In the valley of the mind, a dream takes flight. It rides the wind, dipping and twisting on the path of a starling, and slows naught for the doubt that nips at its glowing heels. The moment it leaves the ground, the valley is its own. Fog swirls in playful currents, twisting under delicate paper wings as the dream smiles, delighted, and dares to break through the clouds into the sky above. As the chill of the mist washes over it, it blinks open clear eyes. You could look right into them and see nothing but stars; pinpricks, twinkling bright and sweet with promise, yet unfathomable distances away.
All of a sudden, a new light breaks the horizon. Once hazy and muted, the skyline erupts in bronze and gold.
The sun rises.
It eats away at the curling mist, chases it out of its path until there is nothing standing in between the fragile wings of the dream and the sun’s scorching rays. In a blink, flames lick hungrily across the breezy folds, devouring airy paper as though it’s slicked with oil. And like Icarus, the first to fly too high, the dream lets out a silent wail and drops in a blaze worthy of the myths. Struck mercilessly from the sky for even hoping to live past the protected heart of the valley, for daring to step away from the dreamy shadows of the forest and breach the clouds above.
A foolish dream.
And so, like Icarus, it falls, with none to hear its cries or smell its ashen wings. It is not a glorious journey down, nowhere close to the famed or fabled descents of its predecessors. Time does not slow, nor does smoke linger. As soft paper crumples and withers away and clear eyes start to dim, even the uncaring sun has already moved on. With so many places to be, it cares not for how the branches below bend and break; doesn’t bear witness to the leaves as they twirl, kicking up in surprise and fear. It cannot even be bothered to wait for the cold, loud thump of impact; the mark of finality.
And on the damp, musty forest floor…the dream dies. Not from hubris, no, but from daring to ever leave the ground at all. Eyes that contained the universe slide shut in sorrow. Dampened husks of once-beautiful wings flutter and fall still.
The sun dips out of sight once more, and night falls like a blanket. Like a shroud.
The valley is mourning, in its own quiet way.
“And did you learn your lesson?” the silence seems to ask.
There is no answer.