Admittedly, I am always a nervous Nellie when it comes to flying. This flight in particular has tempted me to pop a xanax to take the edge off.
Flying coach definitely has it's drawbacks. In this case the drawback is the 300 pound chatterbox sitting to my right. Not only has that woman
taken up all of her seat and half of mine, she has talked non stop for hours. Once she ran out of lame jokes and family antidotes she proceeded
to fall fast asleep. That would have been swell except that she snores louder that she talks. Yep, I need this vacation worse than the Mojave
desert needs rain
Finally, the plane descends as we approach Dublin Airport. Gazing out of the window, it seems like the Emerald Isle rises up to meet me dressed
in finery created by God's Own Hand. The view is stunningly lush and vivid in hues ranging from pine, shamrock, moss, and hunter greens.
The Land of the Fairies Beckons.
I need to rent a car. Which shall it be, the fire engine red Italian sports car or the sensible mid sized black sedan? The spiffy little sports car seems
to be calling my name. Now, it seems like I am on the road to Perdition as I search for the cottage I phoned ahead to rent. This country road
has more potholes than a kid with the measles has spots. That last one was so deep the little convertible Fiat drug bottom on the way out.
Up ahead I see three cars, six bicycles, and one horse in front of a pub that looks like it has been standing for generations. I am tired, stressed,
and hungry. The airline fare was inedible and my stomach is starting to growl louder than the chatterbox snored.
Kelcey's Pub was one large room paneled in roughly hewn timer that had darkened over decades. Strewn about were seven small tables surrounded
my mostly mismatched chairs but all appeared comfortable and cozy. There was a small fire burning in a huge stone hearth. The place had old world
charm and smelled of spirits, smoke, and delicious food. I seated myself at a small table near the bar and took the advice of the owner/proprietor
and ordered the special. The bowl of hearty stew and fresh baked bread still warm from the oven was heavenly. I sip my Guinness and listen as
three old men seated at the bar entertained all would listen with wild tales of the 'wee ones'.
The first old man spun a dismal tale of decades past when his baby daughter was snatched away from her crib by a prankster fairy who then replaced
his babe with a Changeling. Changelings he said, are babes born to some fairies. Fairies value physical beauty, and Changelings are not fair of face.
When this happens the fairy mother swaps he Changeling for the most beautiful human baby she can find. The old man recounted the misery
this brought to his once happy home. You see he said, Changelings are foul in disposition and they create and thrive on discord and upheaval within
the home. His life had been spent anguish since that fateful day.
The second old man speaks favorably of the fairies and claims to have been given many boons over the years.
The third old man was the eldest of the three. His back was bent with age and he clung to an ancient looking cane fashioned from twisted
blackthorn brambles. He told a wild tale of a youthful tryst with a fay, that had for a time, taken human form. He described her beauty as
blinding, and he fell in love with her at first sight. His eyes misted as he recalled begging her for a kiss. In a desperate voice he pled ' No
price would be too high my love for just one kiss.' With a mischievous twinkle in her eyes she place one feathery kiss on his trembling lips before
she vanished into the mist. In the breeze he heard her say ' you shall wander the land searching but you will never find me again.' I have
squandered my life he quietly said. For eighty three years I searched for the fairy queen with sea green eyes and flaming locks of red.
Charmed by their stories, I slowly shake my head as I start to leave. These wonderful old characters have repeated their tales so often over
the years, they now believe them to be truth.
Later, suffering from jet lag and nursing a slight headache I take a walk over the rocky knoll behind the cottage. Soon I come upon a rolling glen and
gasp at it's beauty. The moon is full, and in it's glow I see dark dew kissed grasses sprinkled with vibrant wild flowers as far as the eye can see.
Dotting the landscape are huge Hawthorn trees laden with blossoms. I approach the largest Hawthorn and by moonlight glow I see tiny fairies in
the branches. So pale and luminous are their tiny bodies. Gossamer wings flutter as they greedily feed on the nectar sweet. Under the Hawthorn,
ferns grow large and wild and provide luxuriant shelter and safe places for tiny fay imps to hide.
Drawn by the faint sound of music in the cool night air, I soon come upon a small circle of stones. Within the circle fairies pipe and dance to a
lilting tune. Delighted and charmed, I watch as they flit to and fro dancing in jubilant mirth. Undisturbed by my presence, the dance continues
as I watch in close observance.
Most of the fairies had long, straight, silky blonde hair and almond shaped eyes of blue. Three had wild raven locks and wide spaced eyes of a
earthen hue. The one that caught and held my attention was one of mesmerizing beauty. Her face was a study in perfect proportion and
delicate features. Her hair was like fire itself in rich red with glimmering gold highlights and it fell like a waterfall below her tiny waist.
Her eyes were sea green and crystalline in appearance. Her regal stance, along with her ornate robe of gold and silver told me I was in the
presence of royalty. My mind raced back to the old man's tale of love and loss. I knew I was looking into the face of the one that haunted his
mind and heart.
Her eyes locked with mine and somehow she seemed to read my thoughts. Her piercing and majestic look dared me to broach the subject.
Suddenly, I felt my feet lift from the ground and I was drawn to the center of the circle where I was allowed to touch tiny gossamer wings.
My earthly body lifted away and I was one with the fairies. With eyes closed and arms held high, I twirl. I do not know how long the dance
lasted. Were it seconds, minutes, or hours, it was the most glorious experience of my life. As the dance came to a close my earthly body was
restored. I am honored to have been part of the mystic and timeless ritual. I humbly and gratefully bow to the beautiful fairy queen and wave
goodbye as I take my leave.
Slowly I walk back to the quaint stone cottage with the leaking thatch roof. I add more peat to the fire and sip on hot tea with honey and a spot of
Jameson to remove the chill from Ireland's cold night air. I drift into slumber with visions of fairies dancing in my dreams.
I wake just after dawn wondering if the dance had been reality or just a dreamland fantasy.
I take one last stroll over the glen where the tall Hawthorns bloom, lush grasses grow, and where still lies, a small circle of stones.