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Stories

The Collage Connection: create. transform. renew

Life Story as a Myth or Fair Tale
Told by a mid-aged man at Edith Wallace Playshop 2003, Sangre De Cristo Center

There once was a boy-child raccoon who loved to lie belly-up in the grass and stare at the stars. He kept a special acorn in the nook of a big tree.

There once was a girl-child kangaroo who loved to skip rope, and laughter was her hobby.

Neither knew the other and both loved the wind, lightning storms, snow, and other furry animals.

Where the raccoon lived, one day a storm blew in so hard that some lost their home or life. No one was prepared for that storm; the raccoon parents held for their own lives, while the raccoon children huddled in a strong circle. No one could imagine such a thing and every aspect of every moment of each of the rest of the raccoon children's lives was shaped by that event.

Near the end of the storm, the raccoon climbed the big tree to look in the nook for his special seed. It was gone. As the storm departed, so did the childhood of that very young boy-child raccoon. The inner gears of being reasoned, surely he had done something wrong to bring on that storm and surely if he would now always do something right, he would prevent the storm from returning. Onward into life he went with such a motive. This was a very serious and heavy task.

Unfortunately, the boy-child and then man-child raccoon rose to the task quite well. Year after year and place after place, the man-child raccoon did what was right and moved through difficulty and hardship carrying his motive like a slow moving loco-motive.

At one of the stations in life the man-child raccoon noticed a woman-child Kangaroo. The raccoon offered to help the kangaroo lift her bags onto a baggage car. The kangaroo asked the raccoon where the stars on his being came from? The raccoon, puzzled, said, "Stars were only in the night sky." "Really?" she said. And so they got married.

No one knows or feels, but even loco-motives grow tired. After some more years the man-child raccoon decided it was time to change some of the old ways. At last he looked down and saw himself a beast of burden forever pulling a heavy load. He had put in the last piece in his personal history puzzle. Surely with this new knowledge, he could break the chains of past patterns. He tried hard and with awareness for many months. And then finally it happened: nothing changed.

One day someone asked, "Everything on track?" Oh my God, that's the problem. Yes, everything's on track, a track. Bewildered, the raccoon sadly realized his task had been trying to change the direction of a loco-motive that grew up on tracks. It was not just a question of changing the direction of a loco-motive, but of changing FROM a loco-motive. The work seemed more giant.

His wife the kangaroo was struck by a memory. "Here, I have something I want you to have. I've never really understood it," she said. "But, it's always been precious to me. It washed up onto the sand at the ocean when I was young."

She reached into a drawer and took out a small box from the rear of the corner. She opened it and unfolded some silk. "Here," she said happily as she pressed something into his hand.

He felt a great weight lifted from his shoulders. He couldn't believe, and was very happy to see his acorn he used to hide in the nook of a large tree.