Once Upon a Time in a Land Far Away

The weather is wild in this part of the world, bringing with it rain, chills, and gusting wind. Upon the wind came a memory of fairytales, fables, and fascinating stories which I absorbed as a child.

I was a voracious reader, and loved to lose myself in tales of adventure, quests, and the weird, wonderful lands of the imagination. Each story was a portal which whisked me away from the ordinary drama of everyday existence into a dimension of extraordinary drama. Where dragons did not disguise themselves as humans, but proudly displayed themselves in all their fire-breathing glory. Where the wicked could be vanquished by the good. Where suffering hardship was always rewarded with a kingdom and riches beyond compare. Where magical beings protected and guided the hero or heroine through tangled woods, dangerous lands, and over fearsome seas. And little children were always smarter, wiser than adults, and outwitted them.

Some of those stories are lost in time, but others stayed with me, carried like talismans in a velvet bag. A few of them are still whole, a few are broken into bits and pieces, still beautiful, but jumbled up like a mosaic.

My favourites were A Necklace of Raindrops, Salt over Gold, O-Tsuru – Crane Feathers, Pipi Longstocking, Sleeping Beauty (by Charles Perrault not Disney), The Firebird, Sir Gawain and the Loathly Lady, The Story of Ferdinand (the bull), and others whose names I can’t recall, but the images the words conjured up in my mind are still with me.

The story which came to me particularly strongly today was The Girl Who Carried Stones in Her Pockets. I never had a written version of this story. In one of those rare moments I shared with my father, he told it to me, and drew pictures to illustrate it. I connected with that little girl. So small and light even the slightest breeze would blow her away, so she carried stones in the pockets of her dress to keep her feet on the ground.

We moved a lot when I was a child. It was a peripatetic life. Nowhere and everywhere was home. It was a great adventure. New people to discover, new places to explore, cultures to immerse myself in. I loved it. I also hated it. I could never make lasting friendships, because I was never anywhere long enough to form those kind of bonds. I could never keep the gifts I was given, or own souvenirs of people and places, because I had to fit all my belongings in a suitcase. Anything which didn’t fit, had to be left behind. So my memory had to grow large to carry all those things which I could not take with me in physical form.

I promised myself that I would one day have a real home, an actual house, bricks and mortar, which could not be blown away by the big bad wolf, and which I could fill to the brim with all the things I could never own as a child but wished I could. Promises are slippery and fragile, and my fingers have always had a hard time keeping them in their grasp, even when they have managed to hold on, they do it too tightly. Embedded in the palms of my hands are the splinters of many broken promises. I keep them to remind me of that which I have not kept.

When I was old enough to make my own choices about my life, when I could finally settle down, the wanderlust was too ingrained in me, and the restlessness never abated. The world just kept turning like a roulette wheel, with me as the ball, jumping around from place to place, settling for a moment here and there, then off again for another spin.

Along the way, I collected stones to keep me grounded. Not physically, but in other ways. Some of them good, healthy, and positive. Some of them not so much. For a long time I closed myself off from other people. For fear of becoming attached. I didn’t want to hurt others with my propensity to disappear when the wind blew. I was also afraid of being hurt, mostly by myself, and the impulses which drive my life, especially as they do not actually know how to drive. So many unnecessary U-turns. Speeding the wrong way down a one-way street. Lights off at night. Broken wipers during a rainstorm.

The wind wants to sweep me off my feet, and carry me off again. To where I do not know. But it can’t. I won’t let it. There is a very large stone in my heart weighing me down. I am not sure of what it is made. I keep trying to access it, but the light of the torch I am using is unable to penetrate the darkness. Perhaps I am just not ready to see it, or perhaps the wind is trying to blow the fog of darkness away, rather than blow me away, and I have to open the windows and door and let it in.

So, do you have a favourite fairytale, fable, story which you love, and which inspires you?

7 thoughts on “Once Upon a Time in a Land Far Away

  1. I missed this when you wrote it before but it is just beautiful.. I loved that expression “embedded in my hands are the shards of many broken promises”. Often your expression is so wondrous… its like a big smile even when you discuss and express pain you have suffered.

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    1. Thank you 🙂

      I’ve become friends with my pain, it’s an ally rather than an enemy now. Took me a long while to get there, the path was a gradual one, bit by bit I realised that it was showing me where it hurt and how to heal, as well as trying to reveal that pain is something which connects rather than separates, it connects us all in a way that nothing else does, it connects all of life and can be a spur for life. Chiron talking, maybe?

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      1. It certainly is.. this is why I think your blog is a very special one. I have been thinking about you undergoing your Mars return and how you get to the true depth of things. The strength of your Capricorn Sun shines and does nots shirk the tough stuff. Love what you wrote in this reply. ❤

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        1. Mars in Scorpio loves to dig deep, to find the root of things, and since my natal Mars squares my Mercury which trines Uranus – I’m always digging my way to freedom by pushing my way into the fray rather than away from it, going through the obstacle rather than circumventing it. Whenever I try to avoid something, I always end up facing it in one form or another, and I’m usually relieved I finally faced it and often wonder why I tried to avoid it – but sometimes the time taken to avoid something is the time needed to come to a point where I’m ready to face it. It all works out and works together, even when it doesn’t look that way. And right now with t-Saturn in Scorpio and its mutual reception with t-Pluto in Cap (which is playing a bit of a game of tag with my Sun), as well as t-Uranus conjunct my natal Saturn (which squares my Sun)… facing what I may want to avoid is even more of an objective than before, whether I like it or not. And I kind of like it even when I think I don’t 😉

          Isn’t t-Mars squaring your stellium? That must be packing a powerful punch of energy, especially with the t-Jupiter influence!

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  2. Hmm, off the top of my head, I would have to say -The Chronicles of Narnia. I was the youngest of five children and was read to nightly -Winnnie the Pooh of course. I think The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – the first book in the series spoke to me so soundly because it was the first fantasy, yet real world story I had read. I think I was 9 or ten and had just moved for my first time from my home town of 7,000 or so to North York, a part of Toronto. The big bad city- I was so lost-but in Narnia I was at home. Make sense?

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    1. I love that. Of course it makes sense, because we carry within us an inner home, to keep us safe, and to which we can retreat when the world outside is strange and fearsome.

      I only ever read the first book in the Narnia series, but I loved it very much.

      I had a thing about cupboards as a child. They were great play pals. I never found Narnia sadly, but the ones with the sliding doors made great magic elevators, and I used to pretend that I could access secret floors using them.

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