Today I must advise you to pay careful attention to the rain.
You see, barring a few seductions here and there, water maidens tend to live rather solitary lives. Oh, that’s not to say that they don’t find the peace of their ponds and lakes and rivers and springs interrupted by mortals more often than they would like, or find their careful flower arrangements disturbed by children or alligators, or find themselves glumly removing trash from their waters. But none of these activities exactly involves conversation, and even these days, some fortunate water maidens can avoid even all that.
But that doesn’t quite mean that they don’t crave company. Quite the opposite. Or that they don’t wish to dance.
The difficulty, of course, is arranging such matters. Water maidens have never been terribly comfortable with the formality of fairy courts. Or, for that matter, vice versa – many of the noblest of fairy queens have been known to make quite unkind comments regarding the puddles that water maidens often leave in their wake – to say nothing of the occasional unfortunate events with wilting water lilies and seaweeds. So gathering at the fairy courts – although this may be their right and privilege – is rarely the first choice.
Nor are water maidens ever particularly comfortable long away from water, or in water that is not their own. They can stand on land, certainly – they have even carried out the occasional seduction there, from time to time – and have even been known to venture a mile or so away from their water to obtain one of the latest electronic devices, or particularly fine chocolate. Legend even tells of three maidens who never fail to creep to nearby windows to watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones. (They are reportedly all on Team Dragon, and have threatened violent flooding if the final episode does not contain dragons flying in triumph.) But these are for short periods only – an hour or two, at most – and not quite right for a gathering of water maidens.
And so, when a water maiden craves company, she summons the rain.
You might see it – a touch of mist over a puddle, or a pond; a glimmer of light on a river, or a shimmer against a white cloud. Or you might see it on the edge of the sky – a thin grey line that for a moment, flashes silver and gold.
And then the rain, summoning the water maidens.
Watch carefully, when the rain comes after something like this. Watch very carefully, for that flash of other, for a sudden shimmer, for a touch of cold on your skin.
It might just be a water maiden, inviting you to dance and sing.
Particularly today, which is, by decree fee, the official Water Maidens Day, a day for all water maidens to emerge from the waters.
If only for a moment.
Water Maidens Day is the idea of poet, writer and folklorist Nin Harris. I’m just borrowing it for fun.
(Also, for those of you in the northeast currently buried in snow, the water maidens feel you. They really, really do. But even their magic has limits.)