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Beth Coulter


        I find it hard to find the words that have brought me to this junction.  I want to start with the miracle, but the miracle makes no sense unless you know where I’ve been.  So I guess I’ll start at the beginning.  Not the beginning, beginning.  The start of my journey should be a good place.

        I’m 17.  Have a Mom.  She recently left my step-dad, which is good.  He was a real mean bastard.  He’d slap me upside the head for looking at him.  Not funny or anything.  Just looking at him.  What he did to mom, well, I don’t like to think about it.  It was just good that she finally left.

        We moved into this trailer park and she got a job waitressing. Now, my mom does her best, but she ain’t the sharpest pencil in the box if you know what I mean.  So waitressing was a challenge for her.  She would come home so exhausted, with her feet swollen and head pounding.  I would try to do something to help her, but she had her pills.  They would make her forget all about her feet and head.  She would get changed into this ridiculous get-up of tight shirts and an assortment of short skirts or too small leggings and head out to the local bar.

        The men she would pick up and bring home after the bar closed were, well, my step-dad looked pretty good compared to these losers. They would spend the night and she would get up early to fix them breakfast and wait on them, expecting to see them there when she got home from work.  They always took off soon after I left for school, usually with a pocketful of change from our emergency stash (change was the only thing that got into the emergency stash), and one guy decided he needed our TV and stereo more than we did and carted that off.  You’d think that mom would learn, but...

        School was OK.  I’m not the best student, but do all right.  I didn’t have a lot of friends, mainly cause I didn’t want to be friends with the kids in the trailer park, and the other kids didn’t want to be my friend cause I was “trailer trash”.  Oh well.  I was kinda busy keeping my mom together anyway to have many friends.

        Around Thanksgiving, Mom picked up a real winner who decided to move in.  Personally, I think he preferred our house to the homeless shelter, but Mom thought he was just great to come to “help us out”. Yeah, right.  He didn’t have a job when he moved in, but certainly increased the bills by eating everything in sight and demanding a case of beer every other day.  He’d tell mom that he hadn’t had any luck finding a job that day when I knew he just sat around the house watching the tube and smoking dope.  She believed him and not me.

        The breaking point was on a day that school let out early.  The boiler had broken down and sent plumes of smoke everywhere.  So we all went home almost before we got the day started. 

        I walked up the rusted steel steps that led to the trailer door and felt my heart in my throat.  I couldn’t figure out why I felt all of this fear out of nowhere.  My hand was frozen on the knob of the door, unwilling to turn it.  I shook my head and took a deep breath.  I was being silly, this was my home and there was nothing to fear.

        I walked in and saw the new boyfriend bent over the kitchen table. I couldn’t quite figure out what was going on till he lifted his head and I saw the straw held at his nose.  On the table was a framed picture of my mom and me in better times.  He was using the glass to cut and snort cocaine.

        I was outraged!  It wasn’t bad enough he was leaching off me and my mom and spending tons of money on drugs--He had to defile the only picture that we had of happy times.  It was such a betrayal.  Without thinking, I swept the picture off the table, scattering white powder on the floor.  I opened my mouth to start bitching him out when I noticed the look in his eyes.  He looked crazed, rabid, evil.  I backed up a few steps until I bumped into the counter.  I tried to fake going towards the living room and scooting out the door in the other direction, but he caught me by the back of my neck.

        He slammed me into the wall, knocking my head into the shelf that hung there.  He was roaring words at me, but I couldn’t hear anything past the blood rushing in my ears.  Spots were  forming before my eyes and I wanted, truly wanted to pass out.  As that state was coming over me though, I felt his hand inside my shirt, inside my bra.  His mouth covered mine while his other hand held my head still.  His sour breath crept up my nose as he said, “So young and sweet.  I bet you know how to do things your mama can’t.  Come on sweet thing, show me what you can do.”

        He caught the hand I had swung back to slap him and held it tight as he guided it’s course down to the front of his pants.  My knuckles scraped his zipper and I tried to pull my fist back.  His lips were covering my face and neck.  I pulled back from the stench of him, but he still had me by the nape of my neck.

        At that moment, Mom walked in, dressed in her waitress uniform. She held a large bag of groceries in her arms and her words of greeting died on her lips as she saw this strange tableau in front of her.  His hand dropped off of me and he took a few steps back.  He gave me a glare then turned the charm on Mom.

        “Well, you got home real early Dollface.  What’s up?”  He was the picture of innocence standing in the middle of broken glass, spilled cocaine and a terrified girl huddled in the corner.

        I don’t know quite how it happened, but mom seemed to look past the wreckage, past my tears and addressed herself only to him.  “I got an early Christmas bonus and a day off for volunteering for the Christmas dinner shift, so I thought I’d come home, make a special meal and celebrate the holiday early.  Hey Sweets”, she called to me, ”what about putting these things away for me while I get changed?”

She shoved the bag in my hands and walked down the hall to her room. He followed after her making small talk, stopping only once to gesture with his head for me to clean up the mess.

        That’s what I did.  I put the food away, swept up the glass and coke, and arranged things back to order.  I don’t know why I did so. It was all instinct.  I did what needed to be done, just like always.

        When they came back out of the bedroom two hours later, I was at my desk trying to study.  Actually, I was trying not to vomit, but my book was open in front of me in a facade of studying. 

        Mom came up behind me and stroked my hair.  Her hand felt so good on my head and caressing the side of my face.  I longed to open up and cry, just like a little girl.  But I had this wall that blocked up my tears and I could say nothing.

        “Sweets, we are going out to do some Christmas shopping and a night on the town.  We’ll be home late” (she giggled at this) “so fend for yourself, OK?”

        I don’t know what hurt worse, her going out like that or the fact that she didn’t question anything.  I felt all those good feelings freeze in my gut and my hands curled into tight little fists in my lap.  I didn’t say a word and they didn’t even pause in leaving.

        I went to my room and methodically got out my old duffel bag. I selected some T-shirts and jeans, threw in my two favorite sweaters (old fisherman sweaters, extra-big, extra-long) and gathered some toiletries from the bathroom.  I stood for a long time in front of my bookcase and finally decided on my Robert Frost collection, my assorted feminine poets book and a cloth covered journal I had been given several Christmas’s ago and had never used.  I thought I might have a use for it now. 

I emptied the “stash jar” and raided mom’s purses for any money in them.  All told, I ended up with better than $40.  It was heavy, but I needed money and this was the only way I could get it.

        Then I left.  It sounds sorta anti-climatic when I say it like that, but that’s what I did.  I put on my heavy coat, threw the duffel over my shoulder, opened the trailer door and left.

        Maybe I should have left a note.  Maybe I should have made a huge scene by breaking dishes and leaving a mess.  Maybe I should have sat and thought about what I was doing and why.  But I didn’t. I just left.




        So that brings me to Christmas Eve.  I spent the two weeks prior hitching rides.  I flagged down a car, went where ever they were going, then caught the next ride.  Sometimes I got fed, sometimes I was given a 5 or 10 dollar bill.  Sometimes I got propositioned, but a sincere “no thank you” was good enough.  I passed through so many states, cruised so many highways, looking for, for, I’m not sure.  I just knew I would know when I found it.  You know how it is?

        I found it in the most god-awful place.  The snow was raging down on the 18 wheeler I was riding in, and we had just passed a state sign saying we had entered Montana.  There was nothing there, absolutely Nothing.  Just snow and empty landscape.  But it was like there was a voice in my soul that kept saying, “Here it is! Here it is!”

So after much cajoling, I got the truck driver to stop and let me out. He looked at me as though I had completely lost my mind (and maybe I had),  getting out in the middle of nowhere but I just climbed out, threw my duffel over my shoulder and thanked him for the ride.  He tried to talk me into getting back in with him and letting him at least drop me at a rest stop, but I told him I had found my stop, thanks much.

        I stood there feeling like a fool as I watched his tail lights blink out in the snowstorm.  I had just voluntarily stranded myself in the middle of nowhere in the midst of a snow storm.  I looked up at the sky, with the snow flakes landing on my face making little fairy tears.  “Tell me what to do now!”  I pleaded in my head. 

        I put my head down and fought off the tears.  I was an icicle inside, at least I wanted to be.  Cold, distant, non-feeling.  Maybe I was just trying to commit suicide and I didn’t realize it.  As my mind whirled, I noticed that things around me seemed to be getting brighter.  That’s when I knew I had lost my mind.  It was the middle of the night in a snowstorm.  It couldn’t get brighter.  I raised my head and was nearly blinded by the full moon.  The clouds had broken and the only snow that fell was being blown by the last of the wind.  The moon looked close enough to touch.

        Then I noticed the stars.  Hundreds of thousands of them, jamming up the sky.  “Too many stars and not enough sky” a voice sang in my head.  It was appropriate, although I didn’t know where the tune came from.  There were too many stars for that amount of sky.  It made no sense to a city girl like me.  If the street lamps could limit the stars, wouldn’t a big moon like that overwhelm them?

        I shivered with a deep cold and knew I needed to start walking.

I didn’t know which way, following the road didn’t seem to be a necessity anymore.  I put my head down, turned around 3 times and when I lifted my head, I saw the moonbeam path laying across the snow.  I took a deep breath, adjusted my duffel and started to follow the beam path.  Whatever I needed to find was where ever this path ended.

        So have I convinced you of my insanity yet?  I walked that path all night long, reciting Frost poems and making up tunes for them.  I passed nothing, crossed no roads.  Just barren, empty landscape except for my foot prints behind me.  “But I have miles to go before I sleep” reverberated within my mind every step, a new understanding coming to me.  The times I was tempted just to stop, to lie in the snow and sleep, not wanting to walk those miles.  But I kept going--promises to keep, I guess.

        After many hours, my path ended.  Dawn was breaking over low hills, splashing them with pink and gold light.  The sky was turning purple behind the black, and I could almost feel the world turning beneath my feet as the sun rose in the sky.  I lowered my eyes from the glory of it.  After the miles trudged through the snow, I was truly an icicle.  I would never feel anything again.  I would never trust again. The only person in the world that mattered was me, no matter what. It was time to look out for myself, instead of being a dutiful daughter. In other words, I had had enough.

        I lifted my head back up with effort.  I was so weary, tired, more tired than I had ever been.  With disbelieve, I gazed upon a small cabin sitting in the newborn sunlight.  Smoke puffed from its chimney and the smell of bread baking made my stomach wake up and take notice.  I readjusted the duffel, and made my way to the door.

        It opened as I stepped onto the porch.  A beautiful woman with flowing red locks stood with a funny little grin perched upon her face.

“Well, come in already, come in.” she urged in a melodic voice, reaching out and taking my hand.  “It is warm inside, tea and biscuits wait for you after you take a nice hot shower and change into some dry clothes.”

        I couldn’t say a word as she led me to the bathroom and handed me a towel.  I wondered as the hot water poured over me if I had somehow fallen asleep and I was dreaming.  It didn’t seem real.  It felt real, as I dried off with a thick, warm terry cloth towel.  But it didn’t seem real, if you know what I mean.

        “Come, come” she called from the other side of the door.  “Biscuits and honey await you.  We have much to say to one another and must make the most of our time together.”

        “Do I know you?” I questioned her as I stepped out of the bathroom, clad in jeans and my big blue sweater.  “I mean, do you know me?  I don’t know what I mean.” I gave up in frustration.  It didn’t seem real, but it sure felt right.  I couldn’t begin to explain it.  It seemed right that she act as if I were expected.

        She led me to the table without saying a word, just looking at me sideways and grinning that funny smile.  Like the Mona Lisa, I guess. Just an “I know a secret” smile.  It lit up her aqua eyes and she shone with a pale shimmering light.  I sat and she poured a cup of tea for me, then placed a hot biscuit on a plate before me.  A crock of butter and a jar of honey sat beside it.

        “Wonderful energy food.  Gives you back what you lost in your walk.  Bee pollen tea also.  You’ll be pepped up in no time.  Eat, eat!

You are so thin!  Eat up, there’s plenty more.”  She hovered near me watching every bite with concern.  “You must remember, food is our friend.  Do you eat well?”

        “I don’t really care about food.” I confessed with reluctance. The fact that I had gone the past two weeks with a very limited diet and major exercise had shrunk my stomach and I was enjoying my tight, thin

body.   But the biscuits were so good, the honey had such a wonderful flavor.  The tea warmed me inside as the shower had done for my skin, and had a woodsy taste that was quite pleasant.  I thought I  would feel drowsy after such a meal, but the fact was, I had tons of energy.  I really felt alive.  I looked at her and smiled.

        “Thank you so much!  I feel worlds better.”  Even as these words left my mouth, the thought came, “No I don’t.  This icicle inside won’t let me.”

        She gave me a sad little smile and hugged me tight.  She stepped back and said, “We will start now.  We haven’t much time, but maybe enough if we start right now and don’t stop till we’re done.  That’s it! That’s what we are going to do!  First thing, I need help finding a Christmas tree.  So put on your coat and boots.  Let’s go.”

        I looked at her dumbly as I reached for my boots.  “Christmas tree?  Is it near Christmas?  I forgot it was coming.”  I drew my coat on slowly, pondering.  “I guess maybe I wanted to forget.  Not the best time for me to be thinking of, of,...” I trailed off.  What did Christmas mean to me?

        She led me out the door and allowed me the time to think this thought out.  What did Christmas mean to me?  Mom crying. Dad going ballistic.  That was just decorating the tree.  Scraping up enough money to get something halfway decent, even though it wouldn’t be appreciated.  Dad passing out in front of football while mom spent hours cleaning up after hours of cooking and serving a meal.  She would never accept my help, her present to me because I had to do the dishes almost every day.  It would be quiet and if I was lucky enough to sneak off before I got into some kind of trouble, I would lay in my darkened bedroom and listen to the Christmas carols on the radio and cry my heart out that Christmas was never what you expected.  It was always a letdown, no matter how hard you tried.

        “I guess that Christmas isn’t my favorite holiday anymore.” I said at long last.  “A great big build-up for a great big let-down.  Why bother?” I asked sincerely.  It seemed to me that everyone had a miserable Christmas every year, just like families fighting on Thanksgiving.  I couldn’t see why this woman would feel differently.

        “You know” she began lightly, “I have this theory, they got it wrong, you know?  The day?  Jesus wasn’t born in December, it was in the spring.  Same day as Mohammed.” she said with a grin and a wink. “Anyway, the first Christians in converting the pagans agreed to celebrate Christ’s Birth in conjunction with their Winter Festival to their gods.  Good old compromise.  Nothing much wrong with it, except they aren’t honest about it being a compromise.  Honesty is the key.  Remember that.  Okay, so we celebrate Christ’s birth on a bogus day. But it’s kinda cool in that he was really born in the time of re-birth and we celebrate that in the dead of winter.  So Christmas to me is the re-birth of hope.  Hope in human nature.  That’s what Christmas means to me.  Look, the perfect tree!” she cried out in a little girls voice and went running off.

        I shook off the spell she had me under and chased after her.  She stood in front of the most perfect, miniature tree I had ever seen.  It was about a foot high and full and lush.  She was clapping her hands and dancing in a circle.  “Dance with me!” she cried.  “Dance to warm the earth!”  And she started singing loud and sweet, songs of beauty and of pain.  Songs of freedom and of enchantment.  We danced in that circle for 2 hours, with me at times letting my voice soar with hers in music.

        She stopped slowly, the songs fading out as our movements halted.

Then she said very reverently, “We must ask the tree if it will lend itself to us.  We must promise not to hurt it and to return it.  Will you do so?” I nodded my head, amazed that I hadn’t collapsed from exhaustion.  Now that I write this, I should have been amazed at what she was saying, but it seemed right.

        We knelt on either side of the tree and started digging.  I know how it sounds, Montana in December, but the ground was soft as sand. It almost felt warm.  It felt good on my hands as I dug carefully around the roots.  When our hands met underneath, she smiled and said, “You will lift it, I will have the bag ready.”  She pulled a piece of burlap from her coat pocket and scooped some dirt into the center of it.  She nodded and I carefully raised the tree and put it gently onto the dirt.  She lifted and tied the corners, brushed off her hands and stood. 

        “This tree now trusts us.  We need to be honest to it.  You see, we must be honest to the smallest of things as we need to be honest to ourselves.  That is what is wrong.  People don’t know how to be honest, completely and nakedly honest.”

        I protested, “Honesty only ends up hurting you.  Being honest like you want leaves you utterly vulnerable.  No thanks.”  I turned my back on her, knowing the words that had left my lips were a lie.  I had never been utterly honest.  It wasn’t safe.  People were hurting me with my guard up, why would I take it down?  So I didn’t know if total honesty would hurt you.  I just guessed so.

        I felt her hand on my shoulder.  “It was hard for you, I know. But it is safe now, here with me.  Try it for one day, today, Be utterly, totally honest with yourself and me.  Will you try?  It’s Christmas Eve Day, the day before re-birth.  Perhaps we can melt that Icicle that is blocking you up and robbing you of hope.”

        Fear grabbed at my heart.  Give up my personal fortress?  Growing that icicle had been my only priority for years.  It had only completed growing with that last, long walk.

        “No, that’s wrong.” she said.  She looked me square in the eye and continued, “It will keep growing.  Every day, it will get bigger and heavier and life will lose all meaning for you.  You have a chance, a wonderful chance to let all of those feelings become  fluid again, and they will begin to flow in the right directions, and they will be positive and strong.  Trust me, let me guide you.  My time is short here,  I need to have you know so much.”

        “When do you have to go?” I asked confused.  “Why do you have to go?  If you need to teach me  something, why can’t you just stay until it’s done?”

        “It is hard for me to explain.  Let me try.  I’ve reached a point in my personal growth to where my higher consciousness can attain its’ own form and be where I’d really like to be, only on a different level.  But it can only be for a day. You see, my Dad will be expecting me to sing a solo in his church tomorrow, and play the piano, so I better be back with my lower consciousness in order to do that and not make a fool out of myself.  But enough about that, let’s get this tree back and have some lunch!” She gave a little skip and then turned around with her arms out while I lifted the tree and cradled it in my arms.  We didn’t speak till we got back to the cabin.  I personally was lost in really deep thoughts about what this woman was telling me about life.  I was really trying to understand her completely, but I was missing something. Something important that I just wasn’t getting.

        We set the tree up on a table in front of a window.  I took some luke warm water and thoroughly drenched the burlap ball.  She had warmed up some homemade vegetable soup and there were some biscuits left in the warming oven.  I thought to myself as I lifted the last spoonful to my mouth that I was probably going to gain a ton, but it was SO good. I proceeded to make some hot buttered rums to drink while we trimmed the tree as she gathered ornaments together.  My eyes grew wide at the sight of real candles in place of the electric lights.  The ornaments were all sized according to the tree, as if they had been made especially for it.

I was utterly enchanted and quite speechless.  I felt the little girl in me choke up with the beauty of it all.  It took little time to decorate the tiny tree and it was as glorious as if it had been 10 feet tall.  Delicate gold bead garlands wound their way through the limbs, past the small, brightly colored balls.  There was a beautiful angel to go on top, but as I went to place it, I took a closer look.  It wasn’t an angel, it was a fairy with sparkling gossamer wings.  She was dressed in a Roman toga dress that was the color of cornflowers or a summer sky.

        I turned to comment when I saw my new friend had changed into an outfit quite similar to the doll in my hands.  And then I noticed there was quite a resemblance between the two.  I smiled, shook my head, and placed the fairy on the top of the tree.  She lit the candles and the minuscule flames flickered like, well, like fairy lights.

        “It is beautiful.” I said at last.  “I don’t know who, or at this point, even what you are, but anyone who can create this type of beauty can teach me anything.”

        “Very well,” she said smoothly.  “First lesson: why did you smile and shake your head when you noticed what I was wearing?”

        “Oh, no reason really.”  She just looked at me expectantly.  “I really don’t remember.” I finished lamely.

        “Honesty.  Remember?  Honesty.  From the smallest to the largest, always utter honesty.  Try it again.”  She smiled and nodded her head.

        I kept my eyes down and felt really stupid as I said, “The angel for the tree is really a fairy and it looks like you.  And then I saw you had the same outfit on.  I’m sorry, I must sound so stupid.”

        “Not stupid, honest.  Well, half-honest.  You really want to ask a question, but you are afraid of looking foolish.  So you cannot be  completely honest because of your fear.  Will you be honest?”

        I nodded, almost understanding, almost grasping the inner message, but missing.  I asked anyway, hoping for some kind of understanding.  “Are you a fairy?”

        “On this level I am.  On the lower level, I just have a little faerie blood.  You must study about the fae.  The real ones.”

        “Real fairies?”  I asked, feeling incredibly lost.

        “Yes, in Ireland.  They died.”  She ended at that and just stood silently gazing at the tree.  As I looked at her in the flickering light I could see the shadow of an outline of gossamer wings.  Softly she began to sing Angels We Have Heard On High.  As she reached the chorus, my voice joined hers and raised in volume till the end of the song we were both belting full out. I felt breathless, but wonderful.

        “Now that’s the way that song should be sung.  Like it was written by Nirvana.”  She winked at me and led me to the couch.  I had never been touched so much by a woman and it felt good, maternal.  She sat and had me put my head in her lap.  A fire was dancing brightly in the fireplace across from us.  I gazed into the fire as she stroked my hair and talked softly about honesty and living and believing in yourself and the power to change the world within you, if you only give it your all. I felt hypnotized, an open sponge.  My icicle was melting, becoming fluid. I was fluid, dancing within the flames.  The feelings that I had frozen within me now greeted me, danced a few steps with me (some stepping on my toes, hard) then went away.  I suddenly felt weak as a baby, and as empty as a baby, without experience, yet with a primitive knowledge.

Night had fallen and snow was beginning to blow.  The wind combined with her voice to break through the last barriers in my mind.  I was free! I was free of the guilt and the shame, the responsibility for everyone but myself.  I knew now that only true, pure honesty would be acceptable. No little friendly lies to hide feelings.  No turning my back to my mother when I saw her hurting herself. To be honest with myself, I would have to be honest with her.  And just not saying anything is as bad as a lie when keeping it in hurt much more than just being honest would.

        My voice took off with my thoughts, verbalizing the thoughts as they came.  I didn’t deserve to be hit or be hit on by anyone.  And by letting the creeps who hurt me go, because I was afraid to be honest, was only hurting myself more.  Because it meant I was going to accept it, like it or not.   I owed a debt to my inner self to never accept that sort of hurt again.

        My fairy friend stroked my hair and told me how proud she was of me for learning so fast.  “I knew you were one.” she said when I finally ran out of words.  “I knew from long ago, you were one of the old souls. You have faerie blood within your veins as I have in mine.  I am doing as much as I can for Human Truths and Honesty, but I am only one. Will you be another, speak out for honesty, speak out for those who cannot speak?  It is a life commitment, your lives work.  You were born to this.  Will you accept the sword?”

        I looked up at her, swam in her eyes and saw the windows of her soul.  Pure, utter honesty.

        “I will.  With your help and guidance I will.  Can I have that?”

        She smiled her crooked grin and laughed.  “I will help you as much as you are open to.  If you will hear more than the music, dig beneath the words, I will be there.  Agreed?”

        I didn’t understand all she was saying, but I knew that she was being completely honest; if I did the work, she would help.  She leaned down and gave me a kiss on the forehead.

        “The hour is growing late, and I hate to say goodbye.” she said sadly.  “So I will sing you to sleep and then take my leave.”

        “I don’t want you to go.” I said without much hope.  Now that the time was near, my fear was icing up again inside me.

        “I will always be a part of you.  Once you have shared on this level, you are bonded.  Now embrace your fear and know that it makes you appreciate your bravery even more.”

        She began to sing Oh Come All Ye Faithful in Latin, and continued stroking my hair.  The gentle words and melody washed over me like a waterfall.  I stared into the fire and watched the fairies and elves frolic in the flames as my eyes slowly closed.




        I guess you think that this was the miracle.   No, that was Christmas Eve.  The miracle happened on Christmas Day.  I awoke that morning feeling refreshed, re-born.  My mind was the clearest it had ever been.  I felt strong, confident, happy.  I sat up and looked around. She was gone, she had left as she said she would.   She had taken most of the magic with her.  The cabin looked duller, the couch where I had slept was more tattered and worn that it had been when I had fallen asleep.  The only magic that remained was the tree, and the smell of fresh biscuits and tea.  I walked over to the table and saw the breakfast of the day before waiting for me, warm.  I sat and looked at the tree, at the fairy that topped it.  My heart was so full, I wanted to cry.  The tree was still as beautiful, even though the candles had burned out.

        As I finished my first cup of tea, I thought I heard an engine outside.  I looked out the window into the bright crisp day.  The snow was fairly blinding, but I could see some vehicle approaching.  It was a snowmobile with two passengers.  It pulled up to the door and stopped. The passenger in back got off and took the helmet off her head.  Mom!

        I just looked at her as we stood on either side of the open door. The driver said, “I got a few other places to check out.  I’ll pick you both up in a few hours, OK?”

        “Thank you sir” Mom said without taking her eyes off of me.   “That will be just fine.  Thanks so much for getting me out here.” 

        “Just doing my job Mam.” he said as he started up the engine and revved off.

        Mom and I just stood there stupidly for a minute or more.  Finally she said, “Well, do I come in or stand here?”

        I reached out and pulled her into my embrace.  Tears were falling over my cheeks as I hugged my mother tighter than I had in years.  The last time I held her this close I was an insecure little girl, afraid to let her mommy go.  Now I was a woman who needed to show my mother how much I loved her.

        I finally let go and we sat at the table together.  I poured her tea and gave her a biscuit as she told me how she had found me.  A mysterious phone call two days prior gave directions to this place, the name of a ranger who would drive her out and said to arrive Christmas morning.  The woman would not identify herself, but the ranger had given her a letter and a package when she met him.  She had waited to open it till now.

        In a beautiful flowing script, the letter read,

                The answers to the questions are within you.  The       resolution rests in honesty.  Love will win over all else if honesty   is your priority.  You took the sword, now lift it high and use it to fight for truth.

            Remember your vow to the tree.  It trusts you now. It is           time to trust one another.

                                          Fairy Blessings


        There was no name.  Mom and I looked at eachother after reading this.  Mom shrugged her shoulders and handed me the package to open.  It was the size of a large shoebox and was fairly heavy. I tore off the plain brown paper wrapping and opened the flaps of the box. Inside was a radio/tape player and several cassettes.  A small card printed with colorful Celtic knots sat on top.

        I picked it up with nervous anticipation and read the short note aloud.

                Hear beyond the music,

                              Dig beneath the words

            And you will find the truth

                  Merry Christmas


        Mom picked up the player and inserted the tape.  Wonderful piano music came from the speakers, followed by the voice of My Fairy!!! This was a tape of her singing and playing the songs she had sung for me the day and night before.  I burst into tears and Mom came over to hold me and stroke my hair.  She comforted me without question.  When I stopped crying I saw that tears filled her eyes also.

        “Why are you crying?” I asked.

        “So many reasons, love.  This music seems to speak directly to the center of me.  And because it is Christmas Day and I have my girl with me.  I was so afraid I would never see you again, that it was my fault you ran away.  Oh, sweets, I’m so sorry.  I vow, from now on, it is going to be you and me.  No more guys going through the revolving door.”   We hugged eachother again as my fairy friend sang in the background.

        “Now, for the Christmas surprise.” Mom announced.  “My father finally died and he left his estate to me.  It isn’t a lot , but we have a beautiful home in the mountains waiting for us, and enough money to send both of us to college.”

        I stared at her in shock.  I thought my grandfather had died before I was born.  He had never been mentioned and I never heard from him.

        “Mom, why didn’t I know my grandfather?  And why are you happy if he died?”  She didn’t answer me.  She turned her back and looked at the tree.  After a few moments, she spoke.

        “What do we do with the tree?” She asked it as though I had said nothing at all.

        I was silent for a moment, then spoke. “I said I would take care of it.  I guess that means I must return it to where I got it.”  I looked at her hard.  “Will you help me?”

        “Yes,” she replied quietly.  “And we can talk”.  We both pulled on our boots and coats and I lifted the tree carefully, cradling it in my arms.

        “Are you going to leave the decorations on it?” Mom asked, fingering the edge of the wing on the fairy.  “It seems a shame to strip it of its glory.”

        I smiled at her.  “I think you are right.  It can be our present to the forest creatures, at least the squirrels.”  We walked out into the chill December afternoon and Mom began to talk.

        “I got pregnant with you when I was but 15.  My mother had died when I was 12 and my father wasn’t real supportive.  He hurt so badly inside that he struck out at whoever was near.  So I tried to find someone who would do what my daddy should do.  Your father was 24 at that time, but I thought he was very sophisticated.  But when I got pregnant he turned into a scared little boy and ran away.  My father told me I had two choices, get an abortion or leave.  I left and spent the months of pregnancy wandering about.  A nice man took me in when it was time to give birth and after that I met your step-dad.  I kept trying to replace my father and when I left your step-dad, I went crazy trying to find someone who would take care of us.  Take care of me.”  She stopped and looked at me with tears in her eyes.  “I’m so sorry love. I should have been more concerned about you, but I, I have no excuse. I’m sorry.”  The tears flowed freely down her face, her icicle melting in front of me.  I put the tree down carefully then wrapped my mother up in my arms.  We held eachother and cried all the tears of hurt and pain that had accumulated over the years.

        When the tears had dried up for both of us, I picked up the tree again and we made our quiet way to its home.  The area where we had dug it up was still clear of snow, and the pile of dirt on the side looked as soft and warm as the day before.  I sat the tree down next to the hole and gently untied the burlap.  I lifted the tree while Mom poured the dirt from the bag into the hole.  Then I placed the tree there and we both pushed the dirt back in.  When the soil reached the top of the hole, I patted it down, Mom pushed a little more dirt on top of it and we were done. 

        We stood hand in hand while I thanked the tree for trusting us, as my fairy friend taught me.  Then Mom and I walked back to the cabin where the ranger was waiting for us.

        The miracle was the rebirth of the relationship between Mom and me.  And the re-birth of me.  Now I sit with this cloth covered journal on this airplane ride to my new home.  My decision to change for the good of the world and to take up the sword meant I had more decisions in front of me.  How far was I willing to go, what risks was I willing to take in order to share the truths my fairy friend taught me?

        I would go as far as necessary, and take every risk I should.

This would be my present to the world.  I thought of that tree that on some other level still twinkled with fairy lights.  I thought of my fairy friend on this level and wondered if she remembered me now.  I held Moms hand and felt sure she did.