(LISTEN to the story read by the author ⬆)
One night, I witnessed a unique world. I don't know if I had the eyes wide shut, and I was dreaming, or tightly open, and I was letting my imagination stray, but the sure thing is that I saw this:
Inside the core of a leaping flame a whole world made of dew reeled its existence. There lived some strange creatures—strange for us, humans, who consider their familiar surroundings normal. I'm sure if those creatures had seen us, they would have laughed at our awkwardness. That night, inside that flame, a council was being held. It seemed quite amazing to me how, in a world of water, some of the creatures had wings of fire. On the other hand, some other appeared to be crippled, wingless, or with only a stump left where the wings used to be. Up on a cloudy rock, a stately fire creature spread its wings making the whole gathering fall into a deep, sullen silence, and the whole world catch light as if the sun rose in the middle of it.
"I'm looking at you, wingless beings, you, who lower your heads and replace your smile with sadness, and I’m wondering: How can a Fire Bird lose its wings? Isn't it born from lightning, isn’t it supposed to rise from ashes, to grow wings over and over again? Should we let the dew devour us all?”
It is then that I noticed the dew forming heavy waterfalls, which would furiously flow washing away some of the fire creatures. What seemed to be their serene surroundings, sometimes turned into their worst nightmare. Some would grow wings again and would spring back into being luminous, others would stay down, crawling in mud, whereas some other would become grey, and dull, and wingless. I couldn't help thinking that, maybe, you experienced something similar, too. I know I did quite a few times.
I’m sure you know that elated emotion when you're full of enthusiasm, and you feel like soaring on invisible wings. Suddenly, a storm like the ones in that water world washes away your wish to fly, or someone armed with a pair of scissors comes and cuts away your wings. And this seems to be happening repeatedly whenever the elation of flight takes a hold on you, and you forget how the fall feels on your wings. For a while you keep growing pair after pair of wings until one day, when strangely enough, there are no storms or people with scissors in their hands, but you don't feel like growing wings again. You walk on the firm ground carrying your dead soul in your arms. You look at it, see it lifeless, you know what it needs to be alive again, and yet, you prefer to crawl.
I think that was what happened to those creatures, too, and all the more so, I grew interested in what the one on the cloudy rock had to say. Maybe it could teach us, humans, a secret!
“You used to be beings of light, of fire. Your mere presence showed everyone the passion of life. Now, look at you! All there is left is the tar of your own darkness. I won’t tell you you’re wrong. Instead, I will definitely tell you to choose. Don’t let the darkness and circumstances choose you!
Any moment of your life is the right moment for you to go up, or to stay down covered in filth and mud. You know what’s down there. You feel it on your wings of fire right now! Why should you go back up? What’s up there, you ask? Maybe, the chance to fall and crush, but also the chance to soar and see things differently even if only for an instant.
You know, the seed feeds on the darkness of the earth, but it does so only because it wishes to spring into light. It doesn’t dwell on the comfort of darkness. What if it were afraid of the unseen? How many crops would be lost? How many flowers would fail to give colour to the Earth?
Don’t let the events of your life feed on your darkness and feed the darkness inside you, darkness that’s inherent to all of us. It’s here,” the Fire Bird said pointing with its wing towards its heart, “it’s there, inside you, because otherwise, right now, you wouldn’t be grey beings, wingless beings, fireless beings. You’d still burn if that darkness didn’t exist. But that is not important! What is important is for you to choose! Choose if you let the water swallow you, or if you learn to swim.”
Something moved inside those creatures for all of them raised their heads towards the sky, and in doing so, a small ember lit itself inside their chests, and flames started spreading all around their bodies until wings grew back. I know they must have missed the magic of flight as we all do when we fall. That ember inside their chests stood proof that they never forgot their meaning. They were only tired and needed the words of the Fire Bird on the cloudy rock to turn into luminous beings again.
Every now and then, I myself need its words, too. Don’t you?
Glad you joined me in this world of water where fire burns gently. Let’s keep our wings!
© Copyright Irina Serban. All rights reserved