The black sky stretches endlessly. A salty breeze fills the air and the occasional sea animal bobs its head between the swell of ocean waves. The only light comes from the millions of stars, so numerous they fill nearly each patch of the sky, twinkling over sea and shore.

Violent storms on the Sun, that giant ball of fire that provides both life and light, pull the magnetic field away from Earth like a rubber band. It pops the rubber band, or the magnetic field, and that creates waves. These waves pick up hitchhiking electrons and shoot through space, toward Earth, at ridiculous speeds. The electrons are on an adrenaline rush as they ride; when the excited electrons collide with other elements in the atmosphere, the result is magic.

Cascading from the sky, ribbons of beautiful color spark imagination and reignite wonder. The colors reflect off the surface of the water, painting the world. Huge mountains give texture to the earth, their snow-capped peaks inspire two- legged adventurers while their massive size offers comfort for those seeking shelter. During the day, the snow fox, that “clown of the tundra”, loves to play catch-me-if-you-can with the polar bear; following the polar bear’s tracks finds a day nest, perfect for a mid morning nap after hunting ringed seals playing in the water.

For the average wanderer, this is a place of extremes: temperatures that, at negative 30, can kill within minutes and beauty so rare and spectacular it steals the breath within seconds. This is a place to dream: freedom is powerful when one is self-sufficient and alone. This is a gambler’s paradise, death only an avalanche or an accidental dip in the frigid waters away.

But some know its story.

Many, many ages ago, when the earth was new, a traveling magician was dropped accidentally in this desolate landscape by a falcon. The falcon swooped down to pick the magician up again, but was not able to reach him; he flew away, leaving the magician stranded. The magician needed a way home, but there were no roads, boats, humans or planes here. He tried trick after trick, but the frigid temperatures prevented his magic from working. With no fire, little sunlight and inadequate clothing, the magician’s skin began to turn purple; with no food, he lacked the energy needed to complete his spells. Soon, his heart began to freeze.

But, just as the magician lay murmuring what might have been his last prayer, the lights began sizzling across the night sky. Hues of purple, yellow, orange and blue danced in all sorts of dizzying patterns. Some flew like ribbons from the sky, others spiraled back on themselves. Some seemed to leap out of the sky straight down to the earth. The magician’s weary, cold and hungry eyes watched in astonishment as a huge white lion walked from the sea. The lion was dry. The magician wandered at first if he’d somehow conjured the lion up, but he knew that was impossible: he’d been trying for days to make spells with no luck; he wasn’t warm enough and he didn’t have the energy.

The white lion carried fur in its mouth. He draped the fur over the magician and an intense heat began to spread through his body. The lion dropped to his side, curling his body around the magician, further warning him. Suddenly, the lights in the sky began to sing; only it wasn’t just his ears that absorbed the sounds. He felt full. The moment his fingers began to tingle, and excitement spread through his bones, he knew he could fly. Just as soon as that belief struck him, the lion and the lights and the sounds disappeared, leaving only a blanket of black sky and twinkling stars.

The magician scrambled to his feet, fear of death replaced again by awe of the beautiful place he stood. He stretched out his arms, murmured the poetic spell… all except the last word. Quickly, he realized he wanted to leave something for others, a reminder that dreams can come true. He wanted to leave a gift. To do it, though, he’d need a token from the land. He didn’t have a lot of time; the warmth and energy from the lion would fade soon. He ran from one end of the shoreline to the next when, at last, he spotted a bit of fur from a snow fox. Quickly, he cast a spell on the fur and buried it in the snow. Those who found it would have their greatest dream come true: just as he had been given his. Mission accomplished, the magician stretched his arms and repeated the final spell. The nocturnal owls and foxes and polar bears looked skyward when the two-legged wanderer flew southward. Being a bit of a playful chap, and a proud one, the snow fox, having hid behind an outcropping to see the whole thing, immediately began a chain of gossip among the animals. Eons later, the gossip sent wanderers to this desolate place in search of the treasure of all treasures: a dream come true.

Millennia later, in present day, a tiny boy curls up in a den. Orphaned, abandoned, and raised by fellow street kids, the boy wandered away from the sewage and the busy streets. Soon, an ice bridge brought him over the mountain to stand at the shoreline of a land unlike any he’d ever seen. The polar bear found him first. Hungry, the bear could have—perhaps, should have—eaten him. Instead, she picked him up gently in her teeth and carried him to her den. Together, they played; catching fish, chasing foxes and barking back at seals. When night fell, they watched the dancing lights and then retreated to the den, where the bear allowed him to curl into her fur for warmth.

Visions of the ballpark captured his heart when his eyes closed. When the street kids snuck into the baseball stadium, he’d seen men with boys his age, laughing and sharing popcorn. Once, at Christmas, he’d peeked into the big windows of a pretty house and seen a man in a rocking chair, smoking a pipe. Tucked into the man’s side was a young boy holding a book and reading it to the father. Sometimes the other street kids told of their memories: fathers building things with them or taking them hunting. Visions of a man yelling at the three older street kids who routinely broke his arm and left him with a bloodied nose kept him warm. But the street kids’ stories, and his nighttime dreams, seemed as fantastical and far-fetched as the colorful lights dancing across the sky. When he tried to think back, as far as he could, there were wisps of images: a big man with shaggy blonde hair tossing him in the air, a roaring fire and music. These were so faint he thought he dreamed them. When the bear stirred, and day broke, the boy awoke with a yearning in his soul, a familiar ache that stayed until a new day made fuzzy last night’s dream.

It was mid-day when Bear loped toward the sea; she was to hunt seal for lunch. The boy stayed behind as he was not helpful on the ice. The sound of a vicious roar perked the boy’s ears; he didn’t hesitate but ran toward the sound of Bear. A pack of wolves encircled Bear; two nipped at her, scurrying back when she went to bite or swung her paw at them. The boy screamed, drawing the attention of the wolves.

Seeing easier prey, two of the wolves advanced toward the boy. The thundering roar of Bear shook the earth as she loped toward the two. They ran, but another continued to harass, nipping at Bear, growling at the boy, showing it’s teeth. Bear grabbed the boy and threw him beyond reach of the wolves; he landed hard enough that the message was clear: stay away. Still, he couldn’t stop from watching as the wolves encircled Bear, nipped, jumped and clawed. The attack lasted hours until, eventually, Bear stumbled, her feet giving way beneath her. Struck by fear that the wolves, howling now as the sun sank, would turn on him, the boy ran back to the den.

But the warmth was gone.

He shivered all night, unprotected against the could without Bear’s fur. The nighttime visions were strong. He dreamed of bloodshed, but there was always the shaggy blond haired man in the background, standing in front of the boy, protecting him, just as Bear had, from the violence. Visions of wolves clawing at and chomping on bits of his red heart while it struggled to beat woke him in a sweat. He shivered to sleep again; giving in to the deep sleep that weighed his eyes and slowed his heart felt easy. And he thought he’d do it.

Near morning, after a restless night, he heard music from the skies. Frowning, fighting the urge to open his eyes, the boy burrowed his head into the crook of his arm. A wet nose tickled his cheek, the smell of snow and … something else…. jolted his eyes open. A white fox stood over him, nudging his cheek, sniffing. A scream threaded from his throat but the fox made no move toward him. Instead, he pulled a bit of fur from his own skin, dropped it by the boy’s head.

“Find the fur that matches mine. It is here.”

The boy blinked. Not even Bear spoke. The fox faded from the den, but the music coming from outside grew louder. Tentatively, the boy moved from the den. Alive, the sky pulsed with activity, lights spinning, falling and twirling in a rainbow of color and music humming from the earth. If the boy stepped, the ground vibrated. But when he stepped to the right, the vibrating increased so that snow fell. Each step to the right repeated the affirming vibrations; a step in any other direction felt smaller, minuscule vibrations. The mischievous, knowing, old fox followed a safe distance behind, stepping in the boy’s tracks, excitement humming through him. Millennia passed, and no one had found the gift. Because no one fought that hard. Maybe this time….

When he stepped again, the music and vibrations stopped. If he stepped again, the vibrations returned, until he’d made a circle and was standing in the same spot again. Curious, he looked down and saw snow. Kneeling, he began digging, with no idea what he’d find or what he hoped to find. Fur, matching that of the snow fox, was finally discovered. The boy used his fingers to rub it.

Suddenly, his fingers began tingling. The lights exploded in vibrant bursts when he first saw the buried white fur. The boy dropped fur, scrambling back, awed by the fierce storm of noise and lights swirling around him. Through the mist, a tall man with shaggy blonde hair walked out. The man smiled, recognition lighting his face, as his arms opened. The yearnings of his heart fulfilled, the boy raced toward his father, feeling his feet lift from the ground as he was spun around. He recognized home.

The fox will tell you the boy and his father buried the fur again, somewhere in the arctic, somewhere between where the sea meets the land and the bear’s den. Adventurers— go wandering! But be forewarned: only those truly seeking, and willing to be transformed, shall find. This is the place known as Whispering Dreams.