Written by Mokihana Calizar
Please enjoy the tale for your own pleasure,
but do not reprint it or copy it for any other purpose without permission from the author.
Side-kicks and confidants
Somaia of the South had lived more than two hundred cycles and in his sphere of the Cosmos, his age and experiences were valued as an elder. His quiet presence was delightful, and Oona’s twins were especially taken by the old fisherman’s talent for spinning. At least that is what the two young girls called the thing Somaia did with the fine threads that drew from just below his bill, high in the chest of the salmon-colored Wood Crafter of the Islanders. Seated on a large flat stone the two girls and their quickly adopted uncle, Somaia of the South spun and wove intricate patterns of netting in a size that perfectly fit the small spread of the girls’ present talon’s grasp. “Spin me one like a swallow also, Uncle Somaia,” Glenda with the braid of golden feathers like her mother cried. There was no end to the salmon one’s patience. He was born to entertain and satisfy the needs of little ones, and as if Fate had finally approved a second chance, Freeilll Noa’s loyal friend seemed to have found grand-children to love. Oona of the Song had left the trio on the large flat stone after the sun was high enough to warm the rock against the still cool temperature of the morning. With her guest obviously well-cared for, Oona set out to gather a pouch of pine nuts and returned to check on her charges. Glenda and Glennis were each pulling lengths of gossamer fine sennit from Somaia’s chest. Without questioning him, Oona recognized her new friend’s unique grace as that of Spider able to spin web-like netting for the exquisite fishing nets that are known throughout the Cosmos. Freeilll Noa and his Somaia partnered graces unique to the other and together their destinies doubled. With a smile as broad as sunlight itself, Oona left once more, this time it was her turn to fish. Without announcing her intention, the songstress soared for the heights as if to distract the fish who might have been listening. The sun had moved mid set; the fish would be rising to nibble flies. Oona of the Song was Osprey and though an Osprey did not spin net, or throw the exquisite nets for a multiple catch, her covey were talon fisher folk and their skills were well-honed.
Oona found Somaia perched on a limb bobbing gentling above two golden heads circled peacefully into their soft, downy wings. The twins were napping, the sun’s light soft in the skies of Ever. The old man dosed with the swaying motion, resting from a day that had until today, been a vision of unrealized possibility. A contentment and satisfaction glowed from the old man rendering him a different man, a younger version of himself. Oona felt herself tingle with an emotion she found unexpected: fondness or perhaps something growing beyond it. Raising the twins since the passing of her mate shortly after Glenda and Glennis were four cycles had not been difficult. Wood Crafters complemented the care of young without a second thought. No young ones were without frequent and regular touching, unlimited exposure to joy, laughter and song, and encouraging the graces blessed upon each unique soul. Still, her feminine nature enjoys the attraction of a graceful male and there was something very appealing about the red-feathered male now softly snoring in the branch just above her daughters.
“Ah, you have had good fortune with the hunt,” Somaia blinked awake and cast a respectful glance at the minnows still wiggling in Oona’s claws. “Yes, the pond of Ever is bountiful and the hatch of flies such irresistible feed for the hungry little fish.” Both fisher folk enjoyed the simple reality of the catch and set about easy and quiet conversation blending the silence of conning with the lilt of Oona’s incredible trills. At the smell of fresh minnows both girls woke, appetite for the tender water morsels greater than sleep. Though the girls were well past the age of being fed like infants, on occasion Oona pampered them by feeding them, making a game of the meal to their delight. Somaia watched with admiration. “Join us.” Oona’s invitation surprised the old fisherman. It had been a hundred cycles since he had fed a young Wood Crafter in such fashion. His own twin daughters, a memory that rose from Somaia only at his most secret times, were not more than a couple cycles older than Glenda and Glennis when the illness struck the covey of the South. Oona did not notice the change in the color of the old man’s eyes, but did notice he seemed to have left himself for a place she could not imagine. Oona asked again and added his full name of creation as if to connect more purposefully, “Somaia of the South,” this time she flew to the limb within inches of her new friend. At this distance the change in Somaia’ eyes were unmistakable. The color of his eyes had drained to vacant space reserved for grief, a place where miracles wait to replace regret and loss.
Glenda and Glennis, not yet satiated with minnows or sweet pine nuts noted their mother’s concern for Somaia. Though young, Wood Crafters at a very early age feel compassion and understanding. The sweet pine nuts were laid open on the cedar leaf plate and a basket of tiny minnow were easily within reach. When the twins had their fill they flew from the nest to perch beside Somaia and their mother who continued to beckon their friend. Glennis sang first, “Mother, where has Uncle gone? I see no light in his bright eyes?” Glenda, who rested at her mother’s wing tip, craned her young neck to see what her sister saw. Oona looked first to Glennis and then to Glenda. In the covey of Osprey, the grace of song was born from the heart. The themes of song warmed during the birthing into the songstress’ twins … knowing, caring, strength, compassion, forgiveness and loss. Oona’s girls recognized loss though had not yet learned its other names. Words were not necessary now. Instead all three Osprey simply pressed close, a tiny girl on either side of the old man and around the trio Oona hovered, her breast feathers rustled against Somaia’s back, her wings lengthened into an embrace. A silent song of warming poured light into the grieving friend, as the gloaming cast its translucent light upon the approaching evening.
They come in the gloaming, the fairies. They come in the gloaming between light and darkness. Ever the givers of love surrendered, they come with the light mixed stardust and sharing. They come in the gloaming, the fairies.
The night was deep before Somaia had recovered sufficient presence. The girls remained pressed tightly against his wing feathers now uncharacteristically damp from the embrace. Oona heard Somaia fumble with his wits, unsure of whether to con or convey his loss, his grief unburied. She gestured simply, “Wonderful to have you with us dear friend. The night is full and we have missed your company.” To her daughters Oona gave thanks, “You marvelous creatures are a mother’s joy. How strong and caring the two of you together become. Embracing and replacing loss with understanding is an Osprey’s essential grace. And you Glenda, you Glennis shine with the gloaming now. Our dear friend Somaia has shared a part of his soul with you in the gloaming. He has initiated you into the lineage of fairy.” As their mother’s song ended the sparkle of fairy dust … a fine and magical mixture of stardust and gloaming, outlined the wings of the twins. It was Somaia’s turn. Strengthened as he had not been for more than a hundred cycles the small salmon-colored bird began pulling pearl-like sennit, unlike the sennit spun for fishing, this sennit truly hung with minute pearls no larger than the tip of a pin. With expert manipulation, such as the tatting of lace-makers Somaia fashioned small pearl lace head-dresses perfectly sized for the head of each songstress fairy twin. “These are the same head-dresses I tatted for my own daughters now many, many cycles lost to me. The Creators have blessed this old fisherman with daughters anew. If your mother will have me,” his voice switching from conn to voice he whispered, “I will seek her as my mate and you as my own daughters.”
Fairy-making is an occasion of inordinate spontaneity. Emotion, feelings are ALWAYS the initiator. I mean, logic or clearly organized behavior is part of the recipe for fairy-making but it is emotion that instigates magic. A great store of emotion welled up in the small old fisherman by a simple game of feeding two baby Wood Crafters. And now, the covey of Osprey was two fairies richer and as for the old salmon-colored, or is he now a red-feathered fisherman from the South of the archipelago of the Seven Sisters? Is he now to be a father and a mate at two hundred cycles? If you will let me, I will spin for you a story born from the heart. I will spin for you a tale meant to soothe and enlighten …stay if you can, stay if you will.