A Faerie Tangle

I’ve been engaged these many months in the research and writing of my new book, The Urban Bestiary (and I am supposed to have the manuscript to my editor next week!–hence my shameful neglect of the Tangled Nest this last month…). I’m finding that immersion in the subject matter of the Bestiary is bringing close-to-home nature more alive than ever. So on a walk in Lincoln Park yesterday, I saw this lovely tangled bank:

tangled bank

For a moment, in my mind’s eye the scene resembled something like this, Brian Froud’s painting of a similar tangle:

Fairy Man

In the introduction to  the new deluxe edition of the classic book Faeries that Froud created with Alan Lee, Froud writes that the book is, “a reminder of a world we all once lived in, when we had a connection to the earth itself. It presents faeries as they are:  the spiritual personifications of the hidden as aspects of the world’s workings…They try to remind us of our emotional and physical ties to nature and to one another. They are the keepers of natural wisdom, and we dismiss them at our own peril.”

I love this notion–faeries as personifications of our own innate sense of continuity with the natural world. In this light, I wish you many Faerie visitations (call them what you will!) during this beautiful season of winter-into-spring.

(For more on the earthen complexities of the Faerie realm, see my essay, “The Thrush and the Faerie,” in my first book Rare Encounters with Ordinary Birds.)



  1. David Griffin

    Lyanda, I have been thinking good thoughts for you regarding the completion of your book, “The Tangled Nest” can wait. Good Luck getting the manuscript to the editor next week. The tangled bank photo is great and the quote from “Faeries” is so true. It seems like just about every culture around the world has “fairy” stories, and for a good reason.

  2. “Come faeries, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame.” – WB Yeats

    The Urban Bestiary sounds marvelous. We have our share of woodland neighbors, despite our home’s location adjacent to a high school parking lot and a fire house. In my tiny backyard over the years I have encountered squirrels, chipmunks, mice and moles, raccoons, skunks, a possum, a woodchuck, and several deer, not to mention the myriad birds. I am looking forward to reading your new book very much; may the transition from manuscript to publication be a smooth one!

  3. Kendra McCloud Petersen

    Hello Lyanda! I’m so happy to hear that you are almost done; can’t wait to read the finished product! Elise wanted to say thank you, again, for introducing her to Faeries. She now has a copy of her own and it has inspired many new drawings. 🙂 xo

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