Posts Tagged ‘Dreams’
The bears, I firmly believe, have it right.
The only reasonable response to this cold
is to sleep until the strawberries ripen,
or are, at least, in flower.
Until shoots of fresh green appear, or brave crocuses
push through late March’s lingering snow,
eyelids ought to be closed and dreams
of sun-warmed lawns set free.
That night, Little Pine fell asleep with a hundred images from the past few days swirling through his mind. The arrival of the Spirits of Fun seemed almost too magical to be true. And yet he had laughed and played with them from morning until night for days.
They had romped throughout the woodland, carrying songs and laughter to its farthest reaches, greeting everyone they met along the way. The Festival of Light was always a special time of year, but with their presence it was more joyous than ever.
He wished they could stay forever. But he knew they would have to return to their own world at the Festival’s end. Even so, he was overjoyed that he had met them. And tomorrow, on Festival Day’s Eve, the Elf King would be coming! What would that be like?
His thoughts danced around for a while, and then Little Pine drifted into dreams.
Overhead, stars glistened softly in a velvety black sky, and, above him, Little Pine saw a beautiful white bird settle onto one of the branches of his mother tree. “Hello, Little Pine,” she sang.
“Hello, white bird!” he said. “Who are you?”
“I am The Wishing Bird,” she said. “I collect the wishes of the children of Earth. As the year draws to its close and the Festivals of Light are celebrated, many wishes arise from Earth’s beings. I gather them and translate them into the true wishes of the heart. Then I deliver the true wishes to Dream Central, which works to help wishes come true.”
“What do you mean by the true wishes of the heart?” Little Pine asked.
“Well, sometimes what you think you’re wishing for isn’t what you truly want. A sparrow might wish for bright, blue feathers, for example. But what she really wants is to feel beautiful. Or a squirrel might wish for a wolf’s howl when what his heart wants is to know that someone hears him when he speaks. Sometimes a dandelion will wish she could live in a fine garden and wear the petals of a rose. But what she really truly wants is to remember how important and valuable she is and to know that she brings joy to the world.”
“Oh!” Little Pine said. “It’s sort of like you find the wish inside the wish, right?”
“Very good, Little Pine,” she said. “You are a wise little tree.
“You know, as I was flying here, I heard you make a wish. Do you remember it?”
Little Pine thought for a moment and then said, “Yes, I wished that the Spirits of Fun could stay in our woodland forever. And I really, really do!”
Wishing Bird laughed a gentle little laugh and said, “Would you like to know what I hear your heart truly saying?”
“Sure!” said Little Pine. He didn’t think his heart could want anything different.
“Your heart wants for you always to have joyous companions and an enduring spirit of fun. And I can promise you, Little Pine, that your heart’s wish has already been granted. You see, once you have tasted fun, you can always choose to find it again. And your own sense of fun will bring out the joy in every one of your companions.
“As for the Spirits of Fun themselves, they are never any farther than a thought away. And that is true for everyone who ever meets them or even imagines that they exist.”
And with that, the Wishing Bird faded into the stars, and Little Pine slept happily through the night.
Even before he opened his eyes, Little Pine felt something special in the air. Something had changed. When he looked out at the world, at first he thought it had snowed. But no, it wasn’t snow. It was a beautiful, shimmering frost.
It almost looked too delicate to walk through, he thought. But then he remembered that today was the day that he was going to the elves’ house for breakfast and he shivered with excitement.
He stepped out into the sparkling air. And then he saw that indeed, his friend Too had gone. His empty form lay on ground beside his mother tree. The mother saw Little Pine peering at the brown leaf and said, “Look, Little Pine. He left you a message. Look by his stem.”
Little Pine bent over and saw the marking in the snow. As he fell, Too had managed a final dance and etched a heart in the snow. Little Pine felt his own heart glow with love. It was just like Too to leave a mark of friendship behind. “He said to tell you to always remember your dreams, Little Pine,” Too’s mother said. “I think that’s wise advice.”
Little Pine thanked her and set out through the glistening frost toward the elves’ house. The day was already warming, and by the time he got there, the frost would be gone. He was curious to see what they had to say about the Festival and why it was going to be so special this year.
He whistled as he walked, glad that the world was so beautiful and that he was lucky to have such good friends, even when they lived in an invisible part of the world.
Little Pine was still a bit gloomy the next morning as his mother served breakfast. Only one of the red oak leaves remained on the small tree that grew beside him, and Little Pine could see that he might not last another day.
The remaining leaf was the one that Little Pine had called “Red Leaf Too,” because his jolly disposition reminded him of his best friend from last year. He called him “Too” for short.
When Little Pine finished breakfast, he was surprised to find Too waiting for him. “Hi, Little Pine!” Too said brightly. “I think this is my last day here, and I wanted to invite you to go for a walk with me.”
The two friends were glad that humans didn’t come to the forest much this time of year. One of the primary rules, after all, was that you had to stand absolutely still whenever a human was about. With them gone, Little Pine and Too could ramble freely.
“I want you to meet my mother’s cousin,” Too told Little Pine. “She lives on the south side of the lake.” So off they went.
“What do you think it will be like to go Home, Too?” Little Pine asked his friend as they walked together.
“Oh! I remember Home very well, Little Pine. It’s filled with dancing light and music and more colors than the rainbow. When we return, all of the leaf-spirits will gather to sing and tell stories about the time they got to spend on Earth. The leaves-in-training can hardly believe how wonderful it must be to come here, and they study and practice even harder when they return to their schools after the great gathering.
“I’m excited because, after this season’s gathering, I’ll get to teach the new elementals some of the things they need to know before they can take on an Earth-form.”
He explained that all leaves, even the needles of the evergreens, trained for ages before they were ready for the Earth adventure. First they learned the things that all leaves have in common. Then they decided what species they wanted to be first and went through specialized training.
Little Pine wrinkled his brow. “I don’t remember Home at all. But it sure sounds interesting, and wonderful.”
“Oh, it is!” Too said, “More than you can imagine! You don’t remember it because pines get to stay on Earth a long time. And time covers up our memories. It’s meant to be that way so you can experience things here without distraction. I remember because I’ve been many different kinds of leaves and I’ve been here many, many times.”
“I’m going to miss you, Too,” Little Pine said.
“Oh, Little Pine, you know that my spirit will always be with you. Just like your first leaf-friend, Red Leaf, I will hear all the songs and laughter of your heart. And sometimes you’ll hear mine as well.
“Listen, I had a dream last night. I saw the preparations for the Festival of Light, and I can tell you that it’s going to be very special this year. You’re in for a wonderful adventure. And I expect to hear much laughter and song from you as I settle in at Home.”
Little Pine didn’t know whether to believe him or not. But it seemed like a fine story, and he decided that at least he could pretend that it was true. “Watch for signs,” Too tells him. “Listen for the music. And always pay attention to your dreams.”
Just then they reached the edge of the lake, and Too pointed to a scene through the pine branches. “Look!” he said. “There’s my mother’s cousin. See how tall and beautiful she is, with all her remaining red leaves? And look, there’s a great spruce beside her. They have been growing here together for many, many years. And the spruce has had red leaf friends ever since she was very small, like you.
“You will have red leaf friends all your days, too, Little Pine,” Too said, smiling. “Always remember that you are a child of the Great Yes, and a part of its song. And like all of its children, you are cherished and dearly, dearly loved, and all that you every truly need will be provided.”
The black rocks along the creek are awash with fallen leaves, and the creek, too. But that’s not enough. The creek drinks in the trees themselves, their blazing gold, the green at their feet, their charcoal trunks and filigree of branches floating on its surface looking up at the sky, which the creek also captures.
Before the ice comes, before the days turn gray, the water fills itself with the rippling colors. In winter, it will feed their gold and crimson songs to the fishes, painting their dreams. And we, walking these rocks when they’re covered in snow, will dream that we hear them, too.
In the dusk, the wildflowers sing, surrendering their colors to the cloud-heaped sky. The melody is ancient and flute-like, rising from the earth as it has for untold generations and carrying all their joy.
The song calls in the night, and the birds of the night and the insects sing it, too. And soon the sky carries all the colors away and everything fades but the music. And stars come, and shower their light down to the flowers, and to the birds, and to all the earth’s children, and it blesses them with sweet and shimmering dreams.
The first bank of storm clouds floated toward the eastern sky, leaving in their wake a field of sleepy flowers. In the west, the sun dipped behind a second, deepening heap of clouds, but not without saying goodbye.
To the flowers, it all seemed a dream now, the rain, the glow of the sinking sun, the cool air. They surrendered their colors for the night, lending them to the passing clouds.
As they drifted more fully into their dreams, a lullaby sang to them. It was a high, soft, sweet song and it enveloped all the creatures of the earth. Even those whose ears could not detect the sound felt its benevolence in their hearts. It sang the names of every one of them, wishing them peaceful hearts, and assuring them that they were deeply loved. And the flowers sighed with happiness and slept, wrapped in serenity and fragrant joy.
The white hot sun still blazes. But now the tide begins to rise, and with it a subtle change permeates the atmosphere. The worst of it is over. The heat is tempered, the humid air sliced by a wisp of breeze.
It’s only a matter of hours now until the night settles in. Then stars will spread themselves above this sea and all will be dreams, and the moon will write her path across the water. And the tide will fall, and rise again, and fall.
You can hardly tell that it’s broke through the soil in this light, can you? But you just wait. Give it a couple weeks, a few good rains, and you won’t even be able to see those trees from here. Once it’s got its toehold, there ain’t no stopping corn.
Still, the field’s kind of pretty, isn’t it, with all the cloud shadows sweeping across it like that? Them’s the kind of clouds I loved as a boy. You could lay out on the lawn and get lost in dreams for hours, just watching them float by.
Say, you want to go see if Ma’s got any fresh lemonade made?
Shyly the small tulip opens her petals. She is the first and knows not what to expect.
The air is cool and clear. From somewhere high above music falls from the throats of birds. It is unlike any she has ever known, alive and filled with gladness.
The light is soft and fills everything. Color is everywhere, and beyond what must be the arms of trees, an infinite sky sings a morning Gloria.
She had been told that it would be more beautiful than words could tell, than any mere flower could imagine. But this, this exceeded the farthest stretches of her highest dreams. And she opens her petals and dances with joy.