by Angela Kirk
Once upon a time there were a family of bears. They were celebrating their annual trip to the forest nearby, and all morning there had been huge excitement, preparing delicious food for a picnic. It was Edward bears’ birthday party, and he had invited friends to share his special day. Father bear led the way, and mummy bear was so full of love and devotion for her family that her fur radiated warmth, and had a smell of sweetness.
They found the perfect spot to rest and play. Edward known affectionately as ‘Teddy’ was so full and tired after eating the honey cake, that he lay against a huge tree and let himself drift and completely relax. A wonderful sensation came over him, and he imagined himself dreaming, but he had never felt more alive. Suddenly everything seemed to radiate beauty and he felt energised by his surroundings. It was as if he was seeing the world with new eyes. He was aware that his family and friends had colours all around them and he was amazed that he hadn’t noticed this before. All the details of the forest were so clear and all the creatures lived in harmony together. He felt absorbed by the tree itself, and enjoyed being given an enormous hug. He had the sense of belonging with everything. As he looked up into the branches, ribbons of rainbow light shone from the tree, flooding the whole area with vitality and a sense of peace. Teddy felt very held and content, and knew he was being filled with love. He noticed all the birds in the branches, understanding every note of their song on the breeze.
Then as several animals came closer, he was astonished that he was able to understand their language and communicate. Wise Owl gave him messages reminding him to be watchful and learn the art of stillness and detachment.
Overhead he saw an Eagle swooshing in the air with an enormous wingspan. He came to give him the gift of vision, and told the little bear to see the bigger picture, but also notice the smallest details of life as this could help him in the future.
Next Fox came forward stating that his special accomplishment was to never miss an opportunity. Bold Badger followed suggesting play as a way of honing skills and having fun. Then there was Spider weaving his web of perfection, telling him about patterns of nature. All of Edward’s senses were alert and he asked Himself what it all meant? The aromas and good company of these fellow creatures made him so happy that he sighed with contentment. Everything was perfect exactly as it was in this moment, from the earthy fragrance to the expansive sky. He could imagine himself older like his papa, remembering everything he had witnessed on this wonderful birthday.
Then slowly he was aware of his playmates’ laughter, and this seemed to bring him back. He wondered if this was reality, as he felt he had returned to an enchanted land. A sadness swept over the little bear and that special radiance around everything had disappeared. He yearned to go back to that place that reminded him of his real home. The birds still chirped in the tree but he felt dazed and alone despite being with his family. Mama bear, meantime, had been watching closely and she gave Teddy that sweet knowing smile of reassurance and said to him “Not yet, there are still things to learn and be done my love. I’m with you always so hold my hand and let’s go back”. Edward asked if his friends could come too, and she said “Yes of course!”. Papa bear began to sing and they all journeyed through the forest in the best of spirits. What a memorable day it had been, full of surprises, but Edward never mentioned his experiences to his friends as he knew he had so much to consider. He was sure they would make fun of him if he recounted his adventure. He simply felt grateful for his day of blessings.