The Fairy Godmother was able to squeeze all her charms and talents into 240 square feet, with plenty of room for her tiny charges to come and go as desired. There was a fire extinguisher and candles and cauldrons with athames both large and small, which is relative in a tiny house with fairy visitors.
The house sat on the edge of reality near figment, where the veil was thinnest under all phases of the moon. At full capacity, it still weighed 17,040 pounds, because the fairies visited only at night, and were therefore naked. When these visitors left, they would take all evidence that they had ever been there. There were clues, but a sharp eye was needed because they were bubble rider sprites; the smallest of the fae, yet the most powerful.
It is important to note that The Fairy Godmother is not of the fae, nor is she a witch. Most days she is an ordinary human who reheats her coffee in the microwave and forgets where she left it. She wears neither wings nor pointy hat. She wears costumes and uniforms above red shoes. In public she wears sneakers with t-shirts from Walmart.
The Fairy Godmother never cackles or talks like a baby. She is just as likely to be talking to a human as a fairy. This is the reason she is sometimes considered to have gone mad.
But she is wise. Wherever her life has shrunk in reality, it has expanded across the veil. She sees the fairies and caresses the stars.
She looked exactly like a tiny Pippi Longstocking, complete with striped tights, haphazard braids, and red shoes with buckles and room in the toes to carry her treasures.
Nobody knew why she ended up along the Mohawk trail or how long she had lived there, but they assumed she had interacted with adult humans at some point in her life, because she used a lot of English words – not always in the usual fashion. She communicated in one way or another with stars and bees and raccoons and fairies.
If she had a name, it was apparently Awbin Aire and so we will call her Binny, as her friends do. She has always been eight years old.
The grown-ups think Binny is an imaginary friend or local legend, and although the children speak matter-of-factly about her, no adult has actually laid eyes on her. They speculate that she has wandered west from Salem, through Ayer and Auburn, and that she was probably baptized Mary Elizabeth, but doesn’t know it. They are all aware that most of the stories about her occur around May Day and Halloween.
Binny naps at noontime and travels at night. Every so often when the day first opens its eyes, Binny steps into a creek and washes her Auburn Hair.
We don’t really lose an hour when Daylight Savings Time begins; we lend it to the fairy sprites who will use that sliver of time to prepare for spring. The yearlings will need new wings and the older sprites will hem each other’s skirts. Cribs will be refreshed for the newborns, and the oldest ones will prepare the larger areas for the Equinox.
Do not begrudge them this time they borrow from us. They pay us back in beauty beyond our current ability to notice.
While the fairies sleep through the winter, Mother Moon watches over all our dreams.
Deep in the woods or high on a mountaintop, in the middle of the ocean or the middle of a meadow, the oldest of the witches perform their moon dances in cloaks of red and white and black and gray. At the moment of the moon’s fullest, the cloaks are thrown off, and the sweat turns to ice as the wisdom of the ages is frozen in time.
The crones know everything. They know that the magick is always getting stronger. There is no sadness in the loss of youth, because the power of age is greater than the fluttering of old. Nothing is taken away with the passage of time. Even the moon dance gets easier.
It falls upon Mother Moon and her crones to educate the younger ones, who will never believe that being old is better than being young, until they reach this place where the old witches are now, and the crones can’t blame them for their youth, having enjoyed that place immensely.
As the cloaks are returned to the icy bodies after the dance, the ice melts into tears for the losses that are a necessary piece of eventual wisdom. At each full moon, the body is cleansed and renewed, ready to experience all that has happened in the past and all that will happen in the future.
The beauty of the universe lies within the folds of the wrinkles.
We have to really look hard to see what’s good about the darkness. We imagine that it is a place of death and despair, but it exists for a greater purpose than to simply afford us an appreciation of the promised light. The shortest day, the Solstice, is celebrated as the longest night; but why?
Babies know. So do bears. Trees and flowers. Vacationers and dreamers. Pot roasts and zen masters. Run-on sentences. Busy intersections.
The longest night is a blessing. It is our chance to hold space for ourselves while the world takes back its control from us.
Humans are uniquely averse to this pause in activity, and we must be forced to exist for a few moments without obvious purpose or plan. Here in the stillness is where world peace is born, where each of us stops trying so hard and doing it all wrong. This is where the stars speak to us about who we really are and what we are called upon to offer the world.
We do not need to do anything at all during the time of darkness but shut up and listen to our Self.
Back at the Bubble Rider Academy, Cherish the first alternate had worked her way up to valedictorian, and it had been a well deserved honor for her to lead the class on its first mission, and many of the others.
Shadow, however, had never excelled in quizzes or relays, never raised her hand, never had an essay returned with a gold star or a smiley face, and was never applauded by classmates or instructors. She had not been exposed to a single tribulation serious enough to compel her to overcome it.
As curious as it may seem to us, this circumstance left her feeling undeserving of any admiration or attention. Shadow didn’t even feel worthy of discussing this with anyone. She led a completely adequate life as a team player, neither scoring a point nor making a mistake.
In the autumn when Mother Nature was napping, Cherish pulled Shadow aside for a gentle conversation. By the time the last leaf had fallen, Cherish had pointed out a thousand tiny adversities that had been resolved with a more quiet grace than any of her classmates had ever attempted.
Shadow stepped into the light of her personal destiny. She found that one exquisite experience which she now knew she deserved, and with complete confidence she grabbed that first taste of perfection.
It was more delicious than any future bite could ever hope to be.
Just when we thought the bubble riders had gone to sleep until spring, some unusual activity was observed around the Accomac and the tomb of the Confederate soldier. As if it were Christmas Eve, the elves and gnomes and fairies simply could not fall asleep.
The ghosts at the Accomac were packing up their linens and headed for Jackson House further south. There was nobody to scare at The Accomac any more, and nobody was available to listen.
Somebody however, continued to try to connect with me through the internet. And I wasn’t alone. It is simply not normal for a truck to get up on its hind legs and howl at the moon. We must be clear, however, that hauntings are not always ghostly. Many non-human spirits become disembodied wanderers as well.
Ghosts didn’t disrupt the workers trying to put the land back together in the area. They might have had some responsibility for the ultimate closing of the restaurant, but spirits of another kind did the rest. Brownies, sprites, fairies, gnomes, pixies, animal familiars and maybe even witches – whether at work or play – reshuffled and blended the earth in that area for purposes we mere mortals can only guess at.
I don’t know what they want with me, or why they keep using Facebook, but when the new year comes around, I may just go out there and find a Winter Wonderland.
(Inthe poetic words of Kahlil Gibran, “I care about your happiness just as you care about mine. I could not be at peace if you were not.”)
In memory of a smile:
After the clouds of grief finally lifted, the faeries stood like toy soldiers along a parade route. Their shadows were missing. Their wings were drooped in the heavy air. The sun was gone and the playground was soggy. None of them had been trained for this, but they stood on their tiny tiptoes in order to appeartall and strong for the event in which they found themselves participating.
The body of their Beloved was carried slowly past them on a flat wooden raft. They could hardly recognize him. There was no sunlightradiating from his face. There was no joy. It was now an ordinary face like so many others. A Zoloft face. Yet the crowd was not in mourning at all. They cheered and laughed and threw rice and rose petals toward the raft as it passed slowly by. The faerieshad long since learned to be silent, because their giggles had always seemed to interfere with the humans all around them. They had slowly changed in color from the green of new grass, to the oranges of autumn, and finally to the brown that made them look like their brownie cousins going trick-or-treating.
Long after the crowd dispersed, the faeries returned to the playground for a private moment of sadness. The sun wouldnever come out to dry the earth again. They no longer had a purpose here. But they could not leave their Beloved. As they gazed at a bonfire which was more like a funeral pyre to them, their wings began to dry just enough to allow them to hover over theflames. One by one, they each shed a tear for the perfection that was now gone forever. The tears caused the fire to crackle and spark. It was the night of the Hunters Full Moon, and in the presence of all the witches and goddesses that had ever been conjured,each little faerie was lifted to the sky to become a sparkly star, ever at watch over her Beloved, but never to play again.