“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
― Roald Dahl
I looked at the cold harsh truths, cynical, guarded against the world. I tossed in bed at night, worrying about the next worst thing. Sometimes I dozed off and awoke shaking, certain I could never survive such a cruel place as planet Earth.
Anxiety crept up upon me in the most mundane moments, sitting in traffic, watching a crappy sitcom rerun. If you’d asked just what frightened me so badly that my heart raced, I wouldn’t have had a real answer. Mortality? The future? Something, always threatening, always elusive, but terrifying in a way I could put no words to it.
In desperate need to escape myself, to escape my own bleak truths I packed up my car and drove into the woods. A tent, a fire, some books, fantasy- so that I could escape into a world where there was magic.
How I longed for the days when magic was not only possible but tangible, Santa Claus, clapping for fairies, the man in the sky always watching out for me. That was a world I felt safe in, a world with unlimited mysteries waiting for me to discover them.
In my little camp, alone with the woods, I read my books and longed for those mysteries of the universe, those miracles that I used to think were just waiting to surprise me. I believed so fiercely and then one day I woke up to this place, this cold mathematical reality I shared with other anxious, cynical people.
But as I read, the forest soothed me. Birds- or some kind of creatures I could never quite catch a full look at, flitted past my peripheral vision. When I dropped at night, exhausted and tranquil, the music rose up beneath the cricket chirps and clicks of cicadas. A cool, soft melody promised the more lay within the shadows of the forest than bugs and birds and chipmunks.
I awoke each morning refreshed, one day closer to the end of my retreat. A mixed feeling for sure.
I hiked the deer trails followed by butterflies. I gathered firewood I found left in large piles around my camp. On my last night I sat alone by my fire watching the darkness until I began to notice faint points of light, blinking on and off in the forest.
But these were blue and pink and red and white, and they moved in a way like I had never seen before. I watched so intently, trying to unravel their enigma and suddenly I awoke. I had dozed off in my chair. The fire died to embers and I was alone and exposed in the natural world. I shook my head, recalling my dream. At what point had I fallen asleep and concocted such an odd vision?
Something fluttered on my head and I reached up, panicking at first at the foreign tangle in my hair, pulling at it and bringing down flower petals. I pulled out my cell phone and turned the camera to my hair, taking blind pictures to determine whatever the hell was in there.
I stared at the shots in disbelief, flowers indeed, woven through my hair in intricate patterns. Baffled I continued to stare at my phone, gently feeling the amazing sculpture build upon my head, and I didn’t notice the lights until they were all around me.
I awoke early and walked out on the dewy ground in my bare feet, wearing only the tshirt I had slept in. The flowers, still in my hair, I said goodbye to the forest. I cleaned up camp, got dressed and got into my car.
As I approached civilization again, my home, my job, my worries, I shook my head and whispered, “I do believe in faeries. I do. I do. I do believe in faeries….”
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