Whispered In The Wind

Whispered In The Wind
Just a fairy blowing in the wind, singing tales to the west wind

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Leaves Of Youth-Part 1

By Hannah Yerington
-This is the first part of a two part story..because dearest blog, is complaining about the length of it.-
The green leaves glistened,the little glimmers of light dancing along the trees,in delight. A small gust of wind blew past, caressing my locks as they fluttered in the air. I sighed a deep and melancholy sigh. It was the year I called the Great Awakening. The year of reality. The year of departure. The year the fairies seemed to desert me. The year I was no longer a child. The year I discovered I was not a princess. The year my costumes collected dust and my dolls whispered “come to us, once again." I guess we all had that year or a series of years but I thought somehow I was set apart. I thought, like thousands before,I was special.

But no matter how much I longed for the realm of magic, it never revealed itself to me. Santa Claus’s reindeer no longer pattered across my roof. I cried, tears soaking my red face. “Mama, why don’t the elves visit me?” Mama smiled, stroking my hair. “Elves are persnickety things, they will visit you again”. But I didn’t believe her, so my eyes rained and my heart was a storm. I didn’t believe magic could exist anymore but my soul still fought trying to give it another chance. Some told me this was growing up. But I closed my eyes when they whispered such, trying to block out the thought. I wanted to scream “I'm different! I'm different!” as they rambled on about becoming mature, about taking up the responsibilities of an adult. So I sat on my lawn and sighed, staring at the rustling leaves. I felt drained and empty. I played with dead stalks of grass, between my dry fingers and tried to weave clover chains. Each one broke.

My mom worried for me. She wondered what I thought when I sat on the lawn, under the shade of the trees for hours. She wondered why I ripped the leaves into tiny pieces and whispered into the wind. She watched me, in rage once, throw one of my dolls against the wall. I was so scared of what I had done, afraid I was a monster. I swept my doll back into my arms and frantically whispered my extreme sincere apologies. Yet, still she did not speak. She didn't even wink, or look alive. For the first time her eyes looked like the dolls in that big department store. They seemed, glazed and painted, not even the smallest spark of life. I got goose bumps. My mom looked at me in concern, but wisely said not a word.

Tea parties weren't even the same. My gloves were too small, my best princess dress pulled against my chest. I showed my mom how it pulled and she just smiled and chuckled. I was embarrassed and crossed my arms against my budding chest to hide how the dress stretched. I accidentally cracked my best tea pot and it did not appear any of my bears weren't eating the scones I offered them.

So I gave up. I sat on my lawn and blew dandelions and threw rocks, aimlessly. I sang quietly with the birds chirping. Finally one day I blew one dandelion and loudly yelled “I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING, BUT I WISH IT WOULD STOP. I WISH I WOULDN'T GROW UP!” I sat down, flustered, my cheeks red and blinked back tears. The wind frolicked with my tresses and I stared up at the clouds.

I remember it clearly. The rustling of the leaves became louder till it resembled a humming sound. The winds playing with my hair grew still and silent. I sat up a little straighter and stop gazing at the clouds. The humming got loud and louder. Notes, notes were playing. Awestruck, I listened attentively to the leave's tune, till it formed words:

Fall does come, her beauty regal.
Strewed with gold, She takes her wand.
A new gown to serenade the eyes.

Abruptly they stopped, words no longer uttered and the wind, rushed, a siren song it blew. Then once again it was silent. Before my eyes a maiden appeared. Fall, in her full glory began to dip her wand in the hearts of the trees. The tree nymphs smiled and slowly found themselves lulled to sleep by falls song. Why had I never noticed the tree nymphs in the trees before? To each leaf she bestowed a new gown and they crackled in appreciation. I could not speak, my tongue made of stone. Slowly she turned toward me, her soft face radiating with joy. She reached out and touched me gently behind my ear. Then as quickly as she had appeared, she vanished. I blinked, terrified and entranced.

I ran to my house, legs pounding across wet grass. Behind my ear was a small gold light resembling a fingerprint. I smiled. I heard my dolls chatter noisily and swore I saw an elf’s face peer behind my closet door. My doll's eyes twinkled with merriment. My bears grumbled for some ham at my next tea part. Grinning, I entered the gates of magic once again.

When I tell people of Fall and the leaves singing, they laugh. They always smile politely. Then they thank me for the lovely story.


While, the rest of the world, grew up, I didn't. My body aged, my back got aches and cracks. I went through school and then even college. People called me innocent, even slow sometimes. But that wasn't it. I just saw the things they couldn't see, or had lost. That imaginative part of me, the child who believed in magic, just grew stronger and stronger. I no longer even needed to imagine the fairies or wonder if my doll was really talking to me. I just saw, I just knew. My experience with Fall had forever altered me.

I remember my friends telling me to grow up, hear them whisper. They wondered why I stared in raptures at rosebushes or sang to the moon. At first I tried to point things out, marvel out how they couldn't see what I saw. But soon, it came apparent that something in me, was different. I wondered why, I of all people had this privilege, yet at the same time, this curse. I gained an entire world of magic, yet lost so much of this world. The one I inhabited barely understood me.

But then, wasn't the very point of magic, that it can't be explained? That in fairy-tales, the strangest things happen to the ordinary-est of people? I could have grown up, just like everyone else. But that wasn't my destiny. Instead, I became part of a fairy tale. I often wonder if one day, someone will write my story down in a little bound book and a publisher will find it in a book. But I'm not all that old fashioned, so I find myself writing bits and pieces of it, often. .

I also wonder quite a lot about Fall. Who she is exactly. I met her sister, Spring, once. I've asked around but no one seems to really now. She just is. She always was. I'm at the age, where sometimes I just accept things. It is not a lack of curiosity as the young might believe. I never lost my tireless childlike curiosity. But though I kept my childhood burning bright within me, I've also gained much of the wisdom of time.

I'm content with the allure of mystery. Isn't that what made childhood so exciting? Getting as close to a mystery as possible, almost touching the magic...but never quite figuring it out? Knowing there was a monster in the closet, was the allure, but it actually responding to you yelling at it to leave..well that might have ruined it. The mystery of what is was like, why it was there, might be shattered. And then, the monster wasn't appealing anymore. It's the same way now. I don't know where I would be, without my mysteries. So I never forced answers. Answering everything is for those who don't have know how to just live. It's for those who can't find poetry in the roses or magic in the mystery. People might call it faith and say I'm being irrational. But why would I want to know everything? Because life is nothing when you can reduce it to facts. Why would fairy-tales exist in the first place, if everything ought to be answered?

It's always been a question of mine, if there are other people like me. There has to be. I met one once. She was in her eighties, driven mad by her fantasies, or so they thought. She kept mumbling about goblins and how bothersome they are. I visited her in her rest home. I didn't see any goblins, but I told her a little spell to ward them off, anyways. I brushed out the frizzy, matted, auburn hair of her doll and had tea with her. I enjoyed my time with her. But it also worried me. She had obviously become so entrapped in this other world, if it can be called that, that we both at access to, that she lost touch with earth. It was literally as if her mind was caught in some vortex. She had access to two worlds, yet somehow had got lost in one..and couldn't find her way back. She barely knew how to operate a sink, she never learned how to drive. She burnt her fingers on the stove, when I heated hot water for tea, on the stove. I yelled, in panic, but she said something about the fire not being alive. I wondered if she ever used a stove. The entire world had defined her as mad. I could see why. We both had the same blessing and curse. But she had taken it to far. She was literally trapped in her imagination. She spoke of nothing besides the goblins, how bothersome imps are and an old lover of hers, a handsome kobold.

I was scared that I would turn out like her. I resolved that I wouldn't. I couldn't lose contact with Earth. But I couldn't lose contact with..my other world. The world that was somehow part of earth, yet not at all. The world where teddy bears talk and there really is a man on the moon. So I lived my fairytale but I also kept contact with Earth. I made sure to talk to people, to not revert into fantasy.

For a while I became a drama teacher, because having an eccentric drama teacher seemed socially accepted. It was a role, in which crazies were accepted. Though I had done a lot of drama through the years and was qualified for the role, I soon found I was not meant for it. I never was shy, but always confined. I liked my privacy and suddenly my world became a stage. For the quote "The world is your stage, you are always auditioning.", I have doubts about. When I am smelling a flower, I am not auditioning. But I guess that is being technical. But suddenly I felt like I was auditioning, constantly. People think there are three acceptable kinds of crazy. The first is flat out crazy. The kind of homeless man wearing a fuzzy hat, crazy. It freaks people out, but without it the world would be a lot less interesting. So we tolerate it. The second acceptable form is genius crazy. Basically people assume you are so smart that you are crazy. The third form is the flamboyant crazy: The David Bowie's, Andy Warhol's, Auntie Marm's of the world. You are an artsy hipster and punk, so you are acceptable. In comes in varying levels, but it is still the acceptable kind of crazy.

My main problem was that I wasn't any of those. I tried the hipster crazy, but that wasn't me. I was a reserved, somewhat quiet person who was deemed slightly insane. But in order to make that insane acceptable in a role as a drama teacher, I had to form it into the right crazy. So when I made comments about fairies, suddenly I needed to tie it into Midsummer's Night Dream and quote a overly dramatic scene from it, playing Puck and Oberon all at once. Needless to say, I lasted less there two years and then resigned.

I knew I needed a challenging job because a challenge would keep me grounded . It gave me a dose of what is considered reality, even if it was not my reality. I wanted to write fairy-tales, as they came easily to me. But I knew the danger of that. So I took up journalism. I find that in journalism, crazies are also allowed. In fact writing is a safe haven for all the lost loons of this world. By writing reality constantly, I had a reliable tug to keep me from drifting away. I would hear fairies singing outside my office constantly as I stared at my dim computer screen. I would talk to them occasionally, but I refused to let them in my office. I knew if I did, then soon I would be pulled completely into their blissful world. I was in no way ignoring it, just making sure that I didn't completely exist in their world. But I did write fairytales in my spare time and published a few volumes of them, here and there. They did well and I was comfortably off, never being an extravagant spender.

But journalism was not in any way, my love. I enjoyed it, it was hard, but I was not passionate. I never had children, much to my dismay. So later after years of journalism, I gave little writing seminars on request, for middle school students. I was a well known writer and journalist in my town and so for many years now, I've visited the middle school and taught writing workshops. I saw some of the children, already men and women of the world, and they don't understand me in the least. The artsier, philosophical ones love me, though sometimes I wonder if it is just to analyze me. I like it there, it's peaceful. I teach classes, but I am famous for my off subject rambles about fanciful things. I lead them on tours through their school, which they have seen a million times and tell them to notice something new. I make them stand on ladders, ask them how it feels to be so tall, and then write from the perspective of some who is that tall. A giants, perhaps. I have them crawl on the ground, and ask them how that changes their perspective. Then they will write from the perspective of some one who must crawl. A baby, perhaps. I've since retired from journalism, but I do this and write my stories. I don't drift off into fantasy and I don't get chained to Earth. 

But it hasn't been easy. My other world, seem so much safer. There people don't back stab you, and beauty is always obvious. I've struggled to find the beauty in people, in this world. But I find the less I concentrate on finding it, the more obvious it becomes. Funny, how things are like that. I always like to think I am living somewhere between the fairy gates of earth and childhood.

I knew people would never really get me. That I wouldn't be accepted. That sometimes people would label me as mad.

My family wondered why I told my sister's kids that they definitely WAS a monster in their closet, when my sister was trying to convince them there was not. My sister yelled at me, thinking it was a joke. She mentioned the times I told her kids about how some goblins want to eat children, and that mermaids have fangs. She was livid. I tried to explain how these things do exist, for the last time. She said she didn't even know me anymore. She screamed at me to grow up. She is my baby sister. We barely talk anymore. But my mom says her kids always ask if they can visit the magical aunt. They think I'm a fairy.

My mom has never mentioned anything about me growing up, about me being strange. I'm happy, and I am mildly successful. She doesn't pry. I think magic has slightly touched her sometimes. I first thought this when she hummed a little familiar tune..very similar to the one the leaves sing. I asked her about it and she just murmured and walked off. I was probably mistaken. My father, a writer himself, just uses me as writing material. We never had a strong relationship and so in the later years, he has connected with me through making me his muse. It's a strange, strained relationship, but it is better than nothing. He still thinks I am insane, though.

I've lost contact with lot of friends, a lot of relatives. Something about saying "I need to go home, it is my doll's bedtime." or "Why look..the sun is being pulled away by a Phoenix today! I wonder how the sun feels about that! That's odd!", does not always go well. Once I told my doctor that an infection on my neck might be from a vampire. He said he would check it out. I told him to be careful, I was fighting an urge to bite him. I kind of regret saying that, as he won't look me in the eye, now. Some people think I have a great sense of humor, till they realize I am serious. This either scares people or they love it. Sometimes I worry I am just a fun circus for people to watch. That they keep me for amusement. And yes, some do. But what hurts the most, is those that were once close, pulling away.

My best friend from elementary school, a very artsy creative girl, pretty much abandoned me in high school. I was getting more and more involved in this "other world" of mine, and she kept mentioning this. She put up with it freshman year, but it embarrassed her. I remember once I told the cafeteria lady "I CAN'T EAT THIS...AN OGRE GOT HIS MUCUS ON IT! YOU ARE POISONING US ALL!" She pretended she didn't know me after that for the rest of the day. By sophomore year, she announced that she couldn't take it anymore. After that, we didn't even look at each other in the halls. I cried, but I knew it would not be the last time I would cry over someone. It wasn't. I lost my first boyfriend when I told him that he definitely had kobold blood and should try shape shifting. I laugh at that, now.

But this is my fate. I've had trouble accepting it. But most of all, I have had trouble accepting that I am this way. I wonder to what purpose, to what aide it is for years. That's been the hardest struggle, of all: to not know why, or to what purpose, I have become who I am.

I think that I am here to live. That sounds very simple. It is. But I think that I am meant to live in this manner, to drop a little pixie dust. That also sounds so very simple. But it isn't really. They say that we all have the soul of a poet within us, that died young. Well I am here to breath life into those poets. I find that the lost souls, the wandering artists, those starved of childhood, flock to me. I didn't understand it for years. But now I do. I'm meant to breath little breaths of magic back into their lives. Sometimes I can show people the fairies, or just make them laugh like they haven't for years. It's satisfying, but also tolling. I've been called the muse, the magic lady, the stark mad lady. All fit, quite well. I'm sort of, whatever people want to see in me.

Once on a subway, I conversed with my friend Aiken Drum, the brownie, and a young couple peered at me suspiciously. I was muttering to Aiken about how confusing subways are and who ever thought of creating such a thing. Aiken just rolled his eyes at me and stroked his beard. I kept muttering in a hushed tone, not exactly talking to him anymore, lost in the complexity of the map of the Subway station, sprawled on my lap. I never have quite got the hang of such things. Sometimes I think it's the kid still inside of me..who would much rather be escorted around.

The young couple kept staring at me. I believe the girl whispered “Is she okay? Why is she talking to herself?” The boy put his hands to his lips and squeezed her hand. The girl was obviously very uncomfortable with me. Well I was agitated as I had no idea how I was going to navigate around the subway station, once the subway stopped. So I kept blabbering to Aiken Drum, about how aggravating subways are. But I stared at the girl out of the corner of my eye.

She kept whispering to the boy, squeezing his hand. She seemed was convinced I was mad. But the boy kept rolling his eyes. He smiled widely at me, and I smiled back. Finally we struck up a conversation.


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"I want warm summer nights, to lie in a hammock, staring at the stars, telling you stories. "

"I want warm summer nights, to lie in a hammock, staring at the stars, telling you stories. "
"When asked not to make waves, I just smiled and said, don't worry this is just a ripple"