Harvey & the Forest of Forgotten Fabric
Harvey the bear-dog was on a quest. He travelled over mountains and across deserts and through every major city on the green-blue planet that there was (and most of the smaller ones too). He slept in igloos and on houseboats and in yurts, in high rises and palaces and sometimes he slept right on the ground without a blanket to keep him warm.
Harvey didn’t know what he was looking for on his quest, but he knew he’d know it when he found it. He kept himself in a pretty good mood most of the time by singing to himself and remembering to look up at the sky whenever he could, and he tried to always smile and say a nice thing to someone he met along the road. It bummed him out him that a lot of people he passed didn’t smile back. They kept their eyes on the ground or stuck to their phones, and they seemed sad, like they were looking for something too but they didn’t know it. Harvey was worried for them – that if they found their quest, they wouldn’t even know it.
After a long time of travelling and seeking and questing, even Harvey’s spirits started to wane. The road was hard on his paws and the cities were becoming louder and more crowded. People were rushing so fast that they sometimes ran each other over and didn’t even stop to say sorry. Harvey stopped smiling at people that he passed – they were always looking at their phones anyway, so what was the point? Pretty soon the peoples’ sadness seeped in through Harvey’s fur and right into his big loving bear-dog heart, and Harvey started forgetting to look up at the sky and he forgot that he was even on a quest; he was just wandering around looking at the ground like everyone else (and he didn’t even have a phone).
He got so sad and lost that he didn’t notice when he entered the Forest of Forgotten Fabric. It was only when the day was waning and he was exhausted and thought to himself that he had better start looking for a place to sleep that he noticed the unusual softness of the ground under his paws. He looked around for the first time in days or weeks or months and saw the strangest sight he had ever seen (and he had seen pretty much everything).
“What is this place?” He asked out loud, but there was no answer.
All around, from the forest floor up to the clouds, were rolls of the most beautiful fabric, wrapped around the trunks of trees, swinging from branches, twisted into the shapes of galaxies, knotted together like soft hands holding, billowing blowsy bloomings of the sweetest and most exotic flowers. It took Harvey’s breath away and stirred something deep in his big loving bear-dog soul. It was so beautiful that Harvey did something he hadn’t done in a long, long time. He started to sing.
The song rose right up out of him and Harvey sang it into the forest. It soared up through the fading light that fell through the tops of the trees and filtered through the fabric of the shimmering evening. Fireflies flickered along like little dancing stars. And then an even stranger thing happened. The forest started singing back. When Harvey sang a line, the forest echoed back straight into his ears, in harmony and with many voices. Harvey’s fur stood up in thrilling delight.
“Who are you?” He asked.
“Who are you?” Echoed back a thousand tinkling voices that seemed to come from all around him.
“I’m Harvey the bear-dog!” Harvey said. “I got lost and I don’t know where I am.”
“Got lost and don’t know where he is!” The voices sang back.
“Who are you? Why can’t I see you?” Harvey looked everywhere but all he could see was fabric.
“Why can’t he see us?”
“Okay that’s getting kind of annoying” Harvey said.
“Why can’t anyone see us?” The voices sang. “Because no one ever stops to look! We are all around you. This is the Forest of Forgotten Fabric. We are the fabric that has been discarded.”
“Why were you discarded?” Harvey asked, and then immediately realized he had a more pressing question:
“Wait, you…can talk? But you’re…fabric.”
“You can talk?” the fabric asked back. “You’re a bear-dog”.
“Good point” Harvey said, and decided to just go with it.
Harvey looked around incredulously at the fabric above his head, under his feet, as far as his eye could see.
“So what happened?” Harvey asked, not sure where to direct his questions.
“I was supposed to become a dress” answered a long silvery stretch of silk shivering in the moonlight.
“I was supposed to be a shirt” Harvey turned and saw a shock of bright orange cotton leaning up against a tree.
“I was supposed to be made into pants” said some indigo rayon, lit up under the light of the fireflies, “but they stopped making us before they came to the end of the roll so we were banished and ended up here with all the other orphan fabric.”
“It’s a sad and lonely place” said some maroon chiffon that Harvey was sitting on.
“Beg your pardon!” Harvey said and moved off the chiffon, but then realized that fabric was everywhere and he couldn’t avoid sitting or standing on it.
“But you’re all so beautiful and you get to live in this amazing forest! What is there to be sad about?”
“We have no purpose!” said the orange would-be-shirt. “Each of us was on a quest to fulfill our destiny, to be useful and to take part in the world and to express ourselves in a way that only we can–”
“But we never got to fulfill it” finished the silk dress. “So now we just sit here aimlessly waiting to decompose.”
“But you wouldn’t understand” said the maroon chiffon, crumpling itself around Harvey’s feet.
“But you’re wrong!” Harvey exclaimed. “I know exactly how you feel. I was walking around the world looking for my quest and I felt like all the people around me were lost and disconnected, and then I started to feel lost and disconnected, and now I don’t even know if I’d know my purpose if it bit me in the butt!”
The maroon chiffon slid up around Harvey’s neck and reached around to dab his tearing eyes. It was the softest, most tender thing Harvey had ever felt.
“I must be dreaming” Harvey said.
“That’s exactly the problem” the forest replied, in a soft and melancholic harmony, “people have forgotten how to dream. Everyone is walking around in dreamless sleep. They can’t know their true purpose unless they know how to dream.”
It had been a long day, a long life, and Harvey felt himself getting very, very tired. He yawned a great big bear-dog yawn, and as if in response, fabric of all different textures and colors from all around the forest gathered together and made themselves into a bed for him. He lay back onto a pillow of cloudy fabric and was wrapped in the sweetest muslins.
The LSA Crew performing our fairytale in front of the 2nd grade class at the ICEF Innovation School.
That night Harvey had the most incredible dream. There was a golden triangle on the horizon and Harvey was trying to get to it. He knew that inside this triangle, life was better. People lived differently. They talked to each other and said nice things and looked each other in the eyes. They sang and helped one another to find their quests and to be happy. It was a dream of what the world could be like. When Harvey woke up, he knew deep in his big loving bear-dog heart that this triangle had something to do with his quest.
He rubbed his eyes. The forest was even more beautiful in the daytime.
He thanked all the fabric for giving him the best night’s sleep of his entire bear-dog life. Just then, there was a cacophony up in the tops of the trees. Fabric birds were hopping excitedly around in their fabric nests in the fabric branches way up high.
“What is it?” Harvey asked? A swirl of mauve swooped him up and carried him to the treetops so he could see. There on the horizon was the triangle from his dream! It hovered far away, a golden mountain gleaming in the dawn.
“My quest!” Harvey heard himself say.
“His quest!” the forest answered in a thousand-part harmony.
“Listen to me,” Harvey said to the forest. That is a place where life is different, where dreams are fulfilled and destinies unfold in harmonious unity. You can be anything you want to be there! Forgotten fabric, we have to go there!”
“We have to go there!” The forest echoed in wild frenzy.
But one low and rumbling voice rose from under the excitement of all the others.
“How will we get there? Have you thought of that, bear-dog?” Harvey looked around but couldn’t tell who was speaking. “We are many thousands of rolls of fabric. Are you going to carry each of us? Or take only the ones you like the most and abandon the rest of us?”
All the fabric parted and made way for a very old and very beautiful roll of fabric. The color was so unique it doesn’t even have a name. The old fabric moved slowly towards Harvey and stood humbly before him, waiting for a reply.
“I…I don’t know. I hadn’t thought of that.” Harvey said. “I suppose there are a lot of you, and the mountain does look far away. Who knows what lies between here and there...”
He felt the forest wilting around him in disappointment. His heart ached for all the forgotten fabric. He could feel that they were deeply sad without their purpose and that their life force was waning because of it.
“I may have an idea” said the old fabric. “but we’ll need your help Harvey.” The forest leaned in to listen. “There is a magic garment that has been lost for a long time. It is a garment you never grow out of. It fits any person and any shape and it can be used for a hundred thousand things. It’s what I was meant to be. Some people call it a prayer shawl. I call it a magic scarf. If we want people to remember to dream again, we need to teach them how.”
Harvey could feel the forest stirring around him, tentative at first, but as the old fabric spoke, a light seemed to grow from within each roll, building and feeding the other light, until the sun had risen within and without and Harvey’s big loving bear-dog heart was once again filled with hope.
“We must each become these magic scarves” the wise old fabric continued, “and we must each find ourselves a human and teach that human to dream again. Then they will carry us to the golden mountain. They will carry us into the future where we will all live in peace and harmony, and our purpose will be fulfilled.”
The Forest of Forgotten Fabric erupted in ecstasy. They led Harvey to the edge of the forest where he “borrowed” a pair of scissors from a seamstress in a nearby town, and excitedly headed back into the forest. When he got there, the forest was quiet and solemn. The fabric had laid itself down in a long path for Harvey to find his way. It was a reverential moment as Harvey realized that this was his quest, that he had finally found his purpose. He would make magic scarves that would help remind the people how to dream so that they could create a better, more beautiful world.
When he got to the center of the forest, the fabric was lined up in row upon row waiting to be cut into little pieces to become magic scarves. Harvey took a deep bear-dog breath and began to cut.
And as he cut, he sang.
Love, Happiness, Adventure, and Mystery
With this we Bless our Shawls.
Working straight from the Heart,
Doing what Spirit wants,
We Bless our Lives and Yours.
And as we pan away the whole forest sings along.
The End (for now).