Thursday, September 29, 2011

Anybody home?

Knock knock!
This tree sits just off the edge of our property in a thin line of woods. Tall spiky weeds and fallen leaves guard the entrance to a small doorway, just the right size for a woodland animal, like a chipmunk. But there's a possibility that something a little more mysterious and magical lives in this tree, too.

Much of growing up means learning that the things you believed in don't really exist. Despite the fact that I'm adult, and married to a really analytical and frankly pretty doubtful person, I still can't shake my belief in unbelievable things. Or maybe I don't want to shake my belief in unbelievable things. This is bad, like when I watch horror movies. But it's also good, like when my kids want to play make-believe and dress-up.

I've been called gullible more than once and been burned by trusting people when I shouldn't. Yet there is something about me that is optimistic and hopeful and believes that there is magic, big and small, in the real world. Narrow-minded folks call that naive and youthful. I prefer those labels, honestly, to jaded and crotchety, wouldn't you?

I'm just not cut out to be a doubter and I'm not that great at being a realist, either. But as a mom, and a writer, that little spark inside me just knows one day a dryad or even a humble gnome might wink at me from this little door, is valuable and integral part of who I am.

When you visit me, let's sit on the stone wall in my yard at twilight and see if we can catch a glimpse of my woodland neighbor. As we wait, we can talk about what we believed when we were children. We can share stories about the wondrous things made us wonder and dream, and the people we love that brought those mythical creatures to life. If we're laughing too hard, we might miss a small figure as it slips through the doorway into its shadowy home, but we'll capture some of its magic just the same.