The atmosphere was warm and inviting when Avril arrived at the picking site. Happiness loomed. Just above the blackberry vines that grew close to the creek she saw bright yellow finches flutter in flight. A flock of wild geese waddled close by. The birds had created a fowl chow line in search of a meal. Hailey was the first to notice Avril’s presence. She ran with abandonment to greet her. Hailey wrapped her rich, tanned arms tightly around Avril’s frame and said, “I am delighted you decided to join in the berry harvest.” Hailey handed Avril an empty tin pail as they quickly joined the other females, young and old, who either chatted or hummed. Avril could tell by the expressions on their faces that picking the blackberries was not a chore. Their purple tongues revealed a large portion of the huge sweet berries never reached their intended destination. No one was scolded for their indulgences, tasting was encouraged.
The large blackberries had a wonderful fruity aroma. Cautiously, Avril reached to grasp one berry, then two and three, each bigger and sweeter than the last. Hailey and Avril continued to labor together in the natural setting. It was joyous being in the company of young and old friends and mentors.
Hailey was excited by her find. Even though it was neither Full Moon nor sunset she suggested that the two spend the afternoon on a Fairy hunt. Avril was wonderstruck seeing the lighter shade of grass part the dark and run what seemed to be miles in a long strip. Without haste, she agreed. Hailey squatted and laid the satchel she carried on the lush carpet of grass. First, she removed two sticks of jasmine incense and a matchbox. As she lit the incense aglow, she stated, “The fairies are attracted to the aroma.” She passed the glowing jasmine sticks to Avril. Avril watched the smoke spiral against the warm air current. Hailey again reached into her satchel. She pulled a white silk cloth neatly folded from it. She unwrapped the corners. Avril saw in her hand a medium-sized rich, green emerald. “The stone,” Hailey said, “is an essential tool needed when fairy hunting. The color green is their favorite color and will lure the wee folk to us. When finished the hunt, the emerald would be left as a gift.”
Wild flowers with pink, blue, orange, red, and white blossoms were all around the two. On either side of the Fairy Trail flowering herb primrose and cowslip grew. Hailey and Avril knew the herbs were a source of the fairies’ invisibility. Before they left on their travels, the two sister-friends stood holding hands and requested aloud to be permitted to see the fairies if they are near. The two announced that they were wise women, friends of the fairy folk since before time, lasting an eternity, and they intended no harm upon viewing.
“Fairy lore from Ireland and Britain has survived over the centuries because their encounters had been documented,” Hailey said. “It was the Sea God, Manann, who placed his cloak between the earthly realm and the Fairies.”
“The Irish tale stated the Sea God, Manann, sensed hopeless discord between the fairies and humans. He refused to bless the marriage of the Fairy Queen named Fran and her love, Cu Chulain, the Son of Lug. Manann raised his cloak and divided the two worlds. Manann vowed that the Fairies and mortals would be separated forever. His attempt,” Hailey said, “definitely failed."
Hailey spoke first. She greeted the small magical being, “Brightest Blessing Ancient One.” The Pixie did not ignore their presence. Dressed in deep forest green, trimmed in black fabric, her transparent wings flapped in the breeze as the Pixie descended and landed on the large stone. She adjusted her foxglove cap. Avril thought to herself that the plant foxglove is popular with Pixies; it gives them the power of flight. She had read in folklore once that foxglove is known as Fairy Finger, Fairy Weed, Fairy Cap and Fairy Dress.
The Pixie spoke in a child’s voice. The sound was sweet and innocent. “I’m quite impressed at how much you know about the fairy races,” she said. “Knowledge is the greatest gift given. Recognition has kept our lineage alive.” The Pixie looked at Hailey. “What wish would you want granted or gift be given?” she asked. Hailey answered the magical being. “I neither want a wish nor gift. We are satisfied just to see you. The contact is more than anyone could have asked for. Avril interrupted. “I, too, neither want you to perform a task nor grant a desire. I agree that the sighting is more than enough.”
The Pixie winked at the pair. Speckles of gold dust fell down her cheek. “For wanting nothing, for expecting naught, one receives everything when one least expects nothing at all,” she said.
Hailey held Avril’s hand. They watched the Pixie perform an energetic jig just before she sank into the stone. Hailey was excited. She loved to solve a Fairy’s Riddle. She rushed to where the Pixie had been, dragging Avril close behind. She could not believe in the light of day the Pixie had appeared. When the two reached the site, the proof was there. The Pixie had left behind her silvery, golden footprints. “The sparkling material is known as Pixie Dust,” Hailey explained with enthusiasm. “Pixie’s greatest achievement is their extensive work with gold, silver and bronze. The residual dust and petite shavings collect on the Pixie’s wear and fall off as they travel.”
Hailey dropped her satchel onto the ground beside the stone. She removed tools she needed to collect the sparkling dust. “The substance was very magical,” she said. Avril watched Hailey unscrew the black top off a small glass container. Hailey then held a thin bristled brush. Gently she swept the shiny gold Pixie’s dust into the glass container. When Hailey was sure she had it all she tapped the excess from the brush and screwed the black top back on. She placed the tools and the tiny glass container containing the pixie’s dust into her satchel. Hailey stood beside the large stone. In her hand she held the deep forest green emerald. Avril placed both her palms face down on the smooth, cool surface of the gray stone and slowly absorbed the whirling energy vibrations of past, present and future and is the purest of nature forms.
“Pixies, who are guardian spirits,” Hailey said, “each have an individual stone which they use as a porthole to their worlds and ours.” She searched with her eyes over the stone’s surface. She pointed to a natural hole, and then placed the deep green emerald over the opening. With a smile she said, “Pixies love shiny stones and would appreciate the gift.”
Hailey and Avril headed home. They had only walked away a few paces when the two turned and saw the emerald was gone.
“Even though the conditions were against us,” Hailey explained, “we had still hoped to view a Fairy. Our only expectation was in the belief it was possible to obtain our desire. When the magical winged creature appeared, it was more than we could have anticipated. There was a mutual respect offered. The Pixie said we kept the Fairy races alive by being intelligently informed and, in return, offered her magic to be of service to us. Since we wanted only to bask in the Pixie’s beauty, we did not ask for a wish to be granted, to reveal secret information or to perform a task. The Pixie’s powers were not utilized for our personal gain. When we least expected it, our magic would be empowered in the natural world by the Fairy’s touch, if and when the magical creature chose.” Hailey beamed. “We are attached to the Pixie by esteem, affection and support and when love is at work, anything is possible,” she said.
Hailey and Avril approached the edge of the swamp. The area had a forbidding feeling. Avril felt like they should not enter. Irregular waves vibrated through the air. Avril stood immobilized, neither advancement nor retreat was possible. Hailey noticed the poison ivy that grew in an extended straight line in front, and on either side of them. The flowers were in small green clusters. The fruits were berry-like and the green leaves were composed of three leaves. Hailey said, with caution in her voice, “Leaves of three, let them be. The poison the plant contains will cause severe itching and blisters if they in any way come in contact with it. Alkaline or a non-oily soap is the only method known to help the skin irritation after exposure and they had none." Hailey made an attempt to jump over the poisonous plants. She stepped back, and then rapidly moved her legs. She lifted her feet from the ground and took a giant leap. Avril stood stunned when Hailey smashed directly into an invisible wall. The force of the impact tossed her backward. She landed hard on her buttocks. Hailey sat, bewildered and confused. In shock, she asked Avril, “Do you know what just happened?”
Avril, too, was baffled. After she helped to pull Hailey to her feet, Hailey paced around in a circle and rubbed her backside with her hand. Avril stood still, not knowing what to say. Hailey stopped and faced her. “There is not a logical reason why I can travel no further. We are now on coven grounds so to have a force field placed here is bizarre,” she said.
Hailey glanced over her shoulder, then back in front. Avril watched as Hailey quickly repeated the process three times in a row. She shook her head from side to side as if she just had a revelation. Hailey asked, “Do you notice the position of the green leaves and the trunks of the trees, as well as the billowing of greenery that covered the ground behind us, mirrored the scenery before us?”
Avril was prompt to answer, “I, too, had observed the trees and plants that grew along the forest floor were similar in character both behind and before us.”
Avril’s friend walked over to the poison ivy and paused as she looked up and down. Avril watched Hailey when she examined the space above the poisonous plants. Hailey put her arms out, palms flat and moved her hands up and outward. There was surprise in her tone when she announced that she felt a protective field that reached to the sky and down deep into the earth. Hailey was absorbed in her thoughts as Avril saw a red-wing black bird fly through the force field and disappear. The first thought that entered her mind was, ‘In ye harm none, do as ye will.’
A few minutes passed before Hailey spoke. “I might know how we could pass through the invisible, protective wall. Deep in the earth there is a transmitter that harnesses and distributes the energies from the heavens. If we could manipulate one of the key pressure points and our own psyche to properly tune the forces into a harmonic agreement, we could safely pass through and preserve the protective force field without destroying the barrier,” she said.
Avril had an uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach. Avril believed they should take into consideration the effort someone made to hide something. “I’m sure whoever it was wanted to keep it hidden. If we break the protective shield, our actions are bound to leave a mark,” she said concerned.
Hailey was preoccupied with her goal. With a broad smile on her face and enthusiasm in her voice, she said, “I’m certain we could pass through with very little damage. The four basic elements of nature - earth, air, fire and water, are intertwined in alternating energy currents that continually expand and contract. If we could create a hole into the current just as it expanded, we could be drawn through the invisible wall before it contracted.”
Hailey sat on the ground close to a pile of rocks covered in dark green moss. She picked up a thick twig and began to write in the dirt. Avril did not interrupt her friend as she feverishly composed an incantation that would allow them to break through the invisible barrier. Avril was both frightened and excited about the possibilities on the other side of the protective force field.
Time passed before Hailey took a deep breath and stood up. By the expression on her face, she must have sensed Avril’s anxiety, and said, “You need to trust that whatever happens we have the resources within to handle the moment, even if it wasn’t to our liking.” Hailey wiped the beads of sweat from her forehead. Avril listened attentively as she slowly spoke the incantation she had created. Avril was told the magical words needed to be repeated three times in a row while taking seven steps backwards. Hailey picked up two willow branches off the forest floor. After she handed one to Avril, she said, “We must bang on the earth with the willow stick ten blows, then quickly run into a hole which would appear in the invisible wall.” Hailey placed her arm around Avril’s shoulders and reassured her that they would find themselves safe on the other side. Together they put their plan into action. Hailey held Avril’s hand. They walked the seven steps backwards while shouting the magical incantation. The powerful words echoed throughout the woods, “We state now is the time to open the invisible barrier, it may not stay open for a moment after safe passage. With heart and mind, with light of love, out of the lands we know into the lands we know not.”
The air cooled. A bright light crept through the center of the invisible force field. Hailey and Avril tapped the earth with the willow branch ten times to symbolize completion. Streams of the most amazing light flew outward as the crack grew bigger. Hailey and Avril dashed in a straight line and, with a giant leap, they jumped across the poison ivy. A bolt of energy reached outward, and then sucked them into a bright hole. As Avril plunged through the protective shield, sparkles of diamond-shaped bright light shone and whirled around.
To e continued...
2016 copyright A. Skelhorn