When I was a young girl I used to visit my neighbors back yard where there was a “mini forest”. When you’re young, doesn’t everything normal seem somehow “magical” or “better” than when you go back to see it as an adult? What was then a surreal refuge; my own magic garden, seems now to be just a lump of trees. How sad.
I realized that is it doesn’t matter if it’s magical now, what matters are the memories of when it “was” magical still remain… as vivid as if they were happening just then, but from an onlookers viewpoint. It made me think: how wonderful it would be to stand right there and see myself, as a child , come running towards me the adult, ready to play. I smiled just thinking about it. Then I thought: ” what would I say to her? what would we do?” That would take a long time. I thought: ” What if I was told I only had one day to be with myself ?”
The Magic Egg
I gave her a hug and spun her around. I knew at that age she loved to spin…who cares if as an adult I now get severely nauseous spinning? She giggled and I giggled too. Then I thought: ” Should I tell her who I am?”. NO that would defeat the purpose. of being there.” Should I tell her not to worry about her body, that it was perfect the way it is, and that not loving her body would bring her great sadness? Should I tell her not to date “So-and-So” because he would just break her heart anyway, tell her not to take that job where men would later harass her, or to think twice about leaving school after three years? As I paused with those thoughts, I looked deep into her eyes. I saw naivety, joy and hope. I knew I couldn’t tell her any of it. I realized then why the magic of those moments as a child no longer felt the same…I had been changed… By the harsh realities of the world, things she hadn’t experienced yet. I suddenly knew why I had gone there.
I hugged her again, harder and longer than the first time and she hugged me back. I squatted down to her eye level and said: ” What should we do today?” Of course I already knew what she liked to do, so I said: ” want to look for treasures?”. She lit up and said: “YEAH!” ( I knew something she didnt know, that there was a treasure in that mini forest still waiting to be found). We started looking under bushes, behind the trees, in clumps of pine needles, near the rail road tracks. I heard her say : ” I found something!”. When I turned around she held up a silver, shiny, flat object. As I got closer I realized she had found a quarter that I had put on the rail road tracks at my brother’s suggestion. When the train passed over the quarter it flattened it to twice it’s size, like a pancake. I laughed and said: ” that’s good luck you know!” and she stuffed it into her pocket as if it were gold . I said: ” let’s keep looking”. She seemed even more excited to continue. I said ” let’s look up now”. She looked inquisitively at me and I raised my eyebrows and smiled. She began looking up to the sky, and then her eyes began drifting back towards the tree tops. I saw her face when she discovered it. ” Look!” she said. She climbed up the small hill along the railroad tack and reached for the pine branch that held a small perfectly manicured bird’s nest. She bent the tree down just far enough to peek inside. ” It’s an egg!” she exclaimed. I said “wow really?” then she paused momentarily and looked strangely at the egg and studied it. I said ” what’s the matter?” she said ” I don’t think it’s an egg”. She gently pulled the branch closer and squinted her eyes. She paused momentarily and softly said ” it’s a marble”. I asked her to see it. I checked inside the nest and sure enough, there was the marble..a deep mustard yellow. I encouraged her to take it out. She reached inside and gently picked it up. ” How did a marble get into that nest” she asked. I said ” I have no idea, but it MUST possess magical powers”. She stood in disbelief wondering how she got so lucky. I said: ” make a wish with it”. she shyly said:” okay…how?” ” Close your eyes and in your head, think about something you really want”. I could tell she wasn’t sure what to wish for, but she slowly closed her eyes. For a few more moments, she stood with the marble cupped in her hands while she conjured a wish. I knew what the wish was. She wished to have a friend to play with everyday…like we did that day. She opened her eyes and said ” I did it”. I smiled approvingly.
For the rest of the day we did everything she wanted. No game seemed too silly, no crazy word seemed crazy enough. we laughed just to laugh harder. I had bigger belly laughs than I had had in years. It was perfect.
We had a picnic lunch with PB&J and her Mom made us a strawberry rhubarb pie with whipped cream. We drank ”Pink” lemonade, swam in the creek, made mud cakes in her sandbox, painted creek rocks, and took a bike ride to get vanilla popsicles at ” Vial’s Variety” a small local convenience store. As the sun dipped down past the pine trees, we made a fire and layed down in silence for a long time and watched the clouds roll past the stars. A shooting star flew across the sky and we turned to look at each other simultaneously and with excitement and said in tandem: ” Did you SEE that?”. Then we punched each other in the arm and said: ” JINX! no punch-backs!” and laughed heartily. Her face suddenly softened as she looked at me and she said; ” What’s your name?” I stared back at her and smiled. I remembered at that age how much I disliked my name. It was a Grandma name ( and I WAS actually named after my Mother’s Mother), so I said : “ Marion”. She sat up quickly and said ” So is mine! We have the same name!”. I acted surprised. She layed back down as fast as she sat up and I heard her whisper to herself: “cool”.
I knew the day was coming to an end and I had to say goodbye. I held her in my arms as a Mother holds her child and said ” I Love you Marion”. She quietly said ” I love you too”. I knew she was sad that I had to go, so I stuck out my tongue and said: ” well I love you more!”and she laughed so hard that I cried. She asked me why I was crying and I said; ” these are tears of joy. You made me so happy today! Thank you for reminding me that every day is a gift, that joy and laughter are really important and most importantly that you have to love yourself in order to love others.” She retorted with:” will you be my best friend?”.
I said: ” Always, I promise“. -
After a rough emotional year, I am so happy to have spring here, a time of new beginnings, and a time of renewal. Taking time to think back to a moment in my childhood allowed me to see beauty in the world again. As humans, we are sometimes so lost in this world of fast- paced technology, and responsibilities that we forget the little things are what makes life so meaningful. I was happy to reflect once again on a simpler time when all was well with the world and everything seemed magical.
The REAL picture of the marble I found is below. The little painted and decoupaged box is the same box I kept the marble in since I first found it as a little girl. The recipe will be posted on Monday!
- Mimi’s Attic…for me?…”Happy Hour”
- Featured in ” Where Women Cook” Autumn, 2012
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- The Vintage Motherload!
- Miniature Croissants for Easter-Marions Vintage Bakeshop
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