“Don’t you know that everybody’s got a Fairyland of their own?” –P.L. Travers, Mary Poppins
A fellow homeschooling friend clued us into a fairy house building workshop that was happening this week at a botanical garden about an hour drive from us. I was really into the idea because Big Brother has been talking a lot about fairies and gnomes lately. A few weeks ago while at the park he collected a handful of acorn hats and turned them upside down to fill them with “food” for the fairies. Big Brother tends to be a rather logical little boy and does not usually go for the magical and mythical. In fact, this past Easter he announced, unprompted, that there was no way the Easter Bunny was real because bunnies only hop and how could they possibly hide eggs? I just smiled and said, “Don’t tell your friends.” So when Big Brother started daydreaming about fairies and building little houses out of the nooks and crannies of our massive maple tree in the backyard, I was actually excited because I like seeing him hang on to a make-believe world a little longer. Before working on their fairy houses, the children had a story time and listened to Fairy Houses by Tracy Kane. This was a sweet story about a girl who was visiting Mackworth Island found off the coast of Portland, ME. Each time she visited her fairy house to add pieces to the house and look for fairies, she was met with all kinds of creatures of the woods, such as a cricket and a frog. Only when she takes a nap near her fairy house is she finally greeted by the fairies. I visited Mackworth Island before the kids were born and hearing this story reminded me of this special spot and I hope to take them there this summer. It is really lovely. When it came time to create the fairy houses, the boys loved adding flowers, pine cones, sticks, bark, sea shells and other natural trinkets to their house. Well, Little One just liked smearing the glue on everything while I encouraged him to place things on his house. Big Brother was telling me about where the fairy would sleep and how she would get in and out of her house. He was really into the whole story of the house. All the way home we talked about where we would place our houses and what things we could add to the houses when we got home.
I was so focused on and looking forward to the fact that we were going to make fairy houses, that I sort of forgot we would also have a botanical garden to explore afterwards. Though the vast majority of the gardens are still recovering from the long winter, there were some small signs of life popping up. Not to mention the gorgeous indoor garden spaces; massive flowers, plants and trees that towered over the boys. Big Brother was beside himself to find a lemon tree. He’s been asking if we could grow lemon trees, because he loves yellow so so much.
And then the greatest surprise was the walking story of Story of the Root Children by Sibylle Von Olfers. Big Brother knows and recognized this book from his playgroup and was telling us about the story as we walked down the path. With each stop, there were magical fairy houses planted along the wooded path. The boys would shriek with excitement as they ran to the next fairy house to inspect and admire. It was a fairy house scavenger hunt that winded along a path and ending with a wide open field of daffodils. It was magical. And yellow. (The best color ever, according to my son.)