23 July 2020
Posted by Madeleine O'Beirne
In this exercise, the class were asked to describe an emotion, portraying it as an animal, a fruit, a colour, a type of weather and a random object. Madeleine's chosen emotion was 'resilience'.
Though you may seem the most unpromising of the river’s fledglings, you remain unperturbed. You endure the scorn of the other birds, safe in the knowledge that soon you will outdo them all, both in stature and in grace. The crows may laugh at you now, but you will show them. Diligently, you will learn to glide upon the water, until you are ready to take flight. Then you will revel in the moment of that first ascent, your long neck outstretched and your wings beating in glory as you soar upwards into the sky.
The apple tree
For a moment, as your roseate flowers wither, you mourn the death of another spring. But you hold onto hope, because you know that, while for now you may have nothing but your leaves to clothe you, in time your fruits will appear, fragile at first, and then swelling, over the warm months of summer, into shining globes of beautiful, russet red. The old sourness will pass slowly into sweetness, until at last you are ready to offer your bright harvest, and become once again the most treasured tree in all the garden.
All night the storm rages. The lightning sends wild sparks of silver out into the otherwise pitch-black sky. The thunder rolls across your valleys, and in its wake the rain beats down upon the roofs of the houses like the drumming of a furious multitude. For a moment, you fear you will be drowned, but you know of old that the reliable sun will rise again, its golden light restoring your equanimity, sprinkling you in soft petrichor and clothing you in a mantle of luscious green.
You have feared the crows for as long as you can remember. Even now, as you walk beside the river, you feel them mocking you with their raucous screams. But whenever you feel that fear, something stronger stirs in you. You recall the summer when you turned four, and the way the sound of them, and the wildness of the night’s storm, made you afraid to play in the garden. Your father built you a swing, hung it from the highest bough of the precious apple tree and lifted you gently onto it. As you flung your determined little legs outwards, you imagined yourself soaring, swanlike, into the sky, your laughter dampening the crows’ ugly chatter, and the sun-dappled leaves wrapping you in a warm embrace. On your last swing downwards, you grasped a shiny red apple and crunched into its sweetness. “It’s natural to be afraid, but never forget that you can do anything you want to,” your father told you, and you folded his truth, and that moment, into your heart.
*photo credit: Annie Spratt, Unsplash