By Geraldine Fraser
So, we all know how these things go. The stories we hear as we grow up. The messages those who look after us think we should know. And there’s a pattern, isn’t there? A formula. Key ingredients.
The ugly duckling who turns into a swan. The princess rescued from a tower by a handsome prince. The magic spell lifted by true love’s kiss. The deception of disguise with the wolf in sheep’s clothing, or even dressed as grandma.
Beware! the stories say to us. Fit in to the expectation. This is the right way to go. The only way.
But what if these stories took a different turn. What if the ugly duckling was beautiful just as he was. What if the princess was rescued by herself and her logical ability to figure this mess out. What if the dreamy princess could find her way right out of that spell using only the gifts that she possessed and not those from beyond her means.
Makes you think – doesn’t it? What do these stories teach us? What messages are we really giving? Really hearing.
Here is the story of a wall.
The magnificent. Iron grey, smooth surface. Insurmountable. Nowhere to grip. No end to the top. Almost bowing as it stretched to seeming infinity. No-one had ever climbed this wall. No-one ever would. It couldn’t be done. It was just too big.
Any creature who had ever come across the wall could only see one way. To skirt the edges. To traverse the lower reaches and to remain safe. Keep the ground in view. Take care now – you know it is dangerous. You will fall. You will fail.
Until one day. She stood at the bottom. Craning to see the top but not able to quite see the distinction between the grey impenetrable slab and the sky beyond. Stepping back, she looked all ways. It really does look like it might be impossible.
She takes a step closer. Texture comes in to view as the stark greyness seems to dissipate. Perhaps a change to the texture of the imposing steel grey.
Closer again. Perhaps that is a ridge. Maybe a small crack. Possibly a crevice.
She waits. Nobody can expect me to do this by myself. It has never been done before.
Again, she looks at the newly presented surface of the stone fascia. Are you sure it cannot be done? Are you sure you need more than you have?
And then she takes another step. Closer still. Placing a hand on the uninviting pumice like coolness. The warmth of her hand giving her strength and belief. Her own opposing force of warmth against cold. A surge of belief and a sense of overwhelming, splendid isolation..
She reaches for the ridge. Places a finger grip in the crack of the stone. A foothold in the crevice.
Finding the next stronghold.
Waiting no more she scales the insurmountable surmountable face.
Bit by bit. Piece by piece.
Slowly traversing the impassible surface.
The impassible becomes possible.
She reaches the top.