Look. The world is terrifying right now. Fireworks explode at all hours. “Should we let this disease ravage and destroy us?” is now a partisan question that we take sides on. There is a line for curbside pickup at the library that can take HOURS to get through.
So this morning I ventured as far as my own backyard prairie and found magic there.
There’s a stump in the center of the prairie. The space was once a stand of oaks a thousand years old, predating the city and pulsing with the living memory of ages past. The trees were cut, of course, for the view, but what’s left makes for a lovely place to sit in the early hours of the morning. Soon after the angry sun rises, the prairie becomes uncommonly hot, and the curse of the stump is that no shade shall ever touch it so long as the sun burns hot in the sky.
The path to the stump is buried in bramble and thorn. Should you find the respite of this solitary seat in the center of it all, pause and thank the spirits of nature who granted this rest. Odds are even that they will not allow you to leave.
Flowers are many in the backyard prairie. Black-eyed Susans are the most common sight, their dark faces tilted upward to worship the white-hot evil of the orb above. Daisies make their way into the prairie this time of year as well, along with achillea and the flowers of the wicked thistle. It’s a stunning display, and the crafty traveler can collect flowers to display in a vase at home.
Beware the most beautiful flower in the prairie, for she is a vengeful spirit. Her roots run deep into soil the temperature of warm blood, and to insult her with your touch is an offence not often forgiven. To cut her for your display will certainly draw her curse. If, by mistake, you find yourself so cursed, do not worry. The stinging ants will finish you quickly, and the nourishment this flower gains from you will help her grow ever stronger. Ever more beautiful.
The gate goes we know not where.
There are bees everywhere: a swarm of sweetness and love. They thrive in among the flowers and thorns, and very few of them wish you harm. There are gophers and rabbits in the prairie, whose only purpose is to feed the hawks above. Deer wander through, as well, and their trails are the only passable way to the darker corners of the yard.
Never follow such paths. The fence keeps out many evils, but also does it keep them in. Fattened deer are the favorite allies of wicked trolls, who seek only to eat nearly ripe tomatoes and human flesh. No tomatoes were planted in the vegetable garden this year, so the trolls are likely quite hungry.
This is a trip well worth the effort, and easily earns its four stars of five.
What magics do you find in your back yard? What curses can you avoid?