Photo: Sue Vincent
The youngsters always met by The Pillar.
Their parents had. Their grandparents had, and the great-grands before that and on and on till time before time. It was a rite of passage of sort. A congregation-point for those just past the threshold from children to adults.
There was no timetable for how long it was before a set of youths made way for those younger still. Yet the time never seemed to be very long, no matter the outward circumstances.
In olden times such changeover was marked by many youths’ marrying shortly after adult bodies and responsibilities were taken on, as it was believed that matrimony was the lead to sensibilities. Any youths lagging behind in house-making would soon enough stop visiting The Pillar anyway, perhaps as it would feel unseemly for them to be seen hobnobbing with total greenhorns to the adult world.
In modern times, with childhoods that stretched well beyond the bounds any elder would consider reasonable, and with less children in town to nip at the heels of those frequenting The Pillar, youths nonetheless rarely mingled by it for much longer than they would’ve in the past. Just their chronological age had shifted some, from puberty to closer to the end of high-school.
Looking back, few could tell exactly what about The Pillar had drawn them to the location. Sure, the isolation allowed for some actions full-fledged adults would likely frown on (though they’d done the same — and sometimes worse — themselves), but there were plenty other isolated places to find privacy in. Blustery in winter and mosquito-swarmed by summer, the field where The Pillar stood was not exactly the height of comfort. Still by tradition or something more, the youth were drawn to it like moths to light.
It was the fairies, some whispered, magic of the Fair Folk, conjured so they could feed upon the newly discovered energies of youth, necessary to the Fairies’ sustained immortality. Others pooh-poohed the folklore, perhaps unnerved by the notion that anything but their own will had caused them to view as irresistible what later on looked quite the dreary spot.
“It was just the adventure,” the latter would grumble. “Every child in town grew up dreaming of being old enough to go to The Pillar. Of course we wanted to finally do so.”
Still they could not explain what had made them suddenly wish to visit it. Or why it had just as suddenly lost its charm.
When pressed, they’d shrug that “it’s been there as long as anyone remembers.” As if that was explanation enough.
Lore or not, the youngsters always met by The Pillar.
And there The Pillar stood. Slanted by age or forces beyond comprehension. Till another age of the earth would come.