LotSF: Childhood Calling

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Author’s Note: as of April 1st, 2017, this chapter has been removed from the LotSF timeline.


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A sharp twig dug into my heel and I cringed, sidestepping off it quickly before I put my full weight on that foot. I stopped and rubbed my heel unhappily, glad it was my right foot this time and not my left. I’d already made the mistake of stepping on a rough patch of lichen that had pretty well chewed up the sole of my left foot. This early in the spring season, I hadn’t quite built up the leathery toughness I was used to on my feet.

I sighed. But it was nighttime, and I wasn’t supposed to walk with boots in the forest once the sun went down. That was what I’d learned back when I was a kid–you wear boots at night, you get bad luck. And at this point, I needed all the good luck I could get.

Ugh, but what a pain. I’d forgotten how many pointy things there were hiding on the forest floor, under the leaf cover. Twigs, lichen, stones, pinecones–sometimes bones, even. Lots to get hurt on.

“How did I do this as a kid?” I muttered under my breath, pushing a branch aside so I could keep following the path. Seriously, though–how had I managed to survive romping through the forest barefoot and armourless as a kid? How had I not gotten scratched to pieces, or broken any bones falling out of trees? I mean, I had a few scars from scraped knees and cut palms throughout the years, but I couldn’t remember complaining about sore feet back then. And I used to go wild, running and jumping and crawling all over the place.

A wave of nostalgia rolled over me, thick and irresistible, and I felt a twinge of longing for my younger years. The days when I could just climb up any tree, quick as a squirrel, and survey the forest like it was my kingdom. The days when I could fit in those little nest-like nooks that formed at the bases of the trees, where the roots curled and twisted over each other. The days when I didn’t run out of energy and I never felt so angry as I did nowadays.

Heck–I missed the days when I could understand the Small Folk. When I could see them.

It had been so long since I’d  been a part of that world. This winter had been so long and brutal… almost six months of darkness and deafness. Six months without seeing a gypsy sprite, or a trick-it, or a turn-up. Six months feeling like my tongue had forgotten how to speak because I couldn’t remember the language of magic that had brought me such joy.

The Small Folk magic had been a gift. I was blessed at birth with the ability to hear and see their world, to speak their language. I had grown up with it, learned from it, let it shape my life. And now I had lost it. I’d lost it because… of myself? Because of some psychological block in my mind that was preventing me from tapping into it?

The problem was I didn’t know how to get past that. I didn’t know what part of my mind was cutting me off from my magic and it was driving me insane. Long gone were the days of my childhood when I could believe in anything without thinking twice–when belief was a matter of the heart, and not the mind. I didn’t know how to tap into that youthful state of being. I didn’t know how to go back to the old me, the me that could use magic.

And now what was I doing? Wandering a dark forest with the owls and the fireflies, still looking for my horse even though I had no clue where she was. That strange forest women had told me to trust myself and that I would find my heart again, but what was that supposed to mean? Probably something that I wouldn’t be–

I stopped. Blinking and turning in a half-circle, I looked around me. Something about this particular place felt familiar, though I knew I hadn’t been here in a very long time. I searched my memory, searching for an experience that just barely escaped my grasp, and failed to remember why this place was significant to me. But it was, there was no denying that.

I kept walking, slower now, my eyes searching the darkness for any landmark that would remind me what this place was. I couldn’t for the life of me figure it out, but as I came over the crest of a small ridge, I saw something that caught my attention.

A tall, fat, gnarled old tree stood proudly just beyond the ridge. I didn’t recognize the tree exactly, I couldn’t even begin to recall its name or its history, but I knew at once that it was special. Because crawling up its sides, fastened on with rusty nails, was a ladder made of weathered planks. A ladder made by a child.

And it was calling to me.

***

I just got back from camping with my parents for the weekend, so of course I had to write some LotSF.

It was so good, to get into the forest for a little bit–especially since spring is in full swing over here. I actually went for a couple walks in the forest near my house (the one that inspired me at the beginning of LotSF) which was a bit of a nostalgic trip. I can’t believe I started writing this two years ago. Crazy.

Also, some LotSF news for you: I’ve created a Google Doc of part 1, Spring. It’s the same story, with all the pictures included and everything, but it’s put all together in order so that it will hopefully be easier to read for newcomers or for anyone who wants to read it again. It’s a work in progress right now, but I’ll link to it when I have it closer to being done (it’s taking foreveeeeer). I’m thinking of posting it elsewhere too, like maybe Wattpad, for those who don’t like Google Docs all that much (*coughcough*me*coughcough*). But yes, this is the news. You’ll be able to find the link here or on the LotSF about page.

Oh! Whoever’s been reading through all the LotSF chapters these past few days (yes, I can see you in my stats)–I don’t know who you are, but hey, thanks! If you’re new and catching up, welcome! If you’re a regular reader going through it again, well thank you very much. I’m quite honoured that you’re giving my story a read.

And also in my stats–I keep seeing that some of the views from my blog lately are referrals from Twitter. Are you the same person reading LotSF? (Who aaaaare yoooou?!) Anyways, welcome Twitter person! Thanks for clicking through and checking out my stuff. Much appreciation.

All right, all right, that’s enough from me. If you’re in Canada, happy Victoria Day! If you’re not, well, I hope you have a swell Monday. You shall hear from me soon.

Take care.

-Alex

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8 thoughts on “LotSF: Childhood Calling

  1. I had to smile when I read about the barefoot thing… So true. Why didn’t it hurt as a child?
    As a child, I used to walk the streets barefoot (I was totally normal, obviously), and it never used to cause me much of an issue, even when it was a hot day and the tarmac was blistering. But now, if ever I do happen to walk on tarmac or the likes with bare feet, it hurts way more than walking through a wood with the stones and twigs and everything. I wonder why. Tarmac is harsh to the soles of your feet. Hmm. I miss my barefoot child days…

    • Children are incredible, aren’t they? Too busy having fun to care about anything silly like pain or injury. If only we could harness that youthful invincibility in our older years! Haha, I know what you mean though. There’s something about tarmac that makes it so dang nasty on your poor unprotected feet. Not much fun >:|

  2. Hi Alex,

    I was going to wait until I finished reading LotSF before I left a comment or sent you an email, but I came across the end of this post (it seems you’ve spotted me) and figured I would comment. I recently discovered your blog via Twitter and was immediately drawn to LotSF. Ever since I have been rummaging through the chapters and thoroughly enjoying each one.

    Occasionally in life you stumble upon something at just the right time and exactly at the moment you need it. For me, reading LotSF is one of those moments. From reading your description of LotSF and then diving into the beginning of the story, LotSF has taken me to a place I haven’t been in a long time. Presently, I cannot find the words to describe how strongly LotSF has resonated with me.

    Anyways, thank you for the warm welcome to your blog and sharing your journey and adventures.

    Looking forward to many more adventures.
    -Elio

    • *showers you in flowers of gratitude and dissolves into pile of joy*
      Haha, hi! Thank you for unveiling the mystery of your identity! Ohh, and thank you for checking out my blog, it’s much appreciated :D

      I am quite honoured that you have been so touched by LotSF. It’s such a personal story for me that I didn’t know how much of a connection others would have with it (especially since it’s such a struggle to write most days, yeesh). To hear that you have connected with it, and that it has resonated so strongly with you… that’s something I could’ve only dreamed of achieving. Thank you for that. It means so much.

      If you do want to say more or anything, email’s always open, but welcome welcome, make yourself at home! Here’s to many more adventures :)

  3. Reading this was like reading about myself. I have probably written something almost exactly like this in my (multiple) Fey journal(s). It’s refreshing to know I’m not the only one clinging to forgotten magic.

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