Sunday, April 05, 2009

2344 Fairies

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The following is all absolutely true.

A little family background first. My mother's side of the family is pure Welsh. My great-grandmother was, when she lived in the mountains of Wales, known as a wise woman. She had the healing gift, and "the sight". I was born in Scranton in 1944, while my father was off flying jets in France, so Mom (Little Mary) and I lived with Gramma (Our Mary) and great-gramma (Mary!). Mom worked in the Scranton Lace factory. Great-Gramma died when I was very young, but until then, she was my primary caregiver. She understood English, but refused to speak it. She spoke only Welsh. Mom and Gramma had no "gifts", but Great-Gramma said I did. She told me to watch for fairies, that one would come to me, and when she did, to listen.

In that family setting, I was the one who "knew" potatoes. Remember back when every bag of potatoes had a few with black rotted centers? Even as a toddler, Great-Gramma or Gramma would set me in front of a pile of potatoes and have me pick out the bad ones. I was never wrong. At the big family holiday dinners, it was accepted that I would sort the potatoes, because I "knew" potatoes. One time we were in a restaurant, I was perhaps 12, and the waiter brought me a baked potato wrapped in foil, and without touching it I told him that it was bad and he should bring me another. He was indignant, but my mother said "She's never wrong", so he took it back to the kitchen, and when he came back out he apologized. The cook had cut it deeper in the kitchen, and yeah, it had a black center. I can do it with worms in lettuce and cabbage wedges, too.

Anyway, for many years I watched for fairies, but never saw any. In my mid-teens I found out what Great-Gramma meant.

This is hard to write about, because I instinctively knew that for as long as the fairy was with me, I couldn't speak of it to anyone, ever, under any circumstances. I think she has moved on now, so maybe now it's ok.

You know how people talk about having "an angel on your shoulder"? I think it comes from what I had, what I experienced, so I think other people have had it. I think there are other people who do know what it is. But I think that most people who talk of angels and shoulders don't really know what it means. I think they just like the words, the idea, without knowing the reality.

My fairy appeared as a bright light just behind my right shoulder. There was no light. If I turned and looked there was nothing there, no light, no nothing. But there was a distinct feeling of bright light just above and behind my shoulder. And thoughts. I would be "told" (no sound, no voice, just an awareness, a thought) that I should do something, or that some particular thing was unseen but just ahead. Warnings.

My fairy seemed to specialize in police cars and deer. Maybe she liked riding in the car or something.

Where I spent my high school and college years, in northeastern Pennsylvania, many people every year were killed or maimed or totaled a car in collisions with deer. My fairy always appeared and told me when there was a deer about to burst out of the woods in front of us. There'd be the glow, the thought "deer!", and I'd say "Deer!", and the driver would slow down, and a deer would cross in front of us. I was never wrong. There were never any false alarms. People would ask me how I knew, and I'd just shrug. They'd assume I had seen the eyes, but most occasions were around curves, or leaps off banks, and they knew it wasn't eyes.

When I was in college and started dating, it was deer and police cars. I'd get the glow, and the thought "cop", and I'd say "Cop!", and my date would look all around and sure enough there'd be an unmarked cop car coming up fast behind and then passing us, or a black & white behind the next billboard, or whatever.

Over the years she warned me about weak branches, snakes behind logs, and once a purse snatcher. That time I got annoyed and ignored her urges to move my purse, and my purse was stolen.

Oddly, that was the only bad person she ever warned me about.

Over the years, her appearances grew rare. The last time she visited was early 1995. I had picked up my father-in-law at Kennedy airport and was driving him to where Jay and I were living, in the mid-Hudson valley. We were almost home, on a country road doing 55, approaching a curve with a steep bank on the right, when I got the glow and suddenly slowed down. The FIL fussed "What? Why are we stopping? What's wrong?" and we rounded the curve at about 10 mph, and found a huge herd of about 30 deer crossing the road. We had to stop to let them all cross.

He looked at me in shock, and asked how I knew. I shrugged. When we got home, he told Jay, and Jay shrugged and said, "She knows deer."


When my daughter (born in 1975) was growing up, when we walked in the woods, I used to tell her that every tree had a fairy living inside it, and if you watch very carefully out of the sides of your eyes, you might see one. Just a glimpse, a flash of bright, but maybe.

In the fall of 1995ish, she was driving back to Penn State after a visit home, and she was to give me a safe arrival call when she got to the college. When she called, she said she was home, and then there was that long pause that mothers recognize. I waited.

"Mom," she said, in a very small voice, "remember when I was small, and we walked in the woods, and you told me there were fairies?"

"Yes. Fairies in the tree hearts."

"Were you serious? Are there really fairies?" asked my 20-year-old engineering student math-whiz daughter. Her exact words.

I laughed and said, "So. You've seen her, eh? Tell me what you saw." Note that I had never told her about my fairy, or how she appeared, only that fairies existed.

She described a bright light over her right shoulder that wasn't really there, and a distinct thought that popped into her head that she knew wasn't hers.

"Deer?" I asked.

"Nope, cop." She had been speeding, and suddenly she got the glow and the thought, and she slowed down in confusion, rounded a curve, and passed the patrol car tucked into the shrubs.

So I yelled at her about speeding, and then told her about the fairy, and that she had to always listen to her, and never speak of her to others while she's with you.

A few weeks later, Daughter did speak of the fairy again. She was in a deserted laundromat at 1 am, when the fairy told her to leave, NOW! She had been about to load the dryer, but she packed up the wet clothes and left. Not 20 minutes later, a girl arrived at the laundromat and was attacked by a guy who had jimmied the back door and had been lurking in the back room waiting for someone to come in.

I asked her once a few years ago if she still had the fairy. She said she couldn't tell me. So. That's good, I guess. I do wonder, though. Just from a few things she's said and a few things that have happened, I think her fairy is less concerned about deer and more into people situations than mine was, so maybe it's not the same one.

I miss mine.

I have a very strong belief that there are all kinds of things possible, but to sense them, we have to first be open to them. Like, you won't see fairies unless you first truly believe in them. Only then do they become possible, but even then, only on their own terms.

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