Last Sunday I had an interesting conversations with a five year-old. We were talking about travels along our bike path, which starts at the West Kingston Train Station and meanders through wooded areas and the Great Swamp into the coastal town of Narragansett. She was telling me about a section of the path inhabited by trolls, whispering that the best time to catch site of these creatures is in the early morning hours and cautioning me, should I venture out at this time, to be very, very quiet, as Trolls tend to be extremely skitterish. I live for these kinds of conversations because I’m infatuated with anything that has to do with the imagination. Young children are filled with imagination. When does it dissipate, I wonder? What can we do to keep it always on hand, no matter how old we get?
Our friends, Jack and Jean, love to take adventures with us. We’ve shared quite a few, including Disney World. Jack and I were administrators of a high school for a few years and we became good friends in the process. He was the best principal I’d ever met; someone who knew the right thing to do at the right time and who always kept the kids first and foremost in every decision he made. He and Charley, my husband, also an amazing teacher and administrator, are kindred spirits. Jean, Jack’s wife, taught kindergarten in Boston. I find her to be a caring, creative and talented human being. Like many elementary teachers I’ve known, everything around her is colorful and enticing. Their yard is filled with flowers; plants thrive; their home is always decorated for every holiday; her recipes are the best; and sitting at their table for a meal is a gastronomic pleasure. These friends have been there for us through the good and the bad; the celebrations and the operations. Look around and there they are. Steady anchors in our sometimes turbulent lives.
This week Jean planned two adventures for us. The first excursion was to Highfield Hall and Gardens in Falmouth, Massachusetts on Cape Cod. http://www.highfieldhallandgardens.org/
Highfield Hall was an estate built by the Beebe Family in 1878. In 1972 the property was purchased by the Josephine and Joshua Lilly III who donated the land and house to a local arts organization. After many years of hard times the town’s citizen’s helped to save the main hall and the property from becoming another new condominium project. With the help of interested donors, the Hall and the grounds were saved and refurbished. Today it is used for exhibits and cultural events and it’s a joyous venue for weddings. There is a summer theatre and music and the gardens and woodlands are quite lovely. This summer, the curator, Salley Mavor, along with a group of artists, created a series of 32 Fairy Dwellings throughout the house and surrounding property. Ms. Mavor gives an explanation for each one in the following video:
The four of us spent an imaginative afternoon touring the house and gardens and walking the wooded paths looking into these secret abodes of tiny, magical creatures. For a few hours we were children again, pointing and ooohing and aaahing at the ingenuity of it all. And in the background, the sound of a little child calling for the fairies to come out echoed through the grey beechwoods
We finished our day by going out to an ice cream shop for dinner. Time well spent and happy endings all around.
Our second adventure, planned for the following day, was to the Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich. I’ll tell you all about it in the next post. For now, I’ll leave you with the hope that maybe you’ll be inspired to create your own fairy garden and spin stories with a child. Sweet Dreams.