26.7.04 | The Gift
A couple of years ago ago, i was walking in the woodland near my home. 'twas an early morning in Midsummer, some days afore Solstice. I was trying to find things to shoot with my camera in the cool dawn light.
I wasn't having much luck, it was either too cloudy, ruining any shadows i might use for texture and mystery (not overcast mind, just the kinds of cloud that want to creep up on the sun and hide it just when you don't want, then run away laughing cloudily when you've got impatient and moved on). Or too windy, and i couldn't get any plant close-up's due to 'em not keeping still. Plus... AND... i just couldn't find a subject to my liking.
So i sat for a while on the edge of a nice little copse, looking down into the valley and river below. Cursing my ill-fortune to the wind in the grass, and the sky above.
"Just one photo! Just a tiny bit of inspiration! Then i can go home to bed!" i wailed melodramatically. Always a drama queen, even without an audience.
Except... was there someone behind me? Was that a sound of something moving in the grasses behind me? That was a cough, surely? One of those polite coughs, to announce your presence without embarrassing someone, you know the type? Except it seemed so quiet.
I turn my head, not slowly- i hate being stalked on.
There was nobody there. Nothing.
The air suddenly seemed eerily calm. The winds had dropped off.
And then i saw it.
Right behind me, mere feet away, the Sun had finally got the upperhand with those tricky clouds and saw fit to cast a single beam through the trees, right into a patch of foxgloves, there to caress the tallest flower there in a halo of silvery white light. It was beautiful.
Inspiration Strikes! I got to work, before the wind awakened once more. Forgetting in my excitement that the hairs on the back of my neck were preparing to stand up for a good bit of adrenalin pumping. But they had their little moment later...
Y'know, until then i had never truly looked at a wild foxglove, they are just sooo common. Y'see them everywhere you go in Summer around here... i hope i've managed to capture some of it's beauty to share with you here.
Fifteen minutes later, i was prepping to leave, singing a little song cheerfully, it was probably "La la lala, La la lala, lala-laaah" or something similar.... and then i felt it again... that feeling of being watched. And did i hear some quiet chuckling? But where from?
"Hello?" (And hello neck-hairs!)
Nothing. Again. Just the breeze stirring trees and grass ever so lightly now.
Feeling genuinely disturbed, and seeing as i'd packed my kit, i decided, not without haste, to LEAVE, away up the hill. As i reached the hills crest, i turned and looked back down into the valley, and the river, and towards the ever-so-slightly creepy foxglove glade.
I could see it quite clearly from my elevation. I also saw something else. My patch of foxgloves was dead centre of a Daone Sidhe ring. A faerie ring. (Or if yer have scientific kind of mind... a fungus ring...hah!)
Could that have been...? Naah! Who believes in that kind of thing nowadays...?
And yet... it did seem that i was "directed" towards these flowers... and legend says that Faerie Gifts really shouldn't be spurned OR mocked...
So. A Gift? Perhaps. And now i share it with you...
THe Gift 2