When each of my kids was young I would take them for long hikes carried in a Bjorn or an Ergo baby sling up hills and down, and through woods and along streams. And even before they had learned how to talk I would tell them things. Little made-up things, and snippets of fairy tales and the childhood books I loved.
So maple tree seeds became bunches of keys which unlocked fairy doors, and holes in the trunks of trees were where the Dryads lived or they were time holes to a magical place. Rings of mushrooms were tables and chairs for elves, and the bright orange, spotted efts, the steeds they rode on. And the North Wind was a kind and beautiful lady with long, black hair you could nest in as she carried you along across the sky.
It happened twice, once with each baby, that we came across a leaf suspended by the single, invisible strand of a spider’s web above the road. And I would raise my hands and move them in mystical flourishes, the motion enough to make the leaf spin and twirl and I would tell the baby that I was doing it by magic. And they believed me and their eyes rounded in wonder and sometimes their mouths dropped open. They believed implicitly because I told them so and they trust me in all things.
It was such a little deception, and not really a deception because there was no malice in it and half of me wanted to believe in it too.
On one part of the path, there was sometimes a trick of the light, in the heat of the summer where the air buzzes and warps and bends. And to me it looked like there could possibly be a fold there, something that could be parted and stepped through like a curtain if I could just approach it the right way. I never could. But maybe I was already too old.
The best of these possibilities exist for children who know what to question, and also what not to question but accept with a whole heart.
My children and I wish on stars, and fear falling asleep on a fairy hill in the fog and waking to find that centuries have passed, and on the full moon, we three get together and howl.
Tonight is a full moon. A blue moon. The kids are with their Dad. Shall I howl alone or phone them up?