Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Girl Who Listened Differently (part 4)

So the little girl sat with the cactus and they watched the sun go down and the night come up. She had never seen so many stars; she had never seen the sky so big all around. They watched as the round shining moon came up on one side of the sky while the sun was going down all red and glowing on the other side.

The rocks and cactus and everything around turned deep colors but she could still see so many things in the desert from the light of the moon and the stars. The forest was always deep and dark in the night.
Night was very different in the desert. Night creatures crept out, some in silence, some making their small night-sounds. And the little girl loved the desert.

The cactus and the little girl sat and watched the night with its deep colors, its small creatures, its soft moonlight, until the little girl fell asleep happily next to her new friend.

In the morning cactus called out softly, “Wake up, wake up, the dawn is coming now.” The little girl woke up and they watched the sky grow red and the glowing sun slip up again into the sky.

“I know now why you love your desert” the little girl said to her cactus friend. It really is wonderfully lovely.”

“So now you will stay here with me,” said the cactus.

“No,” she replied, “ l really must go home to my forest. I love it there too.”

“No, little girl,” the cactus pleaded. “The forest is full of uncertainties. There is no truth there. Here the sun is bright and the moon is clear. What you see is true and certain. You can never be sure of what you see in the forest. The light flickers and moves, fades and grows.”

This was a new thought to her. The more she considered it the more she saw that it was true. But it did not make her happy that she could see clearly in the desert. Instead she was very sad because she loved her forest and did not want to think that she could not trust it.

The cactus could not understand why she was sad. But she was. She wanted to go home to her forest but she was now worried that there was no truth there. So she sat down and thought. She thought about the forest and then she knew where the truth was in it.

“Oh, Cactus!” she laughed, “you are wrong. There is truth in the forest. When I touch the trees that is true. And when I feel the damp moss that is true. And when I hold the furry creatures that is true. It is my own eyes I cannot trust. I love the forest because it is beautiful. But if I ever need to know the truth in it I have only to get very close and touch and I can know the truth.” And she ran back to the forest.

“No. No.” cried the cactus, “You will be deceived.”

“Don’t worry,” she called back, “I’ll be back because I also love your desert.” But she ran on to the forest because she knew she was right.

This is almost the end of the story, but not quite yet. Because the very next day she met a toad. He was from the swamp. The cedar was very distressed. The cactus was distraught. But the little girl only laughed. And you know where she went next.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Girl Who Listened Differently (part 3)

And so she decided to go into the desert again. She knew that she could always find her forest by following her own steps backward. This time she prepared herself before leaving the forest. She drank deeply before leaving because there would be no water in the desert. And she made a nice hat from a lovely flower vine to keep the sun out of her eyes. She was quite sure everything would go very well now. She was very pleased with her exciting new adventure

This is what she found in the desert. There were red rocks and white and black and orange and yellow and.... but only a geologist would want to know all that. The little girl just thought they were pretty. There were also many living things in the desert. This would have surprised the fox and the cedar. But it didn’t surprise the little girl. She had sort of thought they would be there. There were turtles and snakes and iguanas. There were rabbits and kangaroo rats and armadillos. There were so many wonderfully fun creatures she lost count. And there were birds, tiny birds, large birds, bright birds and plain birds. She was very happy to see the birds in the desert too.

Strange plants were everywhere as well. Some of them had bright flowers and some didn’t. But they were all very nice, and very alive, not at all dead like she had been told. She was very pleased with herself for finding out that the desert was beautiful and full of living things just like her forest.

There was one very tall prickly spiny one she could not tell about however.

“Hello, who are you?” she asked.

“I am a cactus. And who are you?”

“I am a little girl.”

“Oh, I see.”

“I live in the forest and I must be getting back because I am thirsty and there is no water here.”

“You are wrong about the water, little girl,” said the cactus. “I drink it in from under the rocks and sand and store it here in my heart.”

That is nice but, you see, I can’t do that. So I must go find some water to drink or I will soon die.”

“Then I will let you drink from my heart,” said the cactus. “Just break me off and you will find something to drink.”

So she drank from the cactus’ heart and stayed awhile with the cactus. She could sit in his shade and watch small insects and other creatures skittering or crawling through the rocks and sand.

But then she decided she really must be getting back to her forest.

“I have to go home while it is light” she told the cactus. “I have to see my footprints to return”

“Oh but the sunsets are so wonderful here in the desert,” the cactus said. “And the night sky is spectacular. You must stay through the night. You can return in the morning when the light returns.”

It sounded like a good idea and the little girl really did want to see the sunset and the night sky. So she agreed to stay.

To be continued

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Girl Who Listened Differently (part 2)

“I am going to see the desert.’’ she told the tallest cedar. “Can you see it from there? Where is it?”

“Yes it is over there,” he tossed his branches to the west. “But you do not want to go there, my Dear. It is all dead and brown. There is only sand and rocks and the hot sun beating down. You would be very unhappy and would doubtless die there. Stay here. Do not go to the desert."

But she was a happy child and laughed, “Oh, dear Cedar, it can’t be as bad as that. Perhaps it will be a little hot, but I would not die.” So she ran off to ask the oldest fox.

“Is the desert really only sand and rocks and the hot sun beating, down?” she asked.

“Yes, ” he said becoming very concerned. “You can lose yourself before you even know it. There is no water, no rain, no brooks. You would die of thirst. I have been there, little girl, I know.”

She worried a bit about what the fox said but soon cast it aside and set out for the desert in the west. Laughing, she marched willy-nilly out into it and looked around. There surely were rocks and sand and a very hot sun. But the sand felt warm between her toes. It was a lovely day.

Very soon, however, her head began to hurt from the brightness of the sun all around. The sand began to burn her feet and there truly was no water at all. She turned back to go home to her forest but it was nowhere in sight.

“Oh, I am lost,” she cried. She was very afraid now that perhaps the fox and the cedar had been right. But she was determined not to die in this miserable desert. So she sat down and thought. She did not want to move for fear she would lose herself more. So she just sat and thought.

And she thought of the most simple answer. Where she had to go was where she had come from. She had come step by step and if she followed her own steps backwards she would certainly arrive at where she wanted to be. She was so happy she jumped up and carefully followed her footprints till she was back in her own forest.

Now you may think the little girl never went out in the desert again. But you are very wrong. In fact that same day she sat at the edge of the forest and looked out at the desert all day. She sat and watched it all the next day and the next as well. Her eyes began to grow accustomed to the glaring sun. The brown was not just brown, she saw, but red and orange and yellow and many, many colors. It was actually a very beautiful desert.

The cedar was sleeping and the fox was somewhere else and the little girl had a very good idea about what she wanted to do.

To be continued