The Sparrow

Posted: January 12, 2014 by Cat Reyes in Stories
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Sparrow photo: Sparrow Sparrow.jpg

There was once a little sparrow. She had a dream but she could not fulfill it. In her heart, she saw beings like herself: hopeful and caring. No matter where she looked, she could not find them. She looked high and low only to return home, her feathers drooping with a deep sadness and an aching loneliness.

Then one day, quite by chance, she flew into a small meadow. There in the meadow was a variety of beings, all happy and playing. Some were sitting next to a tiny trickling brook, dipping their tails, paws, claws, and talons in the water. There were others playing hide-and-seek in the tall, golden grasses. Still more played near the edge of the wood.

All the creatures were happy. They laughed and spoke easily to each other.

Watching over the whole of the meadow were several creatures on a small knoll. A rose of amazing grace and beauty lead the small group. The rose was the purest red that the sparrow had ever seen. It grew straight and proud. It was a welcoming beacon to all the creatures gathered around it.

A bear and a dragon lay to the right of the rose, happy in their discussions of worldly things. The dragon was not large or intimidating like dragons of myth. It puffed little wafts of smoke, in the shape of letters, to amuse itself as it spoke to the bear. The bear, too, seemed more matronly than normal bears. She had a heart shaped muzzle and her teeth did not look sharp at all.

A docile creature called up to the little sparrow, asking it forward. Eager, the sparrow dropped to greet the cat. Together they spoke of the things of the meadow. The cat taught the sparrow of the peace, harmony, and hope that seemed to thrive there. Soon the sparrow took flight, full of the new knowledge. She spread that knowledge to the happy, playing beings.

The small sparrow worked hard to help the other creatures and was happy. The work she was doing soon began to decline. She wanted to help the meadow in a bigger, more powerful way. But she did not know how.

The rose had been watching the sparrow with interest and decided to approach the little bird. “You flitter to and fro, watching the flowers and the grasses grow,” the rose said. “There is more that can be done and you can help.”

The sparrow laughed and replied, “Yes.”

The rose took the sparrow under her leaf. The sparrow learned and became something more than what she had been. Her feathers – brown, black, and white patterns – became more intense under the tutelage and care of the rose.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the meadow, shadows began to sweep over the thriving creatures. Many animals felt the chill. Without understanding why, the animals closest to the shadows began to respond to it.

Finished with some of her tutoring, the sparrow had taken flight to check the meadow. Her task was to make certain things were as they should be. On her return, she saw the ever-present rose was not there. The dragon was spitting flames and the bear was growling angrily at the new creatures standing on the knoll.

The sparrow realized the new creatures had always been there, but in the background. The rose’s kindness and beauty overshadowed the darker creatures. Now, in the rose’s absence, the creatures appeared new and foreboding to many of the creatures in the meadow, especially to the sparrow. The dragon grumbled; its scales rising like the hackles of a dog as one of the new creatures tried to order it about.

The dragon and the bear spoke briefly before they both turned and went in search of the rose, leaving the once beautiful meadow. As the figures of the bear and the dragon vanished into the wood, the sparrow felt very much alone.

She knew that she still had some friends. A wolf that she had known since she was a fledgling was there. And the cat, too. The wolf was determined to stand his ground and wait out the Change. The cat seemed drawn to the words spoken by the new creatures. The sparrow had made new friends too. But it still felt wrong, being there in the meadow without the bear, the dragon, or the rose.

The new creatures were cold and crude, unwilling to allow the sparrow her freedom. They were determined to rule the meadow. Each day, the meadow filled with more shadows, growing colder and colder. The creatures of the meadow began to retreat, breaking contact with each other. Clouds covered the sun, turning the world gray for hours at a time.

The sparrow could no longer bear to hear the harsh words of the new creatures. She too decided to take flight and search for her missing friends: the dragon, the bear, and the beautiful rose. She took flight; glancing back only once at the shadow filled meadow. A tear glistened on her cheek for a moment before the cool wind swept it away.

She was prepared to return to her old nest, sad and alone. She wanted to regain her strength before she began her search for her missing friends. As she flew, she thought that she heard something. It was indistinct at first, drawing the sparrow’s curiosity. Curiosity forced the sparrow to follow the grumbling sound. Every minute the sound grew, boisterous and happy. Another sound soon joined it. With a lightening heart, the sparrow urged its tired wings into a frenzy. She recognized those sounds.

In a second, it happened: she broke through the edge of the trees into a new, large clearing. There were new plants everywhere, along with the golden grasses and flowers the sparrow recognized from the previous meadow. A brook ripped the middle of the meadow, sparking like the most precious of gems. A large old oak stood in the center of the meadow, its golden leaves glistening in the warm evening sun. And there, at the tree’s base were the dragon and the bear. They were gathering animals to them. Some, the sparrow recognized, others were entirely new.

Happiness filled the sparrow and she flitted down to rejoin her missing friends. A moment of understanding hit the sparrow the second she landed on a low hanging branch. Sometimes things change and it is necessary to move on. Sometimes those things are bad. However, new doors will open, if one is only willing to look for them. The sparrow had found her door.

But she saw that the rose was not there. As the bear and dragon told their plans to the small group of animals that had gathered, the sparrow glanced once more at the dark tree line.

One day, she would find the rose. The rose had given her so much, and taught her so well. It would soon be time for the sparrow to return the favor.

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