It’s a lovely morning and I am still aglow from the fun of making ‘fairy gardens’ with one of my partners yesterday. We visited the home of a lovely artist for this shared activity, along with a couple other women and a younger girl, who arrived separately. The girl had a beautiful name, and was very shy.  The woman teaching the activity has her education and vocation in ‘horticulture therapy’. I’d never considered it as a possible line of work to be in, and it delights me that not only is my own garden a haven for my serenity, and a source of peace and contentment, but that somewhere ‘out there’ people are ‘led down the garden path’ figuratively speaking, to their wellness, too. Pretty awesome.

A garden in miniature.

A garden in miniature.

We had a lot of fun talking and creating tiny gardens, sipping tea, and no kidding – coloring. Like children, we chose pages to color, selected colored pencils with great care – because in those moments, the very colors themselves were up to our choosing, and seemed to matter. It was quite calming and wonderful. I wonder when I stopped coloring? 🙂

This morning I find myself struggling between a rather practical-minded grown-up within trying to resist constantly wanting to clarify ‘of course fairies aren’t real‘ – and can’t quite do it. It has little to do with any legitimate reality or lack thereof of potentially unseen wee beings lurking in the shrubbery, honestly. Could there be? Why couldn’t there be? There was a time when as a child I was quite firm in my conviction that there was a ‘coffee brownie’ hiding in my Mother’s coffee cup. I could see her pert nose and bright eyes looking back at me when I looked down into the caramel brown of my Mother’s coffee, any time. Real? Not real? My own reflection. Well, okay, sure, but…

We live our myths with as much ease and certainty as we live our realities. We have as little comfort with having either toppled through ‘proof’. Look at the creationist movement in the United States – people  of such firm conviction that the earth is quite young and was created from a void, in a motion, by the will of an entity, that they fight fiercely to have that perspective taught, even to the sons and daughters of Science. How odd. On the other hand, Science fights back with all the forces of reason and data at its command, captured succinctly in a t-shirt slogan, “Science doesn’t care what you believe”.

We are each having our own experience. We define our world  – define it? Hell, we create it! We create what we can and can’t see with the words that we use to tell ourselves what is, and what is not. We change our opportunities in life by defining who we are, ourselves, with our state of being statements and self-talk. We limit our relationships with our un-tested assumptions about others, about their will, their intentions, their abilities, their knowledge.

I used to get quite furious with people about Reality. It was not, I would insist quite emotionally, whatever we choose to make of it. It has unquestionable substance and character independent of what we understand or recognize! That’s probably true. Maybe that’s true. I’m 50 now, and I understand the world differently these days. The closest I care to come to ‘unquestionable’ at this point would be to acknowledge that there is little chance I can recognize, understand, know, or be aware of enough of the stuff of pure absolute reality on an ‘unquestionable’ level to ever be certain that indeed that is what I’d gotten hold of. I would have been so angry with this being I am now – and ready to do intellectual combat at the suggestion that we could change reality with a change in thinking. I made progress philosophically and emotionally to gain an understanding that Reality was really more likely ‘reality’ – lower case ‘r’. That ’emic’ and ‘etic’ realities were a pretty easy distinction to make, and possibly needful.  People do have their own experience, and their experience does color their perceptions and understanding of their world. So… easy enough. Their personal individual emic reality would stand somewhat separately from the theoretically immutable etic reality. That meant a lot to me. A foothold on something real the understanding of which I could at least strive for.

What a mess. How could I ever be sure? Somewhere along the way, the pursuit of Reality cost me a lot of humor and whimsy – and fun. Somewhere along life’s path I stopped being wowed by Greek mythology, by allegories that teach and delight me, by wonder itself. On a rainy Saturday I found myself ‘finding my way home’ in some hard to describe way.  Stories are important, too. Fictional characters have their own ‘reality’. Brownies in coffee cups play their role in who we are. Perhaps it is irrelevant whether a faerie ever visits my fairy garden, and important only that it is a small and beautiful garden, and representative of possibilities and whimsy and great love for a delightful moment in the company of women on a rainy Saturday? And were a faerie to visit, and be taken by surprise by my keen eye open to the possibilities and wonders of the world, wouldn’t that be okay, too?

Today I face the world ‘open like a child’s mind‘.