Leeka the wizard and her trusty oak wand pledge to save the depleted forest
Leeka, the wizard, was frantically looking around for her lost wand. A silk- smooth wand of oak. Stone-sturdy. Embedded with multicolored flashing opals. Perfect for a wand! It was the gold in her heart.
Tired, she gave up. Yet, still hopeful, she decided to search the forest for ivy to decorate, if not her old wand, the future one that would choose her. Stopping her search was something big and twisted into chunks of wood—her wand! Leeka slumped and sighed. “Oh, dear. All morning wasted. Wasted!”
Leeka looked up at the sky and started to recall another faraway time in the quietest forest of all, where the trees reached and stretched to the blue sky, where ivy wrapped the high trees like friends and the mosses hung around the branches like damp pieces of cloth, where the sunbathing foxes snoozed on smooth rocks, and the air smelled fresh from the morning shower—in this quietest forest of all, she had happily trotted back home with White Raspberry, her then-intact opal oak wand.
She sighed back to reality. Oh, how the forest had changed—bereft now of many trees and moss, clean pools, and animal dwellers, except for some new owls. But no ivy, no love, no sweet blackberries, no fresh rain.
There Leeka sat and began to stare at her old wand, wondering if her magic could repair the badly wounded but delightfully old forest. Still, she needed a wand. Finally, she stood up and took a deep breath. I will not forget about the old wand.
I will salvage it as part of the old forest that needs to be protected.
Then she sprinted towards the lively center of the forest, where her ancient Great Oak Grandfather lived, alive as alive can be, and her very best friend. He had made her wand from one of his branches and now spoke to her with his kind language, which she had learned to understand.
“Leeka, my dear! So delighted to see you again, my youngest granddaughter!” “Greetings,” Leeka replied. “Happy to see you again, my oldest great-grandfather.”
Stars covered her like an endless comforting blanket with shining eyes; the moon sang a sweet dreamy song just for her; owls elegantly perched and flew off trees as she fell asleep.
Yet the great old oak noticed Leeka looking down at the ground. How unusual, he thought. What’s causing her to be like this? The puzzled ancient oak bent down and brushed her with one of his branches, feeling a thick barrier of sadness surrounding her. He whispered (so the other, fellow oaks could not hear), “What’s wrong? You seem so sad.”
Leeka looked up and sniffed. “My wand is broken. Would you kindly mend it?” Then she began her chant sharing why mending the wand would be vital:
My stone-silk-smooth wand is hurt!
He is the gold piece in my heart and yours.
Our bond is now in need of saving,
as is the diminished forest around us.
By healing this wand, our shared magic
will again be in tune—
the rushing river will return to fill the dry bed,
animals will snooze happily in the clean mist.
Protected by our magic, this greenest
of dwelling places will always be a safe refuge,
never a polluted desert!
And every creature’s joy will infuse
the magic aura to protect us all!
Grandfather Oak replied, “My heart is broken with yours. Our shared piece of gold, your cherished wand, shall be mended. Your good and compassionate heart, aiming to protect and heal this forest, brings new magical insights to me. By saving this forest, we save many other lives besides our own. Your wand shall be with you tomorrow. Just remember it might be a little bit different!”
“Ah, thank you! You are also a piece of gold in my heart! Will you and I be a little different too?” teased Leeka while handing her wand to the wise old oak.
* * *
Night had descended, so Leeka camped out, lying under the starry night. Stars covered her like an endless comforting blanket with shining eyes; the moon sang a sweet dreamy song just for her; owls elegantly perched and flew off trees as she fell asleep.
Leeka awoke to her white oak wand embedded again with opals. White Raspberry was back! She sat up and ran to hug White Raspberry, but he dodged away. He also started hopping around her like a rabbit while he unexpectedly grew a foot taller. She stared at Raspberry in confusion, but reached out and managed to grab him. When she tried to put the wand in her basket, she held it with so much enthusiasm that it leapt and flew. All of sudden, she was up in the air like a helium balloon, clutching a wand with a mind of its own.
Up in the air, she finally remembered her grandfather had asked her to bear with possible changes. However, she now lacked power over White Raspberry. How could that be a helpful change? Ah! Or perhaps now she and Raspberry would have equal power?
White Raspberry spoke up: “I just wanted you to see the devastation caused by deforestation. Look down to your left.”
To the left, some trees were withered and gray; others were gone, leaving empty spots. Up so high, she could see other forests crying for help. Leeka became keen to learn how forests could be regenerated and how deforestation could be reversed.
White Raspberry could read her mind, so when Leeka wondered if her new wand would want to learn this new magic, he answered before she had even asked: “Yes, of course, Leeka! I’m made from those trees, and I will thank them for saving my life by protecting them.”
Leeka smiled with thanks and joy. “We just don’t know how to perform the right magic, but we can learn, can’t we?”
As White Raspberry floated Leeka back down to earth, he telepathically transmitted, Maybe your Grandfather has ideas.
Leeka transmitted, Yes, I had thought of asking him. Do you think we could transmit change through dreams?
Perhaps. Maybe we should fly to Grandfather now.
Leeka nodded, and as they flew to Old Grandfather Oak, they heard his reply: Of course I will help you and White Raspberry! Thank you for thinking of all my good neighbors and close friends!
When she and White Raspberry floated down to the foot of Grandfather Oak, Leeka immediately asked, “Do you think that sending dreams to attract humans to save the forest is a good, effective strategy?”
Old Grandfather cordially replied, “Thank you for asking. My opinion will derive from a poll among all trees.”
As Leeka nodded, she felt waves of energy flowing from everywhere in the roots below them. One washed over her and Grandfather Oak to answer, Dream believers win by millions!
Wonderful! telepathed Grandfather Oak. Now I will telepath you and Raspberry to a special place for your research.
Soon, Leeka and White Raspberry felt themselves turning into trees living beside a glittering stream that chased the dark-blue night sky. But as they relaxed, a nearby tree disappeared, hitting them like a sharp arrow. Wizard and wand then felt the dead tree pass its memories to the living ones, which made the living trees even more desperate to join the glorious dream world, where all their lost friends now lived. Then one night, when the landscape had become barren, the moon, their last friend, sang her last song, a bitter one, as she disappeared forever.
When Leeka and White Raspberry awoke, they said to Grandfather Oak, “We learned that, first and foremost, the trees’ hearts need to be mended.”
“How will you do that?”
White Raspberry replied, “To mend the trees’ hearts, we will plant a dream of hope to restore their strength.”
“Next, we will plant another dream to restore their courage,” continued Leeka. “Spot on!” encouraged the old oak. “The pair of you may be both good wizards and physicians.”
* * *
That night, Leeka and her wand telepathically planted their imagined dream. The trees found themselves leaning against their family members, touching the starry night with their treetops, and the stars covered them like an endless comforting blanket with shining eyes. These starry-night eyes opened the trees’ eyes to their inner beauty and the truth that their hearts were meant to cherish and be cherished. Each heart held a tree with a bird’s nest full of warm feathered friends who sang of living forever, even in storms and droughts, always standing their ground, never giving up. This future vision of fortitude continued with the birds’ promise to live inside the trees’ hearts, never letting them languish but always giving them love. They promised to live in the trees’ souls, because the trees had, for ages, cared for birds and their families.
Grandfather Oak, who had tuned in to the telepathed dreams, became extremely proud of his students. “You and your sent dreams will work the right magic. True love from others makes a tree strong!”
Greatly encouraged, Leeka and Raspberry performed the second telepathed dream. The trees dreamed that their children were begging them: “Please don’t leave! Your knowledge can help us evolve and adapt together. Even the trees no longer with us can support you and us. Please bring back the forest’s cheerful self!” The dreaming trees listened to their children and found the diminished forest less impossible. They began to dream of future flourishing.
The old oak praised Leeka and Raspberry again. “It’s true that we love our children and listen to them. By loving them we grow courage.”
Leeka added, “And from you, we have learned that trees are wise—as wise as the thoughts you give us!” Oak beamed more light around his students.
Then, Leeka and Raspberry wandered again into the deepest part of the forest to telepathically ask the trees and animals what they wanted to transmit to humans. Soon they devised a Big Dream to plant. They transported every human dreamer over the border into a country they could not shape—the world of the dream. Every dreamer found him or herself lying under the canopy of a full- fledged forest, the treetops touching a starry night. Stars covered them like an endless comforting blanket with shining eyes. These eyes opened their eyes to the beauty of old-growth forests. Then the moon sang a sweet dreamy song just for them—a touching song about how the forest would soon be lost forever along with so much else, without humankind’s notice and care. Owls perched in trees flew with thoughts for the mailboxes inside the dreamers’ minds and hearts, and each woke wanting to protect that soothing Big Dream of a forest.
Then one day, our forest—our large family—became our nightmare. Not a hint of new green could be found among us. It was horrible— unbearable—to feel the absence of new green growth and its light.
Now the wizard and her wand listened to the waking humans. Ideas were filling their hearts and minds, and they began chattering:
“We need to plan our buildings around trees instead of cutting them down.” “We need to build homes with stones and bricks to save wood.”
Others remembered, “Some of us used to burn peat in our fireplaces to save wood.”
Architects heard the advice and dreamed of designing round, solar-powered houses made of glistening quartz stones that encircled trees like castle towers, with plenty of windows open to all the forest magic. These homes would be spaciously placed apart with a variety of forest trees between them. The architects further dreamed that families would love these new environmentally friendly homes with many windows open to the shape-shifting clouds and the singing of birds, and convinced stonemasons to build them. Besides, there would be plenty of mushrooms to harvest.
City planners decided to turn malls into large, solar-powered greenhouses to feed more of the world. They would choose organic farming methods and would forbid factory farms. They would let animals live and enjoy their natural lifespans. Humans even dreamed of Rottweilers protecting all areas where fossils of buried sunlight remain. They vowed not to budge, but to bark incessantly at whoever dared to dig up fossils for fuel.
Finally, Leeka and White Raspberry transmitted to humans a dream featuring Old Grandfather Oak speaking to them: “Imagine you are an old-growth tree like me. I once lived in polluted air. We had hoped that the forest would be lush and green again, but as time passed, we worried more and more. We worried about losing everything, yet we tried to be hopeful. Then one day, our forest—our large family—became our nightmare. Not a hint of new green could be found among us. It was horrible—unbearable—to feel the absence of new green growth and its light.”
The old-growth oak stopped and shivered from this memory, and then recovered to speak to the dreamers in gratitude: “However, unlike new-growth forests, we old-growth trees received the care of your wise folk on a mission to save us! I overheard them asking their governments to call our old-growth forests world historic sites. Now, we’re off limits to clear-cutting and fossil fuel industrialists, and we have become national parks that welcome visitors. They let us ‘manage ourselves’ just as we always had. We old-growth trees have proven to be highly effective managers of ourselves through our sophisticated root systems that transmit our messages throughout our vast network. Our slogan is ‘Damage costs thousands of helping hands.’”
Wizard and wand felt even more inspired. So they presented themselves in the dreams of fossil fuel industrialists, directly asking them, “Why dig up and burn fossil fuels that suffocate trees? Trees exhale oxygen. When there’s less and less oxygen in the air, you and all humans will die. Soon you will die with the whole planet. Saving the planet is also saving our future.”
Leeka and Raspberry then read the dreaming industrialists’ minds and knew that they had begun to think deeply and be more concerned.
More hopeful, they returned to Grandfather, who suggested, “Perhaps you could plant a dream in children as they sleep. When I was young and remembered what I had learned, my learning became an effective practice throughout my life.” Grandfather Oak’s prodigies assented and planted the following dream: The sleeping children found themselves in a school where they were greeted every day by a tall indoor birch that stretched its branches out and up toward the high skylight. This tree became their home at school; they called it “Buddie” and learned to receive Buddie’s felt senses. During free time, one or more would listen to Buddie tell a story. One of his stories tells of rain, a wondrous form of water that nourishes the river of consciousness and imagination. All the images that fascinate human minds are born and live in this river, and all the images hold different meanings for different people.
Inspired by their dream, many children wanted to make it come true when they woke. They asked their parents to build treehouses behind their homes. Their dream became a neighborhood of trees holding treehouses. Treehouses became small libraries where they could read and write; some became lighthouses for young lighthouse keepers; some became viewpoints for birdwatchers; others were specimens for the curious who examined trees to learn their biology, such as how they store water for dry spells. The young biologist asked, Does water inspire trees to imagine?
One morning Leeka woke to the fragrance of a pine tree. Far away she saw a team huddled up discussing something and wondered, What are they planning? Raspberry fluttered beside her to telepath, They are planning a tree farm.
Leeka nodded and responded, “A few days ago, we sparked children’s imaginations. I hope that when they grow up, the world will be full of happy forests.”
White Raspberry wondered, “Who will be today’s dreamers?”