(5 minute read)
by Sara Quayle
What are you doing Jack? says Mother. If you fall out that window the only thing that will break your fall is the pricker bushes.
Oh nothing, I say. Just looking out.
Well, get away from there right now, Jackson Smith Emerson!
Mother doesn’t know about the Wind.
Yesterday the Wind blew a kite through my open window. Attached to the kite string was an old fashioned skeleton key. I didn’t know what the key went to or who could have sent it.
Today is another windy day. Or rather, every day is windy. It blows in from the sea.
Other things have blown in from time to time. There was a peacock feather. There was a top hat. There was a blue silk scarf. There was a rabbit’s foot. There was a bright yellow whirligig, which twirled in the breeze on the window ledge.
So I wait.
Around lunchtime while I’m reading a book on the multicolored throw rug beside my bed a broad green leaf blows in and lands at my elbow. On the leaf in red ink is written To the boy with three last names.
I have never considered that fact.
Some time goes by and nothing blows in.
I have hidden the things in the bottom of my toy box. As long as I keep my room picked up, Mother never goes in there.
When I wake up one morning there is an envelope at the very edge of the throw rug. The purple stamp has a picture of a lady on it. I jump up and read the letter inside.
It says Find the girl with three bird names.
I search the phone book and the Internet but cannot find anyone with a bird last name.
So I wait.
A year later we move houses but we are still near the sea so I keep the window open.
A month after we move, a tiny sailboat blows in on the Wind. Its sails are all the colors of the sunset.
Two weeks after that an origami bird of many different hues soars in and lands on my bureau. Written on the wings of the bird is this. Watch for the birds for they are the spirit of the earth. Keep watching for the birds.
So I watch the birds and I wait.
A month after that a page of sheet music flutters through the window and settles on the throw rug. The words to the song are Listen to the birds. They sing the songs of the earth. Listen for the birds.
Years go by and I keep my eyes and ears open for the birds. They are incredibly beautiful in color and melody all around me. The gulls and finches and sparrows and the red-winged blackbirds. Many many more.
Now I am a teenager but I still keep the window open. Nothing blows in. I am very busy. But I don’t forget the birds.
I meet a girl. I fall in love. I don’t tell her about the Wind. She loves me back for a while. Then she doesn’t love me.
One lonely Saturday a yellow rose petal floats through the window. I watch it land on my pillow. When I pick it up it smells like heaven itself. More than any flower I have ever smelled.
A week later a curly piece of birch bark comes flying in and lands on the desk while I’m studying. On the bark in green ink is this. Look up at the trees. Listen to the Wind in the leaves. They are one with the earth and the sky.
Now I look and listen for the birds and the trees. I wait.
I still have not found the girl with three bird names.
On my twentieth birthday the stem and blossom of Queen Anne’s lace drifts in and lands on the foot of my bed.
The very next day a pale lavender paper flutters in on the breeze and lands in the exact same place. It says this. Walk through the fields and forests and along the byways. What grows wild is a gift.
I watch for all the things that are wild and pleasing.
I grow into a tall strong young man. I decide to travel.
When I am in Italy a tiny painting of the countryside blows in through my window. It’s a beautiful peaceful scene and I wonder where it came from.
I suddenly remember all the things that the Wind has brought to me. It’s quite mysterious.
When I am in Africa a tiny clay replica of a lion tumbles in through the doorway of my hut.
When I am in Switzerland a four leaf clover slips in through a slightly open window even though it is winter.
When I am in India a delicate lotus blossom glides in through the window of my bungalow and lands right at my feet while I’m having tea.
After a year of traveling I receive a letter from an artisan friend in Italy offering to employ me as his apprentice in the art of making stained glass windows in his tiny shop.
So at twenty one years of age I move to the seacoast in the south of Italy.
I eagerly learn how to make beautiful windows. In my windows are trees and flowers and birds of many vibrant colors.
When I am twenty five my mother becomes ill. So I return to the coast of Maine and to her house.
Thus I am back in my childhood bedroom. One day I look through the items in the toy box. I had forgotten about the girl with three names. But now I know more about the trees and the birds and the wildflowers.
I open the window and leave it open.
On the day Mother dies a tiny bouquet of Forget-Me-Nots tied with a deep blue ribbon drifts into my room on the Wind and actually lands right on my lap while I am sitting on the bed and silently grieving.
After that I open a shop in the village to sell my stained glass windows to tourists.
In the back of my shop is a locked cabinet. I am able to open it with the key that came on the kite. Inside the cabinet is what appears to be a map of the Universe. All manner of natural wonders are on the map. The Wind is depicted by swirls along the top of the map.
I wonder. Can I depict the Wind in my stained glass windows? I don’t see how I can.
I don’t pay much attention to the trees or the flowers or the birds or the sea. I just make the most beautiful windows I know how to.
By force of habit I leave the windows open all the time.
Every once in a while something from the natural world or the magical world blows into my bedroom or my shop but no messages or songs.
One day a young woman with violet eyes and auburn hair comes into my shop. She is shy but she clearly likes my windows.
She leaves and comes back a week later. She buys a window for her own little chapel.
I tell her my name is Jack. She says her name is Phoebe. Hmm I think. Phoebe what?
Phoebe Swift, she says. Her eyes sparkle. I ask if she would like to have coffee with me. She says I would like that very much.
Over coffee she tells me she sees the Wind in my stained glass.
I feel compelled to ask. What is your full name?
Phoebe Raven Swift, she tells me.
I say, Would you like to see my collection of items from all over the world?
That would be lovely, she says.
Copyright © 2022 – Sara Quayle. All rights reserved.
About the Author
I am a native Vermonter. I enjoy the outdoors, theater, reading and watercolor painting. My poetry has been published in The Healing Muse, Evening Street Review, Mockingheart Review, Origami Poems Project, Write on the Dot and I have twice won second prize in Embassy International’s Dancing Poetry Festival.
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