Nine years ago this past weekend, I proposed to my wife while wearing a white fairy dress and wings I’d sewn myself. I bent down on two knees on a hill in eastern Pennsylvania in a magical place that I could never have predicted existed, but had wished for with my whole heart. Jenn and I had just spent the day together at the annual Spoutwood May Day Fairie Festival, the first place that we’d ever been together where we felt that we could truly be ourselves without any fear of repercussion.
“Kubiando!” is what you yell in jubilation with all your heart at the festival. It means a magical and vibrant blessing–it means “home.” <3
For two young lesbians who’d gone through a hell of a lot of prejudice, hatred and terrible times, the Fairie Festival was a sanctuary in a world that was often hard to exist in. After that magical day where I held my wife’s hand, kissed her and held her close without any violent threats–no threats at all–and was simply smiled at or hugged in return by random passerbys, I felt that I’d come home. I was filled with so much love, that late afternoon, as I’d walked out of the festival, holding my wife’s hand, holding her close. A random guy sitting in a tree yelled down at us: “the fairies love it when you love each other!” And it was done. We walked to the “parking lot” (a field), I knelt down, and the rest is history.
This was taken right before I proposed to Jenn, nine years ago. <3 I and a random adorable child were MAKING MISCHIEF.
Since that day, almost a decade ago (WOW, IT IS WEIRD SAYING THAT :O), the Spoutwood Fairie Festival has been a sanctuary and a home for us every year. It’s filled with people we love, has an energy of deep openness, love and magic, and cherishes you for who you are (because the fairies love everyone). At the Fairie Festival, not only can we be openly gay and accepted and loved without any fear of threat or violence (have we mentioned how crappy and conservative the area we live in is? BECAUSE IT’S PRETTY CRAPPY AND CONSERVATIVE), but we can wear wings, hula hoop, laugh, cavort, play, make magic and give magic and receive magic. And we get to do it all in about ten pounds of glitter, fairy wings and surrounded by the most wonderful people we’ll ever meet. It’s every year on the weekend closest to Beltane (May Day), and this past weekend, Jenn and I made the long, happy, glittery journey down to central Pennsylvania to walk through its gates once more. <3
Jenn as Eros, me as Psyche. Taken this past Saturday at the festival by the marvelous and incomparable Laura Vasilion of Vasilion Photography. <3
I never really realize how much I need the festival until we walk through its gates on Friday. I’m incredibly lucky. I’m married to my soul mate, I get to do what I love with all of my heart for a living–my entire life is built around stories and magic. And yet we live in an incredibly conservative area where we’ve been threatened with violence more times than I want to think about. I write lesbian YA, and I am a lesbian–all of the negative comments about queerness against my books are also directed against me. I’m a pretty optimistic person, and I have endless faith in the universe, but “putting up the good fight” can be draining eventually for anyone.
Me and Maugy (Maugorn the Stray–one man band extraordinaire!) by George Skepton Photography, taken this past Friday.
And then I walk through those gates. And it’s just my dearest friends, and the strains of harp music and the deep echo of drums, and laughter everywhere, and straight people and gay people holding each other close beneath the brilliant green of new leaves, and a million kids running around in fairy wings, shrieking in delight.
And my wife squeezes my hand, and the weight is gone from my shoulders as she kisses my cheek softly. And the entire world is beautiful again.
This is a candid photo taken this past Friday at the festival, and one of my favorites in the entire universe. <3 TWUE WUV. <3 <3 <3
(Photo taken by Rachel and Katie)
The Fairie Festival is my center, my sanctuary, my home each year. For three days, we exist in a time out of time and a place out of place, where anything can happen, where magic is real, where people wear wings and give hugs and you’re part of one big glitter-coated family.
Taken this past Sunday: family, sweet My Little Pony family. ;D <3
And now Jenn and I are back home, still covered in glitter, full of heartache because we miss everyone so much, but also filled with hope and renewed purpose, remembering that we’re loved and there is always a place for us, held in the hearts of some of our dearest loved ones.
Until next year: Kubiando! <3 And love, for goodness' sake. Always. <3
Experience the Fairie Festival through eight million glitter-filled, squee-containing photos at our Flickr, the lovely Rachel and Katie’s Flickr, and the amazing Laura of Vasilion Photography’s Flickr. <3