This weekend I decided to embrace my inner Pan, who breaks free of his provincial bonds every summer and fall, and return to the waters that sated and bathed me, those earliest years of my new life in Minnesota. I saw a faerie there (yeah, really) and the energy of that place helped ease the turbulent transition from my old life in TN to my new one so far north. It is a certain spot on the Mississippi, just west of where it joins the Minnesota. This space is a sacred cloister for me, a place to recharge the soul batteries and get perspective from the daily grind. It would be fifteen more years before I would discover that this area is also sacred to someone else, the local Dakota who consider the place where the two rivers join, the Bdote, nothing short of the center of the universe. The place of Dakota genesis. I'm telling you; you feel something here.
My spot is waiting for me, though the weather has transformed it from a hidden sanctuary to a pit stop on a well traveled path. I feel I have traveled sideways through time. Enormous puppets and madrigaled beauty surround me. Ren Fest made real. People of all ages in some kind of celebration. Seems like something to be imagined, but it is only good timing. Lovers holding hands. Feudal love, requited. How wonderful. I am passed without a glance, shielded by indifference or native glamour. The old driftwood tree, which has always centered my visits here, has somehow escaped the spring floods and glows in the afternoon sun. It is more beautiful in how less it has become. Once imposing, now a stark piece of art Zen against all thought it could be so. Its protective skin long gone, smooth grooves hardened perfectly by everything it has weathered.
There are still nymphs about. I can't see their ethereal curves; I feel them. They approach me, whisper in enticing breeze, giggle out of nostalgia. They ask me where the hell I've been. I try to respond, but have nothing. One pulls on my shirt and I smile. Pan, the wrong time, always the right place. And the old Pan simmers here in the light between the trees. Visions. Primordial drive and open sky. Earths moved by desire alone. I am shone fires that still burn beyond the day. A silent proposition. The sun laughs. Pan, too. He miles at the newness of everything. He wants to make long love to the modern world. Remind it through coarse sweat what it keeps leaving behind. He wants it to call him in the morning.
As I prepare to leave the modern self begins to take over. "Where am I?" The sand just laughs. It wonders why the question is always the same. A day trip to Fey, I tell myself. The rumored madness not a fear, but a blessing that prepares me for the return. The timeless clearing seems at odds with the world that waits. Come here at you become the thing that does not fit. Join them both inside you. Tighten the bands while opening the soul. Rectify infinity with the stone ticking of the clock.