Do you always believe what you see, or do you see what you believe?
The Wand Game
When I came around the corner I could not believe what they had done. My seven-year-old son and three of his friends had gone into the garage and “borrowed” all of my garden clippers and shears. They had then proceeded to the front of the house and cut away portions of my shrubs to create spaces large enough for them to climb inside. Four children, in four different hiding places, were giggling inside the hedges around the perimeter of my garden.
“What in the world have you done?” I asked my son. I could not really see him, but I could hear him inside a row of a glossy Abelia. “We are playing the wand game and these are our wand shops.” he stated. “I can make one for you too, if you want to play with us.”
At first I was horrified. After many years of nurturing my variegated Pittosporum, it had grown tall enough to screen the street from view. My beautiful ‘bridal veil’ Spirea produced cascades of the fragrant fairy bouquets every spring. How could they have done this? It would take years for it to all grow back. I just stood there for a moment, unable to speak. But then I remembered that this was why I built a garden in the first place. In a world of limitations, I wanted my garden to be a place where children were free to play. I tried to build a place for them to feel safe, and their imaginations could run wild.
Okay, this was pretty wild.
“What’s the wand game?” I asked Megan, from next-door. She peeked out and explained, “These are our wand shops. We can make magic wands that have special powers. Some work spells and some are like weapons. They can protect you if you go into the dark forest.”
“Where is that?” I inquired.
“It’s over there between our houses.” She pointed out. Megan was 10 years old and she obviously had a great deal to do with the creation of this particular game. She stepped out of her shop and began to show me around my modified garden. “This is Jennifer’s house because she’s small and none of us could fit inside there except for her. “This one is for Berek because he needed all of these extra sticks to make more wands.” she explained.
“Where is Carson’s house?” I asked.
“Of course, this is his yard, so he could pick any place he wanted. So he’s right in here.” She pulled back some branches so I could see my son’s smile framed in foliage.
He was grinning just like the Cheshire Cat from ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ In his smile, I could see their imaginary world unfold. I looked around me and saw the shops, I saw the dark forest, I saw the garden transformed.
“How can I help?” I asked. “I bet you could use some things to personalize your shops. Maybe you need some signs or doorbells. I’ll go see what I can find.”
For a moment I slipped out of my reality and stepped into their game. It was a place of their making, not mine. Because I believed in them, I could believe in their game. I believed it, so I could see it.
remember, goodness grows,
“Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” Hans Christian Andersen