It's August. And it is blistering outside.
I have never liked the heat. I was born in Arizona but quickly left with my mother to the softer, yet still sweltering summers of a mountainous Utah where I spent the rest of my childhood and all but 4 years of my adult life.
We have long known I'm of fairy stock. I'm not sure what gave it away exactly, but my husband, (the strikingly handsome man on the right in the flat cap and pinstriped suit. The other stunningly debonaire man is the one who is responsible for Atlantis falling into the sea. Something to do with a sewer system in a bed of sandstone and leaky pipes.) just so happens to be a dragon who was ancient when Nebuchadnezzar sacked Jerusalem. This pretty much means he knows quite a bit more about fairies and their ways than I myself do, since it was my great grandmother that we suspect to have been the changeling.
Oh, she was a spitfire. She had red hair in her younger days, and blue eyes. Her skin was pale, like my youngest daughter, and she didn't do anything without kicking and screaming. Sometimes that kicking and screaming was terrorism. Sometimes it was hilarity. But she didn't do anything without passion.
When I was 10, I stayed at her house with my grandmother and grandfather and two of my uncles. It was near Christmas, and it was snowing outside. My mother, who was the second child of 6, and her youngest brother was born on her 19th birthday, had me when she was 22. My youngest uncle is 3 years older than me. (Subsequently, my cousins are all the same age or just a few years older than my own children, and they were positively shocked this last summer when they found out that I was not my mother's SISTER, but her daughter. They were abashed to learn they had a cousin as "old" as me.) Obviously, it was the perfect day for a snowball fight. I lost. My uncles and grandfather whitewashed me until I was soaked, and then they ran into the house laughing. Luckily, I was in high spirits and whipped up a snowball before they all got inside. I was standing out by the street, but threw the ball as hard as I could. My grandpa was standing with the door open now, but ducked, and my snowball sped over him and through the door to smash dripping and slushy on my great grandmother's wall.
Oh, I was ashamed, and I caught a lot of trouble for it. But my great grandfather- the most exemplary example of a human there ever was, told her to quit giving me heck. I ought to have gotten a medal for having an arm like that.
On my wedding day, my great grandmother brought her own wedding pictures through my line and proclaimed proudly, and adorably I might add "Wasn't I a DOLL!?" My husband, chuckling as he patted her cheek said "You still are, honey." She then spent the rest of the evening bragging about her cherry red mustang and flirting with my husbands married great grandfather. She was 90 years old.
It was four years later that she died of pneumonia, and I have always thought it was a silly thing to die of. Fairies are resilient creatures. We survive and we endure. We may have the world crash down on our heads, and still, we always come out alright. Thus it is with illnesses. My great grandmother came through all kinds of strange diseases, including several bouts of shingles...and then she dies of pneumonia. At almost 95, shouldn't she have gone out with a bang? Like a skydiving accident, or a seriously action packed, movie worthy, eye candy car accident in her shiny red mustang? But that's what fairies do. When we have that tiny bit of blood in us that makes us mortal, we die of dumb things. I fully suspect I, myself, will die of a simple but disgusting case of stomach flu.
My resident dragon has many proofs that I'm fae touched, but the point of the matter that I'm getting at is that we have no idea which court. As my great grandmother was a changeling, and that we're sure of, the line continues down the human path and the fairy line is lost. Especially since it was probably left in Holland or somewhere along the way to America. Either way, my great grandmother was born in February, during the most bitter cold of all the months in the year.
Earlier today, after 4 days of sick children, and feeling quite sick myself, I lay bundled on the couch in an over sized hoodie, sweat pants, and a blanket. My hair, wet from a shower with my oldest daughter was soaking into my pillow. The air conditioner was on, and for the moment I was freezing. And I was enjoying it.
Outside, through the window, I could see a bright blue sky and a breeze pushing the branches of our tree around. The light seemed very bright to me and very crisp. I could smell the autumn air. It might have had to do with all the bundling my children and I had done to ourselves, or the smell of the freshly popped popcorn on our laps as it is easy on the stomach, or the unseasonable Christmas movie that was on the television. But i feel it still, 12 hours later, I feel it in my entire being. The winds of change. And it's exhilarating.
Spring usually creeps up on me without warning and I never quite suspect it. It's like a sun orange tiger pouncing through the coolness of tall grass and frost to blister my whole body with a humid tongue. And then I'm stifled again and must hibernate for the summer, locking myself into an icebox of a house with a huge energy bill.
Of course, this points to the Unseelie court. And why shouldn't it? My great grandmother was born in the freezing cold. I was born in July, but more specifically July 31st. For the pagans this is Lughnasadh Eve.
Lughnasadh is celebrated on August 1. Lughnasadh is the first of the three harvet Sabbats. It is also know as Lammas and is a time to give thanks to the God and Goddess for all that they have brought to us thus far. The Goddess is still pregnant with the future harvests, and is honored and revered as the new mother. This is the time of year for rededication, or rekindling of sacred fires. This is the time to be thankful for all that you have
It might be summer, but it is the end of the summer, and a window into Autumn. My favorite.
The Unseelie court are often seen as the dangerous, wicked fairies, and the Seelie court looked upon as the beautiful, kind and fair fairies. But I read recently that that the only difference between the two is that the Unseelie fairies are the ones who don't care to keep the fairy line "pure" and only mate with other fairies while the Seelie court stick to their own kind. Well, isn't that the truth? If my great grandmother was an Unseelie changeling, well, then this would make a lot of sense, and it would be the reason that I can so clearly feel Autumn coming when it is still weeks away.
A few more days of splashing through a hose and sprinklers, maybe a weekend or two of camping. Several more purple popsicle stained lips and chins. The salt lake will stop receding, and the mountains behind our home will flame with reds and oranges, and instead of heat, it will settle a cool crisp blanket over the valley, like clean linen sheets on a feather bed. My heart beats for the days of pumpkin carving, soft rich colored sweaters and sunflowers. Rolling in haystacks and wearing gloves to school.
Just a few more weeks of hibernation.