Written By Laura Simms, Award-Winning Storyteller

The heat is blazing and clanging from aging radiators. A thin icy stream of air pushes under the edge of one old window frame. The room is warm and fresh. I remain in touch with air and wind; feel the fullness of words whose sounds depend on listening sky. By 6 am the horde of pigeons have departed. They have feasted unseen. The fire-escape is marked with white; a hieroglyph of natural cycles. An occasional plump bird or two comes and checks the cracks for seeds throughout the day. Or a family of mourning doves arrives. My grey cat has eaten. He still presses his head against my knee hoping to be fed again.

I used to read the news immediately. But now I wait. I see the sunlight reflected and a sliver of muted blue is overcast. There are days when I forget what I have learned. I feel the breathing of bricks nestled one on top of another dreaming of streams and mountains. Perhaps like the Little Fir Tree in an Andersen tale, removed from the forest, they don’t question their destiny. Their cells know the building will not last forever. They are listening as I am to the beautiful song of the birds as they come and go. I can focus my ears the way I focus my eyes and the sound grows louder. The ears of stones are immune to machines; they must delight in the way the pigeons’ circle as they seek a mate. Perhaps the bricks feel empathy for the youth who have risked their lives to climb on the side of the building to paint their logo in large letters as if they will then outlast the window panes and workers. Stones know they live as long as air and streams unseen that move slowly under the pavement. Even if indelible ink, a storm will wash it away. The kind tears of cement will fall like ash; cascade downpipes, wait for the rain to sink back beneath subways to return to where they have come. This kind of reading the world is my real news in the morning.

Laura Simms is an award-winning performer, writer, and educator advocating storytelling as compassionate action for personal and community transformation. She performs worldwide combining ancient myth and true life stories for adult and family audiences.  She is the Artistic Director of the Hans Christian Andersen Storytelling Center in NY and the founder of The Center for Engaged Storytelling (new). Learn more about Laura here.