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Uncovering Misplaced Whimsy

June 24, 2013

Uncovering Misplaced Whimsy

Written by Skyland Trail client, Jenny M.

When I was little I'd sprinkle glitter in my hair and twirl around the backyard pretending to be Pippi Longstocking or perhaps Maria from The Sound of Music. Those role models emanated joy and exuded insouciance. I'm still drawn to glittery shoes and nail polish, but I lost some of the fairy tale fantasy in growing up.

I became the kind of artist who would plan out itemized lists of what I needed from the store. If I were stuck, I'd wander the aisles until something sparked inspiration. Then I would plan, always plan.

But now pieces of nature I'd previously overlooked pique my curiosity, creativity, and even spontaneity. I listen to the spirit of each material because it knows better than I do where it belongs.

Sea shells become lakes with walnut casings as the boats assail. Pebbles make cobblestone pathways that lead to spiral staircases of padauk shavings left over from woodshop. However, it's at the top of the staircase and in the gardens surrounding the walkways that the real magic occurs.

It doesn't matter that my canvas is a plastic orange frisbee because petals from dried flowers are my watercolors while dried berries and corn kernels are my oil pastels. Curlicue twigs become lamp posts with iridescent shells as the sources of illumination.

Who knows what I'll stumble upon during my next meander through the garden, perhaps on my way to class? My eyes now know to notice the tiniest bits of sparkle.

I quickly become immersed in the details, intricacies, and elegance that develop out of the intertwining of each little forgotten bit of nature. They transform quickly into a fairy house with all the requisite resplendence.

Seeing my work in progress, I feel again like I have glitter in my hair and am dancing with the fairies of my childhood imagination. I'm rediscovering simple beauty and uncovering misplaced whimsy when I visit my fairy land.