I think my history drew me into fairy tales. I devoured them as one devours the empanadas my grandmother makes with cinnamon and sweet potatoes. Hot and cold. In the morning and in the middle of the night. Every excuse and no excuse to snatch a story and consume it greedily and selfishly and let it nourish my soul.
Terri Windling asks, What brought us here to the numinous landscape of Faerie, and why do we stay? It seems obvious to point to my mother's family and say it was them who brought me here. Yet growing up with magic made it rather ordinary.
"What's your mom doing in the kitchen, there?" a friend asked.
"Oh, you know. Just cutting the sky." It was never a big deal.
I see my Mexican family as the ones who cracked the door to Faerie. I was 16 years old when that door burst open.
It was dusk and I was walking my dog, Boomer, around the neighborhood. Before I rounded our street, from the corner of my eye, there was the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen. She stood tall with outstretched arms. Her long hair danced and coiled in the wind. And she glowed, the way clouds do in the setting sun. I gasped aloud, knowing she wasn't of the world, not this one Boomer and I walked upon.
And when I turned my head to see her in full, I saw that she was a tree.
In that moment, I knew. I knew there is another world, underneath this one. Layered under it as cloth layers, occasionally whipping away to reveal the beauty, the absolute senseless beauty of it. It opens in dreams and in art. It opens in the cracks of light that pour through the leaves of the forest. It's there, it's here, and it's guided my life, my path, ever since.
Later, when I dove into the stories of my father, I learned of Celtic tree worship. And I knew, were I an ancient Celt, this would be the tree I'd return to for the most sacred days. For deaths and for births. Perhaps there is an ancient Celt in me, through the bloodline of my father. Because every time I pass that tree, I press my hands into her skin. I can't help it. She's still there. She still breathes.
Ten years later, I've finally gotten the courage to paint her.
|"The Blue Chamber"|
She is who brought me to Faerie. And I stay because I must.