One Twig at a Time
Once my daughter announced that she wanted to make a fairy house, I went to the best source I had. No, not Alan Lee and Brian Froud’s classic tome Faeries, but Down East’s own Fairy Houses of the Maine Coast. Next a suitable grove in a wood where Yeats might have taken a nap was located. Moose Point State Park in Searsport was chosen since it wasn’t too far away and it already had the hundred-year-old Big Spruce that any woodland denizen would be proud to call home.
Once there my family and I scoured, scavenged, rummaged, hunted, and rifled like mudlarks until a heap of stones, windfall berries, moss, ferns, driftwood, fungi, birch bark, and other woodland scraps awaited our nimble fingers.
Finding the appropriate fairy grove, though, was no picnic. It took a lot of traipsing about, backtracking, scouting, and Aragorn skills to finally uncover a hidden-away spot far enough away from the beaten path but not too far away that mortal eyes wouldn’t encounter the secret dwellings.
In fact, if a long arm of golden sunlight hadn’t illuminated the spot, we would have easily scurried by on hands and knees. Unloading the heavy pack of building supplies, I was at last able to stand straight, not hobbled and hunched like some Irish pooka.
Now we set to building with no plans in mind except that the houses had to look enticing to faeries but also to my daughter’s budding aesthetics. So down on hands and knees in the dirt and fallen leaves we built, gulls crying off in the distance, the fire and blood of maples trembling above us, the world shut out, the tiny architectures of an invisible world coming to life in our hands.
When we were done, all of us were satisfied that any waif of the faery kingdom would be happy to call these dwellings home. And when a distant dog barked, my daughter snatched up a fern, brandishing it like a wand, determined to protect these fairy houses like Morgan le Fay.