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The Dangling Bead

The end and beginning of the life source

By Leslie StavenPublished about a month ago 4 min read
Runner-Up in Just a Minute Challenge

My life is splashing before my eyes, as I precariously suspend and prepare for the end, the consumption of my Self and identity. I know that gravity will be the victor in this struggle. Like a pendant, slipping from the chain, the tension has caught me in this moment, bestowing one last gift of reflection. I cling desperately, questioning my purpose. Searching for comfort. And I remember…

I arrived, full of wonder, exhilarated by the cold. When I fell, what a joy it was to be caught in the arms of my brother. I stayed with him as long as I could, but his arms grew weary. I tumbled to the ground, frozen in awe. The crystal blue sky above me, the green spruce laden with their winter load, and the eyes that kept watch from the bark of the naked aspen. I simply lay perfectly still, surrounded by shimmering silver and suggestions of blue. It was almost silent, though a breeze would awaken a whisper and, occasionally, when I helped the mice beneath the blanket, there were murmurs of security.

The day came when I felt the footfall of a stranger, followed by the almost imperceptible susurrus of soft snow yielding. The mouse wriggled deeper beneath me. My curiosity was piqued as I lay gazing at four black socks, stealthily padding toward me.

The stranger moved, purposely concealed by the watchful white trunks through which he came. I felt myself quiver as he stepped into the light, seemingly unaware of my presence. Filled with a sense of awe, I was mesmerized by color. The only familiar colors that he held were the white flag he waved and his eyes of amber, much like the paralyzed drops on the bark of the trees. The looming shadow was one of fire. The red and orange engulfed me as he laid down, and, in the next instant, picked me up and carried me away from my home.

I was innocent, and exhilarated. The white blending into an endless wave of green, bejeweled with colors, had been beyond my imagination. I was thrilled that he would carry me beyond the limits of my understanding. I stretched to see an endless ribbon of blue unraveling amidst the green, skipping past rocks, and dipping noisily beneath frothy white clouds pinned to the stones. My new uncle paused near a pair of birds arguing over a meal. Unseen and unheard, he slyly slipped in and took the morsel for himself, moving on toward the blue ribbon which seemed to grow wider.

This suddenly seemed familiar to me, though I knew not why. The black-socked, red bandit stepped into the ribbon, held his bushy tail erect with the white flag flicking. He took a sip of the liquid sapphire, and, satisfied, raised his head. I felt a change. I was weaker, and less of myself than ever before. As uncle fox’s head rose, the tension between us increased, and the flaming fur beneath me rose. He widened his stance, cocked his head, and shook and twisted himself with a force unmatched. The last thing I remember of that moment was falling toward the blue ribbon. As soon as I touched it, the force and rush stripped my individuality, and I became one of a larger entity.

Indiscernible, I joined a mass of lost souls: snowflakes, sea spray, raindrops, vapor, crystals, dew, and steam. We became one. With each turn and dip of our journey, we gathered and carried the history of the mountain, the color of the trees, the music of the stones, and anticipation of cast seeds. Our integral sustenance, beauty, power, and unyielding strength was the source of life for all, and inspiration of adventurers, philosophers, poets, scientists, authors, and artists. We whispered through the mountains - until the great fall.

As we plummeted, grabbing and gulping air, I watched the majority plunge off the cliff, dropping down into a churning, violent cauldron of white. I, however, felt the pull of freedom. I took flight in a beautiful frenzy on the wind with countless others, sending light scattering in a great arc of brilliant colors. I was spindrift. Exhilarating individuality had returned to me. Free from the confines of the rocky beds and vaults of banks, in the air I rode, lifted skyward, riding briefly on the raven’s wing. I could see that the arms of my spruce brothers were adorned with summer cones, and the eyes of the aspen were shaded by green coins quaking in the wind. My freeing breeze weakened. Gently, the airy hands placed me upon this leaf, where I considered the rocks smoothed and cupped by the endless travel of my ancestral river.

In the basin of the rock, I saw my future: drops of water have already fallen and now embrace each other. The sun warms and lifts each on an invisible trail to gather in the crystal blue sky. I realized that I, too, would fall.

But now I recall. I, too, will rise. I will remain a part of my history in the present.

The leaf slowly bends from my weight. The sun sparks my soul, reflecting the past, present, and future. The tension between the leaf and me weakens, as I am sanguine about the outcome. This fall will not be the end. I will rise again, as I realized I have done so many times before, to remain the source for all that lives below.

I release the tension, falling freely. My existence ripples with the power – the value – of one, charged by Nature for the purpose of life.

Short Story

About the Creator

Leslie Staven

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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Comments (11)

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  • Christy Munson3 days ago

    Congratulations on Top Story! I particularly enjoyed: "I release the tension, falling freely. My existence ripples with the power – the value – of one, charged by Nature for the purpose of life."

  • Anna 29 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳🥳🥳

  • Margaret Brennan29 days ago

    congratulations on TS. This is awesome. Love it.

  • D. D. Lee29 days ago

    I appreciate the descriptiveness of your piece. Great job making Top Story!

  • Abdul Qayyum30 days ago

    loved this! Inspiring story

  • Lamar Wiggins30 days ago

    Amazing story that gives the word appreciate a new feeling. Congrats on your TS, Leslie!

  • Congratulations on your top story

  • angela hepworth30 days ago

    Stunning and gorgeous!!

  • R.C. Taylor30 days ago

    Beautifully done!!! <3

  • Stella Yan PhD30 days ago

    A beautiful story!

  • Andrea Corwin about a month ago

    This is an exquisite story, so captivating and lilting. Absolutely magnificent!💕

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