Conversation with an elf
Glen Affric is a magnificent nature reserve, and the most beautiful place in Scotland according to many. The name “Affric” doesn’t mean ‘African’, but it’s Gaelic for “very spotted”. The reserve is well organised with many paths of different lengths and variety. Every now and then you come across a panel with interesting nature knowledge. Most of the parc is woods, it’s what is left of an ancient forest that used to cover most of Scotland. The trees are the local Caledonian Pine, a very specific kind of pine with curved branches and a thick bark that has a reddish colour on the young branches. The trees can become very big and old and are truly majestic. Even though only 1% of the original forest is left, the organisation “Trees for Life” strives to restore and maintain the kind of forest that was originally there.
Sarah and I chose the yellow path that passed the waterfall and then continued on in the hilly woods. At some point, the path went sharply up, until we reached the top with a spectacular view on a little lake we later found out was called ‘Coire Loch’. Next to us on the hill was a really enormous pine tree. We sat beneath it on a branch that had fallen off some time ago. We felt tempted to strike a conversation with the locally present subtle beings.
Are there any little elves here?
– “Yes. There are elves with every large tree.”
What is it you do?
– “We take care of the cooperation between the tree and its environment. Trees are very important.”
Would you like to say something else?
– “There are also elves with ponds and little lakes. But then they are also called nymph. Sometimes there are also elves with great stones or rocks. Then they have a different name, but they are also elves.”
Do the elves wish to say something to the people?
Hm. The elves didn’t seem particularly obliging and talkative in this place. But we didn’t give up yet and asked: “Is there perhaps one elf who wishes to speak? Who wants to say something?”
– “I don’t mind. I am the elf from the little lake down the hill and I am standing with you up here now. Just in front of you. I am normally small, but I can also make myself bigger, about human size. Like a 10-year old. I can also be as small as a large dragonfly. I am beautiful and I look like a flower. My colour is like the wings of a dragonfly and I am most happy when the sun is shining because the sun makes my little lake look beautiful.”
We looked at the empty spot in front of us which wasn’t truly empty because of the presence of the little elf. Her presence, straighforward honesty and simplicity was endearing.
We continued our interview: “Would you like to say something to the people?”
– “I’m allowed to speak for all of us. People can be very different. What they do doesn’t really matter, only how they do what they do.
We see a lot of people hiking/walking here, I see them passing by on top of this hill and they look to the view. At that moment, often something miraculous happens because what they see is beautiful and they suddenly become a bit more open. That is nice to see.
In fact, it’s like a hobby for me to watch it. Sometimes when they don’t really look, I try to tickle them, to say, “Wait, stay a while, see how beautiful the lake is.” And most often I succeed. Only when they are really unhappy, they are too far away for me and they cannot feel me.
I like it when people are surprised by beauty. In the stillness there are many possibilities of reaching yourself and one of these possibilities is by opening up to the beauty around you and this brings you closer to yourself.
All people must find themselves. That is your fate. We elves we’re always hand in hand with ourselves. We know who we are and what we must do to be happy. And then we do that. With people this is different, they don’t remember how to be happy, because they haven’t taken themselves by the hand.”
Then she suddenly said:
– “I’m going back down now. I need to look out for a little fish that is still young and cannot find it’s mother.”
And then she went… And we did the same, continuing our path with a joyful and friendly feeling in our heart.