Running out of his house Kevin didn’t even have to consider which way to turn. Instinctively knowing that his destination was to be the soothing choruses of the waves tumbling over the sand and shingle on the nearby beach, he turned and ran. As he did so the tears fell from his young eyes almost as quickly as his feet fell upon the paving stones beneath them.
“Kevin! Kevin!” His mother’s voice called after him. “Kevin it isn’t that bad honey!”
But he was already going, already gone. Going in body and gone in mind and it was not for the first time.
Many times before his mind had convinced him that things were much worse than his parents, than his friends, than grown-ups, than others were telling him. Many times before had he ran from his house physically trying to escape that which his mind could never escape.
So much so that the sight of this 6-year-old child, even one dressed in nothing but shorts, running from his home, passed the electricity generator house, down past the terraced houses and out towards and then along past the cricket pitch and to the beach was nothing new for any of the neighbors. Nor usually were any of the sights which he himself saw along the way new.
But today was to be different, so very different. As the hot sun beat down on his blonde haired scalp and the plain but already slightly scarred canvas of his skin the wind blew fiercely in his face and into those tear-stained eyes.
That self-same wind he knew as ‘Wind-Talker’ and which, like so often before and since, seemed to carry to him a multitude of thoughts and voices. Jeering, accusing, threatening voices. He tried so desperately to ignore them, to ignore it, to ignore the Wind-Talker.
Running his small finger tips across the green chain linked fencing surrounding the cricket pitch he turned his face out of the accusatory wind.
That is when he noticed it. Alone, resolute, defiant in the midst of the closely cut greens of the cricket pitch stood a single weed single bud of a dandelion.
He stopped and stared at it, dragging his fists up and across those small deep salt reddened and yet crystal blue eyes in an attempt to dry them and aid his vision.
It waved and bent in the wind and yet with the end of each gust would return defiantly to his pre-destined stance. A whilst silk like globe of defiant and yet oh so fragile freedom held within of sea of ordered and controlled greens. And one which the minute the grown-ups saw it, would be removed – destroyed and lost forever.
Running to the big high gates held loosely and yet securely together by a heavy lock and chain he pushed against them separating them just enough to squeeze his small frame through.
“What are you doing you little fool?” Wind-Talker shrieked at him. “You know you’re not allowed in there!” Pushing his body through Kevin tried to ignore him.
“You’re gonna get caught and beaten again.” “See you’re being weird again.” “You’ve only got yourself to blame”, and “It’s your own fault you get beaten!” echoed the choruses of thoughts and voices Wind-Talker summoned to his aid his cause.
“I don’t care!” The small boy shouted back silently though his thoughts and he scrambled onto the outfield. “Someone has to save them.”
“Save who?” Wind-Talker scoffed. “Some worthless weed that no-one wants, no one needs, no-one cares about? Some small puny pathetic weed, almost as worthless, as useless, as loveless as you are?”
Reaching the lone dandelion Kevin fell to his knees and trying to protect it from the wind carefully cupped his hands around the globe of whisper-like seeds which formed the mechanism of its rebirth.
“You can’t save it any more than you can save yourself.” Wind-Talker taunted. “The Seed-Snatcher will come and take them. I will carry them away to him, just as I carry your thoughts and your dreams away.”
“You know he’s right!” The thoughts and voices echoed. “Your dreams never come true.”
Again Kevin lifted his hands pulled his trembling fingers across his eyes to dry his own tears. The wind and Wind-Talker stole their moment and as Wind-Talker’s taunts gusted against the small boy’s fragile mind the wind gusted against the even smaller even more fragile globe of whisper-like seeds.
The tears ran freely once more as he tried so very hard to make sense of it all but it was no use. Wind-Talker was too strong and the Seed-Snatcher would have his way and Kevin knew it.
As the small boy knelt there watching as seeral more whisper-like seeds took flight his heart sank. There before his very eyes, reflected through the oft unappreciated beauty of one of nature’s cast-offs he saw himself.
“Magical isn’t it?” A man’s voice observed softly from behind him.
Instantly spinning around on his knees and then falling backwards onto his bottom and hands Kevin instinctively pulled back from the man before him.
“Hey I didn’t mean to scare you.” The grounds-keeper told him, seeing his reaction. “I just sw you knelt here with the dandelion and came to see if you were alright.”
Again Kevin tried to dry the tears from his eyes, but this time out of embarrassment.
“Why so sad?” The grounds-keeper asked. “Did I frighten you that much?”
“The wind,” Kevin tried to explain. “It’s carrying all the seeds away.”
“I know.” The grounds-keeper told him with a smile. “Isn’t nature wonderful?”
Confused, Kevin just looked at him.
Noticing the confusion on the small boy’s face the grounds-keeper knelt down.
“You don’t know about wind pollination do you?” The grounds-keeper asked, and then realising the complexity of what he was saying, even before he finished saying it he rephrased his own question. “You don’t know what happens to all those seeds do you?”
Kevin looked at the globe of dandelion seeds and then back at the grounds-keeper and then just shook his head.
“Each one of those tiny little seeds will fly away in the wind and then will land somewhere and with some luck with grow to become another dandelion.” The grounds-keeper told him.
“The Seed-Snatcher won’t get them?” Kevin asked.
“No not at all.” The grounds-keeper smiled. “Not all of them will become dandelions, some will land in the wrong place and will just die.” He told Kevin. “But that is just the way nature is. But most of them will survive and grow into new dandelions.”
Kevin looked at the dandelion globe once more.
“The thing is.” The grounds-keeper told him. “We can’t really let them grow here because they will be destroyed when we cut the grass.” He looked at Kevin. “So will you help me take them over there,” he pointed to some hedges growing on the perimeter of the fields, “and we can launch the seeds there.”
Kevin nodded and with that the grounds-keeper reached down and picked the dandelion snapping it from the base of its stem and handed it to Kevin.
Taking the dandelion, Kevin followed the grounds-keeper over to the hedges and when the groundskeeper announced that it was the best place for them to be launched from Kevin blew with all his might.
Thanks to the kindness of the grounds-keeper there was to be no angry phone calls to his mother and father, no being marched home and complained about and thus no telling off, no beatings, no chastisement that day.
But it was much later, long after Kevin had returned home and gone to bed before the full beauty of his experiences that day were to be understood by him.
Wind-Talker – the thoughts and voices which echoed through his mind seemingly belonging only to the wind and which neither his siblings nor his parents ever seemed able to hear would always be with him. Always jeering and taunting and scoffing at him.
The Seed-Snatcher – the confusion and the emptiness and the darkness that often came to him taking away his now would also always be a part of his live, often robbing him of his thoughts, his awareness, his hope and his dreams.
But no matter how hard Wind-Talker and the Seed-Snatcher may try, the seeds of his own life and mind – those thoughts, those dreams, those hopes, would always take flight and would in time and with some help always land and blossom into something beautiful.
Even if that beauty was sometimes cast-off and misunderstood by some of those who fail to see it for what it truly was.