Local pain.

Over the weekend, we were in Martinsville, VA, a small town in which live my stepsons’ maternal grandparents. Kit and I were driving to have dinner with a friend in the next town when I passed a presence that shocked me.

It was one of the local Folk.

He (if you can assign gender at all) was in pain.

Martinsville was once a bustling factory town. Furniture, pharmaceuticals, construction. A hard-working town, hard-working people, mostly blue collar. But the current economy is just the latest in a number of blows to it. Jobs are all but gone. Young people have little to do but get high and have babies. Over the weekend, copper was stripped from the back of a local church, and bronze was stolen from local mausolea last week. If it weren’t for the nearby racetrack, the town would have been abandoned decades ago.

The people have lost hope, and it’s reflecting on the local Folk. Not all of them, mind you, but this one struck me hard.

He was near a local creek, making his way through a small copse. He felt dry. He felt older than his time, creaky, cracked old bones trying to hold together in desperation. The land around him was healthy – the healthiest it’s been in years. But the people are not.

The Folk don’t need us. They can survive, even thrive without us. But as Kit pointed out, people are still part of the web, and when there’s such a number who are simply hopeless, it will eventually reflect on the spirits nearest them. The people of Martinsville are in pain, and the town is dying, and now he is in pain.

For the first time I felt something for the Folk. My local Folk are usually merely annoyance to me. I built them a house and leave offerings in it to keep them out of my house and out of my hair. They’re tricksy, demanding, irritating. I acknowledge them because Danu is our shared Mother, and little else.

This time, I cried. I couldn’t help it. “They’re hurting, and they are my siblings!” I said to Kit. “What good is a healthy forest if the inhabitants are sick?”

A day later I can still “see” him, ragged and angled and parched. I can “see” others that I felt as well; young ones swinging from the grasses, established ones watching from bridge posts as we passed. They were curious about us, said as much in deep, resonant voices, much older-sounding than those I’m used to. It’s the first time I’ve tried to open myself to them, willingly listened to them, and all because of one hurting Folk.

Not sure what significance it will have in the long run. Not sure how to follow it. But it left a mark.

About Fala

Fala Redwing is dedicated to Cernunnos as lover, submissive, and slave. A practicing Pagan since 2001 and a member of the BDSM community since 2006, Fala is an eclectic Witch and natural switch. Fala can be contacted at falaredwing@gmail.com.

2 thoughts on “Local pain.

  1. John says:

    An interesting encounter to be sure. I understand. We can swap stories sometime! As I read, I couldn’t help but wonder if you were imposing your own very human frame of reference onto those you were experiencing. The Others are not like us, if they weren’t different they wouldn’t be Others. They spring from archetypes and simply are what they are. What we sense as sorrow or anger does not indicate “unhappiness” or lack of joy or displeasure on their part. We seek agency in all experiences. So when confronted with an experience we try to classify it so we can relate to it. In this case it made you sad. What I’m trying to say is that they don’t play by our rules and what you experienced evoked a response in you, but it doesn’t follow that those you were experiencing were in any way in distress.

    That’s the most I’ve ever said about them to another person. And I’m pretty sure I did a lousy job of explaining what I have come to understand about them.
    -= j =-

    • Fala says:

      Sure, although I will say most of my stories involve my local folk demanding food and me being irritated with them. 🙂

      That’s part of what struck me so deeply about this one. It’s hard for me to feel sympathy for the Folk, being that I view them with such annoyance and ambivalence in the first place. I had never noticed any of them feel much of anything at all, either. I didn’t feel pain FOR him – I felt pain FROM him. It was very distinct.

      In contrast, the other Folk I encountered on the same drive did not exhibit joy or sorrow or anything else; they were simply doing what they do and watched the curious little car with the curious little people in it as it passed.

      In my experience, “Others” certainly don’t play by our rules or share our morals, but they aren’t so different from us in some ways, either. And experience will vary from person to person and Being to Being, as well – the face T/they show one is not the face T/they show to another, if’n you know what I mean. 🙂

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