Saturday, August 1, 2009

Picking up the Scent...

On a recent walk through Garfield Park, I practically tripped over two little girls scampering out from under the branches of one of the many hibiscus bushes.

"Did you know that fairies live inside these flowers?" One of the girls said. The other giggled.

"Well, I have heard the rumor" I said. "But I've never seen one. Have you?"

"I've seen TONS of them!" The first girl said. "But sometimes they hide." The other girl nodded. She pulled off one of the flowers and tucked it behind her ear before running toward the slide. When her friend followed, I decided to see if I could photograph one of those fairies...

Hmmm. Maybe I should have used the macro setting.

I just couldn't let my little eyewitnesses get away without further investigation into their claims! So, I turned to the definitive fairy expert -- Cicely Mary Barker, whose 1920s Flower Fairy poetry and watercolor paintings offer a revealing glimpse into the natural world. Here's what she had to say:

Open Your Eyes

To shop, and school, to work and play,
The busy people pass all day;
They hurry, hurry, to and fro,
And hardly notice as they go
The wayside flowers, known so well,
Whose names so few of them can tell.

They never think of fairy-folk
Who may be hiding for a joke!

O, if these people understood
What's to be found by field and wood;
What fairy secrets are made plain
By any footpath, road or lane--
They'd go with open eyes and look,
(As you will, when you've read this book)
And then at least they'd learn to see
How pretty common things can be!

South Pasadena is a fairly magical place. I've already seen gnomes and imagined ghosts. Fairies? Why not?

19 comments:

Saretta said...

As a child I believed that the fairies lived in the gutters of city streets! When my children were young I told them that the fairies lived in those magical grottos along the Italian coast. We need a little magic in our days!

Judy Williams said...

Hibiscus are truly one of the largest and most beautiful flower creations. They love hot sun and open up to display such vivid and beautiful colors.

I totally go along with the fairy myth. In many illustrations, the little magic imps are wearing a hibiscus type hat but simply turning one upside down. I was searching for some more fairy poems and happened upon this delight.

I'd Love to Be A Fairy's Child
by Robert Graves


Children born of fairy stock
Never need for shirt or frock,
Never want for food or fire,
Always get their hearts desire:
Jingle pockets full of gold,
Marry when they're seven years old.
Every fairy child may keep
Two strong ponies and ten sheep;
All have houses, each his own,
Built of brick or granite stone;
They live on cherries, they run wild
I'd love to be a fairy child.

Dixie Jane said...

Oh, this beautiful hibiscus, so reminiscent of my life at the tip of Texas, near So. Padre Island.

A little fairy left me a hibiscus (peach) in a white cup on my front porth. No note. Somebody must have known I have been ailing. Such a sweet thought.

Anton said...

While searching for Carman Miranda in deep space, scientists become excited as they hear a faint, crackling reply... "feed me... Feed Me! FEEEEED MEEEEE!!!!"

Yakpate said...

Judy... FABU poem... I want to be a fairy child too!

Laurie... is it just degenerate me? Or, is this one of the proudest, most flagrantly sexual shots ever to have graced your blog? It makes me want to put on lipstick, arch my back and go dancing!!!

dbdubya said...

When I first saw this I immediately thought of my two children who flew to Hawaii ysterday with their families to start a vacation. Hibiscus always make me think of Hawaii.

Beautiful shot, and beautiful poem.

Shanna said...

That cast shadow onto the white petal from the center red thing really knocks me out. It reminds me of that photo you just had up of the church with the cast shadow of the palm - which just happened to appear on your slideshow when your photo appeared. I love synchronicity!

Mister Earl said...

Saw it too, Yak.

Double "D" said...

It would be rude of me not to comment.
Although my comment might be in poor
taste. To be safe, I'll go with Yak and Mr E.

Laurie said...

You filthy minded degenerates! Here I go and write a lovely post about fairies ... and you guys go for the X rating. :-)

localmc said...

so.. nice... !!

Petrea said...

This is outstanding in every way. One of my favorite posts of yours EVUR.

Double "D" said...

Sorry Laurie
I've always been about "trite symbolism", however
Mr. Earl and Yak made me do it.

Mister Earl said...

At least I censored my first idea.

Shanna said...

localmc: WOW! Please visit me.

Jeanie said...

I'd have to agree with Yak and DoubleD, there's something erotic about some flowers as Georgia O'Keefe so beautifully expresses.

Of course, the fairies are dancing on the fuschia plants in glorious colored petal-skirts.

Laurie said...

Hi again folks,

Thanks for ALL the comments today! And welcome localmc!

It's late and there are fairies dancing in my eyes... or maybe I'm just really tired. Until tomorrow!

TheChieftess said...

I still have my Cicely Mary Baker fairy book that was my mother's when she was a little girl...
And don't you know...children can see fairies up until about the age of 6 or 7 when they begin to lose touch with the other side of the veil!!!
Love this pic Laurie!!! The very blue sky in contrast with the beautiful white flower!!!

Laurie said...

Thanks, Chieftess!