Naiads Unfettered…

Back in early March of this year I was taking a quick run along a back road near my house, a stretch of frost-heaved asphalt far removed from the din of the main drag. Along the left side of the road as I traveled was a fen, a rather small yet quiet swamp that, in the summer time, yielded a peaceful pause. Here, during such a still moment, one could witness the splendor of a heron as it patiently awaited a meal. Such a tranquil respite allowed a soul to become attuned to the rhythms of nature’s infinite mysteries.

Upon my return I heard something in the bog that sounded like footfalls, some thing that seemed to follow my every step. I stopped, held a quick frigid breath, and listened.

At first, nothing. But then, in the distance, I heard a splintering sound, like a crack of a branch underfoot, followed by silence. Suddenly, off to my left, another shot that echoed across the fen. As if answering its unseen call, to my right yet another crack reverberated across the swamp.

I saw nothing! Perplexed, I stood nonplussed, wondering just what the hell it was that I was hearing in various parts of this cold, barren bog. It soon dawned on me that layers of gossamer-thin ice sheets were the cause of shattering the still air.

The winter produced an abundance of snow and rainfall and here, in this patch of hummocks and dead trees did the water level fall, producing these diaphanous, translucent planes of ice, sheets of water that clung precariously to saplings and trees alike. And since it was March, at times the temperatures climbed to the mid-thirties and beyond.

This then, produced these eerie and echoing sounds as I stood, transfixed, and listened to these haunting cries of faeries finally unfettered from their chains of ice. With a heavy brumal sigh did Winter’s grip release these spirits, and their crackling, splintering shouts were cries of joy, unshackled and free once more.

All Rights Reserved – Copyright 2011 Paul Grignon

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