Monday, November 25, 2013

How to Follow Faeries

How to follow faeries?  Does this mean, literally, how to find and follow faeries in this world?  Or is it asking the question of how to follow along with the Faerie Wood story; how to understand it? Or is it a question for the author, not the reader, a matter of what to write next. It is all of these things…partially.
When one looks up the history of faeries it becomes clear that there are different notions and types of faeries around the world. But there is one consistent thread throughout the descriptions and that is- faeries are inconsistent.  Their behavior is unpredictable. They may be inclined to do good, evil or mere mischief. Or severe mischief.  They will not be squeezed into a Wikipedia entry or a one-size-fits-all box of magic and definition. The difference between faeries and humans seems to be primarily a matter of ‘magic’, which is simply that which human beings can provide no scientific explanation for.  Of course faith and miracles land squarely in that camp.  As do things like the grace of Mother Teresa, black holes and the goodness of Peeps.

As I wrote the Faerie Wood I had time to reflect on that marvelous weekend outing. With each passing week my leg continued to be pain-free and my movement returned to a place it had not been since March. It was, and continues to be, a mystery to me. Perhaps it is a coincidence of sufficient time for treatments to take effect and my body to mend itself? The healing (and scientific) power of all those good chemicals that my body released as I relaxed completely, laughed with my family and let the beauty of the Olympic Peninsula surround me? Or was it something of faeries and faith? Magic and miracles?

 There are so many pictures of me laughing and cracking up on this trip!  I have always thought I have a pretty BIG smile, but sometimes when I laugh so hard, my eyes scrinch closed, tears run down my face, my nose turns red and my teeth and gums are really all you see!! I was honestly too vain to put some of the 'near hysterics' photos on the site. But trust me...I laughed ALOT! How can that not be healing?!

 The Faerie Wood story is a work in progress but I am pleased to have written as much as I have. For now the story ends and it feels like an afghan unfinished; pieces of yarn and needles dangle from the end. Yet it’s lovely enough; warm enough; cozy enough if you just scoot the crochet needles out of the way. It is fact and fiction; faith and fantasy.
These are a few of the mysterious truths of my story.  We did have rolling thunder our first night at the cottage, very unusual for the Northwest. My sister did bring along a lovely, glittery puzzle called “Magical Fairies” and the ‘puzzle-work’ was a favorite time for all of us. There were mountain goat warning signs and women making tea in the restroom. The sun did come out to greet us and lure us onto the trail. My sister did find the “little shack”, and to this day we cannot agree on whether it had a door.  A moth followed me for some time. The trail was blocked with branches and re-routed. There were pebble pyramids and a dragon’s head on the bridge, though I did not take a picture because my camera had begun to misbehave (a little faerie mischief?).  And our mother and grandmother did, much to our dismay, begin to rally the search and rescue forces. The mystery of motherly love?

A little ‘asking around’ led us to a possible answer for one mystery. That strange sign in the water, just 20 yards from our cottage, “Warning: No Trespassing- High Security Area”…Well, a friend of a friend claims that her family vacationed at Alderbrook for decades and the fenced in home adjacent to our cottage belongs to…hmmm.  I shall just say ‘a famous and wealthy family from the Pacific Northwest.’ Perhaps they will read this some day and thank me for my discretion by inviting my sister, mother, grandmother and I to tea!  Assuming they forgive the surveillance camera footage of my sister and I peering about in the enclosure of their locked gate, looking curiously at the lock, the keypad, intercom and yes, the camera!  Oops!
Did you notice the mysterious, translucent bubbles or bright spots of light that appear in some of our photographs? My son suggested raindrops on the lens. Maybe. I suggest faeries.

Do you see that light EXACTLY on my right hip?The very leg that hurt for 6 months...and was better after our trip.

Seriously Mr. and Mrs. Rich and Famous...have us over for tea...we are a riot! We will mak you laugh so hard you'll cry...and that's a good thing.

Readers will have to guess at the rest of the story- fact or fiction?  The truth is, even I do not know! As I wrote I could not help but think about the things that we perceive to be fact each day. Yet so much of it is a story that we tell ourselves. Take the time to truly ponder just one day in your life. Be amazed at how many places you fill in the blanks with assumptions, preferences, guesses, stereotypes and suspicions.  If a full day is too much, just consider the last hour of interaction that you had with another human being.  Try it. Write out your story and then be honest about how much you are certain is fact. It may sound cliché’, but that ‘grumpy cashier’ may be a grieving or sick cashier.That medication that got rid of pneumonia...maybe…or maybe rest and someone taking care of you? What about a near miss accident on the freeway, the one when your cat-like reflexes saved you? Perhaps, but do you tend to have cat-like reflexes?  I most definitely do not. So I may pause to consider a guardian angel looking out for me.

My most precious mystery involves fireworks. I have written before of my father’s love for the 4th of July. When he died, his four children were living in three different states. It was close to four years before we were all together again in one house. My oldest sister and I had flown out to Indiana in November. We were staying at our younger sister’s house. It was just after dinner when we heard what sounded like fireworks. I don’t recall who investigated or opened the door. What I do recall is myself, my older and younger sisters, my brother and step mom…five people who fiercely loved and missed my father…all gathered on the front steps watching a fantastic fireworks display over the treetops. In November. We stood quietly for a few minutes and then someone asked why there would be fireworks. No one could say. I knew that somehow my dad was there. Later my younger sister would learn that a car dealership in town was having a big promotion and the fireworks were to draw people to the sale. But that’s okay you see, it still fits with my story, because my father spent the last years of his life working for a car dealership. I choose the magical story.

Me and my dad...drivin' the landcruiser

How will we follow the faeries?  At the very least, allow for the possibility of a mystery, an unknown. Recognize that we can fill in the blanks with a magical story, and hopefully a good story. If you are like me, a realist with pessimist tendencies, perhaps a starting point is to offer ourselves an alternate version of the first story that we create, just for consideration. After all, it could be climate change and flooding or it could be that the faeries are up to no good!  Remember that you are in charge of your story and the power of authorship is both daunting and freeing. This is what I struggle with now- what to write next? For this blog, for my life, for this day; what story do I want to tell?

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