I remembered this post I wrote almost exactly a year ago. Its words resonate louder with me today. I hope you feel them too.
Beneath the tree, and below the ground—a vast, intimate exchange of water flows. Roots spread through the dark soil, nursing hidden springs. Cicada nymphs, half-asleep; nuzzle the roots of the trees for nearly twenty years.
Imagine for a moment—on the day you were born, a brood of cicadas hatches below a tree, perhaps in your own back yard. And on the night of your thirteenth birthday, or your seventeenth birthday, or on the night of your graduation party, the cicada nymphs emerge from the earth and slowly crawl their way up the rough bark of an oak tree, painstakingly—their front claws like grappling hooks, hoisting themselves ever upwards.
Imagine one of those cicadas is your daemon–your spirit guide—the physical manifestation of your dreams and visions. Imagine it continues its aching ascent, until it cannot lift one more claw. It is exhausted. Not only that, but it has an itch that sings a strange, nearly maddening song through its back and head.
Imagine the moon-lit sky is calling your cicada’s secret name—perhaps it is singing your name.
Imagine the cicada beginning to pulse and throb with an inner turmoil. Watch as the spot just behind its head, where it meets its body—suddenly and inexplicably–opens, and its broad, triangular face lifts from its husk, as if you were raising your face from a long-furry sleep.
See its yellowish-pinkish-cream colored flesh, and its eyes like dabs of champaign colored paint, looking blankly, yet wisely amazed.
See a carnival of fireflies celebrating the arrival of this newly hatched being.
And then, over the course of several hours, the cicada pours from its own skin, not unlike you pouring from your old ideas of limited beliefs and fears—the old ideas that used to lumber along with hooks that tried grasping onto anything to keep you held down.
Imagine the cicada arching its back with its arms looking like flat, helpless whiskers. Imagine it curling upwards in a marvelous gesture of triumph and praise. Imagine it remains attached to its already drying husk by only the thinnest of chords.
Imagine when you emerge from your old ways, how at first, your wings are truncated stubs waiting to be inflated with warm, clear blood.
But once you step forth from the past, you must steady yourself a moment. It has been such an exhilarating rush of transformation and hard work. Get your bearings, because the wonder of awakening, the discovery of hidden powers, and the call of the waiting sky, are great and can easily blur your thoughts like a drunken haze. So stop a moment and breathe. Feel the air flowing over your clean, glorious body.
Once you are centered let your wings unfurl down your back like a cape divided into two layered parts. Feel them thicken with blood, feel their weight—light, transparent, trimmed with golden veins. Feel the wind finger them gently; separating them to be sure they dry evenly. Feel the wind strum them with satisfaction and praise. Feel your wings thirsting for flight.
Feel your body darken, becoming the color of night. Feel your body becoming strong and precise—fluid black armor gilded with deep greens and gold.
Feel the chord of self-doubt snip as you take your final step from the husk which will remain on the side of the tree like a monument for some observant young child to find and treasure.
And when you finally lift into the cool, dew-laden air—for by now the sun will have dawned—and you bank your first turn into the wide open sky, never forget the dark time beneath the earth, sipping the roots of trees, seeing nothing—nothing for years on end—remember so you can teach those earth-bound and visionless. Remember so you can be there to welcome them at the horizon. For your voice will shake the summer night. Your voice will be the summer night. It will be audible heat that will have the magical power of being able to be thrown—cast like a net across the houses and the streets—it will resound from the sidewalks and chimneys—it will drip from the moon and the stars and the dome of heaven itself. It will be unfollowable—but that is good—you do not need followers. You want your voice to rouse the dead, to awaken the sleeping, to excite the dreamers to rise and do, rise and be, rise and run, rise and live. Your voice will be the loudest sound in the shadows of the branches of the night. It will be unmistakable and undeniable.
So blow out the candles or take that diploma and know that somewhere nearby, your dream is being born and while it may take time—years—know that it is there—you will hear it calling in the night—an electric river of blessing—flowing from the trees and the stars—straight into your waiting, trembling heart.
Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog