It has weighed on my mind, as of late, that there has been a general decline of interest in Faerie. Faerie is a wonderful land; the great J.R.R. Tolkien and George MacDonald did much pioneering and detailing of the Perilous Realm; indeed, they introduced me to the land. I have had a very small introduction and a very diminutive amount of experience in this marvelous domain, but I feel as if I should relate some of my experiences to you.
It has occurred to me that many people do not know of the marvels and wonders of Faerie. You see, many elements have been passed on to us. They, sadly, have been diluted and misrepresented. The fairy of the tales has become a shimmering little creature that grants wishes; the mighty, horned war-horse known as the unicorn has become a matter of joking, and the noble elves have been relegated to the position of menial laborers in a misrepresented saint’s workshop. I will not purport to know very much about Faerie– indeed, it is hard for any mortal to, but I will undertake the task of telling you a bit about what I have seen. Perhaps I shall start with the more unique and less-well-known of marvels.
♦ The Fields of Time ♦
Once, while on my wanders, I came across a broad brook and a plain wooden bridge. Obviously old, the bridge stood upon four stone pillars. Strangely enough, the wood on the East side (I stood on the West) was much newer and looked as though it had just been laid. As I examined the bridge, I discovered that the bridge had been formed from one huge tree! The East side appeared to be new, and the West looked as though it had lain there for centuries. Old though it was, and covered with all sorts of clinging air plants and light-green moss, it appeared to be sturdy enough. I started across the bridge, looking on at the fertile land on the other side.
Something was very strange about this Eastern bank. I couldn’t quite place the source of my feeling. The trees stretched endlessly into the blue skies, and the clouds hung motionlessly in the air, high above the still canopy over my head. That’s when I noticed it. Nothing was dead! No moss or mold was growing on the base of the trees. The flowers were all in bloom, but none of them showed any signs of old or dried blossoms. The birds flew overhead, singing songs of cheer and merriment. Not a shade of brown showed through the trees. The gray bark and green foliage, dotted with spots of color where birds or flowers were, was all that was to be seen. I soon found my way back onto the path, having stopped to examine some interesting orchids that grew next to a great oak. They were purple in color, with hints of yellow around the edges of the petals. The leaves grew in wonderful spirals about the flowers and the grass seemed to frame the plants in a purposeful circle.
I realized suddenly that I had left my pack on the other side of the stream. Filled with an overwhelming urge to pick one of the orchids, I bent down and plucked a flower from its base. The flower looked no different from when it was on its stem, and I moved across the bridge towards the other shore. As soon as I passed over the midway point, the flower in my hand gave a terrible little cry and withered into a dried mess. The powdered remains of the once-beautiful orchid blew from my hand in the sudden breeze that sprang from the North. I was a bit startled and not a little disturbed, so I grabbed my pack and started once more across the bridge—this time heading into the forest on the main path.
As I passed the tree where I had found the orchid, I saw that dew had formed around the grass frame, and the other flowers seemed almost to be crying. I almost swore I could hear faint sounds of weeping. I hurried on into the forest and continued down the path, troubled in my mind and heart.