Tuesday, March 20, 2007


© 2007 Oona McOuat

It comes tentatively; Springtime's yellow, like a fluffy duckling taking its first swim. I see it in the earliest daffodils that bravely open their faces towards the strengthening sun. Softly, Spring whispers, "It is time to wake up."

As Winter turns to Spring, I sit on the grass playing my harp, a circle of little girls singing and dancing around me. Some of them have crowns of daisies on their heads. Others are clutching bouquets of tiny woodland flowers - snowdrops, bluebells, and dandelions. In Hawaii, I took flowers for granted, but here in Canada our outdoors' eyes have been starved for months for colours other than brown, conifer green, grey, and white. Some of the girls spontaneously begin to leap over the dormant fire circle, and I wonder if somewhere deep inside they are remembering the old ways.

It's amazing how one medium sized yard can entertain a group of 16 girls for hours. My lesson plans are good, but their own ways of flowing with the natural world around them are better. Seamlessly, they move from one creation to the next - turning a pile of sticks into a faerie castle, a recess in the ground into a magical hollow where there are unicorns and trolls. As the girls play, they are unaware of time, money, worry, and stress.

Of course, life at Faerie Camp isn't perfect. There's the spirited and very dear 5-year-old who needs to be first and sits in front of everyone during story time blocking their view because she "really needs" to see the pictures. I let the other girls express their frustration to her and then gently explain that we are a Faerie Family and that everyone's needs are important. World peace starts here.

Yesterday we hiked to the Enchanted Forest. This involved walking along a typically quiet segment of the road. It so happened that they were doing roadwork, so when the backed-up drivers were finally allowed to pass they were going way too fast. The girls were frantically waving fir boughs, shouting "Slow down - there are children on the road!" their fervor heightened by the dead doe we saw lying in the ditch.

The heavy machinery the road workers were using had made the sides of the road very mucky. One of the most feminine of the girls slipped in the dirt and into the ditch and got muddy and wet. As she recovered from her trauma she held on to my left hand and I pulled her along, sloshing gumboots and all (I had two others clutching 2 and a half fingers each on the right) but then she got cold and as I did up her jacket, her lip got caught in the zipper. That definitely merited a fresh river of tears.

A walk that usually takes me a quarter of an hour took 45 minutes each way with the kids. Plus we had to stop and wait for the roadwork, so we ended up getting back to the house 20 minutes late. All of the parents were waiting as I came strolling in like the Pied Piper followed by their muddy, bedraggled, tear-stained daughters.

Photo by Kmax

Miraculously, every single child returned for Day Two!

Day Two's events featured Lyra (a wee elf who is about 2 and a half feet tall...) getting her hands covered in sap during the "Meet a Tree Exercise" (done blindfolded), while Molly met the tree with her lip. She was very brave about it...

The girls - they are the "Moon Princess Superhero Faeries of the Blue and Green Forest with their Magic Wings, Wands and their Magic Harp" - have already come up with some very strong points for their Forest Faerie Manifesto. They want to make sure that the forests, the animals, and the earth are still here for their children to enjoy.

For so many of us grownups, just getting through our daily commitments is overwhelming, let alone ending the mindless wars and stopping global warming before it is too late. Beyond our world of time, worry, and money, these children wait for us in a place that is deep and pure. They stand like saplings, firmly rooted in their clear beliefs, sometimes whispering , sometimes shouting , "It is time to wake up!!" 

They live in our fear-shrouded world and paint it yellow, one blade of grass and flower at a time. Welcome springtime. Thank you children for laughing and believing and being our hope.

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