Welcome to the first installment of my fantasy fiction/art series known as The Wilderland: Memoirs of a Tourist. This project, about a woman who Travels to Faerie and beyond as she sleeps, will be a weekly feature on SilverFlame Art, with posts every Friday. I hope you all enjoy the series as much as I enjoy writing and drawing it!
The Wilderland: Memoirs of a Tourist
Part One: The Star-Bridge
Once upon a time, there was a man who carved a marble statue. He took great care in its creation, forming it with elegant lines and infinite grace. When it was complete, he set a trap and captured the wild spirit of the North Wind, and he imbued the statue with this spirit, and it came to life, and was made flesh and blood and Wind, and looked like a woman.
The man was very proud, and said, “Look at what I have made with my two hands! I have created life!”
But he had not created life. He had merely enslaved it. And so the living statue whipped up a whirlwind and flew away as if on wings, never to be seen by him again. Sometimes, though, she can be spotted flying through the sky at night, like a wisp of moonlight and dream.
My given name is Galatea. Sometimes I even remember this, though usually I just almost remember it. The name was given to me by the proud man, a haughty reference to an old human myth.
I have another name, another life. A simple, mundane existence, so very different from these fleeting moments of surreal wonder. I will not write here of this life, for it has its own stories, its own dreams. At night, after living another day of that life, I lie to rest in a soft bed and rise up to take flight.
I have a third name. An old name, as old as the stars, as old as Time. I do not remember that name, though sometimes I can feel it singing a tempest of prismatic colors deep within me.
The silver moonlight pours through my window and washes the room with pale hues of blue and lavender. I stand, one ivory hand parting the curtains, as I drink in the sight of the night sky. A heartbeat pulses and I am in flight, layers of thin material whipping about my body, my hair a foaming mass of white waves catching the wind.
I have no destination in mind. I only want to fly.
A path of stars scatters beneath my feet as though a handful of shimmering dust is tossed. The path arcs and curves and twinkles into the distance, and with a thought I move to follow it, a sylph dancing across the lunar-lit sky.
The sound of ocean waves carries on the wind, and I follow the starry path towards it. My nostrils flare and I feel an electric jolt of pure alive-ness as I catch the scent of salt and storm and rain-washed leaves.
The transition is seamless, like a dream, though this is no dream. A white streak of shoreline stretches before me, buffeted by the roaring ocean waves to my left. To my right looms a sheer cliff face. It takes me a moment to see the worn steps carved into the stone, slick with remnants of tidewater and recent rain. Above me, heavy clouds hover, dark blues and purples limned with a sunlit shimmer, and the sky glints with the pearlescent hue of dawn where it peeks through.
I gather the skirt of my dress into my hands and climb the steps, the stone cold and slippery against my bare feet.
As I ascend the last crest of the cliff, I see the forest. The enormous pale trunks and branches of the ancient trees twist and curl and stretch as if frozen in dance, their luminous silver-blue leaves rippling and whispering in the wind. The trees look as though they are infused with moonlight, I think as I approach them. They have a glow about them, and I can feel the life within, the awareness, not a collection of many singular, isolated lives, but a gestalt consciousness, a synergy flowing among the wood. They know I am here, and I can feel their welcome, as though greeting an old friend.
A few short steps brings me past the borders of the forest, and soon I am walking on its mossy floor, dwarfed by the leafy giants. The whisper of the leaves crescendos as I step among the trees, though I can feel no shift in the wind. A new sound reaches my ears then, low and guttural but melodic, hauntingly beautiful as it sweeps around me on all sides, layering and blending and harmonizing. I stand still, listening, trying to ascertain what it is I am hearing.
The trees, I realize. The trees are singing. I smile, and offer my own song to them.