What happens when a dryad + a woodcutter marry?
Why, you get me + my husband + our Little Goblin, of course!
I have always been drawn to tales of shapeshifting women- particularly tree-spirits. I love the forest!
But I grew up in RI, the Ocean State. There are wooded areas- which when I was younger seemed huge, easy to get lost in, easy to find Faerie in- but I grew quiet by the oceanside, contemplative. A rush of excitement when sitting at the bowsprit of a sailboat. Not as much of a swimmer as my summer-born sister- the family mermaid- I preferred to swim in freshwater sources to the salt-heavy, seaweed-tangled, driftwood cast-off cold waters off the coast.
In recent years, however, I find myself called… home. To the waters. To the sea.
Again, quiet, contemplative… searching for… something.
I now live in the woods, by a beaver pond… a marsh, a kerr, a swamp…
So I’ve combined them- like a shapeshifter, like a blended mythical creature- into… Swamp Selkie.
Selkies were the seal-folk of the Northern European island countries. Countries bound by the sea.
I am bound by land…
…except after extreme storms, then we have a moat!
Yes, I am Mahmah + Wench-Wife, but I am also swamp selkie + dryad. At least in my imagination. Trees + marshes seem to be in my nature- even my name, “Kerrie”- according to various sources, “Kerr” means “from the marsh” or “swamp, bog”.
So, what does a dryad do when her woodcutter wants to cut down the trees?
She lets him- within reason… if they are about to fall on her home, are needed to warm her + her family in winter, are blocking the sun from the gardens that will sustain them all summer, and- hopefully- into the winter. Pruning is necessary for growth of the new, for increasing the harvest, for ensuring the longevity of the land. Plant some more, of course.
Just don’t cut too many down or you might discover her wrath.
So I will leave you with two poems- one about a swamp selkie, another about Daphne, who was trasnformed into a laurel.
Last of her kind,
same on the inside,
She left them behind,
seeking others, knowing them gone,
to glimpse them in her reflection,
daily at dusk,
seeing only that
the same as all the rest,
frame that mask,
in front of all.
She wishes she could enter those
also not her own,
fresh, but not sweet,
alive, yet not harsh,
changing the landscape,
Trapped by a
the seal-soul out,
for all to know
(c) Kerrie McNay July, 2007
She became one of the trees.
They could not find her.
He taught her well,
how to hide,
how to observe,
how to protect
from those who would harm her.
Look with the
A blank stare can hide more than
covering the truth,
of what they were searching for.
(c) Kerrie McNay 05/25/08