Constantly stepping onto adult Stray Sod, I experience — every time — the same panic I felt as a child when I lost sight of Mama.
Only now — isn’t this silly! — it is literary Stray Sod and happens whenever a page, a sentence, or a word disappears from where I knew it was.
So when Appletta says (in her ninth letter from the Blue Set of Story-Letters from Appletta Tooth Fairy):
“Sometimes things are lost for good. Sometimes they are there — you just can’t see them.”
I believe her, but I still panic.
Panic erases thought, erases awareness, and throws you into full disconnect. Except for screaming. You are very connected to screaming (internally or vocally). And don’t knock it, screaming can be a very useful survival technique.
In fact, I will tell you a secret:
For the first time ever, in my entire life, I just dream screamed. I was being chased, in my dream, by two men into a closed room. In the past, I would have tried to scream, but nothing, no sound. My failed attempt to scream would usually wake me to an traumatized state, heart racing.
This time I screamed in my dream and in vocal reality. I woke myself up and my husband, but my first thought was, “Wow, I’ve never been able to scream in a dream before.” And observing myself, I found that my heart was calm, my body free of stress … AMAZING! Thank you scream.
Alright, some built-in panic triggers have their uses. But generally, panic severs you from other possibilities of what to do. You don’t perceive the details of your environment and you can’t remember things that might help you. You can’t think things through or listen to your inner guides, spirit guides or higher power. You can’t receive the help or comfort coming from your Papa, babysitter, teacher…. You become isolated in your body’s survival functions. Useful, but limited.
Then, thank you Appletta, comes the magic of Stray Sod. “Stray Sod (some call it Magic Sod) is a fairy-spelled bit of ground. Just one step’s worth.”
Fascinated by fairies, a child can disengage from survival-mode misery, and become curious about her situation. This is very similar to dreamwork, in which, by becoming a conscious observer of the dream, one is no longer a victim of it.
See any fairies around? What does Stray Sod look like? What did Appletta say about it? “Just remember the ONE good think about Stray Sod — the spell doesn’t last .. Just wait. Or even better, see if there isn’t a four-leaf clover or a dandelion that you can pick and hold …” In other words, begin to observe your environment. Engage with the “real” world, rather that being isolated in your body’s terror world.
“Suddenly you’ll see your way come clear again.”
- Angela Elmore is the author of Appletta Tooth Fairy and the Whirligigs, which she wrote soon after her son (now grown) received his last letters from Appletta. “The Annotated Letters from Appletta” are an ongoing blog about some of Angela’s favorite Letters from Appletta Tooth Fairy.