06-4 Snow Daisy’s Dream

Why would we be given dreams
But no chance
Them coming true?


In the Glades

In the high mountains, where the fir trees are tall and stay dense in dark forests, now and then there is a glade, for some reason.  There, the blades of the grass are fine but hardy and barely longer than a hand.  They stand in dense clusters, leaving space in between for myriads of flowers.

The particular meadow, where this story took place, was parted by a purling creek, which had its spring half an hour’s walk higher up the mountain at the edge of a glacier.  Winter had just finished and most of the snow had melted, although, some lumps with blackened scorches had receded into corners with perpetual shade.  There they would wait until the onset of the winter to come.

Now the meadow belonged to the flowers.  The eager early ones, the crocuses and snowdrops, had broken free their way to the light through the last layers of snow and firn ice and had long proclaimed the advent of spring; but now they had already gone and withdrawn into their bulbs underground.

Now, many kinds of flowers showered their pride of colours across the luscious green blanket of the new grass.  There were many yellow ones, like the tiny yellow buttercups with their round, glossy petals, and arnica, just looking like a yellow daisy and the frilly dandelion, and the dahlias with their funny yellow flower balls that balance on their tall stem covered with white woolly fur.

The purple clover was competing with the sorrel for the brighter colour and therefore to attracts more bees and butterflies to their early feast.  The prickly thistle spreads out its leaves and makes sure no one eats it.  And above them was the Speedwell with its flamboyant friends, the Snapdragons.

And finally, the many daisies were prevailing in the glade with their white flowers with their yellow centres.  The days were already warm enough, inspiring them to sprout and soon they would open their buds.

About Whom?

This story happened to a particular snow daisy, its name was Lorin.  Initially, there was nothing exceptional about this flower; maybe it was the place where it grew that affected its future.  It grew in the marshy ground near the creek on a gentle slope down to the water’s edge.

When it first saw the meadow and the surrounding tall trees the creek was still covered with ice and all was quiet.  When the sun began to climb higher into the sky and her warm beams stroked the land the ice drew back and searched for hiding in the nooks amongst the rocks and the river banks.  Now Lorin could watch the running water and listened to its singing when swirling and gurgling around the big pebbles.

Shortly after, Lorin discovered the purpose of fir trees.  When they waved their branches, they would make the wind and move the clouds to bring the rain and provide shade, just at the right time.

Moreover, at night when the sun cast her dark blanket across the sky to make it dark, she pulled it over the spiky tops of the fir trees.  And they pierced tiny holes in it and small sparkles of light could shine through.  So the night was not all that scary.  The little flower was grateful to them and all was good.

Compared with all the flowers on the meadow, not many had such good fortune of growing near the creek. Even thou, perhaps more important was that Lorin could see the other bank of the brook.  It was covered with flowers, just like over here, but the point was, they grew on the other side.

Lorin could talk to all the flowers nearby but not those over there.  Don’t we always strive for what seems unattainable?  That was how Lorin’s special dream developed, the one about travelling to the bank on the other side of the creek and talk to the flowers over there.

Maybe there was something else unusual about Lorin.  Nearby, there was a flower just like Lorin but a bit taller.  Its petals had a delicate, papery sheen and its leaves were covered with silver hair.  That was so attractive but what Lorin admired most was the strong perfume it emitted.  One could say Lorin would have liked to be such a flower.

Bumblebees and flutterbies always brought excitement.  They tickled and made the little flower sneeze.  Bees most probably could have noticed that Lorin was an exceptional flower, but they were far too busy to engage in idle natter with a simple snow daisy, with a majestic sunflower, most possibly.

For a gawky flutterby, one snow daisy was just like any other; considering its aloofness, one should not really expect any discernment of more delicate nuances.  Every time the little flower tried to steer the conversation towards the flowers on the other side of the creek, the flutterby would wonder what the point was of this silly flower’s interest in flowers over there.  Still, living life somewhat idler, it did not mind some philosophising chatting.

One day, the beautiful flower nearby was leaning ever so slightly towards Lorin, who eagerly thought that this flower wanted to make its acquaintance.  Politely Lorin introduced itself, a conversation started.

Its name was Melis, and soon they were friends, which was encouraged by the fact that they were standing quite close together, actually so near that they could whisper to each other without anyone else overhearing them.

And since we all need a friend to express our most personal thoughts and yearning desires, one day, Lorin knew, it would muster all courage and tell this friend about its longingly dream.

Sharing the Secret

After reminiscing about this particular dream had kept Lorin awake all night long, it decided that the time had come.  It could hardly wait for the sun to rise and when Melis finally opened its first petals, it burst out, as quietly as one can possibly burst out: “I want to go to the other side of the creek.”

“You do what?”  Melis uttered still more than half asleep.  “I want to go to the other side of the creek,” echoed the reply.  “Impossible,”  mumbled Melis, who treasured morning sleep-in time.  Slightly annoyed, it tried to whisk off this baffling comment like an unpleasant insect.

By no means, Lorin was ready to give up this easily: “You are my best friend, aren’t you?  I am telling you my deepest desire and all you can say is: impossible.  Is that all you can say?  Do you really mean to hurt my feelings?”  This avalanche of emotions shook Melis into a total state of alert, all petals standing at attention:

“Why, for all green grass blades’ sake, would you want to go to the other side of the creek?  Over here the grass is a green as it is over there, the soil is at least as sweet as over there if not sweeter, there are the same flowers over there,” and as a final trump it hushed: “and why would you want to leave me behind?  Am I not your best friend?”

Lorin ignored all that had been said.  “I want to talk to the flowers over there,” was the singular statement.  Melis’ petals flattened limply, its stalk slightly corkscrewed.  “Why would you, why would anyone want to talk to the flowers over there?  They are the same over here.  What could they possibly know what we don’t?  Why would it be more fun to speak with them?”  Lorin did not respond to any detail but stoically replied: “I just want to.”

That was too much for Melis; its leaves took on a darker tinge, tightened and curled a bit along the edges.  This was totally irrational.  And then it explained all about flowers having roots, stuck in the ground for food, safety and plenty more good reasons.

And that this is a good thing and that it always has been like that and that it will be like that always.  If flowers were meant to walk around, they would have been given legs.  All this left Melis rather perturbed and breathless.

Lorin turned quiet, pulled up its petals even it was full daylight and did not speak for almost half a day.  Then mundane things softened its sulking, and a flutterby’s tickle made it laugh.

They had not talked about that special dream since, but whenever Melis saw its friend staring across the creek it knew that the dream had not been forgotten.  It would not have come as a surprise at all if Lorin would have talked about the dream again.   The friend did not mind at all, and this time Melin would be better prepared and would be more helpful.

But things turned out very differently.  One night, when being deep asleep, Lorin was tormented by its desire so much that it started calling out in its sleep.  And what did it call out?  “I want to go to the other side of the creek.”  “I want to go to the other side of the creek.”  “I want to go to the other side of the creek.”  Too late Melis was awake enough to shake and quieten Lorin.  Alas, by then all in the vicinity had heard the cry.

All knew who had shouted and after a brief moment of bated breath they burst out in boisterous laughter.  Others woke up from the noise, enquired and joined in the laughter.  Within a minute Lorin’s deepest desire was common knowledge across the whole glade and if the forest would have not been so dense and had muffled the laughter the whole mountain would have learned about it, and the range, the country, the world and nothing could have stopped it from becoming known to the entire universe.

If Melis would not have been there at this moment, Lorin would have withered away in embarrassment, in an instant.  For days after, it was touch and go.  But the strength of the soil, nature’s care and a strong instinct of survival and most of all Melis’ untiring support pulled Lorin through.  However, the little flower was never the same.  This had scared the little flower for life.

Forgetting is the blessing of time.  The repetitiveness of a day’s events and occasional surprises made all return to their everyday chores.  Nothing is as old as yesterday’s news even in the world of the glade, and the night had slipped off the daily gossip much faster than out of Lorin’s mind.  Still, their forgetting helped its memories fade.

Moving Beings

One morning Lorin heard an unusual sound, some sort of ongoing clunking.  The flower was familiar with the songs of the many different birds and had learned to recognise them by their tunes.

It had listened to the sound of the wind in the crowns of the fir trees, the bubbling of the water in the creek, the many sounds rain can make and the earth-shattering cracking of thunder.  But this clunking it had never heard before.

News always flew across the meadow like a brisk breeze.  And in particular news about things no one had ever heard about before, were always started by the old gnarly juniper berry bush up in the sunniest corner of the glade.  It knew everything.

“The cows have arrived!  They eat everything!”  For a moment this announcement was extremely disconcerting; who knew what cows were?  But the alarming message was mellowed by “They only eat grass!”  Did anyone notice that the blades of the grass trembled with terror, quivered more than ever before?

And there they came.  Startled to its most inner fibre, Lorin watched them.  Big stern, swaying things, moving slowly but steadily, unstoppable; who would not be scared of them?  Their enormous bodies blocked out the sun.  But Lorin noticed that they took extreme care.  Tiptoeing on four legs those giants balanced through the grass.

Amazing; and they really only picked up bunches of grass, and only every now and a while a stalk of sorrel. Lorin knew bells, however, much smaller, from the bellflowers and they did not sound. But those the big bells attached to cows would make the clunking sound every time they lowered their heads to grab some grass.

Did Lorin like them?  It was of two minds, for a snow daisy’s taste they were fine at a distance, but at near range, just a wee bit too big and too noisy.  But the amazing, important discovery of this day was, it had now seen beings, big beings that can walk about.

A Significant Encounter

Days followed each other as reliable and insignificant as one bumblebee’s visit the next, seemingly innumerous like the stars in the night sky.  The weather had turned warmer, and the sun took more time for his travel across the sky; maybe he was more pleased with what he saw.

Lorin’s stalk had grown strong; its white petals had acquired a crimson tinge and shone brightly and its yellow centre disk brimmed from happiness.  And besides cows, also rabbits, squirrels, marmots and many other animals had visited the glade, thus pleasantly interrupting the pass of daily life.

It was late morning on this particular summer’s day when the heat had almost reached its peak, and the steam from the evaporating dew cast a lulling humidity across the glade.  Suddenly, all were shaken up from their lazy limpness by yelling and screaming.

Reliable and timely the message from the old gnarly juniper berry bush darted across the meadow: “Human beings have arrived!”  But this time it undoubtedly carried an alarming undertone.  In seconds the whole land was shrouded in absolute silence with everyone being petrified; no one knew what to expect.

An air of utter anguish arrived at Lorin’s place, heralding the human beings’ course of destruction as they approached.  In contrary to the cows’ delicate ballerina walk, these much smaller animals tried to balance on two legs only and had feet like enormous frogs, thoughtlessly squashing everything they stepped on.

And they did not take the most considerate route, no, they circled and ran around like berserk as if they wanted to cause as much havoc as possible; and closer they came.

Unmistakably, their aim was the creek.  They stood there for some time, and presently they spread a big sheet onto the meadow, as an ultimate form of mass destruction, squashing hundreds of flowers in one instance.  Only by a short distance, it missed Lorin who trembled incessantly in utter despair.

Initially, they all settled on the sheet and were not as noisy; then the taller ones laid down, but the smaller ones ran around aimlessly and screamed as if someone tried to kill them.  Lorin feared for its life.  After a while, they laid down too, and one of them had its head near Lorin, staring with an open mouth as if it wanted to eat the little flower.

Its face came closer, then its front paws, Lorin had given up any hope.  Gingerly the human being flicked on Lorin’s stalk, causing a splitting headache.  One of the taller humans exclaimed some roaring sounds, and the little one stopped.  But then, it began whining on and on.  ‘Is it not over, yet?’ Lorin asked itself. ‘When will they be leaving?’

A New World

The small and the big human being returned and the small one dug in the ground around Lorin, and several of its roots were severed.  Anguished by pain, it suddenly felt the earth moved; Lorin shook as if blown by wind but there was none.  Then all ascended, upwards.  Lorin fainted.

Lorin regained consciousness, almost drowned by torrential rain.  But it was not rain, the small human being poured water over Lorin who was surprised at being still alive and hovering some distance above the ground.  After the initial concerns about its immediate future were satisfied, it began looking around.

It could see further than ever before.  All had a different perspective.  It actually had moved from the place it thought it would stay forever.  “Flowers can’t move.”  The call echoed in its mind.  But Lorin did.

And soon after, it moved more and even further.  The small human being carried Lorin in its front paw, first across the glades and then through the pine forest.  The journey seemed endless.

Then they arrived at a place where the ground was covered with black grass and there were big coloured things with openings.  Those things were resting on big round pebbles.  All the human beings climbed inside one of them, sat down and made the opening smaller.

Suddenly there was a great noise and the coloured thing shook; quivering like mad.  Frightened Lorin was determined not to faint again.  This was the time of its life, it was moving and not just to the other side of the creek.  Looking outside the openings it saw the trees running past, slowly initially but then faster and faster.  “Where are they all going?”  Lorin wondered.

Then all the trees had run away.  The mountains in the distance were moving too but much slower.  Everything that Lorin was told and believed, that it could not move was moving now, including itself.  What was going on?

Other things occurred in the openings; they were tall as trees but not round and smooth but big and with corners, and they had many holes in them.  Eventually, much to Lorin’s relief, the coloured thing finished shaking, the things outside stopped moving, the openings widened again, and the human beings climbed out.

Startled Lorin noticed that the surrounding had changed.  In a grassy area stood another big thing and the human beings walked towards it, and again an opening appeared, and all went inside it.

Meeting Others

After the small human being had been walking around inside another opening occurred in front of it; it stepped through it and there was a grassy area.  This time there were shrubs of all sorts and trees Lorin had not seen before.  Where there was no grass, the small human being set Lorin on the ground who vaguely noticed there were many other flowers.

The small human being dug a hole with its paws and placed Lorin into it.  Then it compressed the soil, and then it caused a little rain.  They could be rather skilful, those humans, if they only would be more careful about where they stepped.

The soil tasted different to that on the glade, quite intense and somewhat agitating.  Lorin absorbed a few deep intakes and dozed off from exhaustion.

How much time had passed it did not know, but there were softly spoken voices around, which seized immediately, once Lorin stretched several of its petals.  Looking around it saw that all the flowers around gazed and waited silently for the newcomer to get used to their presence.  Some of them were quite tall with big brightly coloured blossoms.

Lorin had not known of flowers growing that tall and others casting out such strong fragrances.  Others were smaller but as far as it could see there was none as little as it.  It was dazed.

Luckily enough there was a small flower nearby, and after a gentle harrumph, it spoke.  “Excuse me, please; my name is Primrose, what is yours?”  Lorin was taken aback momentarily by this flower’s somewhat stifled voice but tried not to show it, and after some hesitation, it replied timidly: “Lorin.”  “Sorry, what was that?”  “Lorin.”

There was another strange voice but different, coming from a tall skinny flower with curly leaves and pointy petals mumbled: “Your family name is Asteraceae, but you would not know that.  Your common name is Snow daisy, I guess, you don’t know that either?”

Primrose interjected quickly: “Never mind, that is Gerbera who was cultivated in a greenhouse and considers this as being synonymous with having culture.  Lorin is a nice name, I like it.  Where do you come from, Lorin?”

“From a meadow.”  “What is a meadow, Lorin?  And where is it?  If you don’t mind me asking?”  Primrose asked curiously and not just to keep the conversation rolling.  And Lorin explained what a meadow was that there were thousands of snow daisies and that they all had names and its best friend’s name was Melis, and the thousands of buttercups, daisies and sorrel had all personal names, too.

And it talked about the mountains and the tiptoeing cows and the shiny holes in the Sun’s blanket she cast over the top of the trees so that it can be night.   It noticed that all the flowers were listening intently.  And the chain of questions continued for quite some time.

“What are mountains?”  “Where are they?”  “Is it dangerous up there?”  “What is a creek?”  “And what is a fir tree?”  “And can you tell us about snow?”

Lorin replied to all their questions to its best knowledge.  But for some of them, it did not know the answer.  One of the last questions had been about the way it arrived here.  They eagerly followed Lorin’s story, but when it mentioned the coloured thing with the round pebbles underneath, Gerbera could not hold back: “Excuse me.  I hope you don’t mind me interrupting, that thing is called a car.”

Lorin thanked politely but when it told them about seeing the trees running past Gerbera remained without a wince, but some of the others could not restrain their giggles.

Quickly Primrose tried to cover it up by asking about how Lorin felt when being with the humans, because, Primrose said when it was brought here it was put in a dark compartment of the car, and it was very frightening.  After Lorin had finished its story, it felt courageous enough to ask questions, too.

And the answers were quite sobering.  They explained what greenhouses were and that there was no fun in growing up there.  All was sterile and crowded, no bees or flutterbies, but always pushing and pruning and only the best would survive.

Quite frankly, they envied Lorin for its happy and vivid past.  Still, all welcomed the little flower amidst them and often asked for more stories from the glade in the mountain.  But a few teased it because of its accent and unsophisticated way of talking.

Primrose always stood by its side and warded off such attempts and soon all settled and eventually peace and a lazy quietness returned to the flowerbeds.

A Dream Better than Imagined

Lorin’s desire from its youth had come true; in a way, it could never have imagined and at a time when it was almost forgotten.  It only wanted to visit the other side of the creek and talk with the flowers there.  Instead, it had moved to another world altogether.

Lorin was filled with an indescribable feeling: a bit like pride, a bit like gratitude, a bit of calm excitement and a sense of completion.  Whatever it was, it made its petals shinier and its stalk even straighter.

Lorin realised that having lived in its dream so intensely when it was young was some sort of preparation, not knowing for what.  However faint this inkling was, just having had the impression and the imagination had given invaluable support during the time of turmoil and despair and prevented it from collapsing under the enormous stress at the moment when its dream really happened.

One thing Lorin still wondered about. In the meadow, Melis had grown just nearby.  Why had the small human being chosen a tiny, inconspicuous flower when quite as easily, it could have taken Melis, who was so beautiful?

Dreams are Precious

You would not want them to get damaged or lost.  But they will, if they were tossed around by your mind because they occupy it too much, or if they distort your expectations you may want to suppress them, and they get squashed.

“What you fight, suppress, gets stronger,” the proverb goes and your desired dream could turn into a devouring dragon.  What to do with long-cherished dreams?  How can one keep them stay as they are, beautiful and desirable?  How can one prevent them from getting distorted or all occupying?

I tell you what I do.  Years ago I discovered a shelf high up near the ceiling of my mind.  Now, when a dream arrives at that latent, restless state when its development becomes unpredictable, I find a pretty box, wad the inside with some silk paper and lay my dream onto that soft cushion.

I cover it with another layer of silk paper and close the lid; tie a ribbon around it with a beautiful bow and attach a tag with the name of the dream, so if I don’t remember which dream is in which box I can easily recognise it by its label.

Every now and then I go up there, reminisce on one or the other for some time, dust the boxes and arrange the bows; then they know that they are not forgotten.  You must keep an eye on them because they still can grow and when you see them again they could have lost all connection with reality.

And sometimes dreams come true; and sometimes like in Lorin’s story, maybe not entirely as one had dreamt them, but close enough, and if you are lucky, they turn out even better than you could have ever imagined.

I think if you have your dreams too tightly attached to your daily life they narrow your focus and the range of your perception, what you can see.  The Talmud says; “We do not see things for what they are but for what we are.”  One looks for, and therefore mostly sees only, what one expects to see.

Reducing expectations opens your eyes and widens your range of seeing.  Therefore, you will notice opportunities for your tucked away dreams to come true.  Again, maybe not quite the way you imagined it initially, but a chance may arise you may not have noticed in a state of narrowed perception.  Welcome each chance and let your dream evolve.

Happy dreaming.


Wolfgang Köhler

15 February 2010
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