Monday, May 1, 2006

The Faerie Loop

© 2006 Oona McOuat

Today I went for a walk in a wooded area bordered by meadows. There was such a simple, undisturbed order to this place; I sensed I was the only person around for miles. The forest smelled of dry fir needles. A stag peered at me through a cedar bough, then went crashing off into the shadows. I moved out towards the pasture, sidestepping boggy areas bright with young skunk cabbage. Grazing lambs stopped and stared. An eagle circled overhead. 

I walked towards the sea. The grass by the water was warm and inviting, all dappled green and mossy softness. I lay down on it and dreamed.

Photo: Leigh Hilbert

When I was ready to go, I decided to take a different route, a clear wide path that appeared to be heading in the right direction. I thought it might help me avoid the mud. And that is when I fell into the Faerie Loop.

Photo: Kmax

I was following that clear wide path, when I noticed a trail to the right. It was going the same direction as the path I was on, and my feet were eager to take it. As I stepped onto the trail, I was enveloped in the aroma of butterscotch and willow. I stopped to rub the leaves on a bush to release their scent, then continued on the trail in a straightforward direction. It led me up onto a rocky knoll and down again, then past a small hut used to shelter sheep. It meandered between the woods and the meadow and over the ruins of a cedar log fence, until it intersected with the wider path I had originally been on. I continued on this path for a minute or so until I saw a trail off to the right. It was going the same direction as the wide path I was on. Once again, my feet were pulled to it.

Photo: Kmax

I stopped again to smell the sweet aroma and crush some leaves between my fingers. I climbed up a rocky knoll and down again, and passed a sheep shelter. It all looked uncannily familiar. I walked between the forest and the meadow until; once again, I saw the very same trail going off to the right. My feet started to take it. With effort, I made them stop. I had a sneaking suspicion that I would be walking that trail forever if I didn't change my course.

I decided to stay on the wide path, but it seemed to be heading in the wrong direction. The sun was almost setting and I couldn't sense the ocean. Befuddled and disoriented, I started getting nervous. I climbed up onto a big rock to get my bearings and saw some power lines in the distance. I began to walk towards them. As I rounded a corner, a family of huge, long haired bulls with sharp, curly horns blocked my path. Although they looked like woolly mammoths, they seemed docile enough, except for the one making a strange growling sound in its throat. But there was no turning back. I hurried past them and eventually made it back to the road, my car, and home.

Photo: Kmax

Later, as I mused on the Faerie Loop, I began to see it as a metaphor. This past winter I've struggled with the sensation of having been misguided. I've hungered for the sweet and seductive familiarity of the Faerie Path. Even if it wasn't going to take me to where I truly wanted to be, its beauty intoxicated me. I wanted to be enchanted.

Photo: Leigh Hilbert

But Life had other plans.

"Wake up!" She called, "If you don't have the gumption to choose a new path, I'll do it for you." 

And so she lead me to higher ground and reminded me of my power. She tested me by placing a herd of bulls in my path.

With infinite grace, she lead me home.

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