I promised, a while back, that I would provide periodic updates about my new home territory so I thought I would follow up on that promise.
I have been extremely busy of late and have not had a lot of chance to research the area but I have been making a point of getting out on the weekends and doing some hiking before the weather gets a lot colder and the snows begin to fall. I am known to bundle up and go out even in the dead of winter but there is not generally as much activity, either in this world or the Otherworld, in the cold season.
Recently, I went with a group of people to one of the more popular destinations in this area, Kaaterskill Falls. For those of you who are interested, there is information on this site on-line. I encourage you to Google the area and check out the images if you do not happen to be within striking distance of the falls themselves. While the falls lack the sheer awesome grandeur of the better known Niagara Falls, they are quite beautiful and set in the heart of the Catskill Mountains near some of the higher peaks in the range.
The falls are located on public land and the trail that leads up beside the creek bed is well marked and reasonably easy to traverse. The daring can continue past the terminus of the trail up to an area that I believe is called the Amphitheater. I did not make it to the top – a hike the day before had left me with sore knees and I decided not to punish myself anymore – so I ended up guarding packs and camera bags for some of my group that made the ascent.
This little break, of course, gave me a chance to look at the site with other eyes. I had been very aware of being watched as I made my way up the trail and, given my experiences out in these mountains so far, I was reasonably certain that the faery were out in full force. As I sat catching my breath, I allowed myself to sink into a slight trance and take a look around. I saw . . . nothing. Still, I was very aware of presences all around me and I surmised that the spirits of that land were firmly hidden.
I listened intently with my inner ears and found myself humming what sounded like a Celtic jig and the atmosphere darkened for a moment (passing cloud?). I had the clear sense that the faery of that area did not want to be seen and that they were none to happy about the constant intrusion in their realm. I offered the little tune in my head to them and tried to explain that, for the many humans who could not see them at any time, this was one of their only opportunities to actually have contact with nature and learn something about its beauty and preciousness.
I do not think the faery were placated but the atmosphere did seem to lighten a bit. I tried to put forward the idea to these local fey that they could help educate people and make them more respectful of the Earth if they chose to do so but I think it is going to take a lot more than one session with these spirits to make a real impact. Hopefully, though, if enough people who can feel their presence talk to them and work with them, they will see that not every human is incapable of seeing past the end of their nose.
Folks, if you happen to be go out to any wilderness area, please remember that you are sharing that area not only with the local flora and fauna but with the spiritual ecosystem that underlies all the growth. Even rocks have spirits attached to them. You do not have to be paranoid, but please, be respectful of where you are and, if you are so inclined, make an offering to your favorite place or places. Traditionally, in Celtic Lands, the fey were offered things like porridge and cream, but I think that an offering of water to a tree or a few nuts to the local wildlife, if given with a spirit of respect, awareness and gratitude toward the local spirits can go a long way toward repairing relationships that have been increasingly damaged as humans have moved further and further from the land.
I would also strongly encourage you to listen to your gut when you are out in the wild. You do not have to be a full fledged psychic or practicing mage to recognize that certain areas just do not feel right or feel as though you are intruding. If you happen across such a place, then respond to that intuition and leave the area quietly and, again, with that attitude of respect and possibly an apology for intruding. There are a lot of reasons why that gut level danger warning activates and none of them are healthy for humans.