I was inspired by author Erin Morgenstern’s project on her blog, entitled Flax Golden, in which she takes a photograph by Carey Farrell and writes a short piece of creative writing inspired by it. I thought it might be a fun experiment to take one of the photographs I’ve been involved in, and create a story based on each one. After all, I say that my favorite kind of photography to be involved in is narrative or storytelling. I might as well try to tell the story I see!
So here’s the first attempt. This photograph is by Amy Parrish.
My sister’s friend’s cousin once ensnared a wolf in the forest by wearing a cloak the color of blood, and swinging a basket full of savory treats on her arm. (They say she was an innocent, but don’t believe it. No mother in those days would have made a cloak for a child in that unvirtuous sanguine hue without her daughter’s pleading) My dreams run more to foxes than to wolves, who bite and snap and howl to shatter your bones. Foxes are quiet, and sly. They yip and pounce.
So I am resolved to find a fox.
My plan is simple, my disguise thought-out. I recline in a meadow, spreading out my hair around my head, copper vulpine strands strung among the slender blades of grass like a web to catch a cunning creature. I wear a skirt of white concentric hoops, an arched shape around me as I lie curled like a waxing moon. Foxes, as you well know, are nocturnal creatures. My coat is the black of a fox’s opera glove paws. I close my eyes, and try to think wild thoughts. Reynard, vixen, Vulpes vulpes, I recite in my mind like an incantation.
What will I do with my fox if I succeed? I long for transformation. I hope I can prove to any fox that might cautiously investigate my mortal lure that I am worthy of their time, their conversation. In Japan, they call shapeshifting fox women Kitsune. Some Kitsune possess a woman instead of turning into one, entering her body through her breast or fingers. As I lay in the field, I wiggle my fingers slowly, like blades of grass, like a spell, like worms on a hook.
I probably haven’t thought this through. I don’t want to lose myself, really. I just want to know what it’s like to touch magic. I want to spend one night running through fields with a Kitsune, traveling between worlds as they do. I don’t just want to be wild, I want to be wild magic. Just for a moment, an hour, a night. And then I want to remember it always…clutch it to myself and always know that yes, magic is more than just a piece of fairy tales. It has not been completely chased away by fracking, by exhaust fumes, by our collective forgetfulness.
My sister’s friend’s cousin wound up tangled in her own red cloak, deep in the belly of the wolf, and was only saved when a huntsman split the wolf from collar to groin. Prostrating yourself before magic, waiting for it to arrive, is a bit like dangling yourself in front of a hungry wild creature. It is dangerous and risky and you may not emerge alive. But oh! If you succeed!
I lay in the meadow of tall grasses, wiggling my fingers, eyes squeezed tight, and wait.