The Silver Forest
Not too far and not too long ago, in a little old cottage that sat on a green hill covered in emerald grass like a sea of precious stones, a little boy was born. His name was Jack.
Every day Jack woke up and ran barefoot across the field of wet grass that raised high above his head, waking up all the sleepy bugs with his laughter. He ran to the little old barn, where his father milked the goats, and drank some fresh foamy milk. Parents told him it would make him grow strong and healthy.
In the afternoons, when the lazy sun would take a nap in the fluffy clouds, Jack liked to go for a walk in the forest. The forest was very quiet and peaceful then. The air smelled sweet and the humming of the silver oak trees seemed to make the time itself slow down and Jack knew that it meant he would see his friends.
His friends were of unusual kind. They were such friends one may find only in special places full of sunlight, like the forest is on a warm afternoon. Or maybe really early in the morning when the whole world is just waking up. Or maybe at night when one may notice a little floating spark. Yes, Jack’s special friends all liked to fly and sometimes glow at night. They lived in the trees and flowers. Some people called them fairies, others called them spirits, but Jack just called them “My Friends."
He liked his friends a lot. He always marveled on how bright their petal clothes were, how quite were their voices, how fragile, yet strong were their wings and how fast they could fly. But what he loved the most was how much they knew about the world and how things worked in it.
His friends would take him around the silver forest and by the glass-top pond and teach him everything about the things they saw. Jack learned that the water had memory and that it stored stories from all past times and from every corner of the world.
The same way as water, the wind is alive too. They taught Jack that the wind was made of voices of thousands of fairies and carried news across the world. That’s how they know when spring comes to Japan and the cherry trees are starting to bloom. They know when a baby elephant is born in Africa and when a first ripe chestnut falls from the chestnut tree in Ukraine.
Jack learned that the sun is a birth place of all the fairies and it is also the place they return after their job on earth is done. In fact, everything on earth is made from energy of light, even him, Jack!
Jack was amazed at how beautiful and simple the world around him was. How smart it was build and well everything worked together.
Time went by, and as the colorful leaves of the fall turned into white snowflakes, came a day when Jack’s parents decided to move to the city where Jack could go to school. Jack was very sad to leave the cottage behind and the magical forest with his friends, where he learned about nature and the world so much, but he was also excited about moving to the big city with all the bright lights and fast cars.
The night before their move, he decided to go for a walk in the forest and say goodbye to all his friends.
It was already dark outside and the silver forest was falling asleep.
Jack dived into the sea of trees and followed the golden path that lead right into the heart of the forest. After a while, he stopped and sat down under a large oak tree.
Jack sat there for a while, feeling quiet sad, until he saw the light of the moon break into a thousand little pieces. The little sparkles flew around the forest, lighting up every corner, every leaf. At once Jack felt clam and happy.
“Hello, My Friends!” He said. Jack wanted to stay and play with them forever!
The fairies came closer to him and one little fairy touched Jack gently on the face. “Don’t be sad,” she said, “life moves along and you must grow up. But we will always be with you. Just never forget us.”
“How can I ever forget you, silly?” Jack wondered “You are my best friends in the whole world!”
The fairy only smiled at him and then she dissolved and all the other fairies followed her into the moonlight.
The forest was empty and dark again.
Jack and his family left the little old cottage the next morning.
As soon as they arrived at the city, Jack’s parents got jobs and Jack started school.
At first, he still often dreamed of the forest and the light fairies and he felt their support every day. Some other children at school told him about their magical friends too and Jack marveled at how much different magic existed in the world!
But life in the city span fast. Days turned into weeks, weeks into years. Memories turned into dreams and dreams were soon forgotten.
At school they learned that water and wind consist of molecules and they are not alive. And that the sun is a giant star that consists of very hot gases and that nothing can live on it. Jack thought how strange it was that the fairies were so wrong when they taught him the way things were.
Jack realized that the world was much more complex and hard than he once thought.
And worst of all, he found out that fairies did not exist at all. They were fruits of children’s imagination and just like all the other kinds’ magical friends, lived only in tales and stories. He learned that if he wanted to grow up, he could not believe in such childish non-sense.
This thought made him very sad, because he did not feel the fairies watching over him anymore.
Everyone has to grow up in the city, so they can stay busy, so the time can go by. And that was very important, because if the time stops, no ones will know what to do and they would be lost. Jack didn’t want to get lost, so he grew up and stayed busy.
And so life went by fast and before he was ready for it, Jack met a beautiful girl and after they were married, he became a father of a little girl.
Her name was Daisy.
Right after she was born, Jack got the strange feeling that the time in the whole world slowed down and everything became peaceful and quite for a second, where nothing existed except the room full of light, love and the miracle of new life. That feeling reminded him of his birthplace and his childhood, when time seemed to slow down much more often than it did in the city.
Jack tried not to pay attention to what happened, but every time he would look at his beautiful baby girl, she would remind him of that feeling. Jack could not stay busy as usual and he didn’t know what else to do.
So Jack decided to go back, hoping to find some answers in the place of his childhood.
The little old cottage was still and empty. And yet, wonderfully warm and welcoming. There was so much love at that house and he thought with a few fixings, it could make a wonderful home for his family.
Jack decided to follow the golden path into the silver forest. He walked for a while until he reached the old oak tree. He sat down, feeling comforted by the strength and wisdom of the silver giant.
Jack thought of his childhood, his dreams and how much Daisy reminded him of himself as a child, playing in the forest, talking to imaginary friends. He remembered how much they taught him about the world and how much more sense it made than the one he learned about when he grew up. And for a second he wished that his daughter would learn from the fairies too! And even more he wished that the world indeed would be like the one fairies taught him about!
Everything was still. The forest was calm and breathed deeply through its silver leaves. The time itself seemed to pause and willingly get dissolved in the warmth of the afternoon.
Then Jack saw familiar glow. He felt a long-forgotten curiosity and excitement. The light illuminated the forest and Jack could not find where it was coming from. It seemed like every living cell around him was glowing.
And then he heard a faint voice. “Welcome back home”, it said.
And there she was, the little fairy girl, in her rose-petal dress, like so many-many years ago, just as bright and just as beautiful.
There were so many things Jack wanted to say, but all he could mumble with tears in his eyes was “where have you been all this time? You said you’d always be there..”
“We have,” said the fairy softly “you have just forgotten.
You have come a long way, Jack! The journey back to your own roots sometimes is the hardest. But you have allowed the time to slow down and quieted yourself enough to hear the answers to your questions. And more importantly, you have accepted the possibility of the impossible, which is often hard to do once you grow up.
I know life gets busy and very confusing sometimes, but please remember that you don’t have to give up your world or what you have been taught to be pure and full of love. Just remember that everything is alive in its own way and that is how the universe works as well as it does. And teach your children that as well.
The earth and sun give us life and energy and just like there is always light around you, so are guiding spirits who will give you the support you need. All you need is to keep your heart open and believe.
So plant belief in your children and teach them acceptance and love so their hearts may never close. And they will never be alone.”
Jack woke up late the next morning. How strange, he thought. This was the first time he could remember a dream in years. But he knew that it was not a dream at all.
As fast as the time allowed, he rushed back home and found his beautiful wife and baby-girl sleeping soundly in the quietness of their modest house, which for some reason seemed exceptionally illuminated and cozy that day.
He bent over the bed and gently kissed his wife’s forehead. And as she slowly opened her eyes and smiled at him.
And as he hugged his wife and baby, he felt the time stop once again, but he did not feel lost this time. Now he knew that the stopped time was not empty at all. It was filled with light, heartbeats of the people he loved, sweet smell of rose petals, answers to all his questions and anything else he wanted to fill it with!
And at that moment Jack heard an echo of a soft-soft voice: “Welcome back home…”it said.
And for the first time in a long-long time he felt peace.