There is a Child: 1

There is a Child

There is a child who walks in the treetops at daybreak and at dusk. He prefers the company of birds to that of men. Few men have seen him, though some have heard him chortle as he slides down the back side of the sky on his way home, beyond the sun.

He plays in the gales of the summer storms. He lets his limbs fall limp in the wind and tumbles headfirst across the tops of the greatest oaks, tumbles miles and miles until he’s lost. He prefers being lost to being found. Nobody who’s ever played with him can say where they happened on him. If the map of your hike is still hanging on the back side of your brain he hears it flapping in your thoughts, and he runs away. But if you walk in the woods for hours, chasing a furtive warbler or naming new colors until you think of nothing else — well, he might find you.

You’ll tumble all night along the wind with him. You might venture, at the deepest hours, into a metropolis and help him check on other children as they sleep. A sunbeam will wake you under a forest elm near your home, and the warbler will be singing on your chest.  You’ll not be sure you didn’t dream it. The memories will fade, quicker than most, to a gentle longing for somewhere.

In a few months you’ll return to the woods and get intentionally lost. After days of random walking you’ll despair of ever playing with the mysterious child again. Then you’ll remember he found you not lost in the random but lost, enthralled, in something precious.

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