We spent Sunday afternoon out in a corner of our yard, under the gargantuan elephant ears, clearing weeds and stumps and moving plants and fallen logs, preparing the ground for our fairy garden. The fabled Fairy Garden. That which will transform any mere human who chooses to enter into an extraordinary magical fairy or wood nymph or whichever creature of the earth one thinks to be. Ethan and his muscles were clearing a stump while we weeded and moved cut fallen trees to be reconfigured as a small fairy table and fairy sitting blocks. I use the term "we" loosely. Magdalena master soup maker was busy putting together a lovely "soup for papa".
Magdalena: Mama, can you cook it?
me: Well, you can cook it on your stove.
MJB: No, I mean cook it for real, on the stove in the kitchen.
me: Uhh, I don't know honey. We're working out here. Why don't you cook it on your stove?
So Ethan and I keep working and I go in to check on my helpers and Magdalena has out the spices and spicing up the soup for papa.
MJB: It is going to be so delicious. Papa is going to be so happy.
Then she tastes it.
MJB: It needs salt. Mama, can you get me the salt?
So then they go outside, Magdalena puts about a tablespoon of coarse salt in, and starts tasting again.
MJB: I put just a smidge of sugar in, ya know, to make it super yummy and sugary.
How does one know which plants may have poisonous parts? Or at least, parts that can make a child sick? I know Oleander is poison, I know rosemary is not. Other than that, as far as what's in my yard, I don't know. We don't have Oleander, we did at our house in NM and it wasn't thriving and it drove me crazy as Magdalena became mobile that we had a poisonous plant in our yard so we just took it out. We do have rosemary here, and that was in the soup. But so were random carefully cut up flowers and leaves and grasses and weeds. In the end it was thrown out, and out came the potato peeler and carrots (that were in my fridge, Nora, on the floor of the rain forest growing roots) and a new soup began.
What is it about beginning things? Everything is so full of promise, so as yet undone, so waiting for fruition. Anticipation of the Fairy Garden is filling us all up with a what's-to-come feeling as we work and plan and plant. Magdalena has big big plans. Augustus is pulling up worms (what's with that? Is it really that simple? Boys like worms? Magdalena has been gardening since she was crawling and has never shown an interest in worms, quite the opposite). And I envision a place a magic and wonder, a place of peace and repose, a place for exploring and imagining and inventing stories and living whole lives, a place to retreat, a place for tea parties and picnics, a place to sit in rain showers under the elephant ears. I am full with expectation and anticipation and am in love with the earth, the soil, the loamy richness of years of a section of no-man's-land yard that is a perfect spot for our fairies to dance.