It has always been an interest of mine to consider the nuances involved in my encounters with others, those that are nourishing and even those that are more distasteful for some reason. In recent years, my interest has broadened to include encounters with animals, nature, books, movies and now, online conversations with people who I treasure yet may never meet.

Monday, August 20, 2012


This is a fanciful story. The part that is true relates to the state of my mind since my mother passed and my Care Bear adventure was complete. Recent ‘chats’ with my twitter pal and favorite author, Julia Hughes, inspired me to write the story. I am deeply grateful.

   A wanderer by nature, it was no surprise to anyone in our group that I had disappeared. My sisters and I were touring England, a country that our dad had loved when in the Army during World War II. While my mom was still living, we had often talked of making the trip yet life events seemed to intervene.  Now we were here, carrying the spirit of our mother with us. We had chosen to spend this day in the county of West Sussex, South Downs National Park to be exact. The description in our Guidebook excited each of us though in different ways.  Marty wanted to explore the Beach Head area with its Lighthouse. In the Guide, the words, ‘Lovely crisscross paths of South Downs Way, a magical journey with historic gems, never far from the sea,’ got Kathy so excited that she barely had a wink of sleep the night before. Carly, though, was enthralled by the thought of seeing those ‘chalky white Seven Sisters Cliffs, with a view of pounding waves and shrieking gulls.’
   I set out on this day’s trek with an open mind, ready to savor each scene, every encounter. From the moment of my first step onto this great land, there was an air of expectation humming in my veins. The earth on which I stood had breath, had a voice. Today, each of us had our own day packs filled with water and snacks. We had cell phones so that each could go her own way yet had agreed to not wander off too far from each other. We were, after all, visitors in a strange land.
  Beauty surrounded us. This land was infused with history. We were already awed and charmed by ancient castles, ages old villages and stone walls alongside the roads on which we had traveled. With a mix of excitement and wonder, my sisters and I neared our destination, entering Seven Sisters Countryside Park on our way to view the cliffs.
  Carly, Kathy and Marty excitedly chattered as they took the main way-marked walk. My senses though, had me pausing and were drawing me into a different direction, onto a nature trail that led into Friston Forest. Although today was a sunny one, the trail was shrouded in light wispy-like fingers of fog. This is the point at which I disappeared.
   One moment I was at the edge of the Forest gazing at the fingers of fog and the next, I was somewhere deep within where no human sounds intruded. Shaking my head in wonder, I checked my cell phone and saw that there were no bars so, yes, a bit of fear began to tingle. More so, however, was the greater tingle of expectation. I was in a glade. Towering pines intermixed with a variety of beech, birch and chestnut trees surrounded the small light-filled space in which I stood. Taking a deep breath to calm my fear and excitement, I grabbed the water bottle from my pack. Bird calls began to filter into my racing mind and I noticed warblers, blue tits and even a few Swallowtail butterflies flitting around a patch of yellow and blue flowered bushes.
   ‘Time to sit down, Dode!’ I said as an old fallen tree caught my eye.  Grabbing a fiber bar from the day pack and settling down on the old tree, I started chuckling at my circumstances. “I am a lost puppy!” I muttered towards a nearby bush thick with leaves, variegated in shades of green with flickers of yellow, my nearest bit of company. At that statement, there came an explosion of wings as birds flew all around me making incredible raucous calls. Whether the calls were made to me or to each other, I do not know. All I know is that the speed of their passing in and around the glade caused the leaves of bushes and trees to ripple in time to a beat of their own. I had stood up with my pack and was ducking and swaying as the birds swirled by so close. When danger is near, especially of the unknown kind, it is wise to be ready. What other reason could there be for such a ruckus? As if someone had snapped her fingers, all of the birds ceased flying, finding perches on the branches of the surrounding trees.
   An eerie silence descended upon the glade as the raucous explosion of sound and the ripple of winds through the leaves simply stopped. It was at that moment that my breath got caught in my throat. Hovering in front of me at the level of my face was another creature of the forest, one that, until now, was found only in fables and folklore kinds of tales. She was vibrant and dressed in yellow, as bright as the sun on its best seen days.
   ‘The old tree is happy that you’ve chosen to use the gift that she offers. Please, sit back down. There is no danger here.’ I stumbled backwards and sat down, mouth still agape.  ‘My name is Tinker,’ she said. ‘I am one of the fairies of this forest. Your spirit has been languishing yet also, emitting invisible signals for help.  The Great Spirit, who answers to many names, has deemed your readiness to step out of sadness and the residual tendrils of despair. I am Great Spirit’s messenger. May I sit on your knee?’
   Tears leaked onto my face as I nodded my head, yes. My entire body was trembling though not in fear. Tinker settled upon my knee and spoke these words to me. ‘Great Spirit brought you to this glade because it is well known that you are more energetically open when out amongst nature. Despair no more at the seeming lack of direction that clouds your thoughts. The way of your journey through grief since the loss of your mother has been an essential one. The swirls of emotions that bound you in grief are healing ones. What has been full must empty. You have done well in honoring this journey towards emptiness, a space not empty but full of potential. Vigor for living has been trickling back into your spirit. You need only, in your mind, to step forth into life. New adventures await and will find their way to you. Be at peace.’
   And with the next beat of my heart, Tinker was gone. Instead of standing in a magical glade, I was once again standing at the entrance to the trail. There was no fog. I heard my name then, ‘Dody!’ Kathy was laughing, walking towards me. ‘Are you asleep standing up? We’ve been calling your cell phone yet you did not answer. Guess you thought I needed more exercise today, right?’ she asked grabbing my arm and steering me towards the others standing in the distance.


  1. This is a fairy tale to believe in:) Wish I'd been with you in that magical glade; to hear Tinker confirm new adventures wait for you. Please keep writing in your journals, I really want to know What Dody Does next.

    Julia xx

    1. You were the muse in my mind for this one, Julia. Tinker, of course, is so adorable that she had to play the role of a fairy.

  2. Love your story, Dody! Thanks for bringing me along, with words, to a place of castles and beautiful woods. I'd go there for real in a second if I could. To encounter a tiny being whose words can soothe and heal only makes it better. A lovely tale, written with a style that fluctuates perfectly between fanciful and real-world. :-}