An Utterly Stationery Journey

Two tiny hands sculpt a basic page, simply folding and manoeuvring the thin material. The product: a small vessel bound for the skies. The fragrant air – alive with Mother Nature’s melodious charm – awakens the senses of the immobile craft. Thrust into the sky by naïve hands; its first flight akin to a nestling thrown from its perch. Flailing its skeletal limbs in the hope of establishing its balance, helplessly beating its tiny wings as the Earth below creeps closer preparing to capture its prey. A paper aeroplane.

Image credit: PABS

Attempting an audacious nosedive, its stationery shell rapidly descends towards a bed of vibrant blossoms. An innocent breeze jostles the rigid wings as if guiding the craft on its oblivious journey; hoisting its meagre body with hidden hands, leading the plane to its path. The vessel flits between stems of pastel flora. The air hangs thick with pollen. Sticky yellow wads cling to the planes smooth wings as it clumsily bashes into the long green stalks. The fledgling aircraft gradually gains its confidence; daring to whiz through the thick blankets of leaves sheltering the naked trunks of the towering oaks. Clouds of butterflies erupt from the flowery forest with every swoop.

Past sand tattooed with rows of motley beach towels, stained with the overpowering scent of salt. Soaring freely over the white wash subtly licking the shores sandy lips. The plane veers away from the shrapnel of sea-spray, gliding over pale pink shells and sandy palaces adorned with a variety of oceanic ornaments. Footprints of thousands of beachgoers imprint the hide of the stretching shoreline. The atmosphere is thick with salt and the constant harmony of laughter and excitement. The plane swoops and glides between packs of gulls, camouflaging amidst the sea of white. The pale shell of the craft catching the shades of red, orange and yellow thrown from the scorching, summer sun. The waves of heat beating down upon its edged spine, almost hot enough to singe its paper hull. The sandy territory is dominated by youth, their fingers sticky with sun-melted ice cream.

Crowds of tiny bodies below become specks in the distance as the ocean breeze toys with the planes salt-seasoned wings. The freedom of the open air: coaxing the desire for a daring array of stunts. Whirling and twirling, like a roller coaster of continuous loop-the-loops and corkscrews above the never-ending mass of blue. Flying towards the sunset, the tiny white capsule slowly fades into the pink and orange cloud.

Gliding orderly above a carpet of leaves, paving a golden-brown pathway into the dampened ground. The paper aeroplane gradually ages with yellowing stains, its edges encrusted with salt. Dodging twisted trunks and brutal branches, the paper machines altitude falters with every bare tree past: their cold limbs catching onto the calloused case of the craft. The woodland breeds its own sense of serenity behind distant midnight shadows cast by twisted, finger-like twigs. Tendrils of silvery mist cascade upon the moist, forest floor. The woods muted, apart from the soft crunch of the creatures invading the undergrowth thick with brittle sticks. Following the winding walkway of fallen leaves, the woodlands become denser and denser, darker and darker. The wind whispers through the naked branches… enticing intruders further and further into the silent heart of the wood.

Now a dreary shade of grey, the plane’s wings are dog-eared and torn. Having grown weary along the journey, the once smooth surface of the craft now chafed with age and experience. A deafening rumble sounds; a storm awakens, and the sky turns black with terror. The bare trees beat their branches wildly against one another; as if in surrender against the forthcoming rage. The death metal screeches of the wind pierce the deadly silence of the dark wood. The wicked sky opens fire as bullets of frost are hurled from above; attempting assassination of the assiduous aircraft.

The plane fights through a whirlwind of turbulence, dodging missiles of frost and sleet. Tempestuous winds throw the craft to and fro – its already threadbare exterior tatters with every shove. The icy wind whips against its withered wings. The plane’s papery exterior, ripped and ragged, creating drag in the monstrous headwind. Tossing and turning through the gale, violently battering against branches… a deathly cold breath guides the crippled craft towards its white, chapped lips.

The craft comes to land upon an icy mailbox, scarred by the ghastly battle of life and death. The ruins of the paper aeroplane are lifted once again by familiar hands, grown since a year past.

 Copyright: Ashleigh Douglas 2018

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