The Boy and The Blue DaffodilLocated somewhere near the river that divides Lumintown and Obscuraville, two neighboring towns, and measuring approximately three feet in diameter, an invisible, effervescent bubble oscillates and swirls. While it’s impossible to identify the exact nature of the bubble, so far as we can tell, it is something of a portal, enveloped in some manner of force field, and is comprised of substance approaching antimatter. We say that it is invisible; but in fact it is not entirely imperceptible. Within its proximity one feels a strange dizziness, while another becomes suddenly very lucid. A direct look may well cause an especially perceptive person to believe he sees a glint or something flickering, only just as quickly to pass it off as a fleck in the eye or a stray shot of sunlight.
The bubble, falling ambiguously in a zone belonging to neither of the two towns, nevertheless has its source within the town to the east - Lumintown. For, in Lumintown, indeed inside a certain room…sitting on a certain hidden shelf…in a certain mysterious library built around a large oak tree, lies a book; a book that tells a very uncertain story:
The boy was a sailor on a ship. Well, really it was a canoe, and the canoe was a collection of sticks and pitch. The sticks came from trees that dream, and the pitch was a resin that came from flowers that sing. The trees that dream and the flowers that sing dwelt happily together in a forest near a lush meadow split in half by a creek. The meadow was grateful for the creek, and the creek, too, considered itself very blessed indeed for having the meadow. Such a harmony as flourished between them is very rare and yielded an abundance of life never known before on earth (with one well-known exception). In fact, if not for the reciprocal love of the creek and the meadow, and all the wonderful sentiments inspired in one by the other, the trees would never have begun to dream, nor would the flowers ever have discovered their singing voices.
One day, one of the trees that dream was suddenly jarred awake by a young boy, who blithely picked at its bark. The tree, who happened to be in the middle of a very happy dream, was at first quite irate with the boy. But, after a moment of consideration - very wise and discerning tree that it was - it decided not to judge the boy too harshly; instead it waited and watched to see what he might do next. The tree soon came to understand that the boy must have wandered very far away from his family and that his mother must be very, very worried about him. (Trees tend to know these things). Even though its desire was to return to the happy dream, the tree decided instead to find a way to restore the boy to his family and mother. Poor tree, it did not realize, because it is a little known fact - even among the most knowledgeable and discerning of trees - that once a dreaming tree is awakened it can never dream again.
The tree was now losing a lot of bark, and though it was no longer angry at the boy, it desired to surrender no more of its cherished coat. How very unfortunate a thing for awakened trees that they are without speaking abilities! For the tree knew not how to communicate with the boy, nor how to help him get back to his family. This is where the singing flowers come in.
Most folks also do not know that singing flowers, which are equipped vocally in the way that dreaming trees are not, also possess superior auditory faculties and can therefore eaves drop on the dreams of trees; In fact, this is precisely (and solely) what they sing about: They sing the dreams that the dreaming trees dream. But today was a rare exception. For on this day, one particular blue daffodil was singing for all it was worth and failed to notice that the tree, whose dreams it sang, was wide awake. The dream had now turned to conscious thoughts, and the daffodil, none the wiser, sang those thoughts.
It didn’t happen all at once. Up to this point the singing flower only knew about dreams, and so it didn’t at first understand what it tried to sing. The dreams of trees are all very alike: Wind and water and leaves and bugs and squirrels and acorns and…well, you get the idea. Consequently this new dream (which was no dream at all) proved for the daffodil a very hard song to sing. It struggled to hit the notes, keep the rhythm, and just couldn’t make the song sound quite right. What the daffodil didn’t realize (which, had the poor flower known, it may have helped to mitigate its rising anxiety levels) was that it simply had had no practice singing real words - only whistles and trickles and flutters and chirps and chatters and thuds and…well, you get the picture. So, when it tried to sing these new thoughts, it much paralleled an ostrich making panicked efforts to fly away from a predator, a scenario of which we can all attest - Everyone of us! - (Okay perhaps not all of us) is a very unsettling display indeed. Eventually, nearly ten minutes into an unrivaled episode of spasmodic sneezing and shrieking (If you can picture a flower sneezing and shrieking, little else is more amusing), practice finally paid off, and out came its very first sung thought.
“HELP!” sang the daffodil very near the note E flat. Although it no doubt must have seemed strange to the little boy, the flower singing in his own language, he wasn’t quite old enough to doubt what happened. A naturally curious boy, he approached this new and fascinating surprise of nature. ‘Help’ was a word the little boy knew well; though, the plea, coming from a flower, only could mean one thing to a little boy unlearned in the arts of helping. Reaching down with more curiosity than compassion, he did something, which, from the perspective of a flower, must have seemed an unimaginable horror: He picked it.
The blue daffodil, greatly exasperated by the nightmarish sequence of events culminating in its being uprooted by a wandering, incautious being, sang much louder and more frantically. Without realizing it, the song became a personal expression, and instead of just singing the tree’s thoughts, it sang its own thoughts, all in E flat.
“Whaaaat---iiiiinn---the---worlllddd—arre---yo—uu—doiiinng---creeeaatturre?!!!” intoned the flower to the boy, betraying an enormous amount of anxiety.
“I’m helping you,” declared the boy with impish confidence.
So, that’s how the book begins. Now, for our purposes here, we won’t recount all the details of just how the boy, the flower, and the tree conspired to find a way to get the boy back to his family. Suffice that, after several of hours of the tree explaining to a six year old boy how to extract resin out of plants and construct branches into wood fit for floating; indeed, how to build a canoe customized for a little boy, as only a very wise and perceptive tree awakened out of dreaming can do (with gratitude for the interpretive aid of a singing blue daffodil); the boy paddled down the creek, which cut through the meadow and flowed toward a river. Neither the dreaming tree nor the singing flower knew the river was magical. Indeed, and it was the only river connecting the world of the book with the real world, and it connected just exactly between Lumintown and Obscuraville.
(see part 2)