Turning our fairy tales feral again

There are some stories that have weathered the ages. Weathered them, literally— from the mouth of an old man around a fire of peat, smoking until the story he is telling is black and tobacco-stained, to the girl who heard it and carried it with her out into the sheep fields, then into the city, working two jobs to feed her children, all the while touching on the strength of wild swans in her memory; from the ancient fire pit around which it was first told and shaped, maybe as far back as the making of bronze things, maybe just at the time the priests came and built churches, to the anthology of Irish Folktales in which some semblance of it was written down in the late 19th century, and the subsequent re-printings, slightly changed re-writings, the battered pages, the dunks in bathtubs, the days left out on the porch in the rain. We may call many myths fairytales, now, as if to diminish their seriousness; whatever we call them, they are old and powerful, when we peel them back. They are full of the magic of animals, land, and people.

Exit from Fairyland

I have heard the thunderclap of a peacock butterfly as it flew past in the garden, and felt the shocking vibration of a hummingbird as it hovered between my eyes on the mountain. I have walked at night through a field of glow-worms, gone swimming in a sea of phosphorescence and wished upon a shooting star. I have seen a lady orchid gleam like a torch in the dark wood in France. I have heard the valleys of Wales sing like a male voice choir. On a snowy day among the hoodoos of Utah I heard a pipe playing far below and did not know whether it was a man down there or Kokopelli, as the sound wove around the red rocks like a snake. I have experienced these things, and felt my heart jump. I have been held too in the spell of theatres and fairytales, and felt the sadness when the show is over and the parade has passed by. I have felt the gloom descend in the small unglamorous rooms of cities, and longed to escape again. Oh, the lights, the lights! I know now which feelings I trust, and those I have let go.