The Faery’s Blessing.
A lowering winter sky had darkened the world around the house early in the evening, and it brought a feeling of cosiness to the small family inside. Outside it was a raw, windy, wintry evening. Inside the subdued lighting from the small wood fire and the soft lighting from the kitchen burnished the large eyes and round cheeks of two little girls. They were sitting on the pile of pillows and blankets on the floor of the lounge room.
A car’s lights swept through the horizontal slits of the bamboo blinds, which covered the lounge room windows. The car door slammed.
Two small girls wriggled about on the floor, on the blankets. The tiniest one’s little feet kicked rapidly up against the blanket. There was a ‘rap – a – rap’ on the front door and the eldest one, almost four, scrambled out to answer the door, knowing well who is there.
In winter her cheeks always glowed, like those of children living in the colder inland places. This made her large deep blue eyes appear even bluer, and you could spend ages lost in the clearness of that blue. At her age she didn’t really care what she wore, although she loved the colours of things. Her pyjamas were too big and as she padded to the door they had to be hitched up. She opened up the door and with a chuckle she darted back under the blanket, next to her little sister.
The father came in, smelling of petrol and dirt. He was cold and the ends of his work jeans, from the knees down were saturated and had been all day. He dropped to the floor, next to his daughters on the blanket and wrapped an arm over the bundles of little legs and arms and splotches of blue, hazel pink and blonde and flannelette that bumped and wriggled about with happiness.
He swept up the baby and put her in between himself and the eldest one. She had the largest hazel eyes, with flecks of many colours, which seemed to change with the colour she wore, the colour of the sky or by the state of mind, she was in. She had a large high forehead, as yet unhidden by hair. She had learned a new game. This consisted of sticking her tiny pink-bottomed foot out to be tickled by her sister and then snatching it away at the last moment, if she could.
In the moment the photo was taken, that foot is trapped loosely by her sister and the baby is full of anticipation and excitement of the game. The baby crows and chortles with delight. Upon the eldest girl’s face was the broadest, wildest and happiest smile ever, and she was totally absorbed in the moment.
Sometimes it seemed to the mother that she was an observer to all this life, even while she knew she was at the centre. She took the photos. Often she felt an inside – outside, swinging feeling as if events, as dear as they were to her, were like a series of images, filed away in her mind, so precious were they. And yet she was in amongst all of that life, as it was she who laid the blankets down, who lit the fire, who made the home warm and comfortable, for the little girls and the cold and tired man.
She was aware at the moment she took the photo, that there was a magic field, a faery’s blessing which appeared to bind the small family together, in this moment of fun.
She knew that in all of us there was the raw pleasure of mindless fun, that made the heart thrill, and made the feet want to stamp out rhythms older than time, that bound the generations and people together. She came to realise that the faery’s blessing laid upon the family, drew them inwards to its centre, but allowed them to roam far away, with clear memories of the eye shine, the warmth and the love.
She also learnt that for each faery’s grace given, one seemed to be taken away, as if a balance had to be struck. But she realised that the gift held fast. This blessing allowed those two little girls to grow towards the holiness of that time, of that closeness and love. It enabled them to carry their endowment around their shoulders like a starry blue cloak. This cloak they could pull about themselves to hide or to seek protection and healing, or they could spread the cloak out on their arms, wide in the air, when they needed to fly, to see, to laugh, to know and understand.
Therese Mackay 11/11/00