Balloons and Mountain-Less Mountains with Shaggy and Bandi

Dedicated to Those Who Discover Magic in a Far and Distant World. 

There was once a Shaggy Dog who loved the colour pink and loved long hair. She tried to have both and it was very tough - but she did it. She roamed, a little too often some may say, searching for newness and life stories. She loved to see how other animals lived, how the nature that surrounded them changed them. Shaggy Dog liked to change the setting of her story too, to see which one fit her best - was she an ocean girl most at home in the rivers and the open seas? Was she a desert flower finding the rugged beauty of life of the desert irresistible? Was she a forrest nymph dancing her way through the green, green, grasses of the lush treed heavens, feeling safe hiding behind mushrooms? Or was she a mountain fairy, with colourful wings that took her to white peaks and into deep swallowing valleys blossoming in the diversity of the sublime? She thought she'd found that which she liked best, but she still liked to test it, just to be sure. 

Shaggy Dog had spent many recent shaggy days in none of these tasty spaces. Instead her life was one guided and shielded by big tall buildings, in a big broad city, with no clean air to breathe and no clean water to drink. Shaggy Dog needed to go walkabout - another search, another life lesson, another chance to see different creatures in different lands and soak up all that difference that made both them and her special. 

She planned a holiday, alone. She liked to run alone sometimes, but she also liked friends. Someone to share her eyes with, someone to share her secrets with, someone to share her stories with, someone to share the mountains with - would this be her place she wondered. 

The day before she was ready to fly her new amigo Crash Bandicoot decided to crash the party. Crash Bandicoot loved crashing into things, but Shaggy Dog liked this about him. He was fresh, a new soul in this old world seeing everything for the first time, listening, learning and collecting every step of the way. Shaggy Dog and Crash Bandicoot came from different spaces, experiences and worlds, but this made sharing a new world together all the more fun. Crash Bandicoot was spontaneous but careful, kind but silly, a little forgetful but somehow still aware. A mixed boy, with mixed feelings and forked paths ready for anything. 

He was brown she was pink, Shaggy Dog pranced a little, Crash Bandicoot bounced a little. He had big circles around his bandicoot eyes, this made him see better. The streets were alight with rhythm as they walked together searching. For what? Who really knows, but neither cared. 

They were ready to leave the buildings world and the buildings people behind them. That boring greyness held something special somewhere, but right now it was a little bit cloudy - they needed a break to see that special something once again. Shaggy Dog thought it was strangely sad how you could feel so lost so quickly in a new but familiar space. 

So Shaggy and Bandi flew to the mountains, they didn't fly the regular way, but by a red heart shaped balloon. They were both open to love, looking for love and ready to share love, wearing the red heart on their sleeve. They floated high in the sky for what left like no time at all. Four big, curious eyes creeping over the edge of the basket bewildered by what they were seeing. Big, sharp, pointy triangles piercing the puffy clouds and shining above. They were seeing things animals couldn't see from land. It was magical. The clouds were firm but fluffy, the basket bounced, boing, boing, boing, over the clouds as they floated towards their destination. 

The big red heart shaped balloon was a little out of place in the new land. The new land was colourful but a different kind of colourful, not red heart shaped balloon kind of colourful. Lots of sheep lived here, their bodies were dressed in beautiful wools, all kind of shades and textures. Shaggy and Bandi brought something with them to show that they hadn't realised when jumping on board the balloon, they'd brought themselves. They stopped the sheep dead in their tracks necks twisting and turning. They realised instantly not only were they learning every step of the way, but they were also teaching. Shaggy realised in that moment this is a role we each will play forever in our lives, that of a student and that of a teacher. How perfect she thought. 

Shaggy and Bandi couldn't see the same landscape they had seen in the clouds back on the ground and this confused them a little, for they had thought they were running away to the mountains, only to find there were no mountains to be seen. No they couldn't see them but somehow they could feel them, in that space at that very moment they realised they had a new sense beyond the token five. It wasn't sight, scent, touch, smell or taste that was there, but a new kind of sense that words couldn't explain; it was the sense that knew the mountains were there, despite being seen or not, clouded in a certain kind of magic. 

They put down their backpacks and peddled out onto the street feeling fresh and new amongst all the new sights, smells, sounds and secrets. The sheep roamed quickly and quietly through the streets but they couldn't hide their curiosity, Shaggy and Bandi would turn and catch them as they disappeared down a lane giggling and smiling. There were some tough goats also out on the roads, they were the loud ones, stamping their feet and making themselves heard - but the tough goats are never the interesting kind of goats, for they wear the whole of themselves on the outside, leaving nothing to be learned and discovered, slowly and patiently. They are boring and transparent. Time should never be wasted on the tough goats in your life. 

Shaggy and Bandi valued kindness, they tried to be kind to all creatures big and small always, and this new mountain, mountainless space opened their hearts to a new kind of kindness. The tough goats thought they owned the town, but little did they know what little footprint they had left; for it was in the silence of the sheep that the space was transformed, in turn transforming those brave enough to enter. 

Shaggy felt different here, she felt like a milder and wiser version of herself. She watched the sheep move around her and the gentleness of their interactions. Shaggy liked to take care of all animals, she liked to make the creatures smile. But here in the mountainless mountains she imagined mini shaggy dogs and a senor snow dog building another kind of caring space together and this too made her smile. 

Days passed and Shaggy and Bandi continued recording their adventures together. A snapshot of their feelings, thoughts and observations in photographs, videos, drawings and words. By day three they were different absorbing the trails left behind by the sheep in the village. In this moment they decided to abandon their furs of the built up world and drown their bodies in wool, just like the sheep. It must be made clear that Shaggy and Bandi didn't want to be the sheep, they saw themselves as herders leading the pack in one way or another, and so, they kept their unique colours and textures of the heart shaped red ballooned world in their new wooly covering. Now they sat in a new place, in this new space they had journeyed to - they were neither outside nor inside, not up nor down in the mountainless mountained landscape. They'd formed a bridge between themselves and the new land absorbing, learning and adapting, whilst staying true blue to who they are. 

Snuggled in their wool on the banks of the lake Bandi grabbed Shaggy's tail and twisted her to the right. Shaggy stopped dead in her tracks just like the local sheep; here in the mountainless mountained landscape unveiled a big blue mountain, actually it was a series of big blue mountains, swirling and circling the land below, swallowing Shaggy and Bandi slowly, while secretly keeping them shielded and safe behind clouded magic. 

So it must be said that one mustn't ever be visually here to ever truly be there, for behind the foggy clouds often lies the answer. Shaggy and Bandi realised they were sweetly happy and full to the brim with the love they came armed with floating in the red balloon. Shaggy was no longer Shaggy, she was a transformed fairy. These wings she thought won't stop fluttering until clipped by the mountains for good.