Once upon a time, I was told by my aunt and my mother alike that if you stared into the blaze of a fire long enough, you would be able to see fairies dancing in between the flames, their feet skipping along the burning coals and disappearing behind logs to reemerge with a pop! (which I was told was air pockets in the wood being suffocated by the heat, but still I believed). After that the flames weren’t flames, illusions of the eye created so we could see the light in the world. They were the tips of wings, swaying hands, and the tops of heads adorned with crowns made of ashes.
I stayed tending to the fire for the rest of the night until I had to be escorted back inside at around one A.M. The whole time I was looking for the fairies, even if the voice at the back of my head said there were none. There was no such thing as fairies.
Still I believed.
I continued to. For a moment I lost hope, but the part of me that stayed lit continued to live on, like the fire that I so desperately hoped would show me something wonderful. The dancing fairies of the fire may have died with the it, their legs crumbling like the wood used to fuel them. However, unknowingly, I had become one.
You see, the fairies were like hope, something fantastic inside the destruction. Hope can spread like a disease, but this was a good kind of plague. Spreads like wildfire, fast and thick. All those years after I had been told there was such a thing, I hoped that I would see them. Even now, when we all gather in the backyard and roast hotdogs and marshmallows, I look for them. I kept hoping. That felt like the best thing: having faith and hope in something you know you will never see, but you believe it’s there because you have to hope for something. Even in my life now, their influence remains. My anger and my passion are the color of the fairies, bright and burning. In what I write, they linger. They hide behind words and meanings, waiting. Maybe this is why I place so much of my symbolism in the image of flames. This is where they dance on.
This has been entirely my story with the fairies, my experience, but I’m not the only one who knows this tale. Regardless if you have heard it or not, I have something to say: the fairies are real. It does not matter whether you can see them or you can’t. They can be seen in other places besides the fire. They are the creators of the wildfires, which allows plants to regrow anew. They are lightning, which can blind the eye. Something I’ve always known, I’ve always been told, is that you don’t have to see something to believe that it’s real. If you know, if you believe hard enough, it already is. It is real because you make it so.
I suppose my point is, the fairies of the fire aren’t just the fairies of the fire. They are the fairies of hope, of passion. Of light and life. Fire is not just destruction, it is creation. That is exactly what they are. And they can come to anyone.
The first time I heard the tale of the fairies, I looked and hoped for them. No longer could I see a fire; then that wonder dissipated, and I saw the fairies no more, but just the fire. It’s interesting how so many things can change to make you see something else in stories that you used to believe in. I hadn’t seen the fairies then, and I still haven’t.
This does not hinder my wondering, because my heart is filled with it.
So even if you can’t see the fairies, their hope can still infect you, if you have enough wonder. Their influence can be seen in your passion and your love, because this is where they roam. You have opportunities to be a fairy yourself, to bring awe to somebody else’s life. You will be the flame, you will be the fire. Just find your spark, and you will light up the world. You will show everyone who ever doubted that fairies can and do exist; you know this because you are one.