The Good Fairy
If I had influence over the good fairy who is supposed to reside over the christening off all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world would be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life.
Our breath lingers in the frosty night air like fog rising from a pond. It is really dark outside. There is a strong sense of expectation as we tiptoe along the trail, single file toward the prairie. We are fox walkers on silent pads. We do not speak. We carry no flashlights, but our widening eyes, heightened sense of hearing, and quickening heartbeats belie this silence. We are not afraid, but anticipate the experience.
We are swallowed by the night, disappearing into the midst of the native grasses that seem to reach out to the stars on this night. Each of us is alone; a single atom in this vast universe. We slowly relax upon our backs, nestling into the tall grasses. Gradually, the night forgets that we have intruded. The grass begins to sway again in intricate dance steps in the strong arms of the north wind. An owl hoots softly in the distance.
Can stars be captured within our hands? On this magic night they are within our grasp if we can stretch our fingers just a little further. Is that Orion the Hunter? Does someone else lie upon their backs against one of those stars contemplating life here?
There is a rustle in the grass just above my head. There it is again. My eyes rotate in that direction. No other portion of my body moves. Not my hands, not even the rise and fall of my chest. Funny, I discover that I am not afraid of the unknown, but curious. Is it a skunk? Could it be a little field mouse? As I muse this lack of fear, I understand with the absolute clarity of this infinite winter sky, that I am a part of the natural world! I am a part, however small and insignificant I may feel at this moment. I want to sing out to the tree tops, but I embrace it inside like a most delightful secret. I wonder…
I feel a great sigh build from deep inside of me. It is with regret that I pull myself to a sitting position. It seems almost sacrilegious to break the stillness of the night with my voice, so I speak in a whisper to gather the families back together. Although the stillness of the night has been breached, we walk back to the nature center without speaking, each lost in our own thoughts.
At Burr Oak Woods we strive to forge connections between our visitors and the natural world through total immersion programs such as the one described. We believe in creative imagination and in magic of moments such as these, but let’s face it, there is no good fairy. Children cannot care for that which they do not know and these lessons cannot be learned from the virtual world. We use the television and internet to travel around the globe, but often have not been introduced to the sights, and sounds, and scents of nature right outside our own backdoor.
Discover Nature Family programs at Burr Oak Woods are designed to facilitate exploring nature together. Join us for a program at Burr Oak Woods. Become a mentor for a child. Nature is a precious gift that you can give a child. You can become the good fairy. They will treasure this gift for their entire life.