Sigh.

    In the stolen night, she danced with the fireflies, dressed in dry moss from the ancient tree. She danced to the music of the toads and the wind.She danced under the light of the moon and the old stars. She danced in circles, until she was too dizzy and fell to the soft damp earth that was her momentary stage. She breathed deep, the smell of the forest so strong. She turned to the old man of the wood.
    “Was that a good dance?” she asked.
    The wind blew through the leaves of the giant tree, its massive trunk creaking and moaning an answer only she could hear.
    “Why thank you old man,” she smiled, her voice floating on the same breeze.
    To look at her she was dirty. This waif of a girl covered in the dirt of the woods. Her face dark, arms even darker, matched only by the filth over her legs. This was a creature who left bathing to those that cared. To look upon her was almost sad, until she looked back and you saw her eyes. These were the eyes of wonder, of faith and survival. They were eyes that looked into your heart, grabbed hold, and squeezed until you could not breathe. She was innocence and beguile, magic and truth. She was more than she appeared, at least that’s what the old man thought.
    The tree was older than the forest. In truth he was the father of the forest. His seeds floating down sun to moon and moon to sun, for a million days. Each tree a son or grandson, or great, great, great…well you understand. He was proud of his dominion, proud of his sons and happily spent the hours being pleased of himself. He never thought of a daughter, never wanted for such a thing, until she came to his roots.
    She was small for a tree, he remembered thinking, and moved around too much for one of his kin. She had found a break in the ground between his roots and had fallen asleep to escape the cold. He took pity on the tiny thing and cradled her, warmed her and sung with the wind and leaf. He took her in and as the rain came he did something he had not done in a thousand years. He moved, he willed his roots to close in and shield the sapling from the wet and cold. With that she became his and he became hers and the days were much more exciting than they were before.
    The old man knew she was not truly his. He knew the kin of this sapling. His roots were old and went for miles under the soft blanket of the earth mother. He was aware of the trees that moved. He had seen their cities, heard the screams of his children that built those cities. He had witnessed entire generations killed by the walking trees and their tools. He was sad over the loss of so many, but with this small one he would try to understand them.
    “Old man!” she snapped him out of his trance.
    “Old man! Are you in your past again?” she winked and kicked out her heel. “Don’t make me dance again, cause I will!”
    If a tree could smile, then the old man would have a smile 15 feet wide. The wind rustled leaves and his bark cracked and crinkled.
    “Well, I love you too old man,” she whispered to the leaves.
    Years past, as years do, and the sapling became a woman and the woman became old, but never as old as the old man. her hair got whiter, her dancing got slower and her voice became quieter…
    “OLD MAN!!”
    …almost.
    The wind replied, “yyyeeesssss?”
    “I am old, I can’t dance. I can hear you, but can’t see. I have lived with you for a lifetime and learned so much. I remember my cradle, deep in your roots and I thank you for your kindness, your care and your love.”
    Her eyes, though cloudy, still burned with such life, as she fell to the earth with a sigh as her last breath.
    The old man saw her fall
    If trees could cry, he did.
    The ground seemed to tremble, as the earth seemed to move. His roots came to hold her, bring her back to her home. He cradled her gently, as she was a babe. His roots closed around her as the wind hit his leaves.
    Those who could hear it would have spun a tall tale…about the song in the wind that seemed too sad to be real. The forest went quiet as the old man sung. One more of his saplings, but this was no son.
    If trees could love…
    A tree did love.
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The Girl and a Horse Called Moon.

There once was a land that seemed to be made of gold. The meadows, the houses, the streets, shined as if polished everyday with sunlight. The people smiled and worked each day. When they came home they laughed until the last rays dipped down below the hills. When the dark came all the people slept and dreamed of the day to come. This was all that was needed; all were satisfied with their lives, except one small girl.

She wasn’t a bad girl, or a girl who didn’t work as hard as the rest. She was a girl who dreamed of something more than the gold of the day, more than the laughter before bed. She felt as if there was more to see, more to feel, more to be.

On this night she lay awake until all were sound asleep and dreaming their own dreams. She crept out of her warm bed and slipped into her slippers. She left her house silently, into the cool night.

The moon was the first to greet the little girl. Its smile shined down from the sky. The stars seemed to wink hello to her and the breeze whispered her name. She felt alive in the night air. Alone with the world she had never seen before. It was as if the night had waited just for her and she finally heard it.

She wandered up the main street, her slippers muffling her steps, her nightgown clinging to her as the wind touched her lightly. All the houses were dark; all the people were dreaming unaware of this little girl. She walked off the path, running through one of the many golden meadows.

The long grasses caressed her as she went. It was as if each blade wanted to hug her close, but she was too fast to hug them back. The girl headed for the hill that she often climbed in the day. It was a gentle slope that went on and on, until it seemed to touch those winking stars.

The moon grew as she climbed. The further she went the larger it became. She was in awe of it, she marveled at its beauty. By the time she crested the hill, she was sure she was in love with it. At the top of the large hill she fell onto her back and stared up at the moon she loved. She held out her hands willing it to come down to her. She wished so very hard. She just wanted to touch it and feel it’s warmth on her palm.

“Oh Moon, why don’t you come sit beside me?” She asked in her little voice.

The moon was silent, just smiling down upon the girl. She frowned at its silence.

“Oh Moon, please come down and sit with me.” She called once again.

Still the moon just smiled.

“Oh Moon, I wish you loved me as I love you,” she whispered.

The moon seemed to shimmer at her words, and then seemed to melt from the sky. It poured down like a stream of pure light, almost blinding the girl. The light landed just in front of her and as it dropped its last bit of light she saw before her a stallion of brilliant white. Its mane twinkling like the stars, it stood tall and strong in front of her.

“My lady, don’t doubt my love for you. I am just the moon and cannot sit with any mortal being, but tonight I come to you so we may spend this evening together and this memory shall stay with us forever.”

The girl grabbed the mane of her moon and swung herself astride the its back and became the woman she would be. She felt the strength of her moon as they galloped into the night sky. The wind rushed and the stars bowed. She and her love, making the sky their own. The night seemed to go on forever, but forever has its own boundaries and soon they returned to the hill.

“Our time is at an end,” the moon said to the girl.

“But I don’t want it to end,” the girl said as she slid from the moon’s back.

The beast smiled down at the girl and lowered its head into her hands. She felt the warm breath upon her palm, it was like feeling heaven.

“Some day I will come for you, remember my touch.” and with that the stallion melted back into the sky and the moon returned to its night.

The girl was left alone and cold. She turned her back and made her way back to the town and her life that seemed less. The years passed and memory fades as it usually does. The girl did become a woman, a wife, and a mother, then finally a grandmother. She stayed in at night and dreamed her dreams of the day to come, her moon slipping from her.

One night she awoke from her dream and wandered to the rooms of her grandchildren. Upon arriving at her granddaughter’s room she found the bed empty. She searched the house but was not able to find the little girl. All she found was the main door open to the night. She slipped on her slippers and stepped out into the dark.

She felt the breeze call her name, she saw the stars winking down at her. She could not run, but she never stopped moving up that familiar hill. When she finally made it to the top, she saw a grand horse, as bright as the moon which was strangely absent. Sitting on its back was her granddaughter.

For some reason she could not remember, tears flowed down her cheeks. She wished she could be the girl on that horse and that she could ride through the night. She moved closer to the pair and they both looked down on her.

“Grandma, you came!”

“Well of course I came; I wouldn’t have my girl out in the cold.” She said to the girl.

“You were right, you were right,” the girl seemed to say to the stallion.

“Right about what child?” the old woman asked.

The white horse turned to her and let out a long breath. It danced on the night air searching for the hand of the woman. As it touched her palm warmth filled her hand.

“Remember,” the stallion whispered.

The old woman felt her chest heave and fell to her knees in tears.

“Oh my moon, My moon…you, you…”

“Oh my lady, I once told you we would meet again, and here I am. Your sweet child has brought you to me and at last we can ride on from this place together.”

The woman moved to touch the beautiful face of her moon. Her wrinkled hand smoothing the fur of its cheek, “But moon, I am old, and no longer that girl you loved.”

“My lady, the moon does not know time and is older than you will ever be.”

The granddaughter slipped off the stead. She moved to her grandma and hugged her tight. “Go grandma, the moon told me all about your night so long ago. You need to ride one more time.”

The shaky woman grasped the mane and tried to swing onto the beasts back, but strength had left her. The beast dropped to his knees and the grandchild of the little girl helped her onto the back off the moon. Soon the woman she was sat high upon the back of her love. She felt the wind pick up and the power of the stallion beneath her.

“I love you child,” she said to her granddaughter.

“I love you too,” the granddaughter replied.

The moon ran off and into the sky. Once again time stood still. The wind rushed and the stars bowed. This time forever seemed to last a bit longer as they both rode into the sky. For the moon was not letting his love go, and the girl wasn’t letting go.

Dreaming of When.

Once upon a time there lived a boy who dreamed of something. In his world the sky was more than blue, it was an ocean that swirled beyond the clouds. He marvelled at its size and beauty. The boy spent his days staring at his ocean, wishing that he could dive into its depths and swim in its beauty.

The boy became a man, as most boys do. The man tried not to forget the boy and still spent hours staring into his dream. The man still wished to swim, but it was tempered by the facts of age. The knowledge of limitations and the need to live a life without dreams. He worked hard to build a life of expectations and wealth, soon forgetting his hopes, his wishes. Days dragged on to years and life moved along.

He was not unhappy but yearned deep in his heart for something more. He married and had children. He marvelled at the innocence of youth. He had forgotten what dreams were, he had left the boy in memory.

Time moved without pity. It aged the man and his family. His children became adults and they had children of their own. He felt his bones creak and hair grey. His hands wrinkled and spotted. He spent more time looking into the sky, remembering their was something special, but never remembering what that special thing was.

One day the youngest of his grandchildren was visiting with his mother. The old man watched the child as he ran around the yard. The sun shined down such glorious warmth and the boy relished the bright day with smiles and laughter. The boy made time for his grandfather. Talking at speeds that made the old man dizzy, but also made him smile. On this day the boy was full of questions as he sat on grandpa’s knee.

“Whatchya do when you was young Poppy?” he buzzed.

“I was a lot like you…full of bees!” Poppy joked at the young boy.

“I’m not full of bees!” the boy frowned.

“Could of fooled me…buzzing around my yard.”

They laughed together as the old man tickled his little grandson. The boy tickled back.

“I wish we could go swimming, wanna go down to the lake Poppy?”

The old man was looking at the sky when he heard the boy say swimming. His memory jumped out from hiding and the blue of his ocean returned. He marvelled with eyes wide and teary at his ocean, amazed he had forgotten how much he dreamed of swimming.

“When I was your age I dreamed of swimming. I dreamed of diving into the ocean up there.” He pointed to the sky, “I wanted to swim above the clouds, across the world in that deep blue swirl. That was my secret dream…silly dreams of a boy that is now an old man.”

The boy stared into his tearful Poppy’s eyes. His smile wide and full. He put his hands on his grandfather’s cheeks and turned the face to look at him.

“Poppy, that’s not silly.”

The old man returned the smile. He wrapped his arms around the boy and hugged him tight. He felt his tears on his cheeks at the joy of sharing his only dream. All of a sudden, he felt himself getting lighter. Felt his body float off his chair. He held on to his grandson, not wanting him to fall.

He heard his grandson whisper in his ear, “I dream it too.”

And they went for that swim.

When She Paints…

 

Once upon a time…because nice stories always start that way…there lived a girl who loved to paint.She felt alive with brush in hand and canvas bare and ready. With her hand she would stroke the canvass, waiting for it to speak to her as only it could. “Tell me what you are” she would whisper and wait for whisper to come back. Only she could hear it’s tale and only she could paint it. When she painted it was like magic.

Before her was her paint. Colours so vibrant and bright, they would shine on the canvas like multicoloured stars in a twinkling sky. She dipped her brush in the deep red, feeling the whisper, as much as hearing it. A long stroke across the white and the story had begun. Her hands danced with her arms in a waltz as beautiful the girl herself. She sang as she covered the canvas, a song as sweet as honey straight from the comb.

Greens married blues which married reds…the story becoming more than told, it became real in her hands. If one could see love it would be those reds. If one could touch sky, it would be those blues. If one could feel envy, one would feel it for that green, being so close to the other colours.

The story became one of oceans, green blue, a colour that seemed to move like a real ocean created by the girl. The sky was a blue that seemed to go on forever and in looking one would think they saw birds flying within it. There, on the ocean, she placed a red boat, and if you looked from the corner of your eye, that boat bobbed on those waves of paint.

With a delicate hand she used the finest of her brushes and on that boat she painted a small man in a yellow raincoat. She looked at her creation, smiling at the scene. She looked so deep into it that she almost willed it real. She could hear the birds, smell the tides, hear the creak of that boat. With brush in hand she dabbed it in grey and on the horizon painted dark clouds. They seem to coil and churn like an evil creature covering such a beautiful scene.

“Turn around,” she whispered to the boat and the man.

“A storm is coming,” she said to the paint.

Tears filled her eyes, asshe watched the grey approach. She shook her head and screamed at the canvas with all of her heart.

“Turn around Daddy…turn around!”

As in anything in life, we wish for things to change. The girl wished her Daddy hadn’t gone to sea. She wished he had not stayed out to weather the storm. She wished that someone, anyone had told him to turn around, for then he would not be gone.

She held on to the edge of the painting. She tightened her grip. She closed her eyes and imagined the sounds and smells. She did this and she wished again. This time she wished the only wish she could…as she picked up her finest brush and painted one more thing.

…and if we look again at the canvas, we would swear that we knew the other figure on that boat. We would swear that the boat was now moving back to that painted shore, even though it is impossible. We would wonder where the painter had gone, but in our minds we know. When she painted it was like magic…