Sunday, 9 June 2019

From trash to treasures - creating wonder from empty boxes

 This is a little story of serendipity, 
A little story of how wee sweet Nicoletta the Treasure Collector came to be.

One sunny afternoon, when I was showing one of my older daughters my new deodorant, she made a little comment about the fact that there was still a fair amount of packaging involved, despite its eco credentials.

And though I had already put the box aside to reuse in my own packaging of wee folk, I started to play with ideas of how this sweet little box might become something more fun and worthy.

At the same time I had been casting my net of inspiration towards fairyland in the hope of a little idea to help a young girl who has been having a less than easy time at the moment.

And then just like that, smile-making-thoughts started to skip into my mind... a little treasure collector, in her own little treasure box, which might sometimes, with play, become a gift shop or such like. A little something that could be taken out and about for company and purpose, on less than pleasant outings.

And so it all started to become

And one little idea led to another 

And I found out more about Nicolleta the wee little treasure collector

And so when I sent her to meet her little girl I was able to add a letter
And now I share this little happening with you all,
 In the hope that it makes you as happy as it made me, 
And that it inspires the creation of other fun and treasure from empty boxes.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

I believe in fairies, truly

Some things are hard to express, sometimes putting things into words feels almost inappropriate, a clumsy capture and thus an alteration of an intangible essence. Sometimes in saying things, in trying despite our ineptitude to communicate more than we can, we make ourselves vulnerable, we risk ridicule for our willingness to know what we cannot quite know.

For these reasons it isn’t always easy for me to say ‘I believe in fairies… truly.’ What I mean when I say this is that I believe in fairyness, in ethereal beings, in the aliveness of the natural world, an aliveness which we are called to perceive, which wants to be known, with which we can communicate daily, in moments, and outside the bounds of time. When I say I believe in fairies I mean fundamentally that I believe in that which as a child I knew to be true, one of the truest things.
 Often as I go about my days I am aware of the aliveness of these beings, or to put it another way, of the forms of this aliveness. Sometimes this awareness is simply there, in magical places, or at twilight, and sometimes I am quite surprised. Always, these encounters give a sense of awe.  Usually such noticings and interactions are small, indescribable moments, a little oh there you are or a small shared breath, perhaps quite appropriately soon dissipating, leaving just a trace in my sense of existence. Such moments are hardly substantial enough to try to communicate.
But now and again perhaps, it is important to mention these happenings, perhaps most importantly to share with others and thereby support these truths.
Mary Oliver offers us
Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.
A recent interaction with Marna Widom, an artist who I admire greatly, who’s images seem to me to reflect her own experience of the ethereal realm, reminded me of the importance of the importance of the ‘telling about it.’
Marna commented on a picture which I shared of little beechnut hats sitting on my fingers, my fingers giving playful visibility to the beings beneath or within the hats, these simple pictures resonated with her, and so we came to exchange a few images of those beings which we have seen, showing themselves to us in forms with which we can identify, within drying flowers, seeds, wood. Soon our friend Lucinda Macy joined in too.
It is through the simple nourishment which that sharing of wonder gave me that I find myself with tender courage, taking the time to write about the following little occurrence.
My daughter and I are walking along the pathway by our local allotments, she stops to look at the dry poppy heads, and as she touches one it whispers a little of its seed-sound, I pick it for her to see, shake it lightly, tip it over her hand and tell her that we can take the seeds to our garden. She is still, entranced, shaking into her hand then taking off the edges of the crown to let the tiny black seeds spill more smoothly into her hand.

I feel the mellow time, stretching like humming silence, into the warmth of the sun, into the next year, back to the forming of the poppy and long into seconds of looking. My daughter gives me the empty seed head, and asks for another, I stroke the slightly pink sun-browned paper-thin face, such a beauty, I feel a care for her, though her hourglass is empty, she is not empty, I lay her in my pocket.
Later I am peeling sweetcorn from my veg box and a memory of childhood creeps into me, the beard of the corn is plentiful, and I start plaiting it as hair, I fetch the poppy shell from my pocket, and begin folding, and forming, waiting, watching for the suggestions which the corn wisps make, ‘here is my hand, this will be my cloak’.

She becomes so simply, quickly, imperfectly beautifully. 
I stand her on my daughter’s mantelpiece, she seems pleased.
Soon I bring some wee stitched ones around, they are pleased for my attention, and later for my daughter's attention. There is a fresh newness and invitation to noticing, to playing.
Two days later when I come into the room, I see she seems different.
I look more closely and realise that in the communication between her corn dress and time, she has started to bend, and in so doing she seems to be inclining towards the wee ones around her, listening to them, becoming herself. I am moved by this simple expression of her nature, of her stretching herself into this new body of hers, of her becoming as she dries, as her greenness dissipates giving magic into the air around her.

I share this blessing with you all, that you may be encouraged in your own moments of Autumnal magic. And, these words too, which I love, to accompany you...

I dwell in possibility by Emily Dickinson

I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose –
More numerous of Windows –
Superior – for Doors –

Of Chambers as the Cedars –
Impregnable of eye –
And for an everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky –

Of Visitors – the fairest –
For Occupation – This –
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise –

Marna Widom's work can be found here @twelvelittletales
Lucinda Macy's work can be found here @willodel

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Midsummer's first song

You probably already know
all about the garden folk who help the garden grow.
The gnomes who nourish the roots,
The fiery faeries who guide the sunbeams to ripen rosy fruits,
Those swift small sylphs bearing up in the air,
Dandelion wishes to grow here and there.

But I wonder if you might have heard
Of the wee ones who help the birds,
Carrying twigs to furnish nests
and helping find berries that taste the best.

At this magical time of year,
When midsummer festivities are drawing near,
The birds all sing with happy din,
Enjoining festivities to begin.

Dear robin has a lot to do
Delivering mail all fairyland through,
So these little ones give a helping hand
Carrying letters across the land.

Here’s a tender request from the wind to the rose,
to share her petals as a carpet for tiny dancing toes.

There’s a letter from the moonbeam fays to sweet slow snail,
Arranging for reflection of silvery sheen around this mysterious veil.


And a precious request from the fairy queen,
bearing a special stamp not often seen.
A letter to dear Robin himself,
Carried with great care by this kind helping elf
‘Honourable Robin, it is the wish of wee folk all,
That you should sing the first note of midsummer’s procession call.'

Filled with all this preparation
the whole garden is full of elation.

If you were to wake
At first day break,
And tiptoe to peep
While many still sleep,
You are sure to find
Magic beings of all kind,
Dancing midsummer blessings for the ground
To the trill of the birds first joyfully sung sounds.


This story was first published as a tiny booklet insert in the bird-zine 'Perched' by The Knothole Tree, you can subscribe here:

If you would like your own wee fairy robin helpers please request them from the Magic Fairy Lady here: Dear Robin's fairy helpers