Reading

Before I begin, I must tell you that I am just visiting for a while. The world, that is. And no, I am not an alien. What I mean is, I live somewhere else. I live in a place where the forests respond to my whispers, and if you stare carefully enough, up in the trees, more can be seen than initially expected. Small, transparent-winged creatures with flowing hair and sun-kissed skin; almost human, one might say, but ever so small – fairy-sized. They flit from branch to branch, and I stare, in wonder of the tiny beings.

Wander a little further and I come across a cluster of what at first sight would appear to be children, standing around red and white polka dotted toad stools, deliberating what path to take through the woodland, searching the patterned surface of the fungi for the answer. But I know they are not children. They were, once, but not anymore.

They always hear me approach; their pointed ears are well tuned. I breeze past their thoughtful faces some days, without stopping to assist them, with a warm smile. And I remember a date in my head. And I remind myself, August 2001 – that is when they arrived here.

But of course, where I live there are creatures more familiar to the human world too. If I sit down to rest, it is not unusual to see them peep, with inquisitive eyes, from their homes and venture out to sit beside me. I enjoy the rabbits’ company especially – they’re always followed by their adventurous litter of grass-thumping children.

And, if ever I’m resting, I always look out for the ivory horse. He moves gracefully towards me, his long mane sparkling with those small white lights given off by the winged beings that dart from treetop to treetop. Sometimes he doesn’t always reach me. Sometimes he vanishes into the pure air. And sometimes I see it happen, see his body lose its form to the silver wind and disappear with it. Those moments are magical.

There are days when I stroll along sandy shores, watching the vibrant horizon, and the ship, shrunken with distance, flying the flag that electrifies my nerves with each sighting. But of course, you will be familiar with it also. The skull and crossbones are not entirely uncommon, are they? Again, I remember a date, the moment she sailed into my sunset with the magnificence only a majestic vessel can possess.

My home is a deliciously exciting place. I can go anywhere, do anything, feel whatever I choose. And I live here, quite simply, because of stories. Each is individually significant. Every page invites a new feature, another being inside. But my home is never full. There is always room.

I live within my imagination and it is my most favourite place of all. I pass over its enchanted walls from time to time, to see how the world is progressing, or not progressing. But I always return to my ever expanding land. It changes, grows wilder in some parts, with every book, every word I absorb. And I encourage it. After all, I am the reader who hand picks the mysterious, exhilarating, and sometimes troubling instalments that are to be taken to the world behind the wall.

Imagination is a gift presented to each and every one of us. All we must do is accept, embrace and enhance it through reading. And then, what wondrous homes we’d all have.

So, when you stumble across somebody engrossed in a story, unless they allow themselves to be distracted, leave them be.  Let them enjoy their gift, whilst it’s still new and fresh. Let them run away with their tale, far into the depths of their minds, where every dream, thought and hope exists. Let them escape into that world, to have their adventure.

They will come back when they’re ready.

By Jenny Morrison

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