It was an enchanting day and the child woke up feeling quite energized. The nights chill still hung around in the trees and bushes. The child stretched to the sky and sighed. What new things will I encounter today, the child thought.
She picked a few flowers and a ripe apple from her favorite tree, and set off on her walk through the woods. She had made a special request to sit with the wise old owl. She had so many questions, but one, in particular, was of dire importance. She bit into the crisp, tart apple and added a bit of a hurry to her stride.
The sun had peeked above the mountains and the clouds hung tight to the tops. The mountains were ablaze with a patchwork of colors. Bright yellows, crimson reds, intense oranges, all scattered throughout the green of the forever trees. Forever trees never loose their color or shed their coat of leaves. The birds and insects began to buzz about with the warming of the day.
The child passed the otter’s den and saw she was busily collecting moss and twigs to insulate her home for the winter. She waved and they exchanged a smile, then set off towards the wise old owl’s treehouse.
The day wore on, the sun climbed high in the sky, creating shafts of brilliant light that filtered through the canopy of trees. The child was beginning to tire when suddenly a black and white burro appeared.
“You look like you’ve been walking forever”, noted the burro.
“Yes, since the sun came up”, answered the child.
“Where might those little legs be taking you” asked the burro?
“I have an audience with the wise old owl. I have many questions I want to ask him. He is the oldest and wisest of all the forest creatures”, the child told the burro with delight in her eyes as she spoke.
“I don’t have anything too pressing to do today. Would you like a ride to his treehouse”, offered the burro?
“That would be so kind of you”, and the child slipped onto the burro’s back and off they went.
The child began to tell the burro all the wonderful things she’s learned from her animal friends. She told him of her sorrows and delights and all the things she’s discovered since she came to live at the edge of the forest. How she was special and deeply loved. The burro plodded along slow and quiet, listening with great interest.
After some time, walking quietly, the forest opened up and a huge tree stood in the middle. The most magnificent tree you could imagine. The shafts of light illuminated the tree as if on display. Half way up the tree was a wooden door that led into the enormous trunk. This was the home of the wise old owl.
The child graciously thanked the burro and hugged him tightly. She then began to climb the enormous tree. This posed no problem to the child, she had always climbed trees to get away from her worries, and she was good at it. She climbed and climbed until she stood at the old wooden door. She gently knocked on the door and it slowly opened and the owl flew out without a sound and landed on the branch where the child sat.
“Good day child”, spoke the owl in a gentle but powerful voice.
“Good day Mr Owl”, the child said politely. “I have come to ask you so many questions”, stated the child. “Otter told me that you would be able to answer them all”, squealed the child.
The owl moved closer and put his huge feathered wing around the child and told her to ask away. The child began to speak, each question more involved than the last. The owl was taken back by the curiosity of the child. “And now, for the most important question”, stated the child.
“Well my my young one, where do all these queries come from”, asked the owl?
“I dream the most wonderful dreams”, answered the child.
The child went on to explain that she had noticed that when the days grow shorter, and the trees come into their best colorful show, the tall mountains are always covered in clouds. Why?
The owl summoned the hawk and told him to take the child to the tall mountains so she could see for herself. Needing to know, the child climbed onto the hawks back and he began to ride the thermal currents, round and round, until they reached the clouds on the mountain. The hawk found one of the big ram sheep that live on the mountain and deposited the child at his feet.
The ram stood taller than the child but had a kind demeanor and soft brown eyes. His white coat was thick and curly and his horns were curled tight around the sides of his head. He looked frightening and yet so cuddly, the child jumped up and gave him a huge hug.
“What brings you so high into the mountains my child?” asked the ram.
The child began to tell the ram all about the owl and her questions. She told him that she was told to go to the top of the mountains with the hawk to find the answer to the one question she needed the answer to. She explained how she noticed the clouds were always draped around the peaks when the trees turned colors and the days grew short. The ram sat back and listened intently as the child told him of all the things she had learned, telling him story after story.
When she finally finished, the ram told her to climb onto his back and he would take her to see. She climbed on and held tight to his giant horns and he began to climb, and climb, and climb. The child showed no fear, even though she was terrified, she wanted to be brave. As they came closer to the clouds she could see hundreds of mountain sheep huddled together around a huge lake.
The ram helped her down and took her over to the herd. She noticed that several of the sheep would grab the clouds as they drifted past. Then the rest of the herd would hold it until the cloud relented and dropped all the water they held. The water was collected in the lake at the top of the mountain. The child couldn’t believe her eyes as she watched this carefully orchestrated task.
The ram looked at the child and said, “now you see with your own eyes.”
“But why?” asked the child.
The ram began to tell the child about hunters and cars and dangers that lurked for the herd if they descended from the safety of the mountain tops. They needed to figure a way to get water so they asked the great spirit for help. He told her that one night the great spirit appeared to the herd and told them of the plan. From that day forward, mother’s never mourned the loss of their ewes and ewes were no longer left without the love of their mother. The child felt the sadness that the ram explained.
“This was a great plan,” exclaimed the child in a joyous voice. “Mothers are important,” said the child, “and being without one is hard and lonely.”
She tried to hide her tears but the old ram felt the sorrow and curled around the child and she fell into a deep sleep. When she awoke, she was lying back in her hammock at the edge of the forest. She threw her legs off the edge and sat still, gazing at the clouds clinging to the mountain tops and smiled.
It was an early morning. I tried to sleep a little longer but the thoughts of the days activities wouldn’t play along. I woke up and said a prayer to the day and got out of bed. I looked at myself in the mirror. I felt a wave come over me of joyousness and acceptance of the path I am about to commit to.
It’s been a year of practice. A year of searching, changing and forgiveness of myself and others. Only one time before in my life have I ever felt this amount of calm spiritual contentment. I have learned to listen even if I disagreed. I have learned to find peace with myself. I have embraced loving kindness and compassion for myself and others. I am about to make a lifetime commitment to being the best person I can be not only for myself but others. To become selfless and accepting. It is my day to take refuge in the three jewels…the Buddha, Dharma and the sangha until my mind is awakened to the emptiness of calm abiding. What a magic moment.
The teacher explained the weight of this commitment and asked if we were sure that this
Path, this yearning to learn the dharma and follow its teachings, and to support the like minded sangha. We all confirmed. I now can join the ranks of the Buddhists working in the shadows for the benefit of all beings.
My heart and my inner most being has always been about surviving from day to day from a dark cloud that always has hung heavy over me. This practice has allowed me to find ways within to move past that dark place and reawaken a little girl in a way grown up body. To comfort and love her again. To be a more affirmative and positive person. Maybe I am a bit loud and brash but the heart is soft and has more love than a person deserves. Enough to spread the wealth and enjoy the journey.
One day while walking along a desert ridge, a small child met up with a lone burro walking in the opposite direction. The burro was dark brown with white circles around his eyes, his shaggy head low and solemn. The child thought to herself, what an interesting animal to be alone out here in the desert.
“What brings you to the desert?” quizzed the child.
The burro slowly raised his shaggy head and gazed deep into the child’s eyes.
He told her the story of his life without words. The child saw his sorrow and his joy. She saw him romping around on grassy plains where he ran and played with his family.
The burro told her of how he got separated from his family and ended up walking the desert alone.
The child grabbed the burro around his neck and gave him a big hug and kiss on his nose. I will be your friend she promised him.
The burro smiled and lifted his head and thanked the child. “What brings a small child to the desert alone?” asked the burro.
“I am looking for dinosaur eggs,” answered the child.
The burro was confused since he’d not seen any dinosaurs. “Are you sure you are in the right place my child? I have never seen a dinosaur here in the desert, and I have lived here all my life.”
“Oh yes,” assured the child. “My friends, the prairie dogs, told me of piles of them all over the ground.
It is a far distance and I have packed enough food and water for my journey,” said the child.
“Perhaps I can help you get there little one,” volunteered the burro.
The child thought carefully and agreed it would be faster and nice to have some company. She drew a map in the sand and showed the burro where the eggs were said to be. The burro shook his shaggy head and bended a knee for the child to get onto his back. She grabbed hold of his mane and they trotted off.
It took most of the day to get to the special place. The two looked around and saw no dinosaurs. The child was very saddened that she and the burro came all this way and there were no dinosaurs.
Just then a small lizard darted across the ground. He was turquoise colored with a bright yellow band around his neck. He scampered up onto a rock above the two. He looked with his googley eyes at the two with a puzzled look.
“Hello Mr Lizard,” the child said politely, “ we are on a quest to find dinosaurs so we can get some eggs.”
The lizard flicked his tongue a few times and told the child he knew where the dinosaurs were, and agreed to take them.
The lizard darted from rock to rock, shade to shade until they came upon a tall butte. There is where you will find the dinosaurs gesturing to the butte. She and the burro trotted off after thanking the lizard for his information.
They got to the butte by late afternoon and the shadows were growing long. “I will share what food I have,” offered the child. The burro raised his head and thanked the child for her kindness. After a fine dinner, the two curled up together and fell fast asleep.
The birds welcomed the sun as it rose from its slumber. The pale light revealed a cave at the base of the butte that was covered in vines and sage brush and seemed a good place to start the search. The burro trampled down all the brush and the two went in.
It was damp and great rock features came down from the ceiling and rose from the floor. The light filtered in and the two looked up and all around the cave. There were ancient bones that had turned to rock all surrounded in beautiful crystals. Whole skeletons of huge prehistoric creatures that were half buried in rock and mud. The girl was feeling defeated when she saw and odd rock sitting on the floor of the cave, the more she looked, the more she saw.
She bent over and picked up one of these odd rocks. It was perfectly round and felt quite heavy. The child gathered as many as she could hold and went outside into the sun. “These must be what the prairie dog saw!” exclaimed the child.
The burro looked at the rock and saw nothing special, just a round rock. He kicked at one of the rocks and it broke open.
The child ran over to see what the burro had done. Both stood wide eyed as what they saw was the most beautiful thing ever! Inside the dinosaur egg was the best magic they ever saw. The child remembered the cave in which she found the eggs. She remembered that all around the bones were crystals of every color. “Dinosaurs must’ve been magic,” the child suggested. “These crystals inside the eggs must have happened when the young dinosaurs died in their egg.” The burro shook his shaggy mane and agreed.
The child gathered as many eggs in her pack could hold and climbed back on the burro’s back. The two rode off into the vast desert in search of more adventures
One morning a child woke from a peaceful dream, the forest was buzzing like nothing she had heard before. She swung her legs over the side of her hammock and looked around.
Everything looked the same…
She took a deep breath, following the air, identifying the smells…no nothing different.
She listened as the trees seemed to vibrate and hum a foreign sound.
The animals of the forest and streams became frightened. Squirrel ran to the sleeping place of the human child. Darting here and there, all in a tussle, Squirrel could hear nothing but the insistent buzzing of forest trees. It was driving him mad. “Please make it stop,” complained Squirrel to the child.
In just the most perfect squirrel talk the child promised to look into this strange occurrence of sound.
She packed just the right amount of food for a child her size and pulled a wicker pack she made out of a hole in the tree she called ‘home.’
She went in search of the black and white Magpie.
As she remembered a dream she had once about a caterpillar that turned into a beautiful flying creature. She remembered the cave paintings in her dreams. Perhaps it is this phenomenon that is causing the sound.
The Magpie appeared with a blue settler jay and they sat high on a perch in a lovely oak tree.
“What can we do for you today child?”
She went in to explain her dream and the buzzing in the trees. None of her friends had heard this sound. “I supposed since you eat in the trees you might know,” quizzed the child.
They had seen no caterpillar cocoons and only a strange hollow casing of an alien being, half mantis and half beetle.
The child was puzzled and quarried the two further, “Who else can know the answer to this?”
There is a fable told of a curse placed on an ancient beast. It would devour entire forests in a weeks time, leaving no shade for the baby birds. Huge trees died and grasses were stripped next.
The Jay said that only Mother could answer this question since it was long before their lives. The child thanked them and they flew off.
The child went to her favorite place to sit in quiet meditation. She asked for The Mother’s help. A day passed and she dreamed of walking through a canyon playing a flute. Above her was a hawk gliding on the currents. Soon her flute became the cry of the hawk and she saw through its eyes.
Many hundreds of moons ago, a witch came to the land and was made a deal by a prince. The lands were being ravaged by an ancient dragon that would consume the fields and forests. The animals called on the Witch to slay the ancient dragon. They paid a fair price for the spell and went on with their lives.
The witch found the dragons favorite watering hole and lay in waite. Sometime after the setting of the moon, in the inky blackness of night, the dragon appeared.
The witch had poured a potion into the water and the dragon soon froze in place.
The dragon asked the witch kindly to forgive its hunger and if it could, it would eat much less. The witch smiled and spoke a spell that caused the dragon to remain dormant for up to 15 years. The dragon was not happy and lashed out and the witch turned it into a small insect, and it would be imprisoned underground, only to emerge every 15 years.
The hawk released the child and she heard only her flute again echoing in the canyon.
She woke from this dream and ran quickly to the meeting place by the big lagoon. She explained her talk with the magpie and jay, her dream and the hawk.
The fear slowly faded from everyone’s minds. The sound of the creature under such a spell should be enjoyed.
Eventually one day a cold air blew from the north and the buzzing stopped.
Everyone settled in for the coming of the colored leaves.
One night, in the land of whimsy and magic, a small child had the most marvelous dream.
The animals and small creatures of the forest and fields came to her.
The little child listened as they explained, in only language she could understand.
The small birds chirped wildly and the bees buzzed in swarms…even the small snails, ants and geckos had something to say.
It seemed the world was missing something very important and she listened with deep concern only a child could have.
She promised she would try to find a solution and went searching high and low.
Finally she came to a big tree… it was so tall she couldn’t see the top so she began to climb.
She tried not to be afraid as she got higher and higher.
All at once she heard a small voice…it was a spider hanging from her back legs on a silken thread.
“What brings you so high into my tree young one,” the spider asked.
The child answered, “I am looking for an answer to the small animals and insects of my small forest.”
The spider pondered and said to the child, “I know someone who can help, but you must continue to climb up my tree past the clouds and into the heavens.
The child looked up and was frightened but summoned up all her courage, fueled by her love for all her small friends, and with the help of the spider, began to climb higher and higher.
Finally, after a long time climbing, she cleared the clouds and looked around.
The sky above the tree was colorless and was blinding.
She could hear the swoosh of a birds wings coming closer and her eyes adjusted in time to see a huge hawk as it landed beside her in the tree.
The spider and the child told the story to the hawk, of her search for something for her friends, the small birds and insects of the forest.
The hawk told the child to climb on its back and she did, without hesitation, and the hawk spread his wings and flew off.
He knew the only one who could solve such a problem and he headed straight up and into the blank sky.
The child felt the power and protection of the hawk and fell to sleep, nestled in his broad neck feathers and dreamed a dream inside her dream.
The hawk came to rest on a tall mountain top, high above the clouds of the world below.
The child slowly was helped down and told to go into the cave that sparkled like a star, so she went off along a rocky trail until she saw it…
A cave so beautiful it sparkled like the night sky full of twinkling stars. The child couldn’t believe her eyes.
In the cave sat a small woman on a blanket of white buffalo hide, her eyes twinkled with a loving energy and his hair was as white as snow. She looked up softly smiling at the small child.
She walked over and the woman held out her hand and the child put her tiny hand in hers.
“What a small child to be carrying such a huge burden for your small animal friends,” the woman spoke in a quiet, even voice. “The love in your heart and the purity of that love has brought you to me, I am pleased.”
The small child was amazed the woman knew of her journey and her desire to help the small creatures of the forest. The child smiled.
The woman told the child to sit beside her and they would think together. All of a sudden rainbows began to emanate from the cave walls and circled the two.
The woman took a paintbrush from her cloak and captured the rainbows. She handed the brush to the child.
Next she waved her hands in the air and the sweetest smell filled the cave and she reached in her sleeve and pulled out a jar and captured the sweetness in the bottle and tightly closed the lid. She handed the jar to the child.
The child looked up at the small woman standing now before her. She reached out and touched her cloak and she spoke in a soft voice, “take these and go back to the forest and seek out the spider, she has the power to create and will need to instruct you on how to use these to help your tiny friends,” and in a burst of golden light she disappeared.
The child looked at the paintbrush and the bottle with wonder and returned to the hawk who quickly took flight.
Returning to the tree top, the small child thanked the hawk and he spread his broad wings and flew into the empty sky.
A small voice woke the child from her dream. Was anything the child remembered real? She put her hand in her bag there they were, the paintbrush and the jar.
“Oh spider, I am so glad you waited,” said the child.
The child told the spider the dream she thought she had but here were the items the small woman gave to her.
The spider laughed, “oh small human, you have met The Great Spirit Guru, she is the creator of all things, even you. Allow me to show you how to solve your problem,” and with that, the spider took the paintbrush and thought hard as she used the paintbrush to paint the sky blue and added a few white clouds.
The child watched in wonderment as the emptiness was transformed into a beautiful sky. She took the brush, and following the spiders instruction, thought hard and painted a brilliant sun. She giggled with delight.
The spider then helped the child back to the earth and she wandered back to her small forest.
She walked over to a green bush and with the paintbrush, painted a small object on it, then took the jar and poured out some of the sweet smell. She repeated this over and over again on trees, bushes and vines.
“I have been to see The Creator of us all,” said the child to her small animal friends. “The spider and hawk helped me to find the answer by taking me to her cave.”
The small animals, birds and insects circled the child and watched as she took out the paintbrush and thought hard, the answer came to her, like in her dream.
The small animals, birds and insects of the forest watched for days and days as the child worked.
She finished late in June, the time of the long, hot days.
The sweet smell of these beautiful things she created fill the air and the bees and birds were instantly drawn to them. Each was filled with nectar for the birds and pollen for the bees. Other small animals also delighted in this new thing.
One night, all the animals gathered around the small child in celebration and gazed up into the night sky.
The hawk and spider joined in the celebration.
The animals, birds and insects, all fulfilled, asked the child what was this life giving sweet thing she created?
The child looked to the spider for a creative name…
“I will call it a flower,” answered the child, after long deep thought.