If dreams grew on trees I would be climbing among the branches with my little basket, clipping them off and dropping them to nestle within the honey wicker. I'd gather the downy fluff from amidst emerald leaves, pruning away the ones gone rotten, discarding them carefully so the little children couldn't pick one up by accident. The silver ones, the ones that are mature and ready, I would spread like dandelion seed across the neighborhood, letting them fly rough and free to nestle in the eaves of the houses until nightfall.
Dreams don't grow on trees anymore. I think they did – a long time ago. Or maybe not trees, but on the wind, drifting from place to place until the moon's smile shivered them to life and sent them dancing through the stars with purpose. But that is just a guess. I was not there – I do not know if they grew or were born or perhaps even breathed into existence.
I just sit here then, in this smooth-barked maple, the branch cool beneath my bare feet, my cheek pressing against a clump of feathery leaves. The children play further down the street, the same children I would protect from the dreams gone bad if they were things I could touch and taste. They look at me every now and then. I am a stranger among them for my age and yet a stranger among my own for my mind. The children still see what I see but the young adults have moved on from such childhood silliness.
I don't think it silliness at all. When I look up all the children do too, seeing the shadow of mist and light soar across the sky. I see her often. She has landed once, folding her sunbeam wings about her, her clawed hands digging into the concrete, her tail wrapping around her. She gazed down upon us, dragon-hide hiding fire heart. She knows we see her and we know she knows. She smiled and then took to the air. Creatures such as her were not meant to be tied to the ground. They are meant to fly and soar. It brings her joy, I think, when we acknowledge that she still has a place in this world.
The children will not see her forever. They will grow older and loose the unclouded eyes that allow them to see the dragons and the unicorns and the dream-dust. It will be a sad thing when that day comes, when the trade their hope in for something more tangible, something that can be touched and grasped. I wish I could explain to them - right now - that not everything of worth is solid. That sometimes the most insubstantial thing is the rarest prize of all. They'd just look at me like I was crazy. Our age separates us. So I can only wait and watch like the dragon and hope that one of them will retain their sight like I have. And when the day comes that they fall away I will stand by the dragon as she lands and cries over their blind bodies.