The little whirl wind came closer and I could see that it carried neither dust nor even a single leaf. It was caressing, in dust devil fashion, a single mushroom spore; lifting the tiny seed up to the sun as the little wind parted the tall grasses, teased a rose bush and skipped over some daises as it and its companion wound their way back to the wood.
As the little spore played with the wind and the sun it began to turn a snowy white and before the little wind could make its way into the wood, the little spore seemed to glow it was that white.
The little wind seemed to bow as it bent to lower the glowing white spore to the ground then slowly moved back and was no more.
Charly pointed to a spot on the ground, near where the spore had come to rest, as if offering me a chair. I sat. Charly sat.
We watched the spore. The sun began to set behind the massive trees. We watched the spore. The birds rested quietly on the boughs of the trees. We watched the spore.
A cool breeze meandered through the meadow and the wood, a low hanging mist in its wake. The mist grew dense over the floor of the wood, and in the failing light of that day, it spilled out toward the meadow and swallowed the little white spore.
Charly and I waited. I didn’t know why, but it seemed the thing to do.
In what seemed like an instant, the sunlight of a new day, painted the tops of the trees a lighter green and as it bathed the meadow, dew drops on spider webs and flower petals glistened like polished jewels. The light and the heat of the morning sun banished the fog to deep within the great wood…and then I saw it.
Where the little spore had been, there was a teeny tiny mushroom of the purest white.
The teeny tiny mushroom lifted its head and opened its eyes. All around him were wonders upon wonders; trees so grand and strong, flowers and grasses, such colors and shapes, in the shadows of the trees growing from the wet floor of the forest, the curly leaved ferns.
“Hello”, he said. “Hello, will someone tell me about this wonderful place?” The trees began their lament of wasted strength; the flowers tried to tell the bees how beautiful they were, fish swam in the stream, the rabbits and chipmunks skittered into their holes. No one answered.
“Will someone be my friend? Does anyone love me?” the poor teeny tiny mushroom yelled out to the beautiful world around him. What the poor mushroom didn’t know…mushrooms, like the flowers have very, very soft voices and no one heard him and no one answered.
There were no other mushrooms near and he was just too small for any of the other grand beings to even notice him, he was alone.
He began to cry.
He was a teeny tiny mushroom with itsy bitsy tears and Charly and I watched them fall.
But…when those itsy bitsy tears from that teeny tiny mushroom touched the ground, they sounded like great claps of thunder. Those itsy bitsy tears shook the tears, birds toke to flight, the sky turned black, thick clouds hid the sun, and winds came out of the north, cold fierce winds like none that had ever visited the land before.
Trees were calling out to one another, looking for comfort, this storm would tare them apart; the flowers knew that all their colorful petals would be ripped away. Everyone in the land knew that this was their end.
Then a voice rang out, over the bellowing of the trees, the whimpering of the flowers and the wild chirping of the birds…it came from a daffodil.
“Be quiet you ninnies. A child is crying, a child is lost. Find him.”
Flowers bent into the cold north wind to search the ground around them, the grasses moved in harmony to touch the ground and feel for the child, the birds looked from high above and the trees looked from their great heights…prepared to shout out other searchers.
It was a great oak that spied the tiny little mushroom. Even with his powerful voice, he could not be heard above the wind and the thunder, the grasses were too far away, no one could reach him and without shelter he might perish.
The old oak knew that what must be done couldn’t be done but he must try.
For centuries the oak had stood in that very spot and now he must move. The moss and the earth around his roots began shiver and crack and fall away as root after root pulled itself out of the ground and stretched out to pull the tree closer and closer to the little mushroom until great ancient roots were wraped around the mushroom; shelter from the wind.
One branch plucked leaves from another and gently placed them over the little one like a blanket, “Here, this will keep you warm. Now is the time for sleep, not for tears.”
The cold north wind died down, replaced by a warm easterly breeze, the clouds parted and the sun returned to the heavens.
All in the land approached the end of that day weary from battle. It could not have more frightening; the great wood would never have endured the storm much longer; the flowers would have all they were stripped from them; all could have been lost.
At the end of that day there was a song in every heart; a flower had found its voice, a tree had walked and a child, a child had been saved. It was the best of all possible days.
That night, while all the land slept, that sound was heard in a garden; a garden that is a far away as the furthest star and a s close as a loving hug at bedtime, home to a great builder…and he smiled.
That night he walked through the land again and the music of his sweet laughter filled the dreams of everyone.
When the sun arose that first dawn, the awoke in the meadow a new folk; smallish, with violet eyes that delighted in wonder of color, turned up noses that could recognize the signature of each flowers scent, ears that hear a petal flutter anywhere in the meadow and could sing every song of the grasses in perfect harmony. They called themselves; Fairies.
In the wood there awoke another new folk; larger, stronger than the Fairies and gifted with the vision to create, in wood, homes, spinning wheels, looms and all manner of crafts. They called themselves; Elves.
And near the scrubs and among the ferns there was yet another folk, larger than the fairies but not so industrious as the elves; they knew that they would tell the stories and keep the histories. They called themselves; Pixies.
Charly reached up and taped me on the shoulder, “Time for us to go.”
“Charly, there’s so much going on and no one seems to notice us, is this but a dream?”
“Stephen, we don’t exist here, you don’t exist here…no human does.”
“Then why is that Pixie waving at us.”
“Oh that…well you see, for all of time people have wondered and Pixies, they just know. Knowing about humans…that’s easy comes natural.”
Charly pulled the twig from his pocket again, this time he put it down behind me almost on my heels, “Remember, eyes closed.”
I closed my eyes put my hands behind my back and reluctantly jumped.
I was disappointed to immediately find myself, alone, in my apartment, looking at my closed door. I looked down at the olive green sneakers with orange laces, the tree bark brown woolen trousers held up by purple braces, a ruffled front shirt the color of early morning mist, my blue coat and this marvelous great hat. I stuck my hand in my pockets and in the right pocket of my coat was a twig, with four leaves that were just starting to open wrapped in a piece of paper. I had a chance to look more closely, and it was a small branch from an old oak tree. On the paper was written: “The Builder return to the land that night and he looked over all that was done, he smiled and said, This Land I shall call Life. and so its been called, from that day to this. C”
“Thank you all, I am Stephen PeerleesPixie Quickstep, at your service.”
“Well, Major, at least you gave it an effort.” Darcy said, taking a sip from her bottle of hand crafted ale. She leaned forward, resting forearms on the small polished bar, both hands around the bottle, not looking at the Major. In the stool next to her he assumed a similar posture, staring straight ahead.
Darcy slowly turned in his direction, “You were supposed to lose, remember?” She turned back to stare at the relection in the mirror behind the bar. “PeerlessPixie, really?”
“I could always lose another competition.”
“You’d need another story…have you got that much in ya?” Darcy hid a small smile as she raised her bottle again.
“I just might. Let me catch up on some old mail”, the Major looked at his beer, studied his reflection in the mirror, smiled, tipped his bottle in a salute to the image before him…”I just might have two hidden away. There’s got to be a loser in there somewhere.”
The Major pivoted on his bar stool to face Darcy and Darcy Weaver pivoted to face the Major, bottle necks clinked as they said: ” Here’s to the losers.” They smiled and returned to the reflections in front of them.