On Saturday, Elysha, the kids, and I went to visit the annual Fairy House display at Winding Trails. Families, Girl Scout troops, and others spend months building elaborate fairy houses that are then spread out across a path in the forest. Visitors walk through, examining each one, before ending our walk at the edge of a pond, where the Winding Trails staff serves food, carves out a space for kids to build their own houses, and lights a campfire for all to enjoy.
When Elysha first proposed going to this event years ago, I thought it sounded ridiculous and awful. Stupid. I didn’t want to go.
Years later, I’m the one who who watches for date of the event to be published, adds it to our calendar, registers the family, and can’t wait to go.
I adore the fairy houses.
Part of my enjoyment is the creativity on display, Elaborate homes, villages, waterfalls, beaches, and more are sprinkled along the path. This year I found a collection of fairy homes modeled after the three little pigs homes especially impressive, as well as details like a rainbow shell welcoming all, a fairy graveyard, and a Salem witch trial theme that included parking for the witches’ brooms.
An even larger part of my enjoyment is watching the excitement of my kids as we stumble upon each fairy house. They’ve been coming to this event since they were very little, but their enthusiasm has not waned one bit. I felt so very lucky that this is still the case. Clara is 12 years old, and I know that some kids start to pull away from things like this in the midst of middle school.
Happily, Clara still finds enormous pleasure in being with the family and great wonder in the artistry of others.
This year we met a family from the school where I teach who walked the path with us. The kids ended up playing together while the adults sat by the fire, and by the time we were ready to leave, Elysha was (not surprisingly) collecting their contact information.
They’ll probably be sitting on our deck for brunch next weekend.
I found myself thinking back on that first foray to the fairy villages years ago, remembering how jaded and annoyed I was about the whole idea.
It was a much stupider version of me, an uninformed, full of assumption, holier-than-thou version who didn’t understand the value of tradition, simplicity, and my children’s riotous enthusiasm. It was a version of me who assumed that fairy houses built by Girl Scout troops and young children couldn’t be very good.
I’m glad he’s gone. Good riddance.
And next year, for the first time, we plan to build our own fairy houses. Mine will be a fairy prison, complete with a tiny guillotine and basket for chopping off fairy heads. My children are appalled at my concept, but Elysha surprisingly supports the idea, and the director of the program – a man after my own heart – thinks it’s brilliant.
I suspect the makers of this year’ fairy graveyard would approve. too.