Animals on the Way Foulard
I opened my eyes to find myself standing in the middle of a vast ocean of sand, but not that kind you find on a beach in a hot summer day, or even in the endless sand dunes of the greatest desert… It was drifting without wind although it seemed heavier and thicker than the previous I mentioned. My staff did not do me justice and the sky above –or what seemed to be the sky I always knew– barely hold a single cloud, I noticed I did not need the help of my staff to drive me further into this unknown scenery, nor I was weary despite my aged body… I did not know why I was here or how I even came, but I had a deep feeling inside me that I should move ahead, where the scenery tended to get narrow for some reason and blurred images I could not comprehend as if they were distant mountains or some sort of elevating terrain.
But then out of a sudden as this place kept poisoning me with sorrow which would soon turn to despair, I saw two figures coming up the steep hill I was about to descent from… a snake and a wolf! I almost stumbled and fell but my staff kept me standing and as I was ready to fend the two animals away I realized they did not came to harm me, rather start circling me chasing one another and as I thought that was it, I saw the shadows of more company approaching! Majestic with its gleaming golden fur a lion, followed by a fearsome tiger perfectly striped with raging eyes and long sharp fangs yet it was not the end! A great brown bear alongside a chimpanzee –playful as a jester– waving his hands here and there while the last one casted the greatest shadow of all… an enormous adult elephant with its gray calloused skin and that endless wisdom in his eyes! I felt no danger, no harm as I tried to join their crazy dancing chase, but every time I tried to catch and feel the beautiful fur of those majestic beasts around me I did so in vain… my hands passed right through them as if I was among spirits or maybe I was the spirit? I also noticed among my anxiety and fervor to grab those beasts and make them mine with a simple pat on their head that the heavy stampede of the elephant’s feet and the ferocious tiger’s growl and all the rest of the sounds I was expecting never reached my ears… And as I counted the animals, they were seven in number.
As if the spectacle was not surrealistic enough, the rest surprisingly beautiful company came from above. White like snow burdened with the icon of innocence a dove came and sat near me and it was not alone since it was followed by a bright yellow neck frivolous nightingale, a sassy fast moving lark and above these all, a great eagle cast its dreadful shadow of his long thick wings upon me, but wait… my eyes trick me although I knew after all my love for animals and the knowledge I have gathered that… flamingos suddenly appear out of nowhere… and they dance! in thousands!
But here… in the middle of absolute nowhere I witnessed a single pink flamingo along with all these animals showing them how it is done –the dance– and then I realized that something is really not going well and this drenched me deeper into sadness after I greedily tried to run after and grab catch touch feel all these beautiful beings around me, but all my efforts still fall in vain as the glorious flapping of the eagles wings never reached my ears, neither did the rhythmic snapping of the flamingo’s beak as it shows off its moves, the mesmerizing song of the other birds I could hear nothing of those… And as I counted the animals, they were twelve in number.
And I… the thirteenth the incongruous the mismatched… I sat alone in grief and thought of my actions, I had no memories of anything before I opened my eyes and found myself in this desolate place, but I acted selfishly and I was arrogant and I wanted them all for me, I forgot the reason we are all here in the middle. Maybe I was like that before I end up here; maybe I was not worthy to earn a single touch on them, maybe we think in our lives that we hold the power over all living things without asking ourselves not even once if we are actually worthy enough to give names to them to keep them as company to jail them and slay them or keep the rarest of them all as proud trophies of our endless vanity.
As I sat there alone thinking of all these things we do, I felt a sudden warmth above my head, I raised my eyes to see in my surprise all the animals were sitting around me and the warmth I felt at first was the heavy breath of the great brown bear! Then, they flew all together above me the birds of the company made their flight around me and I could feel the air from their wings, the song of the nightingale finally reached my ears as my eyes wept tears, the dominant presence of the lion now had a meaning and the tiger’s growl gave me the greatest chill I ever had.
I then understood, they wanted me to find myself… how can I lead this glorious variety of beasts if I cannot find the way first! Nor the lion neither the bear, I greedily passed my hand over her pristine fur, the tiger –what I always wanted– calmly stride beside me I made the first step ahead where the scenery was not blurry anymore and now I could see the stairs in great distance yet it was clear now, the veil I had on me was lifted and along with my great colorful plangent company, we got moving to go where we all must.
Some people believe that only us humans have souls and that animals, in their inferior-to-us state of lack of cognition, never reach the bliss of heaven. But I dare them to rethink what would heaven be without animals, other than a vast majestic but deafening silent garden.
Mini stories by Savvas Devourer Tyridis
silk ponge 06
yellow & maroon
water color primer
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