopped and watched the boat now safely sail, he stared into the crystal clear waters and smiled as two large winged creatures, like angels of the sea, swam past him as if guiding his gift of words and protecting them so they may complete their journey. He walked slowly backwards so as not to lose sight of the small white craft, then as it reached where the ripples broke upon the rocky surface hidden from view, he gave a little jump as though he was helping it climb over and beyond. Before long it had completed the most dangerous part of its journey and was just a speck upon the tiny ocean.

He turned his back now to the ocean, and as he did, the sun broke through the clouds with the warmth of its rays sending the tiniest shiver throughout his body. He turned for one last look at the now soft blue ocean, just in time to see a flash of white in the distance. He whispered some words of hope, then turned once more and walked slowly along the path that lay before him, with its tall sea grass swaying, dancing rhythmically to the soothing sounds of the ocean. Before long, those sounds had disappeared, only to be replaced by the sounds of the forest, with small birds readying their winter nests, in full glorious song, flitting here and there, twisting, turning as if dancing. It was autumn and the leaves had begun to turn, with their warm colors reminding him of his dearest friends. They littered the forest floor and crackled beneath his feet like the sound of crumpled paper, and then once more he thought about his boat and the fragility of the travel it now had taken. Around him the buzz of the dragonflies as they darted here and there with thier delicate wings glistening in the sunlight that filtered through the trees, and the gentle flutter of the ladybugs as they went from flower to flower with thier polished shells, was only broken by the vision of the beautifully colored butterflies as they drifted effortlessly on the wind, landing every now and then, to fan their wings like small hands clapping to the music of the forest.

In a short while he came upon a swing, suspended from the branch of a tall, wide tree. It was hanging from the branch by two ropes that were intertwined with a beautiful red climbing rose. Its wide timber plank with room for three was knotted worn as if telling the story of the life it once lived, like the wrinkles he had seen upon his own face when he was not a boy at all. He brushed his hand upon the surface feeling every line in the wood and as the leaves flipped and fluttered to the ground, he thought of his friendwhom he hoped to see soon, and her carefully folded butterflies which she would suspend from the branch above where she sat in the tree. He sat upon the swing and pushed himself to rock with his tiny feet, which he kicked before swaying his body so that he may climb higher and further with ever increasing gusto. He smiled widely as the wind blew through his long white hair, trailing like the flames of the candles he so protected as they flickered in the breeze. As he held tightly to the rope, he could feel the rose wrap around his fingers, holding him so he could not fall, and this made him think of the girl in the red dress that was looking after him with all she could, with all she knew how. Gradually the swing slowed to a stop, and he climbed down carefully contemplating all around him once more, ever so deep in thought. The Friendship Tree was his next stop and he now ran, arms flaying in excitement as if chasing the wind, kicking the leaves as he went sending them spinning and spiraling through the air like large confetti in a hurricane as he followed the winding path.

He reached the Tree, and as always his ears were pricked waiting for the distinctive sounds of his two friends. He looked deep into its branches so green, and before he could spy them, a smile formed from the soft giggling that came from within. “I know you are in there,” he yelled, and with that the giggling became more distinct. Yes, it was the two friends, and just then the bright blue eyes of the girl with her hair tied in pink bows peered through a gap in the leaves. “Shhhh, we’re hunting wabbits,” she whispered. He laughed and then the voice of his friend with the shiny red shoes and gleaming smile called out. “So you gonna climb up here and tell us a story?” He smiled then replied. “Only if you both promise to keep quiet whilst I tell it, and if you also promise not to fall asleep at the important parts.” They both giggled, and together they responded, “yes, we will.”

He climbed the Tree, and he sat next to the Book of Dreams. He looked at his two friends sitting side by side before him, and smiled as the light from the mobiles, which spun overhead, danced merrily on their faces. His friend with the pink bows in her hair was not well, but he knew that he must be strong. He hoped with all hope that the paper boat he had sent out earlier in the day would return from its journey soon and that the words he had written will have been read and understood. “So what story you going to tell today?” she asked as she tucked the hem of her red dress under her legs. He thought for a moment, then remembering that he had no magic to share, he suggested that he would give them a poem, there and then. Wide smiles filled their faces and they hugged closely, intent not to miss a word, because every single one was spoken with the deepest of meaning.


In my short life so full of wonder,

Full of all the gifts with eyes we see,

The many things we take for granted,

In everyday of the lives we lead.


I could never be so thankful,

For the chance to know who you both are,

A friendship like a dream come true,

A wish once made upon a star.


Within this tree we sit and share,

The joys and trials that come to pass,

The strength of three will carry one,

Without the need to ever ask.


Like true friends are in all they do,

We’ll lift up one when she is down,

Hold her high so she may grow,

Bring a smile and vanquish frowns.


The only tear you’ll see my friends,

Is happiness that shines on through,

For sadness hides its weary head,

And plays no part in what we do.


One day when we all look back,

At all the things that came to be,

We’ll do it three friends side by side,

Forever in the Friendship Tree.


His friends smiled and clapped, and he turned his head away so they could not see as he wiped away the last tear of sadness that he would cry, making way for the happiness that filled all their hearts. He would wait for many weeks to come and he knew eventually his paper boat would return, and he knew that day would be a time of celebration. Until then he would remain strong for them both.

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Magic me with sparkling words like streamers falling from the sky
The stars above all find their shine in words spoken from you to I
Send your thoughts like notes upon a paperboat that floats downstream
Open hearts and minds entwine like children lost inside a dream.
Wash your magic over me in friendship like a waterfall
Feel the joy wash over you, restoring each cell of your soul.
The child in you was never lost or locked away from who you are –
 You are the magic white haired boy; you are Orion’s Brightest Star.

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There are days time flies like a four-winged bird over

Landscapes littered with matters absurd.

I yearn to find the time to trill a tune for friends who matter still,

To smile over their memory with kind thoughts like those thought of me,

To send a lovely, lilting note onboard a paper boat to say

‘I had a fleeting thought of you, but then it stayed. So can we play?’


If Time was ever my true friend, grown up things would somehow end

And I would find a thousand different ways to climb my favourite Tree today.

I would search between the leaves until your smiling face I’d see

Waiting patiently for me, to teach me once again to breathe –

Like divers deep beneath the sea, gliding so effortlessly,

Breathing air much purer than the purest air could ever be.

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