5 min
This is a story of a girl named Chartreuse. She wore overalls with great big buttons on the front--bright, colorful plastic ones that matched her bright, colorful socks. Her socks were striped and went up almost to her knees; she liked them just fine like that. She wore high top shoes with laces so long she had to wrap them around her ankles three times before tying them, and she wore her favorite striped shirt this particular day--the day of our adventure--the day she learned something Very Important.

Under the willow tree, past the cow pasture and the hill, Chartreuse was deep in thought about a certain Something that had held her attention quite fast for the past few hours and did not seem likely to let go. It wasn’t a funny Something, no, in fact it Troubled Her Very Much--something she liked to say to explain things that made her forehead wrinkle and her mouth turn upside down and thoughtful.

She and her Very Troubled brow were facing a stream, watching the water swell and churn, thinking it probably felt a bit like she did--all mixed up and muddled.
“Does a stream have a name?” she asked, thinking it only proper that a stream should be formally addressed before it was asked personal questions about the nature of its troubled currents and eddies.
“It does.” the stream responded in its light, happy voice.
“May I know it?” she asked.
“You may. I am called ‘The Spring’.”
“Alright,” she said with a laugh. “Well, The Spring, why are you worried so? You are always running and chasing and carrying a great many things down your banks. Aren’t you tired of being Troubled all the time?”
The Spring bubbled as it thought.
“If I were not troubled, or dancing as I am, I would not be a spring. I would only be a puddle and this meadow a moor.” The Spring laughed, “I would much rather be troubled than stagnant as a swamp; wouldn’t you?”
Chartreuse thought for a moment, but did not bubble as The Stream did. Rather, she moved her mouth in a little twist and looked at the grass beneath her feet. Perhaps those small blades held an answer she could understand.
“I don’t know,” she said finally. “Thank you, The Spring.” The Spring splashed a welcome nod and bubbled on its way, happy to be ever churching, whispering its song of life into all it touched.

Chartreuse knelt to the grass and lifted a few of the blades from their crouched, swaying positions to better see their simple faces in the sunlight. They smiled up at her with complacent looks of green.
“Hello, grass. Are you called ‘The Grass’ as the spring is called ‘The Spring’?”
“We are,” the blades responded in a placid, dreamy tone, basking in the warmth of the day. “What would you like to know?”
“I want to know how you lay so still, and bend so sweetly in the breeze. Are you not worried you will be cut someday, or become food for my cows?”
The Grass smiled in her hand, which tickled her palm.
“We worry not, dear one, for life is as a dream. The wind blows and we frolic. The blade comes and we are cut. The cow eats and we are eaten. Life for us is not as it is for The Stream, endless chasing and splashing. We live to drink the rain, breathe the sun, and to do so another day, that all who may need us--for pleasure or necessity--may find us well and waiting.”
Chartreuse did not really understand this answer, but she did like how calm the grass’ sweet words made her feel.
“Thank you, The Grass,” she said, letting the blades resume their gentle dance.
She then lay her head down upon their great blanket and stretched out to look up at the sky. The sun shone warm on her face. Closing her eyes, she felt the wind toss her hair against her cheek in that silent way it sings.
She smiled, and whispered her Troubles to the wind.
“Are you called The Wind?” She asked, out of respect.
“I am” it whispered into her ear.
“What may I do, Wind, to live as lively as the stream and as peaceful as the grass?”
“My dear,” it gently spoke, “I have known many lives, many lungs, many songs. I have seen many things and felt many words. I have been Troubled as you now feel and I have been calm and still as you wish to be. I cannot tell you how to be as The Stream, ever flowing and changing, for you are not a stream. I cannot tell you how to be as The Grass, gentle and giving, for you are not of the grass.
“My dear,” the wind blew gently against her ear, “You are of man. Man is not as the stream. He cannot flow on endlessly, but must rest and be still. Man is not like the grass. He cannot be idle and bask in the sun to fulfill the measure of his creation.
“Man must learn,” The Wind continued, “to breathe peacefully as the grass, to dance swiftly as the stream, to be free to explore and grow as I am, and to be the kind and careful master of each.”
At this, Chartreuse was surprised. She felt the wind blow warm and soft against her cheek again. She noticed the Troubled wrinkles on her brow. They had not been smoothed by the words of The Wind. How could she be like The Stream and The Grass and The Wind? How could she ever be a gentle master of the things she did not understand?
Deep in thought, she thanked The Wind and rose from her place to approach her familiar Willow, pressing a hand to its sturdy trunk.
“Dear Willow,” she said (for she already knew its name), “How may I be so many things at once?”
The Willow smiled down at her.
“You already are, dear one,” it rustled. “And I am like you. I am lively like the stream when the wind and I dance. I am steady like the grass as I grow. I am free to roam as my seeds blow and find root in faraway places. But I, like you, seek stability. I want to know, in this world of change, that there are some things that do not change. That is what weighs so heavily on your heart, my dear. You are worried that as you learn to let the wind dance with your branches and make you lively as the stream that you will fall or falter. You worry that if you are still, as the grass, you will miss something important, so you dance about without letting yourself take root. You worry that letting yourself be free will mean you will have nothing to show for it.
“But my dear, you are stronger than that. You are the wind; breathe deep and see. The Spring rushes within your veins as it does mine. The Grass grows within your soul, and my branches surround you, as they do now, wherever you go.
“Rest now, my dear, and be at peace.”

Chartreuse removed her hand from the wrinkled bark of the wizened tree and opened her eyes. She had not realized they were closed. But she had seen, in her mind, the great winds of her breath, the lively spring in her blood, the cool grass’ pleasant peace in her soul. She felt The Willow’s hanging leaves surround her in their comforting haven of solitude, and the wrinkles finally faded from her Ever So Troubled brow.
She was, in fact, at peace.
Taking a deep breath, the Wind entered her lungs with a renewed sort of freshness that brought a laugh to her lips. She drank from the Spring and felt it bring life to the pleasant Grass of her soul, reviving it to smile sweetly in the light of the sun. She danced then, playing among her friends of the earth. She knew them better now that she knew herself, and while she knew her Troubles would come again, she had learned something Very Important that would make them easier to bear. She now understood. The Grass would calm her. The Stream would revive her. The Wind would bring laughter, and The Willow would provide comfort. She was of Man, and bore not the weight of her Troubles alone.

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