The Dryad

by ABThwaites

The Dryad

She was a Dryad. She was beautiful. They all are…

A dryad is a highly magical creature, and I think that's why I considered her to be like a dryad, for she was magical to me. Her name was Dauphine. Most people would say she was crazy. I was crazy like her. I was happy when her boyfriend got thrown in prison, because I was now her closest friend.

Dauphine and I got closer that summer, after the raid. She and I took some motorcycle rides in the country, or out to lakes for summertime picnics. We would relax by the lakes, and share our thoughts. In the evenings, in town we would often play music together, either privately or in public. She had a fantastic voice, and played guitar quite well.

It came about in conversation one day that she had been the subject of an experiment; One of those psychic things. She was asked questions in a controlled environment, and reactions were measured. She told me, that one time part way through an experiment, that she felt quite hot, and she dashed out of the room for a drink of water. Upon her return, she discovered that the thermometers that had been monitoring the experiment had burst due to intensive heat. The person conducting the experiment had seen the whole thing. Her psychic energy had been measured to such a level, that she broke the equipment. Dauphine confessed to me that she had never told anybody about that before.

With this sort of confession, I felt at ease to disclose some adventures on the edge of believability, too. I told her that I would take hikes deep into the wilderness all by my self. Sometimes when in a deep meditative state and feeling rather in tune with nature, I would see things that others don't, like mystical creatures, such as pixies, a sylph, and once even a unicorn. Now when I mentioned this to this wild mystical woman, Dauphine, she demanded in her silky way, that I show her one of these creatures.

Now, as they exist on the edge of imagination and only in the most remote and pristine areas of the rugged uninhabited wilderness, this was quite a tall order. Additionally, I had never seen any mystical creatures with anybody before. I even wondered if possibly they appeared out of my own imagination. With no one to verify the sightings, and having been in deep meditation and alone for days on end, I thought perchance that were purely and solely a figment of my over active imagination, but she insisted, ever so gently. And I conceded.

While planning our backpacking trip into the wilderness, she told me a story regarding a sight she had seen, while at a Psychic Festival. A demonstration of magic, it would seem, where an ordinary dollar bill was held suspended in mid air, while a group of onlookers gathered around. She was convinced it was the power of the people observing and believing that held the dollar suspended. We were planning to spend a few days in the wilderness looking for the mystical creatures that I had told her about.

My previous sightings had been pure happenstance, and when I had least expected anything out of the ordinary to happen. I had serious doubts that we could see a being from another plane of existence on command. I chose a destination containing a vortex. This is where I had seen the pixies and additionally stepped out of time. Just for what would have been a second, by I knew I had escaped time. I spoke about this one on a phone in talk show in Atlanta. I had met the Emcee while she was visiting the mountains and arranged for the live phone interview on regional TV. I never saw the tape of the show, but I think I was believed.

So into the woods we went, hoping to open a portal into the netherworld of make believe. I had a feeling we would see nothing, but she believed in me. At the very least I would spend a few very nice days backpacking in the wilderness. Hiking up from the valley was a lot of effort, for it was all up hill. We had to ascend past the top of the largest waterfall in the region, for it was here that the vortex existed. Right at the confluence of three rivers, was a site to camp. The site jutted out over the biggest river in the form of a large rock ledge covered with mature pines of different sorts. There were small waterfalls on three sides of the camping site.

Slightly uphill of the site the trees were smaller and the creeks meandered. The were a lot of downed trees farther up, due to the heavy avalanches that blanked the valley with debris every winter. Only the stand of trees where we camped were spared from the onslaught of the violent cascades of snow. It was only here that there were mature trees, and the rest of the valley had shrubs or large granite plateaus polished by the annual snow slides. It was a violent landscape that did not welcome the living. Only in the stand of mature pines could one find security and solace.

We had spent the afternoon ascending to the campsite, and it was early evening by the time we started to relax by the fire. We were waiting for nightfall, when more magical creatures would be out and about. We sipped good whiskey and talked quietly by the fire. Night fell. We moved up to the area just above the mature trees, onto a large slab of polished granite. She was so excited to see something. She was jittery. Between sips of whiskey, I began to explain to her that she needed to calm herself, and get in touch with the quiet and solitude in the valley, and to assume that we were as timeless as the valley and the rocks.

She began to calm, and this was rare for her. One who could blow up thermometers with thought, had a lot of energy. She asked me quietly if they would show them selves tonight. I said out loud,

"I believe they are beginning to accept your respect. They know mine. I can feel them, now." Very calmly she mentioned that she too felt a calm and serenity, previously unknown to her. She had grown cold so we slowly began to make our way back to the fire. She didn't know the terrain as well as I, so I held her hand. We were making our way back through the sparse trees, and she stopped. She said quietly,

"That tree has three trunks." I turned in time to see the second trunk quietly step behind the middle trunk of the tree.

"Are you seeing what I am seeing?" She whispered breathlessly. I replied,

"Yes." Then when the tree was back to one trunk, the tree glowed like a Christmas tree, but not really. It had the glow from the lights, but the tree itself was dark. It was radiating an aura, and we were both in awe. We stood hand in hand, two mystics watching the glow from the tree.

We staggered back to the camp-fire, and our minds were in a swirling haze. We couldn't even think straight, and it was as though something had happened to our minds. The glow was swirling in our head still, and we couldn't make any sense of it. All at once it stopped. Our minds were clear again. Dauphine said,

"What was that?"

My mind was still swimming, but I managed to stammer,

"A tree abiding spirit, let me see…, a dryyyad?"

"What's a dryad?" she rejoined.

To answer her questions fully I confessed that I would have to consult some literature on such.

"We did it, we summoned a spirit from the woods!" she piped gleefully. She was right, our combined psychic power managed to call forth a mystical creature from a completely different dimension. Up until this point all my sightings had been as a happenstance, and never before on command had I called forth a being from a different dimension. I was sure it was her magical power that brought enough strength to bring forth such a powerful being from its eternal poise, just to come and see who we were. Little did we know that we were in potentially grave danger during that encounter.

Historically dryads rarely make an appearance, except to take a mate. Even that is rare. Dryads can take humans, only attractive ones, into their dimension as mates, but then they are never seen again in the material world. I was potentially on the edge of eternal bliss! Oh well. I can only guess that because I was holding hands with a powerful psychic, that I wasn't captured and taken away. There was probably only one of them, as they are known to cast spells that replicate their image, probably to evade capture themselves, and the confusion we suffered immediately after the sighting was another spell, such that we would forget the location of her tree. I would not, for I knew this forest well.

After the summoning, we sipped the remainder of the whiskey and huddled by the fire, talking in low exciting tones about what we experienced. We both agreed, a Dryad it was, and we saw it together. Early the next morning we returned to town, mission accomplished.

It was a few weeks later, and we were at a party, up near the old observatory. By the fire on the side of the lake were a group of people drinking, talking, and playing music. Dauphine, usually the center of attention, in her excited way was talking non stop, until I heard her say something about tree spirits, and one of those listening her challenged her. She responded, and pointed to me saying,

"Andrew saw it too, we saw a dryad together didn't we?"

"Oh yeah, right, we did." Was my sudden answer.

"See, they do exist!" Dauphine wildly rejoined.

Others in the crowd eyed me skeptically, and gathered around Dauphine, and I felt very alone. I felt that the intimacy of our friendship had somehow been violated, and our friendship unfortunately began to dwindle away after that. Then she moved away to the city at the end of that summer. A couple of years later, she spotted me in the crowd lining a parade of physic's that I was watching pass. She screamed with glee when she came running over to me, and handed me a handful of photos. She went running off. The photos were doubles of all the photos she had taken that summer we spent together.

The photos trigger nice memories that I still enjoy, but I feel a distance when I think of her. I really don't know what happened that night at the observatory. I figured the spell that she had cast on me, early in that summer had ended with a key word she had spoken to me across the fire, that night. She was a magical being that had merely practiced magic on me that summer. Like the dryad we saw in the woods, when the spell had ended, and she was gone, there was no proof that anything magical, had ever really been.