Thursday, June 28, 2007

Fairy Tales?

A young mother and her bright-eyed children of about 6 and 8 came into our castle this past weekend. Shawn was spinning yarn on his old wheel, Sparky. He started telling them what he was doing and explaining about the process of making yarn.

"Do you know Rumplestiltskin?" the little boy asked.

"Yes," Shawn answered, "He's my cousin."

"Mom," the little boy cried, his voice full of wonder, "Rumplestiltskin is real!"

"Thanks..." the mother said to Shawn, with more than a little negative sarcasm tinging her voice.

Shawn went on with his usual speil - explaining how we raise the grass and harvest it to make the straw (hay) that we feed to the sheep. Then we shear the sheep (give them a hair cut), spin the wool into yarn and sell the yarn to people for gold (money).

"It take us a few more steps," he finishes out. "My cousin just leaves out the middleman."

Usually adults smile at the expanded fairy tale and children are too jaded to believe any of it. But this mother did not appreciate hearing that there was more than a grain of truth to fairy tales.

I never had a chance to talk with her, I was busy at my station in the booth all afternoon, hawking our wares and selling Spirit Bells. But during the slow times, I had a chance to think about life and fairy tales. Most people will agree that fairy tales are archetypes, morality tales and historical fiction. I think they are that, and much more. And I think that if any one of us tilts the glass through which we look at life, we will find the magical side of it.

Consider my day-to-day reality. At this moment I live in a very drafty 16th century castle, complete with counter-weighted draw bridge doors and 2 towers. We share the castle with Nigel, an adorable little bat who I think is older than my adult children, and our 3 dogs, who watch pirates riding elephants through the cracks in the walls. We haul water for drinking and cooking from a community well out by a garden cottage and indoor plumbing is a concept that may or may not be way in the future.

During the weekend, thousands of people visit to catch the magic of our village and see how things were made in Renaissance times. Over the last 3 years we have taught hundreds of people to spin, weave, crochet and appreciate the finer details of fiber arts.

My week is full of weaving shawls, crocheting Spirit Bells, making drop spindles and working with my life-partner Shawn as he makes looms, crochet hooks, knitting needles and assembles spinning wheels. We work together 24/7/365 and get along great - 98% of the time. (The two percent keeps us from taking each other for granted!) For some people, that is the most fairy tale-like part of this story.

When I am not living in the Renaissance, I am homesteading in the Ozarks, (some day I'll catch a fairy tale that has indoor plumbing!) sharing my life with a wonderful flock of sheep, goats, llamas and in addition to Shawn, there is Lena, my adult daughter, who is one of the most capable, competent and caring people I know. She manages that whole part of the enterprise single-handed when we time-travel back through the centuries.

In order to do the time-traveling we have a giant silver carriage, which I am sure must be out of a fairy tale. It carries Shawn, the 3 dogs, a literal ton of our spinning and weaving equipment and myself from the Ozarks to the Rockies in one full turn of the day. I'm not sure if that is more amazing than this little box that I carry that allows me to talk with friends and family from almost any where (or when) we trek. And this computer, which is amazing enough in all the information it holds, but when we connect it to the data network of the World Wide Web, I have the knowledge of the ages at my finger tips.

Excuse me, how can you not believe in fairy tales?

If you want more affirmation of how fantastical life can be, look in my purse. I have my id card which proclaims me as an employee of the US Postal Service, horse racing licenses as a Owner/Trainer from Colorado and Arizona, a business card which shows that I am the managing editor of a publications group and a picture of me as a professional belly dancer. All of these me's are real and the stories they have to tell rival many fairy tales handed down from the ages.

My lives are full of magical people living their own fascinating tales. Just this last week, I was blessed to spend an afternoon listening to tales from a lavender-haired, sparkling-eyed Fairy Godmother who is starting a Fairy Godmother foundation in Colorado. She has brought an amazing group of people together to help children from all places and all layers of life learn to believe in themselves and get their wishes met. In the process of building this organization, Chris has brought wonder into the lives of many adults. Shawn is going to be working on her web site and as it is built, we will link to it here.

So, while sarcasm has its place and analytic analysis can be a useful tool - don't come into my castle and expect me to believe that fairy tales are not real!

1 comment:

Laura in Alameda said...

Yep, once upon a time, log ago, far away from where we live now, I was a cynical edgy child with little belief in magic.I had an evil stepmother, too. Now I have lived through disasters, seen great love, conquered great evil and am living 98% happily ever after with my own prince charming, and the little princes. And a dog, parkeet, goldfish, pet rat and a rose bush outside the cottage that seems to bloom all year long.And a spinning wheel, or three. More than a grain of truth, for sure!