Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Asia (02/26/09)
TITLE: With Cherry Blossoms in Her Hair
By Jim McWhinnie
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I slowed my pace to but an occasional step. I wanted to linger here, losing myself in these tender moments of timelessness. I wanted to become lost in forever. I looked skyward into the warming sunlight so that one by one the delicate flowers of pink and white might kiss my face before passing on to the path below. I drew long, deep breaths so that I might fill my soul with the lightly perfumed whisper of a breeze. I would close my eyes so that my ears might catch the songbirds in their rejoicing, the laughter of distant children in their playing, the air rustling the trees in their glorifying God.
Then as I drifted deeper and deeper into my bliss, I felt a tiny tugging on my sleeve. I reluctantly opened my eyes and turned my gaze down toward a little Japanese girl with cherry blossoms in her hair. She gave to me her smile, then lifted her hand upward to me. In her hand sat a little bird clothed in white and pink feathers as if the bird herself had been created out of the cherry blossoms themselves. The little bird, she too looked up to me. She chirped and waited for my response, whatever my song might prove to be.
I was lost in the magic of this interlude, a little girl, a little bird, so much at peace with each other and so much at peace with me -- no fear at all, none at all. I thought the bird must have been wounded, but she was not. She had drifted down from the cherry trees among the falling blossoms. And this little girl with cherry blossoms in her hair had lifted her from the earth with her loving, gentle hands.
I could not figure out at first what the little girl expected of me. I knew only English and I sensed she knew only Japanese. She then pointed with her other hand. “Up there in the tree, a nest.” Then I slowly began to understand. She had lifted this bird as far she could and she needed me to lift the bird a little further.
And so I did. The bird returned to her nest and her siblings there. The little girl with cherry blossoms in her hair, she smiled at me then took off to other worlds. The little bird sang to me as I strolled down the path.
Looking back, it all felt like ... well, it all felt like the peace of God, the gentle grace of God that lifts us higher and higher into that realm where heaven and earth do mingle, the place where cherry blossoms fill the air.
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