Written with Love Written Special


The poppy and the rock

Marjo Dohmen

June 2005

Translation: Idelette.

Somewhere at the edge of a forest, made of oak trees and eternity, stood a large grey stone. In every season motionless, untouched by everything what was going on around him. Nobody knew how he got there or when or how long ago. Even the stone did not know it any more. It was like he had always been there.

Birds rested on his quiet shoulders, butterflies flew around his stone head and at his feet the earth moved, as quick salamanders were looking for a place in the sun. And in the distance, the fields gloomed heavy, pregnant of corn and of fertility.

Sometimes, very rare, a human passed by and told his stories to the stone. About all things that happened, about love and sorrow, about life and death. Or the human told of his dreams and how much he would like them to come true, and he asked the stone how to realize this.

The stone listened, didn't move and listened. Even when the human became quiet, as quiet as the stone, as unmoved, he didn't get an answer from the stone. But the stone didn't say anything, stayed motionless and silent, because he didn't know the answer. He wasn’t entitled to speak.

He was not happy, the stone, he was not unhappy. He just was.

One morning, while the woven daylight moved over the fields towards the sun, the stone felt a slight longing for colour. He thought about himself as boring and old. So terrible colourless, so grey. He was not content anymore. He asked Mother Earth to give him a colour, he asked it Father Sun, the trees, the field. He also asked the clouds and the wind. To every piece of dust that was in the air, he asked; "Grant me the colour of joy, of love, of happiness, of life." He believed in the kindness of Mother Earth, in the wisdom of Father Sun, in the generosity of the wind and the clouds.

He knew, he would get what he wanted, if he only longed for it enough and believed in it enough. His yearning for colour grew bigger and bigger and he became more and more sad, more and more unhappy. He did not feel the birds anymore, he didn't see the butterflies, nor the salamanders, he was no longer conscious of the seasons. He only knew what he missed, his longing, his useless grey existence.

In this way the days passed bye, filled with hope, desire and sadness, in the vagueness of achievement.

But early one morning in May, while the birds were resting on his shoulder and the clouds were playing with the wind, the earth moved at the feet of the stone. It wasn’t a salamander, no, it was a little flower, hidden deep within itself, curled up like a vulnerable question sign, that came out of the moist soil. She rubbed the sleep out of her eyes, stretched her pink little leaves and looked amazed at the big stone, who limited her world like a giant grey wall.

The stone at first, motionless as always, almost fell amazed over, when he saw the lightning colours of the leaves of the flower. "That's my colour", he called out, "that's it. That's how I want to be. Mother Earth, Father sky, brother tree, clouds and wind, I have found it, this is it, this is my colour!"

The little poppy, trembled for scare and didn't understand why the big grey stone, was that outrageous. She looked upon him with respect and asked him; "hello stone, why did you call out that loud? What is going on with you?"

And the stone answered; "I am so happy I found you, little flower, because you are made exactly of the colour, I always wanted to have. Give your colour to me please and I will be the happiest stone on earth."

"How am I supposed to do that", asked the poppy, "my colour is also my life, when I give you my leaves, I will die. You would not like that, sweet stone. And you, you are so big and strong, a grey rock of peace and protection, why should you like to be different of what you are? I like you, I think you are fine and precious, I need you just the way you are."

"You are not going to die", the stone said, "it only seems to be like that. Your roots always hide new life, you are endless. So just give me your leaves and make me happy.”

"Perhaps I might not really die", the little poppy said, "yet it will appear like that, so I just can't give you my leaves, just like that. They won't fit you, they don't belong to you, as well as I could not be a grey poppy. You know what, we’ll ask Mother Earth, Father Sky, brother tree, the clouds and the wind. They are old and wise, they already have seen so many things, they surely know, what to do."

"Okay, okay", the stone said, "let's ask them. I don't think it's fair you are so beautiful red orange, and I only exist of greys. Now it's my turn to get a colour."

The little poppy and the big stone together became very quiet and unanimous, made contact in thought with the earth, with the sun, with the trees, the clouds and the wind. They asked advice, an answer. And the answer came.

"Big stone", Mother Earth said," why do you mourn so much? Why do you ask for something you always already had? Why can't you see the truth, through the illusion of your grey poverty? You have all the colours one can carry, you always have had them. How often didn't I sent the wind your way, asked the clouds to wash you clean with rain, and asked Father sun, to make you shining dry again, so the most beautiful colours could reflect themselves on you. The blue of the sky, the green of the grass, the ochre of the trees, the yellow and the orange of the butterflies. Even in winter, when the snow covered you with her reflecting crystals, you were never without a colour. And even now I put a poppy at your feet and her tender red shines with passion in all the dewdrops the night gave you, and yet you still are not content. What else can we do more than all that?"

'Oh Mother Earth", the stone silently spoke, "I am so ashamed. Excuse me for having been so stupid and blind. You are right, of course you are right. I just didn't see, I was too busy in being unhappy, with wanting to be somebody else, with wanting more than I need. How can I make it up for it?"

"Ah, well my child", Mother Earth said, "cheer up, you don't have to make up for anything. Ignorance is no debt. My most beautiful reward is, you finally understood, what it's all about. To glance in you own unique self, to recognize your own pure colour, in reflecting the colours of others. All that is, needs one another. Because for the beauty of all that is, becomes visible only then, because of the divergent beauty of someone else. Because being different, also means addition. You protect the little poppy for the wind, she gives you colour. You carry the birds on your shoulders, they give you colour. You are a beacon of rest for the trees, they give you the colour.

All that is, needs one another, You understood my child and that's why I give you a voice, to pass on the knowing to others. And I give you a name, Whispering rock, is what you will be called."

Mother Earth became silence, together with Father Sun, brother tree, the clouds and the wind, to watch Whispering Rock, who had more colour than ever before, in the light of the rising dawn. Or did he blush of shame, or was it a little bit of pride?

Somewhere on the edge of a forest, made of oak trees and of eternity, stands a large grey stone.

Birds are resting on his shoulder, butterflies are flying around his stone head and at his feet, a little frivolous poppy is dancing, rocking herself in his protective rest.

Sometimes, very rare, a human is passing by and tells his stories to the stone. About all things that happen, about love and sorrow, about life and death. About the missing and the loneliness, about what he is longing for and which dreams he wants to make true.

The stone is listening, doesn't move himself and is listening. And sometimes, when the human has become very quiet, as motionless as the stone, as untouched, then he can hear the answer of the rock. Whispering, lighter than a breeze, as if the answer has never been there and yet always existed.

And the human smiles, enriched to truth and trust .

Light footed his road is coloured.

He is not happy, the stone, he is not unhappy. He is.