The puffins and the cranes…

Today, I went back in time.  About 30 years back in time.  To the sights, smells, sounds and even the feelings of boarding school.  The haunting sound of the organ through the chapel, the bustle of the dining hall, the rubber smell of the sports hall. And the slightly sick, stomach lurching feeling of half excitement and anticipation, half anguish of separation.


I loved all of it; from the sound of the bell to the stacking of the dinner plates down the long wooden tables; from the lumpy beds to the tidy beds; from tuck boxes to the headmaster bowling balls at the boys; from the freedom to roam and the comfort of a dog in a classroom; from seeing boys being boys and my boys being themselves.


I had wondered what the puffin was doing in my reiki session yesterday.  I often get birds, but the puffin was unusual as it signified childhood abandonment, the need to understand parental child relationships and the ability for the young to thrive in darkness.   Would the boys think I would be abandoning them if they went to board?  I couldn’t bear that.  I couldn’t bear not lying down next to them in bed each night to hear about their day, snuffle their skin and hair, feel their arms around my neck and lips on mine.


But yet, I loved boarding;  I loved running through the school in the dead of night, both petrified and exhilarated; I loved knowing which boards creaked and which didn’t; I loved knowing which nights the housemistress would be entertaining and would have had one too many a tipple to notice a stream of nightie clad girls creeping past her door;  I loved weekends on the field picnicking, sunbathing and deciding which activity to do next;  I loved the community, I loved the camaraderie and the bonds that have lasted decades and formed the ‘iron ring’.


Would I deny the boys that experience?  If they wanted it?


There was also a book, an old book, in an open window with the pages flying backwards in the wind from end to start, until the end and then they all flew out of the window turning to cranes, flying off to the sunset. 


I didn’t understand that symbolism yesterday but it fits with today so well.  An old dusty book denotes forgotten knowledge or memories of previous chapters in life.  Flying birds symbolise hopes and dreams, a sunny outlook and freedom.  But the crane, the crane signifies happiness and maternal love.  And cranes , many cranes made of paper set free into the sky are a symbols of wishes coming true, of hope, and healing in dark times. 


And top it all off, we followed a van covered in Kingfishers and the first class we went into, one of the boys had created the most beautiful paper mache Kingfisher.


I think Mumbo liked it.


The boys clearly loved it.


So there is only me, sitting with my V&T, anxiously wondering if I need to start counting down my cuddles at bedtime….  We are writing a whole new chapter.  I wonder if this is going to be part of it?  Do I let them run free or do I keep them in my nest…  ?


I am going to sleep on it. And ponder the puffins and the cranes.

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