Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fairy Houses

Fairy House - builder unknown
Macworth Island, Maine

            I was first introduced to fairy houses in the Nichols Arboretum in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and then encountered them again while sightseeing in Maine on Mackworth Island.  Bark, sticks, stones, leaves, pine needles and (in Maine) shells were the construction materials.  A little online searching will reveal it’s a growing phenomenon.  Fairy houses are big!

            And small.  They’re cute little houses, and lovingly made.  Maybe that’s the reason I’m starting to think there’s more hope for the future in fairy houses than pretty much anything else I’m coming across these days.  Certainly there’s more hope in them than anything I’m seeing in politics.  The recipe is simple: Find a little place and love it.  The fact that the sticks and bark are real, things with smell and texture that came from the cycles of life and are still part of those cycles, well, that’s a bonus.  And, they’re free.  That’s a bonus, too.

            What’s most amazing to me is that, just a few years ago, such fairy house villages were largely unknown.  Now they’re popping up everywhere.  Secondarily, it amazes me that, in this age of digital multimedia glitz, people of all ages would see such beautiful worlds of creative possibility in forest litter.  So what happened? First, there was a model: somebody built a fairy house.  Then, as with the cairns that also seem to have sprouted in colonies across the landscape, so too do additional fairy houses spring up.

            Find a little place and love it: Presto! Something new under the sun.

Find a little place, and love it.

Because it’s not so much with sticks and moss that children young and old are building, but with love, with feelings, and with imagination.  The sticks were already there.  The leaves, the green mosses, the shining stones, they were waiting, they are waiting for new hands, new eyes, new heart.  The things of this world that people have built already are likewise at our disposal.  The great nations, the cities, the sheaves of legal wrapping paper that shroud the corporations, these are just moss and mineral crusted upon the earth, and fallen leaves.  We can make something of all of this.

Find a little place and love it. 

First, it becomes a mirror.  As we build with feelings, so our feelings become visible through our building.  Are we building barricades and fences for our fairy houses? What perils are we imagining? Do we really want to build this way again?  This is our world.  We can make it in our image.  In fact, we cannot do otherwise. 

This is our world. 
This is our world!  
This is our world!   
This is our World!

So we will build with awareness, with feelings, and with love.  The fairy houses we build attract attention, visitors, and emulation.  More spring up, all in different styles.  More visitors come.  Amazing how they all fit together!

Find a place and love it.  First it becomes a mirror.  Then it becomes a lens. 

We feel the intent of the builders, look into the works before us, and see the possibility of new worlds.  Same old stuff here, but with new possibilities inherent, new vision opening possibilities within the treasures and the trash.  Each example becomes a lens that brings new possibilities into focus, new ways of building, yes, but more importantly, the new feelings and sensibilities that built the buildings, even new ways of being that are implied by how things are being made.  And the world is different in the moment we are changed.

Find a little place even a moment in time and love into it.  First it becomes a mirror, then a lens.  Then, the world begins to bend around it, and be remade. 

Find a little place and love it; let it be a mountain or a stone, a river or a cup of water handed to a child, a handful of forest litter.  Let it be a business, a garden, a home, a corner of your desk, or a clear and intimate moment shared during the day.  We can build with moments as children build with sticks.  Everything and every moment holds a new world within it, bursting with anticipation, longing to expand with us.

Find a place and love it. First it becomes a mirror. Then it becomes a lens.  Then, the world begins to bend around it, and be remade. 





  1. This is beautiful. Thank you.

  2. Amazing look at our Earth! Every one needs a new lens and this beautifully written piece gave me a great view. Thanks, much needed!