Monday, April 7, 2014
A to Z Challenge: E is for Elflock
I wake with tangles in my hair. My grandmother would blame the fairies who sneak into young girls' rooms at night. My grandmother with the small, strong hands and the lilting accent of the old world. My grandmother who set a bowl of milk out every night for the elvish folk. I think they followed her to this land of skyscrapers and nine-to-fives. They wove themselves into her long silver braids and slipped over the waves to this land of opportunity and shallow roots.
Women like my grandmother bring her roots with her. She held the stories of generations in her breast and whispered them to me for bed time stories. Her father, my great grandfather, was the seventh son of a seventh son. Tall and brilliantly blonde, he slayed monstrous beasts and bested unjust kings. Her mother was a changeling, a fae child small and dark. She worked magic in the between spaces and the earth flowered at her touch. My ancestors. My mythology.
These little secrets were whispered to me as I fell asleep and in that between space - between awake and dreaming - the fairies took root. They grew through my limbs and mind and now my lips whisper their stories. My pen draws their faces and wings and tangled hair. And I see them, from the corner of my eye. From the edge of a shadow or in the glare of a bright light. I see them as I fall asleep and I hear their whispers before I wake to find their knots in my hair.
Each morning I brush my hair gently, undoing their night's work. My hair has started to silver now, like my grandmother's. And like my grandmother, I brush and brush, then plait my hair in a thick rope down my back. The hair has an ombre effect now, silver shimmering down into dark black, the color my youth. Dark and fae like my mother and her mother before her and her mother before her. On and on and back to an elvish woman who chose death and love over eternal life.
And forward onto my own granddaughter who sleeps and is visited by the fairy folk. At night, I sit beside her and whisper the roots into her ears. I see the stories grow as her eyes grow bigger and she falls asleep with the whispers of her ancestors and their magic. She wakes, her dark hair tangled around her face. And the roots live on. Across oceans and time. Despite routines and grocery stores and electricity bills. Magic lives in the blood and feeds on stories and I am a gentle gardener.