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Fairies Welcome


If your life needs some magic, may I recommend a five-year-old? You don't necessarily need to birth and raise this five-year-old. You can simply invite one over for an afternoon. Cheaper, faster, and far less mess.

Wombat  and his father.

Wombat and his father.

Take a five-year-old to a redwood grove near your house and he will discover a gate in a chain link fence, a gate you never saw, despite multiple trips to this exact spot. Walk through the gate and you'll find a path under ancient trees. Follow the path and you'll find a hobbit door.

Walk through the hobbit door and you'll find a place you thought only existed in Victorian children's literature. A secret garden. A Narnia, once summer beats back the ice. A babbling brook winds under the redwoods, with bridges leading to giant mushrooms and dinosaur ferns and wooden benches surrounded by riots of violets. Sun filters through the leaves to hit the flowers and warm the water. It's perfect.

Knowing it exists in the world means you can walk there almost every day - and I do.

Once you return home from your adventure to feast on potato chips, you realize how small your house is, when filled with a family of four. One room, with a bed under the eaves, a tiny kitchen at the back and enough seating for three people, if you pull the chair off the deck. So the children will occupy themselves by jumping merrily on the bed, tiny faces smashing themselves into your pillows as they hurtle themselves through a profound experimentation in the rules of gravity.

Soon the eldest will notice a small pink and green bowl on a stack of books. In the bowl are two tiny pink silk pillows, one labeled "create" and the other "joy." He'll arrange the pillows, find a cloth your mother used to wear around her hair in the '70s, and tuck it in with the pillows. He'll add a sparkly multifaceted ring from the cup of jewelry in the bathroom and, as the crowning touch, a potato chip. This, he tells you, is a fairy bed. The sparkles to attract and the potato chip to entice closer.

The next morning, after they're gone, when you're prosaically clearing away the potato chip because ants, you'll look up. Etched into the window, above this tiny bed, is a fairy wing.