I’ve been nostalgic this morning, thinking about the first novel I wrote and one of the characters, Rhiannon. I remember how sad she seemed and how much I was inspired by her mysterious strength. She was so compelling that I rewrote the whole story from her point of view and then added a couple books about her. One scene in particular has been recurring over and over in my mind, so I’ve decided to share it. I hope you enjoy my words from so long ago.
~ O ~
The warm morning of the Sun Season Ceremony complemented the bright display at Stone Meadow; tall colorful banners flapped on long poles and thin trails of white smoke lifted to the cloudless sky, announcing their host camps and seasoned offerings. Bards in purple tunics, tooling their whistles and drums, mingled in the growing crowd. It was a celebration, and it was summer at its peak. The solstice. I must have been grinning—I could feel my cheeks stretch as we rolled the handcart to our familiar camping spot at the southern edge of the field.
Leila was enchanting. She wore her golden shawl of the Fae with its hood pulled back behind her shoulders. The shawl covered a white gown that trailed to thin leather sandals on her feet. Small white flowers decorated tight braids in her dark hair. Leila swung her arms out and danced in place—the golden shawl draped to the ground like wings—and announced her arrival to anyone watching, showering the air with sparkling gold. “This is wonderful!” she sang, while skipping steps and dancing in circles. Her movement matched the mood of the meadow, and she wasn’t the only one dancing in the tall grass.
When we reached our site, Mother and I began unloading the cart. I piled blankets, and pillows, and bowls, and goblets onto small piles around our camp. Then I went into the forest that bordered the meadow and collected an armful of dry branches from the undergrowth. When I returned, Leila was still dancing.
“Do you know the steps?” she asked. She tiptoed for a moment and sprung into a leap forward. “I’ll wager you can guess.”
I emptied my arms and brushed my hands clean on my apron. I watched my sister move; her dance was familiar. I caught myself swaying to the delicate tune inside my thoughts. “You know that’s my favorite,” I told her. “You make me want to join you.”
Mother turned to watch us, but kept arranging sliced vegetables into piles on a blanket.
Leila grabbed my hands and pulled me toward her. “Step forward, sister. I want to see you dance.”
I couldn’t help myself. I slipped out of my sandals and joined her. Then we danced in the grass. A faerie and her Giver, we wove a circle of crimson and gold. I inhaled the fresh air—it carried a hint of hickory smoke—and whispered the words that I had often sung to myself at the celebrations. The songs we danced had no lyrics, but I had created my own verses, as many faeries did, and many would continue to imagine.
“You’re wonderful!” said Leila, amid the swirling flashes. “You miss it, don’t you?”
I allowed my motion to carry me to a place on the grass away from her, and then collapsed on the ground. “I miss dancing,” I admitted to her.
She raised her sleeves above her head like a bird’s wings and brought them down in front of me.
I winced at the striking breeze that followed.
“I’m sorry; I didn’t intend to do that.” Leila covered her mouth.
“That’s okay,” I said, smiling. “I enjoyed the moment. Thank you.” I fell back and stared at the sky. “Good memories always come with dancing. They carry me to fantastic places and wonderful dreams.”
~ O ~