When Children Had Wings
|Art by James Browne|
Once upon a time, long ago, all children were born with wings.
Every pair of wings was a beauty and a wonder to behold.
Some wings were big and bright, made to fly long distances and see faraway lands. Some wings were small and quick, perfect for flying in tiny spaces and discovering secret things.
Some wings were dark midnight blue, speckled with shining gemstones and red jewels, like stars in the night sky. Some wings were red, orange and glittering gold, and when they moved, they looked like dancing flames.
Some wings were frosty white and clear blue, like a winter landscape in the moonlight. Some wings were bright green and earthy brown, like an old, mossy green forest.
The children with wings loved to fly and play all day long. The world was a marvellous place full of adventure and new things to discover. The children with wings laughed and played, and soared the skies, until finally the day came when they had to fly down, down to the earth below, to a land known as Time.
The land of Time was a terrible place with many rules and full of strange tick-tocking things called Clocks. The grown-ups were always running around and chasing after something. What they were chasing after, no one could say. Dressed in black and grey, they looked so stressed and tired, and never had any fun. Some children wondered if the grown-ups had ever had wings before. What happened to them?
With every day spent in the land of Time, the children’s wings began to dry out. When the children tried to fly, they found that their wings, so thin and frail, could barely lift their feet off the ground.
Finally, there came a day when the children with wings awoke in the morning, got out of bed, and felt that something was very different. When they looked down at their beds, they saw the dry, crumbled remains of their wings. It was a terrible thing, but the grown-ups were very pleased. The death of a child’s wings was a sign that she or he was ready to grow up.
At night, the children who once had wings had a special dream. In the dream, they heard a soft, sweet song that pulled them out of bed and into the night. The song led them faraway, out of town and into the woods, where a woman was waiting for them.
The woman welcomed the children into the woods. Some say she went barefoot, and her hair was long and golden. Some say her eyes were bright and dark, like glowing flames in the night. Some say she was a fairy with wild red hair.
What everyone could agree upon however, was that the mysterious woman in the woods had the most beautiful, enchanting wings ever to see, and she sang with a voice sweet as honey and warm as a summer’s day.
She sang, precious child, fly on your way,
and beyond the land of Time.
May your heart be full of joy and fun.
May your wings grow back again.
They say that some children awoke in the morning and forgot all about the woman in the woods. With time, the children grew up. The memory of flying was so precious and so sweet, it hurt to remember; it hurt so much so that it was much easier to forget, and let the memory fall away like an old autumn leaf.
However, some children awoke in the morning and their eyes were bright and sparkling. They grew up, and the memory of the woman in the woods followed with them like a friend, always present, and forever helping them to remember. As others grew old and grey with age, those who remembered grew younger and brighter. However old on the outside, in spirit, they were always children, and their wings were the most enchanting wings ever to see.
It is said that they eventually flew far away from the land of Time, to a place so beautiful only song and story might hope to capture it.
They found a place so wonderful, so lovely, only those who are mad and wise enough to go looking for rainbows may ever hope of finding it.
Story by Stina Gray