In 1998 our family moved to Oakville, Ontario Canada. We lived in a lovely community filled with pretty homes, friendly neighbors and an enchanting elementary school for my children to attend. Back then the Internet was still in it’s’ infancy stages, so any school reports were typically still completed in the local library.

One day my daughter Sarah had to do a school project that required her to spend several hours in the nearby library. The library was housed in a Recreation Center. The complex had an ice skating rink, where the local figure skating champion frequented, thrilling all the aspiring skaters. They also had a very large swimming pool and a snack stand. It was a wonderful place to have to spend a Saturday afternoon. Sarah was nine and Ashley was seven so the three of us went together. When we arrived Sarah’s schoolmates were all sitting at a large table. The assignment was for them to work as a group to complete the research for a school assignment. I left her to do her work and Ashley and I found our favorite place amongst the picture books. While Ashley collected piles of books for us to take home, I wandered around the library. Libraries are my favorite place in the entire world. I love to research and for me to create a reason to open up numerous books and to collect facts is a joy.

As I walked down one aisle I noticed a very large book called the Encyclopedia of Fairies. I happen to adore fairies so I took it off the shelf and carried it over to a nearby table where Ashley sat. The book was so large that when I opened it up it hit the table with a thud. I started to browse through and found wonderful words that only pertain to fairies and such. Fascinated, I took a notebook and began to copy down some words that sounded delicious to me. I kept the book near the pile of books that Ashley was intending to borrow. At this point Ashley had met a little friend and they were busy sitting on puffy pillows looking through stacks of picture books.

I got up and walked over to another section of the library that housed the art books. They had the most incredible selection of books on Monet. Monet is one of my favorite artists and I had recently attended an exhibit at the Canadian Art Museum in Toronto with my dear friend, Sharon. I took several of the books on Monet over to the table and went into that wonderful state of creativity. I started to write and write and write with the clear distinction that the muse called inspiration was busy at work.

I wonder if Monet saw a Fairy or two when he painted in the early morning dew. This thought set a research project in the works. I busied myself with looking for just the right language to create a poem about my beloved Monet and his quest to perhaps put the lovely creatures in his paintings or at least befriend them.

We left with stacks of books, a completed school project and one joyful research project for me underway. When the girls were fast asleep that evening I was thrilled that I had this wonderful agenda. I went into the kitchen piled my research books in a stack and created and created into the wee hours of the morning. When I was done I was so pleased at the result. The poem sat in my art room with the promise of illustration for quite some weeks. Until that is when it was time for Canada Blooms. Canada Blooms is this amazing garden and flower show that they hold every year in Toronto. Now even though I am American and we profess to grow everything bigger and better. I must confess that Canada truly has the most spectacular gardens I have ever seen. Our quest for the perfectly large beautiful Christmas tree to grace Rockefeller Center in New York City would be an easy find in Canada. I think the one on my lawn in Oakville would have been perfectly magnificent on its podium overlooking the skaters in Rockefeller Center. The trees are enormous and anything grows in that soil. Trust me, my garden could have been featured in some wonderful gardening magazine and I can’t grow anything in America. Even I who do not consider myself a gardener, created a fantastic garden in Ontario.

Well, my friend and neighbor Sharon invited me to attend. We admired all the wonderful exhibits and displays and wanted to see some demonstrations. Many of the booths were hosted by television stars of local gardening shows. It was great fun. Sharon and I noticed a lecture beginning on Herbs. We sat down and waited for the guest speaker to begin. Marilyn Edmison-Driedger of The Herbal Touch came to the podium and taught us all about herbs and then started to talk of fairies. She held a jar of Faerie Dust in her hand and spoke of it as if it were as real as mashed potatoes. She had the most believable and enchanting way of speaking of fairies. She told us about her booth and also of her Faerie Festival held at the Herbal Touch in Osterville every July. Well, that caught my attention. I was so taken with her wares at the booth, and her persona that I went home completely enchanted with plans to bring my girls to her festival in July.

When I arrived home I was inspired. That evening when everyone slept I fully illustrated Monet’s Fairies. I created a special journal for Marilyn. The next day I sent the parcel with a note to her shop in Osterville, Ontario. You can imagine the thrill when Marilyn wrote back and asked permission to use my book at the upcoming festival.

Sarah, Ashley and their little friend Joann came with me to the Faerie Festival at The Herbal Touch. I have never before attended something more elegant and more charming. Marilyn’s garden is amazing and goes on for miles…everything is bigger in Canada! She had flower beds and herbs, wild flowers and the quaintest little shop in the world. The shop had books, gardening paraphernalia, art and lots and lots of the sweetest gifts and fairyland treasures. When we arrived, Marilyn greeted all the guests by giving them wings and skirts of tutu to wear. The garden was set up with amazing statues and baubles. Marilyn had been known to plant chairs with flower pots on the local gardening TV show. There were little green sandwiches on platters hosted by little girls wearing fairy costumes. There was lavender pink lemonade and tussles with magnificent flower nosegays everywhere the eye could see. In the center of the garden stood a May Pole with beautiful ribbons cascading down. Music played and Marilyn escorted all of us to dance around the pole. Nearby there was a tent where all the little girls and the big girls would make their own garland crown made of fresh flowers and ribbons for their hair? In another section of her gardens was a tent made of scarves and transparent fabric in lovely pastel colors. A flutist could be heard beckoning us to enter. Inside sat a storyteller telling the audience of little ones in their fairy costumes and garland, about the legends and folklore of fairies. To my pleasant surprise she was also reading my poem. We left that day with beautiful treasure keepsakes and wonderful memories to cherish.

I thought about the poem and how my love of Monet, gardens and words led me to this wonderful magical day. That is what magic is, it is following a path within one’s imagination and arriving on the other side. The beautiful result of allowing oneself to believe in the unknown sparks a destination that has no boundaries. Then when we manifest around us what we found within our imagination, our garden blooms with beauty. We are able to create as if by some magical wand and share its’ treasures with those around us. The secret of course is giving the fruit of one’s muse away which sets in motion the circle of inspiration. Like the fairy dust from a magical wand the fruit of one’s creativity sprinkles food for others around them. There is a land of kindred spirits who believe in the possibility of fairies because we create amazing things that are not of this world. They are born out of a wonderful place within and graced with gifts of talent that we cannot quite explain. The only sure thing is that once we enter that amazing journey we are in a pure state of joy.