Sparrow's Descent

Here is the first chapter of the story that inspired these collages. I call the tale "Sparrow's Descent."

Clouds of lilac floss spun within violet skies. Purple plumed buntings flashed boldly back and forth, up and down, cartwheeling through magenta sunsets. Bright metallic gold streaked the endless sky, visible only when the light was low. Beyond purple this was the only other color...and yet...

A golden crowned sparrow looked about her home in the clouds. Ever since she could remember she was surrounded by these striking purple birds, varied buntings. She looked different enough from them that she could only wonder what had happened to her own family. Though she shared perfect telepathy with the buntings none could tell her why she looked different. All she knew was that they loved her and each other the same.

This burning question of belonging aside, it felt like Sparrow was in heaven with her adopted bird family. They flew together and taught each other tricks. They fed each other the fattest worms and the tastiest seeds. They preened each other and cuddled together in the nest every night. The great love she felt for and from them was never in doubt.

All this bright purple only highlighted how much Sparrow didn’t belong here. She had seen no other color aside from the golden streaked sunsets that at least resembled the crown on her head.

There was nothing wrong with all this purple, in fact the buntings told her it was the best color of them all, and perhaps they were right since there was always an intense feeling of love throbbing from the violet clouds. Even the worms exuded perfect love, willingly sacrificing themselves for the birds, and the birds accepted this sacrifice knowing that the worms would be reborn in a yet fairer heaven. Sparrow couldn’t help but wonder what color that heaven would be. You would think that in the presence of so much love one could feel completely happy and completely satisfied, but not this sparrow.

For a while she could trick herself into feeling like she belonged, but then she would see herself mirrored in a bunting brother’s eye, and she would be faced with the reality that she looked different, drab even. This drabness made her feel unworthy of her bunting family’s love, but she felt she had no other choice than to simply try to live with this feeling.

One day she was flying high with her fellow buntings when she saw something small and round far below. Normally she wouldn’t have noticed something so small and so far away except that it was NOT PURPLE! It had an aspect of purple to it, but was yet a color quite different.

“Do you see that?” she crooned telepathically to her flock, but the buntings didn’t pay it much mind.

“It’s a red apple,” one replied. “They say the juiciest worms reside inside, but the sacrifice made to attain the worm is rarely worth the cost.”

“Have you tasted this worm yourself?” Sparrow asked.

“I have, many times, but now I can remember the taste so well that I no longer feel the need to seek it out.”

“But I have never tasted it, nor have I ever seen anything so beautiful as this apple.”

“It is no more beautiful than the crown upon your head, but if you have never tasted the worm you might consider giving it a try. While I can telepathically imprint upon your mind the taste of this worm, it would do no justice to the reality of it. Just know that if you chase it you will be stuck in a very heavy world and won’t be able to return here for many years.”

Sparrow was so young she didn’t even know what a year was, and she was so light that she didn’t know what heavy was either. Not to mention being raised on only purple worms meant she couldn’t imagine anything juicier or even different in any way. Sparrow decided to go after this mythical worm that all the buntings seemed to know so well they could taste it on their mind’s tongue.

The preparation for her journey may have taken weeks, days, hours, or minutes, but in a world beyond time who can really say? Through the telepathic bond she had with the buntings she some idea of what to expect, but still none of it made sense to her because she hadn’t experienced it for herself. The buntings knew she needed this adventure, even though of course they would miss her terribly. With an excited flutter of wings the sparrow dive-bombed straight toward the apple.

Now, the buntings had indicated that she would experience different colors on the way down, but even with all their telepathy they couldn’t make her sense what she had never experienced. All of these colors had been obscured by the purple clouds, but the apple itself was so red its gleam penetrated all mist and fog.

After flying straight down through a long and ever changing color shift, Sparrow found herself in a sky full of indigo...

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