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Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

The world keeps on turning, and, like my then eight year old son said, “the sun goes up, the sun goes down.” If I remember right, he was quite upset by the fact that it is just one day after another! That might true, but each new day brings more adventures…

My recent trip into the land of the Fae is a very good example of that fact. Now, here I am starring down at a little person who, in turn, is starring up at me and giving me her warmest, brightest smile while tugging on my pant leg. It is such an infectious smile that I find myself smiling back.

“Sure an I realize that we are a wee bit early, an I be hoping that it won’t be to much of an inconvenience, us showing up here like this, but we were terribly excited you know, an just couldn’t wait to get here!” (seems like I had said something like that not to long ago). I sat down on the step so that I could be closer to eye level with my new friend.

This must be Odette, she was wearing a tall pointed green cap and an apron with small pink flowers over a white top that had ruffles at the neck and cuffs and a skirt that was dark maroon. Over this she wore a wool traveling cape that hung to the ground.

I held out my hand. “Hello,you must be Odette, where’s Warren?” She shook the finger I offered and pointed over to the bushes. “There he be!” We watched as Warren pushed his way out of the ivy that had grown under the Laural bush, pulling two steamer trunks with him. He wore the same wool cape but his cap was red and he had on a baggy, and some what crumpled, dark brown jacket over a turquoise shirt that was hanging out from underneath it. They both wore wooden clogs that made a hollow tapping sound when they walked.

“Aye, and we’re be’in just a wee bit tired too, after all the travel’en we been do’in.” He stopped and pulled a large green linen hanky out of his pocket and wiped his face with it, then shook my finger. “It’s be’en a pleasure meet’n ya!”

They had the most pleasant soft Irish lilt in their voice and it made listening to them speak a real joy (I don’t think that I ever knew where they were coming from). It was going to be even better than I first thought, having them here. I tried to help them with their bags and trunks, but Warren would have nothing of it. “I’ll just be put’en these bags under here for a time.” then he pushed all the bags under the cover to my patio table. “Sure an they’ll be cozy an safe under here till we’ll be need’n em.”

I stood up and opened the door for the couple to enter, but Warren hung back. He looked up at me with a sheepish grin then pointed toward the ivy and made a clicking sound. Out hopped a big brown toad. “An what’ll ya be want’n me to be do’in with him?”…”Bill!!!”

© Tami Ruesch, The Misty World of Arial Hollyberry, 2009.

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“If you stand like that any longer, your going to freeze that way!” Bill was standing in the doorway watching me as I satisfied my curiosity about the ivy hedge. I jerked up at the sound of his voice and jumped back like I was about to be bitten by a snake. “How long have you been standing there?” My mind was racing, it had been nighttime, I was the guest of honor in the middle of a faerie circle with faeries dancing and singing all around me.

“Did you see that!?” I didn’t really think he did, but I thought I would ask anyway, just in case. “See what?” he was looking at me a little funny now. Looking back over my shoulder I point at the ivy. “The…all the…but they were just, there.” I pointed at the ivy again and scratched my head. The memory of the faerie celebration was already starting to fade. Realizing that everything that had happened on the other side of the ivy, the whole day, had only been a few minutes here, I decided not to say anything else, Bill would think I had really lost it.

Looking down, I see that I had dropped the green package of gnome building materials on the ground at my feet, oh good, a way to change the subject, “guess what?” It looks like we will be having house guests. Now it’s Bill’s turn to scratch his head, I could tell that he was having a very hard time keeping up with the conversation. “I’m sorry, didn’t you just ask me…I mean, is there something over…” He pointed toward the ivy just as two streaks of color plowed through the hedge.

It was Arial and Sunny. They buzzed around my head in an almost anxious manner, pinching and poking and starring at me as if I weren’t real. Bill smiled, “they’re back!” Then he turned and went back in the house. Things are back to normal, well as normal as they ever are now days. Still a little light headed, I had to slow the girls down. “Stop, stop stop! What? Will you please stop spinning around me!?”

The two of them took up a spot on each side of my head and began to braid my hair (they love to braid my hair!) Something flashed through my memory, something about a flat rock and music, and as weird as it sounds, a unicorn, but then dissolved and was gone. Whoa, what a weird feeling that was. As if they knew what had just happened, they began to flit about in a worried way. “Oh, for heavens sakes, I’m ok, so stop already!”

A mist was beginning to form around the base of the trees and I was getting cold, so I started back toward the patio with the supplies for the gnome home under my arm. I was about to open the door when I felt a tug at my pant leg, and a small voice said, “excuse me”….

© Tami Ruesch, The Misty World of Arial Hollyberry, 2009.

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sunsetWinter gives us the best sunsets. I don’t really know why, maybe it’s the humidity combined with the angle of the sun, all I know is that when the clouds feather out across the western sky we get beautiful, fleeting sunsets.

Dusk in the land of the faeries on the other hand lasts for at least an hour, I think. It’s hard to tell because there aren’t any clocks. I really wonder if time is different here. Everything seems to melt together into one phenomenal whole, what I mean is, in the land of the Fae you don’t say, I did this thing at 10:00 and then we went here around 2:00, it’s more like everything happens all at the same time.

The sun was going down, but I couldn’t tell where west was. Everything just got darker, and the sunset looked like the whole sky was a dome swirled with iridescent pink and orange (no clouds). I think I know why the faeries are attracted to the flowers in the garden, it reminds them of their home.

Standing at the entrance to the palace, I watch as the last of the light fades from the sky. It seems like I have been here forever,  I would really like to be back home with Bill and my dogs.

My faerie friends have been very gracious, coming and going, bringing me stuff, making sure that I have anything I want. I would have thought that being in an ice palace would freeze me but I haven’t been the least bit cold, it must be the “faerie charms” they have set around the Palace.

After the sky was completely black, Sunny and Arial darted in through the arch followed by Bella, Pip, and Ferne. The faeries were  in a flutter, shooting back and forth, and then around in circles, they laughed as they tried to braid my hair, all at the same time. It was sort of cute having  my own tiny ladies in waiting. After my hair was done in a riot of tiny braids and I had long garlands of roses draped all over me, they led me outside, through a beautifully kept herb garden, and down a steep path bordered with huge ferns and thousands of faerie globes that glowed with a soft white light.

The end of the path opened out onto a wide, flat meadow surrounded by giant oak and willow trees. Every so often pine trees could barely be seen mixed into the background. There were Honeysuckle bushes and Ivy everywhere underneath the trees (I bet that’s why Sunny always smells like honeysuckle!)

I was led to a flat rock the jutted out of the mossy carpet of grass and they  motioned for me to sit on it, so I did. I sat there and watched as the whole meadow filled up with faeries, even more than I had seen when we arrived at the palace. They were glowing, like they do all the time. Each had a globe that they held in front of them and they all moved in unison to an unheard tune.

When the last of the faeries had taken their place, Orlaith, Queen of the Frost Faeries, materialized in a shower of bright white sparkles in the very middle of the field and a hush fell over the crowd. She hovered several feet above the group, her wings glittered in the darkness and her gown whorled around her in a fine mist. I noticed the she was smaller than when she received me at the palace, but slightly larger than the rest of the court gathered around her.

Awestruck at the spectacle unfolding right in front of me, I just sat there with my mouth hanging open. Sunny must have noticed because she  came around and gently pushed my chin up. I smiled at her and held up my hand for her to sit on. She landed on my palm and turned to watch the show.

Orlaith held up her wand and waved it over her head, the dark canopy of the sky lit with stars, larger and brighter than I have ever seen, then she waved the wand toward one side of the meadow and great tables of food and drink appeared. Immediately, there was a huge surge of little faerie bodies toward the tables.

th_fairyringdanceArial brought a goblet over to me along with a plate of small biscuits and strawberries. I watched in amazement as the glass and plate grew to fit my grasp (more faerie magic). We ate and sang, first one group of faeries and then another took turns dancing around in a circle in the middle of the meadow. I couldn’t tell where the music was coming from, it seemed to echo out in all directions. At one point I could swear that I saw other small creatures coming out of the forest to join in the festivities. I rubbed my eyes and looked again, yes, there across the meadow a brilliant white unicorn had wandered out to see if there was a biscuit left for her.

The merrymaking went on into the wee hours of the morning. I can remember lying back on the rock where pillows had been placed.  I felt unusually sleepy and just couldn’t keep my eyes open.  A mist sprang up all around me and opened my eyes just in time to see Orlaith raise her wand and point it right at me….

© Tami Ruesch, The Misty World of Arial Hollyberry, 2009.

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All thoughts of the hasty departure of the Frost Faeries has been temporarily pushed to the back of my mind. The package that practically fell on my head is sitting  on my lap, nicely wrapped in green silken cloth and tied with yellow twine. Sunny is pulling at my hair with an urgency that says: what are you waiting for!!

“Ouch! Oh wait just a minute” I  shoo Sunny away so she darts over and lands on my shoulder, but she can’t sit down because of her excitement, so she paces back and forth. The package is heavier than the Big Book of Gnome Names that I received last week from my brother, the rogue pirate, Captain Rancid Randy, the Scourge of the Seven Seas….aarrrg! (his words, not mine) It was wrapped in stained brown paper and tied with brittle twine.

I see when I get the package unwrapped that it consists of  a bundle of boards, some moss, staples, something sticky, a jar of glitter, and several little bolts of fabric in all different colors.trunks-1

There is a note, it reads:  Please take care of these supplies. We have sent them ahead of our arrival so that they would be there for us to begin building our new home in your garden. We will be bringing our other bags and traveling trunks with us as they hold our personal belongings. On another note, would it be asking to much if we might stay with you until our new home is completed? We are looking forward to beginning our new life with you, we hear that your garden is lovely. Until then, brightest blessings, Warren and Odette.

How polite, and what tidy handwriting. After I finished reading the note I looked up to find no less than twenty faeries hovering over my shoulders, grinning and hugging each other, and swirling about making their iridescent gowns swish this way and that . Wow, I guess I did make the right decision, they are excited and they won’t even be here.

Ferne immediately shoots over to the tree and begins clearing more ivy and piling  up small pebbles with renewed determination. Three or four other faeries follow and soon there are rock chips and leaves flying everywhere. I watch them and wonder how I’m going to tell Bill that we are going to have twelve inch tall house guests.

Wrapping the small bundle up again, I walk toward the opening in the ivy and lean in so I could put my ear close to the hole. There are a lot of rustling sounds coming from the other side. I wonder what could be going on over there? I’ll take a quick peek…..Oh!…..

© Tami Ruesch, The Misty World of Arial Hollyberry, 2009.

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I don’t know how these things happen! Well, on second thought maybe I do, or at least I can imagine them happening. I had to run a few errands earlier, when I left I noticed several of my little faerire friends chasing and playing around the laurels. Their laughter sounds a lot like the chimes I hang out under the trees in the summer, it makes me smile to hear it, and as long as I can hear them I know that they aren’t up to any real mischief . I took a quick glance at them in passing and it looked like they were tossing Hawthorne berries back and forth, ok, they can’t get into much trouble doing that, so I’m out of here.

I wasn’t gone that long, maybe an hour and a half, but that was long enough. When I turned the corner of the house and started up the sidewalk to the back door I heard a high pitched squealing coming from up in the tree. Looking up I see Pip, the ties on her skirt had become tangled in the fine stems that are at the end of a branch.

There she is, hanging about an inch below the branch with the most frustrated look on her face, maybe it was a pout, I couldn’t tell, but it was obvious that she was very unhappy! She would hang there a minute then kick her arms and legs wildly about, trying to get unstuck. She hung there like a wet rag, totally exhausted. To make things worse, the Blue Jay that lives in the pine tree back in the corner of the yard was hovering on the big branch right above her cocking its head back and forth thinking that she would make a tasty change of pace to the peanuts it usually eats.

blue-jay

There were two faeries perched  above the bird throwing berries at its head trying to distract it and not having very much luck. I’ve seen this Blue Jay chase Robins out of the tree where they had made a nest in an attempt to get at the eggs, so I knew that the faeries didn’t have a chance.

I picked up the snow shovel that was propped against the back wall and started yelling and waving it at the bird, it hopped back a little and made a raspy caw but wasn’t the least bit worried that I could get it, and it wanted dinner. It left me no choice but to climb the tree, besides, I had to get Pip untangled.

Have you ever tried to climb a Hawthorne tree? They are small trees with close set branches, and they have thorns. Thank goodness I didn’t have to climb very far up. The two faeries that had been loping berries at the bird  flew down on each side of me as I inched carefully up into the tree, catching my hair, clothes, and skin on every thorn. They stuck with me, offering their heartfelt support and encouragement, not that it helped much with the thorns, but their grins and enthusiastic aerial acrobatics were at least a comic relief.

It wasn’t until I got to within arms reach of the Blue Jay that it started to think that maybe it wasn’t so safe there after all (I think it could tell that I wasn’t happy about the situation). But it wouldn’t be a Blue Jay if it didn’t at least try to intimidate  me by pecking at my waving hand before flying off in a squawking huff.

I reached Pip after what seemed an eternity in a jungle of twigs and thorns. There was raucous merrymaking from my faerie entourage, and I hadn’t even freed Pip yet. “Please, hold the celebrations until after I get her lose.” I balanced myself on a branch, pushed the hair out of my eyes, and reached up to grab the end of the little belt (it was almost like grabbing sewing thread) then I unwound it from the offending branch.

Once freed, Pip shook herself from head to tow. She flipped her wings once and rocketed skyward. None of us (me and the other faeries) could see how far up she went. After a minute, here she came, just as fast as she went up. She whipped around my head a couple of times (not easily done with me still in the tree) then stopped in front of me and signaled a “high five”. Have you ever had to “high five” a faerie? I held up my little finger and she slapped it, then she and her escort took off for the opening in the ivy hedge.

I managed to make a slow but uneventful retreat from the tree and was just recomposing myself when Bill turned the corner of the house. He stopped, took one look at me and started to laugh. When he saw the “don’t even go there” look in my eyes he slapped a hand over his mouth to stifle himself. I continued to pick twigs out of my hair and after a moment he walked over to me and ask (with a grin on his face) “so… how was your day?”

We stood there for a minute just looking at each other, and when it became to much to hold in, we started to laugh, hard. As we entered the house, I looked back over my shoulder to make sure that the Blue Jay was gone.

© Tami Ruesch, The Misty World of Arial Hollyberry, 2009.

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It’s hard to tell if I got a message through to my brother, the rogue pirate, Captain Rancid Randy, the Scourge of the Seven Seas…(aarrrg! His words, not mine). I have decided that I would benefit from having a couple of gnomes to tend my garden, that way I could go on vacation and still have lovely flowers to come home to, not to mention the fact that they will be able to help my faeries understand humankind a bit better.

Yesterday I sent a message to the rogue pirate, Captain Rancid Randy, the Scourge of the Seven Seas…(aarrrg!) asking if he knew of any gnomes that would like to relocate to my quiet garden. I figure that if he is in league with gremlins he would probably know a few other of the wee folk in the area.

I’m standing here now by the mail box waiting for the mailman, of course it’s a little early yet but…oh! Floating down out of the sky, not two feet in front of me is a package that, from the look of it, was hastily wrapped in stained brown paper and tied with twine. I hold out my hands to catch it. It’s quite heavy and is attached to a parachute of ragged old sail cloth (must be from my brother, the rogue pirate, Captain Rancid Randy, the Scourge of the Seven Seas….(aarrrg!)

Ferne is particularly excited, she would love to have a gnome or three to converse with about snails and soil and fallen leaves, or just about anything else to do with nature. She has been waiting with me, doing a faerie imitation of pacing…flitting back and forth, back and forth, and when I catch the package she lights on it and begins to rip at the corners. I had to shoo her away and tell her to just sit on my shoulder and be patient. How thoughtful of him to sense my urgency and dispatch his reply by sail-mail.

After having to send Ferne away a few times I finally get the wrapping off. It’s “The Big Book of Gnome Gnames”. In it are the names of every gnome and the names of their cousins, the brownies and the hobgoblins (there are a few Leprechauns in here too) then it goes on to tell which gnomes live under what burrow and what the preferred mode of communication is (it appears to be dragonfly). That could pose a problem.

gardengnomes1

Rilley & Quinn

Rilley & Quinn

I opened the book and a couple of photo’s fell out with a hastily scratched out note, “these are two likely candidates”. The first picture is of a lovely couple seen here relaxing in the mid-afternoon sunshine.  On the back of the picture, written in tidy handwriting is “Warren & Odette outside their burrow in the Swiss Alps. Hobbies include: hat making, mushroom balancing, and snail racing”. I flipped the picture over and showed Ferne. She politely clapped then pointed to the other picture. “Oh, you want to see the other pair?” She gave me a huge grin and nodded.

This next picture is of a couple of hardy looking lads, brothers I’m assuming, their names are Rilley & Quin. On the back of the picture, in scratchy print it say: “adept blacksmiths…references upon request, address to: the gnome in charge, third hollow log past the pond in the Black Forrest”. Nice and to the point, “what do you think Ferne?” I don’t really have to ask because when I look up at her she is whipping around my head doing her best imitation of snail racing (which made me dizzy to watch). If nothing else, faeries teach you patience.

This isn’t going to be an easy decision to make, they would both make a nice addition to my garden. The brothers could repair the latch on my gate, but having a little lady gnome would appeal to the faeries more. I’m going to have to sleep on it. I really must send a thank you note to my brother, the rogue pirate, Captain Rancid Randy, the Scourge of the Seven Seas….(aarrrg! his words, not mine).

© Tami Ruesch, The Misty World of Arial Hollyberry, 2009.

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Photobucket

Last night, after dark, a fog rolled across the valley. It rolled up our hill and within minutes everything was cloaked in a heavy, white cloud. The mist muffled all sound and the world fell into silence. We haven’t seen a fog like this for a long time and this came up so fast. I opened my back door onto the patio and the fog swirled as the door past through it. The quiet was eerie.

Then, I heard it, several flutes were playing a low melancholy tune out in the fog. I took a few steps out on to the patio and stopped, even this close the door was already beginning to disappear into a white nothingness. I didn’t dare go any farther for fear I wouldn’t find my way back. I couldn’t tell what direction the music was coming from because the fog was so thick. It was a haunting tune that made chills run up and down my spine, the music had a hypnotizing effect making it almost impossible to standup.

I dropped quickly to the step before I fell over. I sat there thinking that this was like something right out of Harry Potter, and then, coming out of the mist from where the ivy hedge usually is, moving in a straight line, each holding a large glowing ball over their head came a procession of fairies! They weren’t flying like they normally do, but rather gliding along the ground and all of them had on a white capes with the hoods up over their heads. I felt like I was dreaming, the fog blurred everything  and gave the fairie lights a large halo. Before I knew it, there were fairies all around me, hundreds of fairies.

They surrounded me not only in a circle but in what felt to be a bubble (well, it seemed to me to be a bubble) the music stopped and I was surrounded by the most beautiful light, created by all the glowing spheres that they carried. Even this close I still couldn’t see each individual faerie because their white robes blended into the swirling mist. As I sat there the thought crossed my mind that they had created this fog for a reason, and no sooner than that thought had left my mind, a regal looking faerie with a crown of gold and crystal, materialized in a blaze of sparkling light right in front of me. You would think that anyone  under these circumstances  would be jumping up about now and running for the door, and ordinarily you would be right, but I found that I couldn’t move. No, it wasn’t that I couldn’t move, it was more that I didn’t want to move. I was fascinated! and not the slightest bit afraid, besides, hadn’t I been spending a lot of time doing just this, sitting very still so as to not frighten them?

I was dazzled by the little beauty that hovered in the air before me, she seemed to actually be the sparkles… and then she spoke…”Kind One, keeper of the garden of Ivy, I am Orlaith, Queen of the Frost Fairies, we come to you tonight in Gaia’s Mist to honor you for your kindness to our people, and for keeping us alive in minds of the others of your kin.” Her words were not so much  spoken as thought, I heard them in my mind. She continued. “We bring you  gifts, a crystal that will be a source of light and comfort for you in the dark times, and the blessings of the Fae,  you will always be welcomed in our realm, to partake in our rites and rituals… I bid you, hold out your left hand…”

I did as I was ask and watched as she reached up and took a crystal from her crown then  placed it in my up-turned palm, it glowed with a faint blue-white light and sparkled with flecks of gold. She smiled then and said,” may you and your ancestors, from this day forward, never know a day without joy!” I wasn’t sure what the proper procedure is when  one is honored by a Faerie Queen so I just bowed my head hoping that would show that I was humbled by her gesture. She smiled again and disappeared with a little “pop”.

At her exit, the faerie court spun off in all directions and dissolved way into the dark, misty night. The flutes had started again, only this time it was with a note of  joy and celebration. All through the yard, out in the fog, I could hear tinkling laughter. Before I could get up five fairies darted out of the mist. Sunny, Arial, Bella, Pip and Ferne all dashed in and out around my head, waving and laughing. They each gave me a peck on the cheek then disappeared again into the night.

“Well what do you know about that!?” I turned to see Bill standing a few steps behind me. “you saw that? Them?” I didn’t know that they would let anyone else see them but me. “She did say “and all of your ancestors”, I think I qualify even if I’m not exactly an ancestor!”

“Yes, I guess you do.” Bill helped me up and we walked back into the house together.

© Tami Ruesch, The Misty World of Arial Hollyberry, 2009.

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