Today I have been hunting for fairies. Well, sort of. It’s Lady Day, named for the Virgin Mary as today was supposedly the day she got knocked up, it being 9 months exactly, or 276 shopping days until Christmas. And traditionally it’s also a good day to see some fairy action.
It’s said that dawn or dusk are the best times to look for fairies, that liminal moment when anything is possible. Had times been different, I would have gone down to the beach or conducted a stake out by a fuchsia bush (as suggested by @groweatgift), but instead I stationed myself at the back window just before 18:56 (dusk) and looked out over the gardens.
My first thought, it’s really tricky seeing anything at dusk, let alone tiny winged supernatural beings. But slowly I tuned into the murk and began scanning the shrubs and plants. And then I saw something. A wisp of grey suspended above a neighbour’s bush. I edged closer to the window, nose pressed to the cool glass, eyes straining, heart pounding, before realising it was a puff of steam coming from a nearby air vent. Very disappointing.
And that, apart from a few shrubs muddling in the breeze, was the closest I got to any fairies during this evening’s vigil. That’s not to say they weren’t there, but I wasn’t prepared to look like a pervert by poking my long lens into my neighbour’s bush. Besides, my camera is terrible in low light.
However, despite tonight’s failure, I am undeterred. Luckily there are plenty of other auspicious moments in the folklore calendar to search for fairies. I just need Other Life to sort itself out so I can get a closer look.
Header: Richard Dadd, The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke (Detail), 1855–64.
Cooper, Q. and Sullivan, P. (1994) Maypoles, Martyrs & Mayhem: 366 Days of British Myths, Customs & Eccentricities, London, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Roud, S. (2006) The English Year: A Month-By-Month Guide To The Nation’s Customs and Festivals, From May Day to Mischief Night, London, Penguin Books