Fairy Falls

water fall photo
Falling Waters State Park
Chipley, Florida

The following is a setting sketch for Blue Fairy Falls, a current WIP.

 

The Crawford Place like many old Florida farmsteads  had been cut-up, divided, and sold off over the generations. All that remained was a forty acre tract of land. It didn’t make much of a farm anymore. A few acres of froze out citrus tress, three fields that hadn’t been mowed in years, and The Jumble. The Jumble was thirty acres of old growth forest and a jumbled mess of collapsing limestone hills and massive vine covered trees. It was riddled with sinkholes making it nearly impossible to clear or do anything with.

The Spaniards came, drank from it’s hidden springs and moved on. The English couldn’t be bothered. And the Americans were too busy driving cattle through the brush with their cracking whips and making war on the First Peoples to tend to a rocky and wet wood.

Then things in the wider world settled down for a bit. A man named Crawford came and built a little house on the edge of The Jumble. He cleared the brush along the creek that ran out of the wood. Planted some crops, raised a few animals and many children. On hot summer afternoons they’d follow the stream into the woods. It wondered among the trees and jumbled rocks up to a deep blue pool that flowed with cold clear water. They called it Blue Springs. An excellent place to soak and swim. The cold water washing away the heat and toil of living in a place like Florida.

About ten yards from the spring, a large black boulder sat in the middle of the stream. The children were fascinated by this stone. It was so black and smooth, like it had fallen out of the sky. They called it the Water Stone because it seemed to control the waters. It sent some of the water to the east and on out of the forest. Other water went west back into the forest. Some whispered that at night the spirits of the forest gathered there. Their mothers told them to shush. There were no such things as Forest Spirits. And not to go into the woods at night.

The water forking west babbled along among the ferns, rocks, and roots until it came to the Hole. The Hole was a very narrow and deep sinkhole. In fact no one really knew how deep it was. The little creek formed a water fall and disappeared into the earth. This was called the Fairy Falls.

The children believed the blue lights that danced in the fields on summer nights were fairies. The adults just smiled at the fancy of their children, telling the stories passed down from on generation of little ones to the next. They knew the blue lights were just a rather large variety of firefly. They were of course wrong.

Author: Stephen del Mar

Stephen del Mar lives in the Tampa Bay area and writes in the Southern Literary tradition. His stories are character driven with rich settings. They often have a touch of the paranormal, supernatural, or magical realism. Although he writes about serious subjects, they are sweetened with humor and wit. He says, "It's a southern thing."