On midsummer’s eve I stood on the central toadstool, my toes gripping the bumpy surface. The moist air from the humus below clung to my bare skin, the warm mugginess attacking the elaborate curls I had styled in my hair for the occasion. It broke my concentration to feel one ringlet after another go flat and slither down my cheek or neck.
Fairies can cross over at other seasons, but because of the crucial nature of the crossing, the most reliable time is chosen—when the boundaries between the two realms are thinnest. And so in Faerie, for the last time, I stood in the midst of a fairy ring. Any botanist can tell you that spores from a fungus spread naturally, but the name has remained through all this time, from how my people cavort around the circle of mushrooms.
The night glowed, awaiting the prolonged descent of twilight this time of year. Off to one side a butterfly flitted between tree trunks, rivaling my size. Yellow flowers and fronds bigger than I towered over my head, but these familiar sights felt distant. I was leaving for the human realm. Fairies and pixies freely visit between the two realms, but this crossing would permanently change me. I would never be able to return.