I watch the sparrow, but can no longer hear its song. It seems everyone has something to say, and the noise now lives inside of me. Overwhelmed, I shake my head from side to side, but to no avail. I cannot break free. How I long to hear the sweet birdsong, but there's no more music for me.
Nose pressed against the window, I search for color in the concrete jungle. The monotone landscape jails my creativity, so I flee this world — the thief of my joy.
Don't look back, but straight ahead. I whisper those words as hands claw at me. Curiously, the past has the firmest grip of them all. I quicken my pace, struggling to outrun those who want a piece of me. I know what I need if I can get within reach…
There it is — the mighty oak — the steadfast soldier who stands at the gate to freedom. How I envy its unshakeable self. Its gnarled roots trip my feet, reminding me it's time to slow down. For nature answers to no worldly clock. It ticks and tocks to its own rhythm.
I'm safe at last.
The muggy breath of the forest warns me a storm is coming just as I spy the willow tree. Its limber branches dance with the breeze and tickle the earth with wispy leaves. As I approach, the curtain opens for me.
I collapse against the bark and take my first deep breath. Inhale for four seconds; exhale for six. Then nature sings its lullaby, but never tells me not to cry. With a quivering lip, I ponder this great big world outside the protective canopy of the forest. Is there a place for me? Then a ladybug crawls on my finger and I manage a smile. It pauses before returning to a blade of grass, leaving me thinking, maybe I'm not so small after all.
This magical place slowly unravels my tightly knotted emotions, and a tear runs down my cheek as a drop of rain hits the willow tree. One raindrop becomes two. Two tears become four. Before I know it I am weeping with the willow.
I see my reflection in the droplets streaming down its branches. The tree's become heavy. I've felt heavy as well and continue to cry until no more tears fall.
When the rain passes, it leaves lighter, cooler air behind. The gentle wind dries our tears, and I'm fully present.
I hear the sparrow's song once again.