November 2016: Banyan, Realm of Celtic Fantasy

~by Virginia Rhys-Anson

Celtic blood courses through my veins, and with it a love of the wee fairy folk. So tis not a far reach for me to envision fairy homes and villages within the varied nuances that are nature.

When first I cast my eyes upon a banyan tree, the Celt within me excited. Twas such an ever so curious sight. Decades of bundled trunks converging and intertwining to form the illusion of one single, massive trunk supporting a domed canopy clumped in mounds–a shaded oasis. The strangler fig it has been dubbed due to the tendency of trunk offspring to wrap around the parent trunk—seemingly strangling it. What a splendor of nature. The banyan, a mini forest encased in a single tree, a forest primed for phantasmal exploration.

Was God in a particularly jovial mood the day He created the banyan? Or did He merely want to see just how many trunks He could pack into one tree before it became ludicrously too many? He came close. Or, perhaps, did He want to create a tree village for the fairy maidens and gents and the delicate lightning bug clan?

No matter. The banyan tree is a fun intrigue of grand immensity, not so much in height as is its redwood kin, but in girth. A stately few harbor trunk bundles in excess of 600 feet in diameter. Be Banyan the elephant or the octopus of the arboreal world?

Or mightn’t she be both? Occasional trunks curve in rounded angles. Others twist together in a spiral warp. Branches conjoin with trunks, forming bridges to and from points within its canopy. Its eons of trunks emerge above fauna growing from its turf, enhancing the feel of a woodland haven. Does Banyan grow as a solo forest, or in a banyan tribe? Likely no tree shares an identical twin.

An array of roots may escape Terra’s hold to snake atop the ground. How live they unburied, exposed outside Earth’s protective casing? Yet survive they do, slithering serpentine from their banyan source.

Its branches, not to be trumped by trunk bundles, create one humungous canopy. Sky’s light peaks between branches and leaves. A display of luminous specs paints artistic patterns upon an earthen canvas. Branches, backgrounded with leaves and azure sky, fan to a peacock’s plume. What a treehouse her branches could shelter, one enveloped and hidden entirely within. Its guest becomes as a bird perched secure, enthralled with the natural beauty of Banyan’s verdant umbrella.

The lightning clan sparkles its converse within her braided base. Lightnings twinkle ‘tween adjoining trunks, ‘tween limbs and leaves of Banyan’s cap, weaving a dance of flickering dazzle with an aural gleam among her multitudinous pillars. Were they fairies or merely lightnings waltzing about? Perhaps, me thinks, fairies in lightning disguise.

Banyan offers such an invite for a writer’s conjurings, becoming an ever-inspiring secret retreat. Paths within, winding lazily amidst clumps of offspring trunks, lead to adventures yet uncharted.

Her goliath grove triggers the fantasy of the Celt–a fairy realm hidden deep within. Teeny fairy abodes of mushroom and moss rest on Banyan’s floor. Twigged tree homes cradle within her leaves and branches. Fairy gardens lace her floor and trunks, her leaves garbed with fairy dust sparkle. Nymphs and sprites hide from human view, though lightnings do remain. Perhaps a hummingbird clan winters within. Such be the muse of the writer Celtic born.

Touch the banyan, and the Celt soul senses the spirit abiding within–the spirit of its life of fairy. What ventures await the one who explores within Banyan’s domain? The call of the enchanted beckons.

Might Banyan be a portal to this land of sprites and elves and unicorns, with sentry lightnings charged to guard its gate? The heralds of a hidden world within?

Escape through the fanciful portal reveals a meadow bedecked with lilies and lacey ferns. Sprites hide no more within their fay kingdom. Flitting and hovering, they play their fairy tag among the flowers. Lightnings hitch rides between fairy wings. Dragonflies, donning luminescent turquoise and rose garbs and wings, skim above a crystalline lake. Nature nymphs, pussy willow buds in hand, paint daisies in pastels of pink and lilac and apricot. Hovering over a bloom, the color flows from the bud, covering only a daisy’s bloom. Nary a drop on the ground.

The delicate scent of a rain shower, recently migrated from these enchanted woods, lingers. Rainbow fairies liltingly design a rainbow’s arch in the sky. Much more brilliant than rainbows in the human realm. Wings flapping at hummingbird speed, fairies unfurl, ever so gracefully from horizon’s edge to horizon’s edge, rainbow’s red and orange, green and violet, and shades in between. So striking against a royal blue sky. Merrily they dance in spirited circle under rainbow’s peak. Now what be this that I spy at rainbow’s end? A leprechaun standing guard? Well, I’ll be. They do exist.

Unicorns, pearl horns aglisten, graze on teal tinged grasses. An ivory filly glances to meet my stare. Such a beauty is she. Our connection is deep, as I sense ‘tis I she has chosen. For a unicorn chooses whom it will. The reverse is nary true.

Unicorn, will call her Quill, nods her head in summon. Neck arcing toward me, her eyes draw me deep within her soul. Such a pure soul has she. So honored am I that she has chosen me. Tenuously do I inch to her side. I stroke her velvety coat gently, gingerly for fear that any suddenness might spook her. Unaccustomed am I to unicorn encounters.

I would relish a longer linger, perhaps to mount and ride her around my fantasy woods. But forcing a faster encounter may cause her to shy from my touch. Patience. A gentle hug of her neck, and I leave. Future visits will cement our bond.

I do love Celtic conjurings. How free is my spirit in imagination’s domain on the fantasia side of Banyan’s portal, while cozy I sit, back propped against a single of Banyan’s myriad trunks. Free rein do I allow my muse. For, you see, even my secret writing nook within Banyan’s woodland is pure figment. Oh, but such a sweet musing.

Banyan, a quite curious creation. So very glad am I that Our Dear Creator has His jovial days.


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Virginia Anson grew up in the shadows of Sandia Crest in New Mexico. Family camping trips may have sparked her passion for nature. She holds an A.S. in Electronics Technology, a B.A. in Writing, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, and a certificate in Wildlife/Forestry Conservation. Her book, Mother Earth’s Caretakers, targets middle school youngsters and is published as an e-book for Kindle. Virginia is a Vietnam Era veteran of the U.S. Air Force, and her volunteer endeavors see her as a lector, Eucharistic minister, and sacristan in her parish and as a habitat steward for the National Wildlife Federation. She especially cherishes her life in the Secular Franciscan Order, following in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT MEANDERING ALONG THE RIVER’S EDGE ARCHIVE.

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