Yesterday I went to a park where as a child I had played for hundreds of hours. Set near to the shore the trees and paths are just as I remembered, the white bandstand gleaming through the leaf laden branches and the sun casting shadows across the grass. A place so familiar it is part of me, and where if I closed my eyes I could see myself, together with my friends, rushing down the steep paths towards the sea on our roller skates, hotly followed by the parkie, wheels were not welcome!!
Yesterday was another sunny day and I had come to the park to find the pirates! Well at least one of them who lives in a gate house at one of the many entrances to this beautiful place. These artists turned pirates are the people who created a pirate ship from driftwood that has become a tourist attraction and a community project, their skills and imagination I have written about before on this blog it is a wonderful thing.
In the park I was introduced to the latest piece of magic, the fairy dwellings, which have sprung up in the trees and grass across the park. Tiny doors and windows giving small faces a glimpse into the fairy world. Above a wooden eagle is hanging in the branches keeping a careful eye on the tiny world below As I watched families were arriving the children keen to explore and find the fairies.
In the middle of the fairy houses there is a new project, this will have fairy doors and a circular space in the centre it which will be placed some very special treasure. This will be the memory tree, and the first memories will be for a little girl who is not here any more to play with the fairies. Instead her classmates and family will have their very own tree in which to put items to remember her by. In time other people will also use the space to remember those who are lost to them.
Alongside the memory tree there is a large flat stone, bearing the inscription ‘Wishing Stone’. I saw people touching it, and silently giving their wishes to the stone. Decorated with dozens of smaller hand painted stones this is indeed a lovely spot to leave your hopes and dreams.
So, in an ordinary park, on an ordinary afternoon in June, magic is indeed happening. The sort of magic that surrounds us all when we dare to believe in fantasy, fun and fairies. The magic of hope, of love and of memory. The magic of imagination and play.
So many parks have signs saying do not touch, keep off the grass and no playing here, this spot is the exact opposite Here they are saying touch, feel, dance in bare feet on the grass and live in your imagination. Blessed are the children that use this park today. From a couple of artists playing with driftwood to an enchanted wonderland of hopes and dreams, who knew what would grow, and who knows what is coming next?