How to conquer a mammoth with a snowflake
Settle back, get comfy and take a relaxing journey through a magical forest
Listen here while you watch the snowflakes, or read below
Once upon a time there was a forest. It was of course a magical forest as all once-upon-a-time forests are, and full of magical creatures.
Even though all of the creatures were magical, sometimes they just couldn’t get along with each other, and sometimes - they couldn’t even get along with themselves!
As luck would have it, throughout the forest lived a number of chameleons. Now as you know, even non-magical chameleons can change their colouring, and you may even know that their eyes can swivel 360 degrees independently of each other, quickly focusing and zooming in like a camera lens, wherever they need to put their attention.
These chameleons though, being as magic as they were, could also change their shape. That’s right – they were shape-shifting chameleons! They were so adaptable they could change the sound of their voices, and the seeing of their eyes, the ways of their thinking and the sense of their bodies. And that means they could understand different ways of talking and hearing, looking and seeing – they could even understand different ways of touching and feeling. Why, they could even move forwards and backwards in time!
The other creatures of the forest gradually came to realise that with such flexibility and creativity, the chameleons had much to offer them - in growing to understand themselves and each other - so they often sought out the shape-shifters, the better to learn how to get along.
Now there came a day when a very curious leopard decided she wanted to know how the chameleons did what they did, so that maybe she could shift some shapes herself, of things she had been led to believe she could never, ever change. And because she was a magical leopard, this is what she was able to observe:
On this particular day, in this particular forest, a particular owl came to see a particular chameleon. The leopard noticed that as the owl approached, a calmness emanated from the chameleon, and the forest settled quietly around them.
As the owl sat with the chameleon, the owl too became calmer, and was soon telling of its problems - for even owls, however wise, sometimes do have problems. And the owl's problems were of mammoth proportions (according to the owl, although it had never even seen a mammoth). So the chameleon, who at this stage was still in its normal shape, invited the owl to wonder aloud about what it would like to be different.
As the owl spoke, in its own language, seeing through its own eyes, and feeling with its own body, the chameleon seemed to be constantly changing shape and colour and sound - while staying exactly who it was.
Then the leopard noticed something very odd indeed. She noticed that as the owl spoke and the chameleon listened and watched and sensed, small eddies of wind would swirl around the owl and lift leaves and twigs from the forest floor, gently but surely moving them towards the chameleon. The chameleon let most of them blow away, but every now and then it would invisibly catch one of the leaves, or maybe a twig, and put it safely aside.
Initially perplexed, the leopard watched ever more closely until she noticed that the chameleon was choosing to collect only those leaves and twigs that had travelled on a beam of sunlight. When occasionally the small eddies of wind became tornadoes or hurricanes, the chameleon remained in its circle of calm, and continued to speak to the owl in its own language, drawing the owl out of the storm by shape-shifting one or two of the leaves or twigs it had collected.
It seemed to the leopard that little time passed before the chameleon had caught all of the leaves and twigs it needed, and still changing shape to be with the owl, while all along being exactly who it was, the chameleon invisibly sifted through the remaining collection of leaves and twigs, discarding some, changing the order of others, until a pattern was revealed. The pattern was so like a snowflake that the leopard somehow knew this pattern was unique to this particular owl in this particular forest on this particular day.
What happened next was so magical that even the magical leopard was surprised. The chameleon took the newly created snowflake of leaves and twigs and offered it back to the owl, and somehow, as the owl took the snowflake, it changed into yet another beautiful pattern that perfectly suited that particular owl on that particular day in that particular forest.
And then, the owl noticed, that whatever a mammoth was, it was nothing to do with the problem that less than an hour ago had seemed so huge. So the owl took its newly configured snowflake of leaves and twigs, carrying it lightly, and turned to melt back into the magical forest. The chameleon shifted back into its own shape and watched the owl go, sweeping the path behind to clear away any remaining leaves and twigs.
As the leopard watched the chameleon watch the owl, she could have sworn that the owl was itself shifting shape, just a little, while still remaining exactly who it was, now.