The morning had been brisk and cool as autumn crept into the mountains. The traveler paused to pull the crisp air into his lungs as his eyes took in the fall colors flowing down the mountain sides like warm, golden lava. Patient steps had taken him from one side of the country to the other and this day found him in yet another new place. A place that made gooseflesh rise on the back of his neck as he sensed magic crackling in the air.
The traveler hoisted his pack back onto his broad shoulders and began walking again, guided only by a feeling that snapped like tiny silent explosions all around him. Up the valley he went, past small farms and rolling meadows. Soon he came to a gap and jerked to a stop. Something was shimmering in and out of sight in the clear air. His eyes raked the mountain sides searching for the source and finally came to rest on a wizard standing high on a rock outcropping. The wizard’s hands flew wildly to and fro as magic danced from his fingertips. The traveler watched in awe as a huge, billowing curtain appeared, stretching like a massive orange sail from one side of the valley to the other. Picking up his pace, the traveler ducked beneath the valley curtain, took one last look over his shoulder and continued on.
A quiet stillness hung upon the air as the traveler arrived at a pleasant spot just right for pitching his tent. He handed five golden coins to the kind lady who was the keeper of the park and, choosing a perfect spot, quickly set up camp. Although his empty belly rumbled to be fed, the call of the magic pulled him past the camp and further up the creek. Before he rounded the corner the thunder of water falling a great distance filled his ears and he soon found himself standing below three crystal cascades, the force of their crash against the rocks filling the air with a fine mist. Craning his neck upwards, he watched as water shot from above seeking a new path far below. The cliffs were an unusual color and their walls pocked with caves and holes….the walls were formed by minerals deposited for years and years by the flowing water which had raised the cliffs from a small hill to their current height.
That night he fell into a deep sleep filled with strange sounds and dreams. As dawn quietly chased the night from the sky, he grabbed his journal and went to sit by the water and write. But as he rounded the corner, he caught his breath in a gasp and stopped dead in his tracks.
Where the enormous falls had been the day before, a small, gentle fall of water tumbled around slippery rocks as it passed under a stone bridge that seemed to have appeared from nowhere. Blinking his eyes several times, the traveler stared at the bridge and reached forward with his hand to see if it was real. The cool stones were solid beneath his fingers as the water tinkled below like a million bells. Deciding quickly, the traveler stepped onto the bridge and walked to the other side...and into a village alive with movement and life. The street was busy with people bustling about their errands and chores. Children ran in the streets dodging between horses and laughter filled the air. The traveler slowly moved forward as his senses filled with the sights and sounds that surrounded him. On his left was an inn.. A huge wooden sign carved with intricate letters proclaimed that it was ‘Zerbe’s’. A few steps further found him staring at a shop that sold nothing but pink jellybeans. A kind lady bustled along the sidewalk with a cloud of small children hovering around her skirts.
As the traveler stood, entranced by the scene, a tall man with an impish grin and rumpled hair moved to greet him. With a deep bow and a dramatic flourish of this wide sleeves he smiled and said, ‘Greetings, sir! Welcome to Brigadoon!’. With another sweep of his hand he indicated a sign above the street. It said, ‘BRIGADOON’.. But..the letters were upside down!
“Elros!”, shouted the mayor from the doorway of Zerbe’s.
The tall man laughed, waved his arm again and the letters quickly stood in the direction they should again.
“Where ARE we?!”, the traveler finally managed to stutter. “Have I wandered to the dark side of the moon? Why wasn’t this all here yesterday?!”
“Why, you are in Brigadoon, friend!”, Elros replied. “You would not have seen us yesterday, you would have had to look a hundred yesterdays ago. A thousand years ago an evil sorcerer cast a spell upon this place. Our dawn comes but once every hundred years.”
“Elros! We need your help for the party!”, the mayor shouted as he huffed his way to the middle of the street. “I have the list of what remains to be done here!”, he added, waving a paper covered with writing under the wizards nose. Writing that suddenly seemed to be...backwards and upside down.
“Elros!”, bellowed the mayor again as the wizard laughed, waved his hand and put the letters all to right once more.
Soon the traveler found himself drawn into the magic as the friendly people welcomed him like an old friend. As the sun moved to the late afternoon sky, he found himself laughing and dancing with the happy villagers as the wooden tables groaned under the weight of roast beef, fresh bread and pie.
“Elros!”, the traveler heard a familiar voice shout as he glanced up and saw the mayor’s elegant bow tie flip upside down.
They danced and sang far into the night until bright stars filled the sky and the autumn chill began to creep into the air. His head filled with music and a smile on his face, the traveler sought out a chair and, as the dancers twirled around him, his head sank low upon his chest and sleep overtook him.
Early the next morning, the traveler awoke with a start. Scrambling from his tent he raced around the trees and jolted to a stop as the three tall cascades fell once more in front of him.
“I must have dreamed it all.”, he said sadly, sinking to the green grass to sit at the water’s edge. Wanting to write it all down he opened his journal...then stopped with a gasp. The familiar lining of the well used journal was upside down.
“Elros!”, he cried, a smile breaking out on his face as his laughter filled the air. “I must leave my journal here to remember that one magic day!”
Jumping to his feet, he headed up the north-east trail at the side of the falls. When he reached the top, he crossed the zig-zag walkway that spanned the falls until he found himself at a fork in the trail a ways along the path on the other side. At the fork, the trail to the left was a steep descent down the cliffs. The trail to the right headed slightly uphill, both of them marked with a sign saying, ’trail’. Starting at the stone step on the right-hand trail, he walked 50 steps. Here the trail turned sharply to the left, but, stepping off the trail, he continued on for 7 more steps in the same direction he had been walking until he stood at a large rotting log that lay in the undergrowth in front of a tree. Carefully, the traveler tucked his journal behind the log and covered it with sticks. Returning to the trail, he followed the left fork down the steep path and returned to his camp.
Later that day his feet carried him once more from the valley and on to new adventures. But he would always remember the one magical day he spent in Brigadoon.
Please rehide it carefully!