Deothora felt the wind rush against her face, in gentle remembrance of her mother's soothing touch when she had a fever. To her surprise, the landscape which opened beneath her was one which was almost totally foreign to her, yet, somehow, familiar! At first, she was startled by the fact that she was viewing this scene from such a great distance, but she felt no fear as her stable flight seemed to continue with no sign of ending. Dipping low over the mountain, Deothora tried flapping her arms in an effort to maneuver around the highest peaks, but she found that her arms were pinioned gently by her sides! Consciously taking more note of her immediate surroundings, Deothora found that, on both sides, she was firmly but gently being held by what appeared to be a large, furry, green paw ( or was it a hand? )! Craning her neck as far as she could, she followed the paw/hand back & upward till she found what she had sought for so long. The face she saw, except for the almost cartoonish goofiness, would almost have made one's heart skip a beat & indeed, hers almost did, that is, until she found herself gazing into the kindest, gentlest eyes she had ever seen. As Deothora hung there motionless, having forgotten for a time that she was hurtling at a gentle speed through the clouds, being held by some strange contrivance, she heard a gentle, but obviously powerful voice come out of that cartoonish, almost goofy face above her; 'oh good, you're awake'! When she finally found her voice, which seemed to have been removed from her, ever since she had awoken in such alarming, but peaceful surroundings, the first syllables Deothora was able to utter were, 'who are you? & 'where am I?' The gentle giant chuckled, one of those deep belly-laughs that dragons are famous for-yes this was an honest-to-goodness dragon; 'I am your dream come true' he roared-although it entered her ears as more of a comforting whisper. 'As to where you are,' the dragon continued, 'open your eyes & see!' 'It should be obvious where you are, for you have traversed this country many times!' Turning her wandering gaze downward once again & without even straining her eyes, Deothora discovered that she recognized many of her most favorite places! Having never seen them from this vantage point, though, they had not resonated in her memory, like they should have.
'You have always been so close to the ground', her furry friend said, 'you might not have noticed the beauty that was there all the time, just waiting for you to soar above it all!' Deothora found the view quite breath-taking as they continued to glide effortlessly through the clouds. Though she had experienced the wind in her face before, she had never imagined it could be this exhilarating, or......comfortable?! As high above the ground as they were & as swiftly as they were moving-although it felt like they were just out for a stroll-Deothora was amazed that she was not in the least bit cold! 'Of course', she thought, almost laughingly, 'I AM surrounded by fur!'
Deothora's heart had been captured by a dragon, which, if you know anything about dragons-or think you know-have gotten a bad rap! Dragons are pictured in many fairy-tales as almost the personification of evil. However, we who know, know that dragons are simply creatures like us! Okay, so they have wings to fly, but really, so do we! We can read a book, or even just sit with our eyes closed, listening to music & soar through the clouds of imagination. While our bodies are tethered to the ground-through the unseen force of gravity, or some such vain imagination-our spirits soar through the clouds, allowing us to rise above it all & appreciate the beauty that surrounds us, though too often it seems we can't see the forest for the trees!
Elothar-that was the dragon's name- had surprised Deothora in a dream one day, lifting her out of her slumber & giving her a view of her country that she had only ever imagined in her dreams! As they flew over the ever-changing landscape, Deothora began to relish the wind in here face; 'faster, faster!' she cried. Tilting his huge head down, her furry friend replied, 'if we go any faster, you won't enjoy the journey, my dear!' To prove his point, Elothar sped up his pace very minutely & THEN Deothora realized that she was beginning to feel the cold air they had been soaring through all along! She had such a peaceful feeling, clutched in Elothar's giant paw, that she had never before noticed the chill that was in the air, forming the very mists they were flying through!
Deothora had never experienced such bliss, though in her dreams she had always suspected that she had glimpsed it! Elothar had given Deothora more than just a glimpse, however; he had shown her how to rise above it all. He had shown her that, while in dreams we soar, even in our waking moments, we CAN rise above it all, see the beauty of the forest in which we live & enjoy the comfort & security which dragons may afford us. Soaring through the clouds, though, as Elothar & Deothora did that day, we must be ever careful to curb our speed, for if we try to go too fast, we may miss something along the way; as dragons know best, a slow, but steady, pace is best for both comfort & enjoyment!
As all good things must come to an end, as they say, so Deothora's flight of fancy came to an abrupt, but not uncomfortable conclusion! Elothar spoke to her in a tone that was both joyful & sad; 'our time together is over for now-do not say 'goodbye'-but never fear, always soar; I will see you in your dreams!' As he spoke these parting words, Deothra felt the giant paws tighten about her in a kind of farewell hug & then, for what seemed like hours-though it couldn't have bee more than a minute or two-Deothora was soaring by herself, in a steady but gentle glide towards the country she had grown to love & the place she called Home. As her favorite bed rushed up to greet her, with its loving embrace, the gnawing realization finally hit her; 'WAIT, I remember you NOW!'
Charles Haddon Shank