Monday, July 27, 2009

Creating magic . . .

All photos courtesy of meryddian
Three weekends into Bristol, and I am learning something new about myself each day. It is astonishing to me how precious the time is; each moment is filled with a unique kind of grace that is larger than myself or any of the other performers I am priviledged to work with.

The Brownie
There was the girl in the wheelchair . . . on Saturday, I spent quite a while with her, just smiling at her, singing to her, touching her face and hands gently. She and I even had a "conversation": she had a button on her chair that produced a tone, and we went back and forth, she pressing the button and then me singing a note. When it was time for her to go, she shyly signed "thank you", and I signed back "you're welcome", and her face just lit up. The more I spend time with children as Gaia, the more I begin to realize that what most children want more than anything else is to be truly seen. When they come into our space, they are the most important people there; I have heard from friends later that they were in my glen, but I never knew it because my gaze was trained much lower, only taking in the smallest of our visitors and ignoring the rest. To see a child's face light up when they realize they have our full attention, with no cell phones, pots on the stove boiling over, work on the laptop or any other "grownup" things taking precedence . . . that is truly a wonderful thing.

The Dragon Faery

Children are usually so guileless and ready to believe; I cringe when I hear a parent in our space say, "You know how they do that makeup?", or "Doesn't she have pretty nailpolish?" I want to say to these parents: Let your children believe. Let them see us and think that we are green and blue and red and yellow, that we fly, that we make the trees grow, that we are truly magical. They want to believe so badly; don't pull back the curtain and show them the Wizard. Soon enough they will have to face the truth about so much of the world, but for now, just let them believe in faeries.

Sometimes, some moments, the sun breaks through the trees and falls on my face, and the clicking cameras and smells and sights go away, and it is just me and the glen. I love those moments.

The Water Nixie

It is often difficult to explain to other performers onsite what it is that we do; sometimes you'll be telling a story about how wonderful it was to make faces at a shy little boy for several minutes, and you'll see their eyes glaze over. Then, they go into a story about some funny, loud bit they did on the street, and you know they can't understand. It has been lovely then to have my sister visit the glen the last few weekends, giving children blueberries to feed to us, and to have her see us with the kids. I want to say to her: See? This is why we do this. This is the intense power and fragility of silence, the poignancy of simply touching a child's hand.

Myself as Gaia with the Autumn Faery

I cannot describe how lovely it has been occupying this space with the other fae: these people are intensely talented and wonderful. Just sitting with them is all I need to ground myself again when the world gets a little too loud, too intrusive, too overwhelming.

There are so many things I will take away from this season, but I think the strongest emotion I feel now, only three weekends into the run, is gratitude.


privema said...

lovely pictures!!! your make up and costume looked perfect!! thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful description of the Fantastikals. Even though I've been both coming as a patron, and working at the Faire for several years now, they remain my favorite parts (and oh, I wish I were in shape to be one!). That's why I love photographing the Fantastikals - and this year, I've been trying to capture more shots with children in the frames, because the sheer delight and wonderment on their faces as they interact with the fairies is so, so beautiful. (It's enough to make me wish I had children of my own that I could bring to Faire to be entranced!!)

And I get so mad and annoyed on your behalf when I see those people big huge zoom lenses walk right up in your faces to photograph. They could hang back a lot further and still get great pictures, and let the children interact. :\