by Pinakini Naik, April 8, 2013
The darkness of the night sky was upended, ravished lovingly by roguish stars, not unlike the gypsy spirit of wildflowers sprouting anywhere they feel like. The twinkling stars like little braggarts, strut their twinkly patterns in a secret sign language known only to those who speak their tongue. And yet they were only bystanders compared to the glory of the beautiful Harvest Moon. The night critters aware of the enchanted time, whirred and chirped louder than usual, fellow contenders competing for limelight in nature’s grand symphony.
On such a busy night, did naughty Noah pretend to sleep, as his mother tucked him to bed. Little did she know, that cherubic boy laying peacefully in bed had a boyish caper up his soft pajama sleeve. Long lashes grazing the onset of flushed cheeks, waited patiently for the click of a closing door and sounds of fading footsteps before flying wide open to a room lit up by a tsunami of white gold moon rays, pushing their way impatiently through the large bedroom window.
Blanket covers thrown off, a warm jacket zipped up, tiny feet shoved into shoes hiding under the bed. Clambering his way out of the window onto a tree’s arm, the bough dressed up in rustling leaves, a passage into the unknown. A snake would envy, the dexterity and smooth movement of the tiny body slithering its way down the old gnarly tree trunk, landing feet first with a soft thud as the damp ground greeted the arrival of a young traveller.
A local folklore had snuggled its way home in a young mind’s impression, prompting this heart that had seen but a few days, to beat faster than a pony’s trot. Longing gets bolder as it simmers in the warmth of imagination’s embrace, bold enough to dare venture a sighting of the oft talked about rare apparition seen only by the village lake on harvest moon night. Tiny feet fueled by aspiration hurried on to the meandering wooded trail, crushing dew laced grass blades in their innocent ardor. The gracious woods bore a magical feel, blessed as it can be, lit up in the glow of a satisfied full moon and the swaying tree limbs whispered softly to the little traveller to hurry on, the awaited moment was near.
The wood spiders lamented the loss of their hard spun silken nets as brave little Noah rushed through them, undeterred on the forbidden quest. No branches or twigs could stumble his gait or the quick progress he made. His eyes would widen in wonder upon reaching the small clearing to the shimmering lake. Moonlight had a mind of her own that night as she danced across the smooth ripples on the lake, the flirty breeze her partner in crime. Noah crouched behind a bush, quiet as can be, hoping to catch a glimpse of elusive Elysa, the shy wood nymph, a rare beauty with long flowing hair, perfection rumored enough to cast a permanent spell.
Myth or not, the scent of the night flowers carried the magic of the hour, underlining the potential where anything could happen. Patience being a hard virtue for a little boy to master, small hands found pebbles which didn’t hesitate to meet the welcoming water surface with a splash, shattering the poignant quiet. Dancing waves reflected a momentary transition of a figure disappearing into the shadows of the woods across. The mind would have deemed it a figment of imagination if it weren’t for a faint giggle that made its way to the little ears. Heartbroken at the lost chance, Noah ran to the edge of the water, his eyes searching but not finding. Had all the days of planning been in vain, valiant efforts down the drain. Downcast sad eyes met the ground to find their way to the water in front. What they found was a reflection unsurpassed, limpid eyes capturing the beauty encompassed. The moon, the stars, the skies, the trees, the boy, blending onto a liquid canvas, moved by the breath of a gentle wind, an uninterrupted stroke of creation. None complete without the other. Elysa suddenly didn’t feel distant anymore.
Insight gained with that moment wrapped in consciousness, they were peaceful steps that led Noah back home. Lying in the arms of a blissful sleep, a shy sun dawning upon an expectant horizon, he dreamt a dream where all birds sang in unison and there was nary a single exclusion.