I took a turn in the garden this morning, the dog by my side. The air was crisp and cold, sunshine warmed my back, the Med was placid under the immense sky filled to eternity in saturated blue. We were approaching the camellias when the dog stopped, looked at me with a question, then moved slowly, muzzle to the ground, sniffing, searching… He overturned a frond, and I heard a plaintive cry that made him jump back but brought me closer.
There she was, curled on wood chips, battered and bruised, brown and dirty. Wood Sprite was hurt and weeping.
The dog crouched by my side as I fell to my knees.
“Wood Sprite! What happened?” I cried as I smoothed the dirt off her hair and wiped her tears.
“The butterfly effect,” she sighed.
“What do you mean?”
“A butterfly flew around a flower in Opal Creek and started an ill wind that reached me. I didn’t hear it come, I didn’t see it as I was dreaming. It knocked me off my moon beam; I couldn’t breathe and I tumbled through branches, leaves and thorns. I am no more.”
“You are right here! You are a sprite, you can’t die. Please stop crying.”
“Who told you sprites were immortal?” she asked, a bit cross.
“I read it somewhere.”
“Not true. Sprites die when no one believes they exist, when they don’t matter, when no one remembers the stories. Sprites are an illusion,” she said, closing her eyes.
“You are not an illusion! I see you, I hear you, I feel you for Pete’s sake!”
“You do all that with your mind, your imagination,” she said, barely audible.
“ But Sprite, I see everything that is real with my mind, I hear music with my mind… all that is real come from mind or heart or both,” I replied, getting more and more upset.
“No. Truth is reality. I am a delusion, a shadow, an echo of something that never was… The butterfly did you a favor. It’s time for me to fade away. Let me go.”
“Sprite, please! No, don’t say that. You have to be, because I know you. You laugh, you dance, you live, you make me smile, you teach me, you are part of my heart beat…”
She said nothing, curled in a ball, shriveling before my eyes. Trembling, I brought her out in the sunshine but she kept shrinking. I took her in my hands and showed her the sky but she didn’t care. I held her close to my heart, willing her to stay but she just wept and faded more.
The dog whimpered.
Then I did what I always do when reason fails me, when my mind is helpless and my heart springs another crack: I put an ear bud in place, turned on music with a heart beat and let it drown us in sounds and vibrations to silence all thoughts and sorrow.
On my knees still, I wrapped her in my illusions, delusions, dreams, hopes, imagination, convictions, everything that I am. And hanging on, holding on, we made our way back to the life I create.