I didn’t see fairies when I was little, I had to learn to see them after I was grown. As a child I played in redwood groves and mudflats, feeling the pulsing life in the land. My friends and I pretended to be raccoons, pioneers and alligators in oak groves, meadows and creeks. We were as close to the grass and sky as snakes and gulls. I didn’t need fairies to know the living presences of the earth.
There comes a time, though, when we separate from that wholeness. We fall, we wake up, we walk through a doorway we didn’t even know was there. We become aware of our Self and our Self’s desires, needs and fears. I still walked in dark forests and open fields but I was thinking about little sisters, algebra and boys. I saw the flowers and clouds, but I didn’t SEE them any longer. Asking when I first recognized the light is like asking when I first recognized that sun is warm. I always knew it, but maybe I forgot it for a while only to relearn it again in a new way.
My path back started in the same place as those earliest memories, under the giant blue sky. My early experiences in the woods and fields had laid a foundation for an interest in natural science that I pursued through high school and college. I remember coming home from 11th grade biology class, going to my favorite wooded canyon, and experiencing deep awe over the xylem and phloem system in an fir tree – it was transporting gallons of water dozens of feet with nothing more than water tension, evaporation and magic. I laid down on the forest floor and looked up at those trees, the wonderment of nature washing over me like a wave. I didn’t see fairies that day, but I was beginning to feel them again.
These days I do see fairies and I feel the presence of the light all around me, all the time. My intellect and scientific mind is still a major gateway to recognizing the Ultimate Mystery but I have found other gateways, too. I can feel the light in people and trees when I think about the biological miracles they represent, but I can also see that light when I suspend, or balance my scientific mind with other forms of perceiving and thinking. A childlike, beginners mind and a rich diet of beautiful stories have opened my heart and my eyes, again, to the dancing forms of the divine all around me.