The heat from the grass and forest permeated the still air in the small clearing and when I breathed in, nature’s energy filled my lungs. Closing my eyes, I heard a slight rustling of leaves high in the trees and a distant cry of an unknown bird. Here, far from the city, people and motor vehicles, the earth relaxed, time stood still and the body felt at home.
As I made my way towards the headstones dotting the burial ground, I wondered if I had enough time to capture images of every marker. The kids were eager to get to the blueberry field and didn’t want to linger at yet another graveyard. They followed close behind, asking if that person was related, or what did the little lamb on the stone indicate and how much longer was this going to take?
To be honest, my kids didn’t often complain when visiting cemeteries even after they’d been dragged through several dozen. Something always appeared to entertain them even if it was just a hapless toad hopping across our path.
But on this September day, I felt their impatience to get to the berries, so I quickly snapped photos with my digital camera. Within ten minutes, we were back in the car and on our way.
Back at the camp, I went through the photographs. They had turned out fine from what I could see on the small one-inch by on-inch screen on the back of the camera. There was nothing unusual about them.
We arrived home several days later and after unpacking, I plugged my memory card into the computer and called up the photos from our trip. The beautiful day at the cemetery returned on the big screen and I reviewed the stones to be certain they were clear. That’s when I saw it. For the first time in the hundreds of thousands of photos I’d taken, I had captured an image of a fairy in flight.
The picture was not of a particular headstone though there was one off to the side. I can’t say why I snapped the shot, but there it was in front of me. I hadn’t noticed the fairy while viewing the picture on the camera screen because it was too small.
The logical side of my brain began analysing the fairy glitch in the digital image. Had the memory card malfunctioned? I had taken literally thousands of photos using it and never have I seen a light image like this in any other picture. I’ve taken pictures with other digital cameras, a 110, Disc and 35mm using colour, black & white and slide film of various ISOs.
A dozen years have passed and I still use the same memory card in other cameras and to this day a similar glitch hasn’t occurred. I used the camera that captured the image for several years after that and nothing showed up. So I believe the camera and memory card weren’t to blame.
The cemetery was clean; there was no garbage that may have caused a reflection. Even so, the fairy light doesn’t appear to have been created by sunshine reflected from an object on the ground. The light was in the air.
The interesting thing about the light or glitch is it takes the shape of a creature with two feet and wings. Zooming in only enhances this shape.
I feel the presents of life – perhaps fairies – in the general area of where I took this photograph. The forest feels alive and energized. The landscape is undisturbed. I don’t feel the same where I live right now and it’s no surprise.
The land around me is mostly bare of trees, its water courses contaminated with sewer, cow barn flushings and gosh knows what else from the mine, train tracks and heavy truck traffic. The constant digging and blasting from the gypsum mine probably displaced fairies long before I arrived. And what self-preserving fairy would take up residence on or near a pasture fertilized with liquid cow manure or biosolids (aka processed city sewage)? The land feels dead, void of life.
So, what do you think? Do you believe in fairies? Or was what I captured on film a spirit of the dead?