A sliver of light pierces the darkness of the moonless sky. The wind whispers to the trees, drawing the ever-delicate leaves for a dance in the dew dawn morning. The pond’s tranquil surface is disturbed as young ducklings follow the mother duck for their early morning baths. One-by-one, they dip below the surface, releasing a quack of joy, and resurfacing, to follow their mother. And while each one rejoiced in the new day, a single duckling sat alone, watching the others enjoy the start of a new journey.
I believe in imagination and dreams, in parallel dimensions and alternate universes. I believe in stories. Stories, that have the ability to capture all of these, and allow the individual to experience a small part of their life through the looking glass. I believe in the kind of stories that draw on the reader, that open the mind, and that opens doors to new journeys. I believe in the stories for children, in the fairytales that espoused a life free from the trivialities and poisons of society, that deal not with diluted dilemmas, but rather, clearly distilled situations. I believe in The Ugly Duckling.
I believe in strength of sharing – of sharing confidence, love, and endurance. I believe in the Ugly Duckling’s ability to overcome his problems, just as any individual can overcome his own. As an American-born Chinese child, with few languages to communicate with the people, and even fewer friends to play with, I believed in the world of stories. I believed that one day, I would no longer be the ugly duckling, and that eventually, I would be the swan.
There is simplicity. There are morals. But most of all, there the lessons of happily-ever-afters – lessons that inspire children to believe that, in the chaotic world of adults, there are still those who still believe in the same magic they do. The magic of childish naïveté, of insuppressible optimism, and of unending insight that adults unconsciously refuse to acknowledge. I believe in the stories where the bad guys are not criminals and monsters, but misguided and lost souls, whether it be in the hearts of others, or in the hearts of the individual.
I believe in stories. I believe that as the sun sets, darkness enshrouds, and the day ends, there will be a tomorrow, where the sun will once again pierce the moonless sky, where the wind will whisper and dance with the leaves, where the ducklings will swim again, and where a new journey can once again begin.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.