Friday, March 24, 2006

The Storm Cloud Racer

It was the night before the first Storm Cloud race of the year. Indigo and her father were in the garage of their Cloud Kingdom home making some final adjustments to their Storm Cloud.

Indigo’s father was watching his daughter. She had been cleaning the same spot for ten minutes and scowling as she worked.

“Perhaps you should go to bed sweetie? I can finish up here.”

“Oh Dad, what’s the use? We both know I’m going to lose.”

Indigo’s father put down a tray of precision hailstones and looked up.

“Only one person can win Indy.”

“You’re no use Dad. Aren’t you meant to tell me I will win? If I believe I will win I can win!?”

He takes a deep breath and looks up at the ceiling for a while. When he looks back Indigo is glowering at him. “Get in the Cloud”, he says.

“I don’t need another lesson Dad.” But she gets in anyway.

As soon as she gets in the Storm Cloud jumps forward, straining against its holding tether. Indigo’s father smiles when he sees this – there is no problem with her determination.

“What’s the first thing I taught you Indy?”

“Dad, do we have to do this?”

Dad gives her a stern look with the hint of a smile in his eyes.

“Your desire gives you speed and the lightness of your heart gives you height”. Indigo recites this in a monotone – it’s the first lesson all fathers give their children.

“And what is the Storm Cloud Racers motto?”

“The higher the faster!”

“Very good Indy. So, lets keep going with lesson one. Make the cloud go down a bit.”

The Cloud lowers a bit.

“What were you thinking about?”

“Tomorrows stupid race!”

“Okay, we’ll leave that for now. Now make the Cloud float a bit higher”

The Cloud goes up very slowly.

“What were you thinking about then?”

“Playing in red sunset clouds.”

“I think you’re ready for an advanced lesson.”

“I already know all that Dad.”

“No Indigo, you were too young to understand what I’m about to tell you but now I think you’re ready.

It’s not your thoughts that give you a light heart.”

“What? You always told me that it was”

“I told you that your thoughts can affect how you feel. I never told you that your thoughts make your feelings.”

“You’ve lost me Dad. You always speak gibberish.”

“Imagine this then Indy. You’re standing on a high cloud looking down on a great city. Below you are a million lights twinkling away. It’s night. In front of you is a really, really high powered telescope. You look through the telescope and what do you see? You see a little girl crying, she doesn’t want to go to bed. You move the telescope a bit and you see two people holding hands and talking to each other.”


“And you move the telescope again and you see a terrible accident and lots off suffering. And the next time you look you see people singing and being happy.

You have hundreds off emotions all at the same time. When you think a certain thought it’s like turning the telescope to focus on one area of that great city.”

“Okay Dad, so what do you think I should do?”

“Listen Indigo, it’s all very well thinking happy thoughts to make yourself feel happy feelings but that’s not what a light heart is. To be a true Storm Cloud Racer you have to be able to look at all your feelings at once and see how they fit together. A light heart can only happen when all your feelings get a chance to be seen. "

“I sort of see what you’re saying.”

“If you focus in on the feelings that make you feel afraid of losing tomorrows race your mind will see how unhappy those feelings make you and try and fix the problem for you. And the way it chooses to fix it might be by telling you to just give up.

If you admit that you’re a little bit scared then you might be able to see that you’re also a little bit hopeful that maybe you will win and glad that you’ll be racing again and looking forward to seeing some of the other racers.”

“Alright, Dad you’ve made your point. Can I go to bed now?”

“Yes sweetie, I’ll see you in the morning. Be carefully getting out of that thing – you’re higher up than you think.”

If you ever get a chance to visit the Storm Cloud Racers of Cloud Kingdom then go – it’s a sight to behold!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sharp and gripping with the edge of expectation and the frown of enigma. A fine balance too between the dogmatic impatience of the young person and the determined direction of her father. That makes a plausible relationship in an unusual setting and holds the reader from floating away.
The reader is held lightly and enjoys the audacious idea as if it were expected. That's clever writing.