Jeannie in the Sky with Diamonds







By way of explanation...A COMPANION FAIRY TALE

Once upon a time, there was a precocious girl-child who wanted to ask many questions before she gained the ability to speak. Her mother, who had raised three children already, was no longer mindful of explaining the world to her youngest child.  So the baby girl, in the absence of explanations, answered her own questions.

One day, when the girl was not more than four years old, she had a
question she could not answer. Mother and child were traveling a long road that could be seen to the horizon. Other travelers dotted the road as far as the eye could see. As these travelers disappeared into the distance, the young girl's curiosity could not be contained.

"Mother, when the travelers reach the end of the road, why do we not see them marching up into the blue sky? Shouldn't the road continue up when it reaches the edge?"

Her mother laughed heartily at the image this conjured.

"My dear child," she answered with amusement, "don't you see? Everyone knows the world is like a ball, and the road lies like a ribbon on top of it. The travelers eventually progress to the other side of the horizon, which is only as far as you are able to see."

The little girl considered this. A new reality crept over her like dawn across a troubled landscape.

The child's eyes grew wide and she whispered, "You mean...we're on the outside?"

As the tiny girl began to understand,
everything above her loomed threateningly large. It was as if small pieces of the world she knew were crumbling and falling to the ground, first some plaster then a beam until the cold, hard sky was pressing down upon her.

For many years afterward, the girl lived as one who might be crushed at any moment from falling debris. She had little trust in life and took few risks to her circumstances.

Then one day, out of the blue, a waking dream overtook the now grown woman. She looked and saw she was that four-year-old, precocious child again. Before her rose a giant window onto the world. To see out of it, she had to place her step-stool on the edge of the earth and balance herself. She could not discern whether the window was inside, looking out or outside, looking in. She heard her mother's laughter at her illusion of containment and felt again her own fear of exposure.

Remembering the day her world fell from the sky, the dream-child felt compelled to repeat herself, this time to the Great Mother, "You mean...we're on the outside?"

At first, she saw a long crack pierce a fiery-red, plaster sky. Was this the end? Would her vulnerability now be realized for eternity? The clouds swelled upward as might an expanding balloon, doomed to reach its limit with an explosion of nothingness.

Many years before, this girl's fear and her mother's laughter had prevented her from receiving the complete answer to her naive curiosity. As she now teetered at the edge of the earth she witnessed the parting of the clouds and the rich flurry of stars like diamonds emerging from the blue-blackness beyond. She felt the lifting of each and every one of her soft, golden hairs in succession from the nape of her neck up to the top of her forehead and down to the tips of her fingers. Her face
frozen and shining with awe, the girl whispered something wordless and meaningful, the answer to her own question. Pure beauty of color, distance, light, and presence spilled through her window erasing her fear, as her mother's laughter swirled into the sound of the wind and the songs of the birds circling below her.

Copyright © 2008 Jeri Lynn Ross
all rights reserved