I am currently participating in one of Jena Schwartz’s fabulous writing groups – “Transitions.” This is one of the free-write pieces I wrote last week.
The acorn tree in the backyard was the anomaly. Tall and straight, it was unclimbable. The willows and elms and larch trees offered inviting handholds and foot places on crooked wandering trunks and branches. Even the pine trees, had we wanted (but we didn’t), offered an easier way up into bird’s eye territory. Not so the oak tree.
Cool, mysterious. Straight up.
In the spring my sister and I gathered tiny tiny baby acorns as food for our play horses. (We eschewed barbies and instead played with Grand Champion ponies.) Filling tiny saucers and cups with them, those tiny little ocher nubs, not even fully formed embryos, were the sauce of culinary adventure for those poor plastic toys.
In the fall, we searched again – this time for fully-formed acorns no bigger than the nail on our little fingers. Sometimes all we found were the caps, sometimes the nuts, and I spent hours painstakingly matching acorns to tops and rejoicing when the right pairing was found.
Those caps. Fairy saucers. Dinner plates. Right side up, they were simply nubby little funny shaped hummocks. Upside down… they served up magic.
There are no oak trees in our yard. We make do with trumpet flowers and broccoli leaves. The hollow in the apple tree is for keepsakes. I stash away red-shafted flicker feathers and pretty stones. For my boys, yes, but more for myself, to believe magic is alive.
The feather is a message, the dove call is a hello. I read patterns in wingbeats and caresses in the breezes. I miss being young, when the fields stretched out endlessly for a girl who might go wander.
We walk in the woods, and I point out the bright eyed squirrel, the chipper robin. “Do you see it? Can you feel it?” I ask them. If I could give only one gift to my children, it would be this – that they find magic wherever they look. That they feel confident the tiny bowers of fallen grass were only just vacated by rustling gossamer wings. That they scent fairy dust in the long-armed summer evenings. That they feel enveloped in the comforting embrace of night, when magic is renewed and seeps forth in the dreams and delights of the touched.