“Dreams are the seeds of change. Nothing ever grows without a seed, and nothing ever changes without a dream.”
~ Debby Boone
What Happens to Dreams that we Let Die?
She’d left those seeds in the snow, forgetting that they were ever real. Seeds left to die. So, for a thousand years they stayed there, lost to the world and frozen deep inside the death grip of snow as hard and mighty as glacial permafrost.
And for a thousand years her heart felt empty, devoid of hope or dreams. She wondered aimlessly through the gloomy woods in search of something that she couldn’t quite remember. At night, she slept long dreamless sleeps under dark moonless skies with no stars to guide her back home. No hearth could warm her soul. No rain could wash away the sadness that permeated her life. For the longest time, emptiness became her name.
Until one day – and that one day always comes – when she heard a whisper in the icy winter wind. Something called her name. It called her to come North. With nothing to lose and nothing to keep her where she was, she gathered her old cloak, a treasure intricately woven from woodland moss and elderflower petals by the generations of women who came before her. She put on her sheep skin shoes and set off on her journey to the far off lands in the North.
She walked for 7 days and 7 nights across frozen meadows and snow covered hills, the whisper in the wind guiding her along the way. She walked across the frozen lake and up narrow mountain paths, until she reached a black bear’s cave.
A voice echoed from inside the cave.
“Come in Moss Child,” it said. “Come rest a little while. You’ve travelled long and far.”
Weary from her journey, she entered the black bear’s home. She sat down by the fire and for the first time in too many years, she felt a space inside her heart warm.
Great mother black bear brought her a jug of warm honey mead. It smelt of spring – pink rose petals dancing in the wind, delicate white strawberry blossoms smiling at the sun, woody green rosemary twigs singing to the bees and the fresh aroma of climbing thyme after the first spring rains. She drank the honey mead slowly, savouring each sweet and delicious sip. When she was done and her belly was full, her body warm and her heart alive with new buds of hope, she laid her head on mother black bear’s lap and drifted off to sleep. And of course, for the first in too many years she dreamt a thousand dreams.
She dreamt of catching butterflies and shooting stars in a net and gathering herbs in her grandmother’s ancient foraging basket. She dreamt that she was walking through a forest in bloom, picking buttercup flowers with her future daughters. She dreamt of swimming with the dolphins and planting seaweed gardens at the bottom of the ocean floor. As she slept and dreamt of many things for all the times her deep sleeps had been dreamless, the mountain snow began to melt. The wild Earth was waking up. Primroses and snowdrops pierced through the earth. Birds returned to the trees and the moon returned to the sky. No one really knows how long she slept for, but when she finally woke from her slumber, the black bear and her cubs had long left the cave and were making their way into spring.
The scent of wild roses greeted her when she stepped outside of the bear cave and she knew immediately that the world was a different place. She breathed in a long and deep breath of fresh midnight mountain air. She held her breath for long time and as she did, shadowy places inside of her that had long been shut away began to return to life. She exhaled with a big sigh, relieved to release a thousand years of darkness from the corners of her heart. Overhead, stars danced cheerily around their midnight moon queen. Somewhere in the midnight forest the owls called to each other.
Her journey was not over yet, for when the wind picked up again, this time carrying the stories of the new season, it asked her to walk further still to the high upper reaches of the mountain. She obliged and continued up narrow rocky paths following the map of the wind. She walked until she felt something call her to stop on a mountain cliff ledge still covered in snow. She stood in the snow, her delicate little footprints slowly melting away behind her. Looking out into the valley below, the silver forests and melting meadows glowed in the luminous lunar light. She could feel the sacred essence of the quiet land resting in its midnight stillness. Somewhere in the valley wolves howled to the moon.
She felt something at her feet. She looked down and noticed a small brown leather pouch rising slowly through the melting snow. It seemed familiar. When she picked up the pouch and ran her fingers over it, she knew that it was hers. She started to remember. It held something that she lost in the snow many centuries ago. She untied the string and pulled the pouch open.
And there they were…a thousand tiny seeds.
Magical seeds with a powerful dream locked in each.
She breathed her warm breath over them, whispering:
“Hello. Remember me?”
The seeds began to sing in response, each one offering its own sweet song. As they did, she remembered more. She remembered who she was and what she’d lost and what had now been returned to her once more. Thick beads of salty tears rolled down the soft skin of her delicate cheeks. And as her tears dropped to the muddy earth beneath her, the last remaining shards of darkness melted from her heart.
She took off her moss cloak and laid it at her feet. One by one, she kissed each seed and the dream it held, and then planted it in the moss. One by one, each seed kissed her back, grateful for the promise of new life. By the time that the last seed was planted, the moon had sunk to the horizon and the sun was peeling the night sky open. She stood for a long while, watching the sky wake up. New colours spread across the breath-taking forests and meadows in the valley. In the distance, the once frozen lake glistened like an ocean of liquid gold. She felt so much joy in her heart. Finally, after all this time all was right within her.
She walked down the mountain enveloped in the soothing caress of the early morning sun. She couldn’t help but smile and sing. She sang old songs, ones that her mother taught her in her youth. And as she walked and sang, the sun touched the seeds and they began to sprout. They weaved their roots into her moss and elderflower cloak, and from each seed grew a plethora of beautiful dreams. These were her dreams. Forgotten dreams that she’d thought she had let die. As she discovered, the truth is that dreams, just like seeds frozen for thousands of years in permafrost, never really die. They may sleep and lie dormant for what feels like endless time, but when the ice melts and they are rediscovered, all they need is a little care to be nurtured back to life.
What dreams have you let die? They are never lost. You can breathe the gift of life back into them if this is what you choose.