The child stood on the threshold of morn, his gaze to the dawning sky. “I am off to find heaven,” he said and beckoned Friend Wind to wander with him.
Grandfather Sun stretched his ancient fingers across the Earth. “I will light your path, my child.”
Grandmother Moon yawned and dipped her toe into the sea’s blue rim. “Safe journey, my little one. I will greet you at the close of day.”
The child launched his wooden boat. Friend Wind blew taut the sails and laced the waves with seafoam. The whales crooned love songs and mercurial fish glittered like schools of silver coins.
On the distant shore, the child paused where flowers dripped from trees in pink tresses. He traversed bamboo forests while Friend Wind slithered through the narrow leaves with the sound of rain. He climbed the terraced paddies carving the hills like dragon scales, and stood at the precipice where endless rainbows arced from waterfalls and painted the hills in vibrant hues.
And heaven eluded him.
Come the heat of midday, his goal carried him south to the land of pomegranates and tea leaves, and he rode camels beneath the palms. Friend Wind shared a whiff of fragrant spices and blew patterns in the shifting seas of red sand. The child gathered orange daisies in the desert, watched clouds mirrored in salt mines, and cooled his feet in fairy-pools. He hiked pastel hills and serrated shorelines looming over turquoise waters, sandstone pillars, and limestone islands jutting from the sea like fat thumbs.
And heaven eluded him.
In the afternoon, the child knelt at ancient temples, rode swans by the ruins of frosted castles, and climbed in ice caves. He capered with winter foxes in crystal fields of snow that turned into fields of tulips and lavender. He scaled giant redwoods and napped among the buffalo while Friend Wind whispered lonesome music through hollow reeds. In the twilight, he looked down into the canyons carved by water and Friend Wind laughed for he had carved those canyons too.
As the day’s end drew near, the child climbed a stone mountain that rose wondrously high, and his hopes soared. At the top of the bald dome, he looked for heaven and beheld nothing but Grandfather Sun in the mellowing sky. “I have searched the day through, Grandfather, and heaven has eluded me.”
“I have lighted your path,” Grandfather Sun said. “Now is your time to sit alone and reflect on all you’ve seen.”
The child nodded, too well-mannered to complain further. Friend Wind ruffled his hair and drifted down the mountain. Grandfather Sun winked a wise eye, and as he shuffled below the horizon, he dusted the world with gold.
“Little one, did you find heaven?” Grandmother Moon whispered over the child’s shoulder.
“Yes, Grandmother.” The Earth child smiled. “It was beneath my feet all along.”
Thanks to Sue Vincent for her Thursday #Writephoto Prompt.