Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed. – C.K.Chesterton
This morning a dove appeared outside our window. Doves have been seen as a symbol of peace and hope for thousands of years. Our attention was called to the window by a cawing crow. The calm dove settled down on the branch, and the crow just flew away. Although it did not stay long, seeing the peaceful dove was a beautiful way to begin the day. As a boy, I often searched for magical signs to guide me through the days. Fairy tales, science fiction, mythology, impressionism, fables, heroes tales.. all influenced my thinking. I still have a little piece of beveled red glass I found in the alley which I called my wishing crystal.
Whenever I would be troubled by the “dragons” of my life, such as the adult world nearly suffocating my child’s world, I would hold the crystal up to the sky look through it and make a wish. I thought maybe a kid’s sincere heart might give me an advantage, like a fairy tale treasure. I took out my little red crystal yesterday, it is still one of my most valuable possessions, after seeing the local fire department conducting readiness drills. The fire department in our little town is also the ambulance service, and they were teaching all the fire fighters how to drive the vehicles in case the regular drivers were stricken by the virus. Seeing that gave me a mixture of hope with a touch of fear. I held up my wishing crystal at sunset and wished with all my might for hope. The dove appeared today – the day after my wish – once again, I was convinced the dragons can be defeated by hope.
Hope springs eternal every year when the frost disappears and the days lengthen. This year is the first time my wife has ever been able to plant a real garden. Back in China we grew vegetables and flowers on the rooftop of my classroom building – right across from my university apartment. We used various pots and had more fun than vegetable bounty. My wife happily learned how to plant from her mother as a little girl. Now she is joyfully sprouting various vegetable seeds. I helped her clear a couple small plots and prepare the soil. Her planting technique is much less linear than what I learned as a boy from my farmer grandpa, but her optimism grows with each sprout and seedling. The garden is slowly becoming an enchanted place. Standing there this afternoon, I held up my wishing crystal and sent out my heartfelt wish that the world would find sorely needed hope.
I consider Chicago one of my hometowns, because it was were my first marriage ended and my writing truly began (everything before that was prologue). And so I want to end with a quote from one of my hometown’s favorite musicians who has been stricken with the coronavirus – John Prine. I was thrilled to see him play in some little bar in Chicago long ago and hope for his recovery from this modern day dragon.
“I don’t concern myself with where I fit in. I just keep my head down and keep doing whatever it is I’m doing.”
Just keep doing what you are doing and keep hope alive. Peace