The story of Little Briar Rose (aka Sleeping Beauty) is representative of the change in seasons. In many of the familiar tales, a king invites fairies to the celebration of the birth of his daughter; however, he neglects to invite one fairy, who feeling slighted, becomes enraged at the king’s disregard and curses the young maiden to death. To prevent the tragic end of the child, the other fairies change the curse so that instead of death, she will only be in a deep sleep.
Most modern tales talk of 8 fairies—7 good and 1 bad. However, older tales list 13 fairies total. The idea of 13 fairies comes from the cycles of the moon, which is a representation of goddess worship. The Briar Rose, or the Sleeping Beauty herself, is a representation of spring, while the 13th fairy (the wicked one) is her counterpart, winter. Prince Charming’s kiss is much akin to the sun and its warming presence upon the earth, awakening the seeds and dormant vegetation.
And on her lover’s arm she leant,
And round her waist she felt it fold;
And far across the hills they went
In that new world which is the old.
Across the hills, and far away
Beyond their utmost purple rim,
And deep into the dying day,
The happy princess followed him.
“I ’d sleep another hundred years,
O love, for such another kiss;”
“O wake forever, love,” she hears,
“O love, ’t was such as this and this.”
And o’er them many a sliding star,
And many a merry wind was borne,
And, streamed through many a golden bar,
The twilight melted into morn.
“O eyes long laid in happy sleep!”
“O happy sleep that lightly fled!”
“O happy kiss, that woke thy sleep!”
“O love, thy kiss would wake the dead!”
And o’er them many a flowing range
Of vapor buoyed the crescent bark;
And, rapt thro’ many a rosy change,
The twilight died into the dark.
“A hundred summers! can it be?
And whither goest thou, tell me where?”
“O, seek my father’s court with me,
For there are greater wonders there.”
And o’er the hills, and far away
Beyond their utmost purple rim,
Beyond the night, across the day,
Thro’ all the world she followed him.”
~ The Sleeping Beauty, Lord Alfred Tennyson
Do you remember the imaginary worlds of your youth?
Can you still recall where your young creative brain would take you when wandering through the woods, or even while sitting in a patch of dandelions in your backyard?
What mythologies did you create?
The earliest memory I have, of imagining a fantasy world, is discovering a giant magical waterfall in the fields behind my family’s barn. My brother and I traveled far to reach this magnificent natural wonder with light gleaming from its peak as the waters came crashing down. I was in chase of fairies which inhabited the fields and waters. At least, from my fading memories, I recall catching butterflies and tadpoles, who were special for just being creatures of the wild.
Years passed, and we moved off our farm; however, I later returned in my teens. As I walked back behind the old barn, searching for the marvel that I’d witnessed in my childhood, I found a dried up stream. Although, I’m sure that in rainier months, it was more impressive, there was no possibility of this being a giant waterfall. Sadly, I realized my smaller stature and larger imagination had been at play.
Throughout my childhood, I imagined more to the world around me—mysterious and beautiful nature. I kept myself occupied, by sketching and daydreaming, always casting characters for long, epic tales in the forests where I lived.
When I look at the work that I’ve produced, I see a bit of that 5-year-old girl, bravely walking through the tall weeds, barn cats and little brother tottering behind. Maybe the mystery and magic is gone, knowing more about the world as an adult, but I’d like to think that I can still be inspired by those memories when I design and shoot.
Special thanks to Tonya Blowe of Tonya Blowe | Photography for inviting me out to her home to shoot with her adorable granddaughter, Monnie!