We must believe in miracles
At the Royal Naval Dockyard it was the opening night of an art exhibition.
Standing in the centre of the ancient clock tower hall, I quickly ran my eyes through the paintings — landscapes of Bermuda with oleanders, white roofs on pastel houses, storm clouds and pink sand beaches.
Then one painting leapt out at me. My heart soared, and I ran to it. I could not believe my eyes. On an unusual triangular canvas, was a sailboat with striking scarlet sails, racing along the bright blue sea.
“It's Scarlet Sails!” I gasped with delight. How did this painting turn up in Bermuda? Who painted it?
Scarlet Sails is a short story written by Russian author, romanticist and sailor, Alexander Green, in 1923. It is a lyric, old-fashioned and tender fairytale. For many Russian-speaking girls and women, this enduring, poetic and sensual story became the embodiment of romantic love, about how an impossible dream, kept alive over years by faith and hope, one day comes true.
These red sails brought back so many special memories! I stood for a long time looking at this scene, lost in the past. I thought of my earliest desires for an extraordinary love and an outstanding man to share my life. I felt like a child again, that little girl with an open heart and pure soul dreaming of a miracle.
In a small village lived a little girl, Asol. Her father was a former sailor and he made toy models of sailboats. One day he sent her to deliver his new toys. One of them was a miniature yacht with red sails. The path to the town ran through the forest and crossed a creek. Asol stopped to play with the sailboat, but the current quickly carried the boat downstream. She ran after it, trying to keep it in sight. She rounded a bend and came face to face with the old storyteller. He handed the boat back to her and told her to listen carefully. The years would pass. When she had become a woman, a prince in a ship with scarlet sails would come and take her to a far and beautiful country.
When people from the village heard the story, everyone started laughing and teasing her, calling her crazy. But Asol, with her poetic soul and beautiful eyes, never ceased to believe in the scarlet sails that would come to rescue her from these rude people and ordinary life.
Gray was handsome, kind, determined and fearless. He left the family estate and became a sailor. One day, he anchored his ship, Secret, not far from the village where Asol lived.
Walking through the forest, he saw a girl sleeping in a meadow and fell in love with her at first sight. In the village, Gray learnt the story of this girl. In many ways Gray was the same as Asol, a little “not of this world”. He bought all the scarlet cloth in the nearby town and made new sails. He found several musicians and brought them back to his boat.
In the morning, the village awoke to music coming from the sea. Everyone was shocked by the sight of a white ship under scarlet sails. When Asol appeared on the shore, everyone became silent and the crowd parted. From the ship came a colourful boat, in which stood Captain Gray. Asol, mortally afraid of everything — mistakes, misunderstandings, harmful interference — ran up to to her waist in the waves, shouting, “I'm here, I'm here! It's me!”
Gray bent down, her hands clutching at his belt. Asol shut her eyes. Then, quickly opening them, she smiled up at his radiant face and, breathless, said, “You are absolutely as I dreamt you would be!”
“And you too, my love!” He placed a beautiful jewel in her hand. “I came for you.”
I searched for the Russian artist, Sonia, in the gallery. We laughed, remembering this beautiful story, which remained for ever in our hearts.
On the backside of the painting Sonia wrote me a powerful quote from the book: “Miracles need to be done by our own hands. If the heart of a person craves a miracle, do it for them! A new soul will be given to each of you.”
At any age, we must dream and believe in miracles, because they happen. No matter how old we are, how many mistakes we have made, and how many heartaches we have suffered, love can be found. Or, when we least expect it, love will find us.
• Nina London is a certified wellness and weight-management coach. Her mission is to support and inspire mature women to make positive changes in their body and mind. Share your inspirational stories with her here: www.ninalondon.com