Once upon a time in a forest far, far away, a young fox stirred in his den. It was quite early in the morning – not yet dawn – and a few stars still twinkled in the sky. But the time didn’t matter to the fox, whose name was Malcolm. He had been having the most wonderful dream. In fact, it was so good that upon waking he jumped to his feet, shook out his tail and then bounded out of his den bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
At that moment a cardinal landed on a pine branch nearby and began chirping away. Malcolm usually loved to listen to this song, but not today. He was so excited about his dream he interrupted the cardinal mid-tweet.
“Carl,” Malcolm called, for that was the cardinal’s name. “You’re not going to be believe the dream I had!”
Carl stopped singing and peered down at Malcolm. “Good morning to you, too,” he responded. “Tell me my young foxy friend, what did you dream about?”
Malcom, who had been jumping up and down in his excitement, sat down on his hind legs so he could better see Carl. “I saw a mountain so tall it reached the sky,” he said. “And there was a waterfall with a swimming hole and so many flowers. They were everywhere. I wish a place like that were real.”
Malcolm sighed because it seemed a place as beautiful and wondrous as that couldn’t possibly be true.
Carl ruffled his feathers. “Maybe it is real. Just because you don’t know about it, doesn’t mean it’s not.”
Malcolm thought about that for a moment, and as he did a little crease appeared between his eyes. “Well how would I find it? If I don’t know where it is or if it’s even real, where would I even look?”
“I don’t know,’ Carl admitted. “But do you know who might be able to help you? Go see Nana Owl at the edge of the forest. She knows everything.”
“But that’s so far away,” Malcolm exclaimed. The edge of the forest was miles and miles away from where Malcolm lived and he had never been so far from home before. “What if I don’t make it?”
“So what if you don’t?” Carl spread his wings wide and shrugged his shoulders in response.
Malcolm again thought about it for a moment. He decided he really only had two options. He could stay in his part of the forest where he knew would be safe and secure. If he did that, he was pretty sure he would never get to see the place he had dreamed of. Or, he could try to find Nana Owl in hopes that she could help him find his way. Malcolm realized that this choice certainly wasn’t a guarantee he would get there, but at least the mountain and the waterfall were a possibility with this second choice.
”Ok,” he told Carl. “I’m going!”
“Wait, just like that?” Carl flapped his wings in surprise. “Don’t you want to think about it some more?”
“Nope,” said Malcolm who was suddenly feeling very brave. “If I don’t go now, I may never go.” And with a big smile and a swish of his tail, Malcolm trotted off to the west, which is where Nana Owl lived.
“Good luck,” Carl called after him and he began tweeting again as in farewell. Malcolm did not look back.
TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK….
Some one who worked in hospice care for many years collected a top-five list of regrets he had the privilege to listen to:
5) I wish I had let myself be happier.
4) I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
3) I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.
2) I wish I didn’t work so hard.
1) I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, and not the life others expected of me.
I heard this on This American Life. I have this list saved on my phone ever since.
Oops, did I just reply under the wrong post (sorry about that!). Is was meant for the last Memoir Monday…
Words to live by!
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