A Child At Easter

I’m dedicating this story to the child within each of us.

**

My first garden had everything we children needed:  tall trees with big outstretched arms, a wide stream and acres of fields to play in.  All this stood beside and behind a tiny pink farmhouse where a mother and father and five children lived.

A pink farmhouse? Yes.

Seven people in a tiny pink house? How tiny?

Two bedrooms, two front rooms.

Must have been crowded, I hear you thinking.

But this was a land of mild temperatures and hot sun.  Children spent many of their waking hours outside.  Nature – the wildness of it, the near-danger of it, the freedom of it – was our garden.  A child’s own garden.

It wasn’t until our family moved to our grandmother’s much larger house in a nearby village that the first memories of a flower garden — the kind that people tend — lodged themselves in my seven-year- old mind.  It was in front of the house, under a window.

via public domain.net

via publicdomainpictures.net

I remember that garden now as a small space full of pretty flowers.  Roses, zinnias and dahlias,  Joseph’s Coat of Many Colours  and other things grew there, each cheerfully elbowing out the other, competing  for space and sun.

Crocus in Spring

Photo by Hamlin Grange

And I remember these, above everything else: the fairy flowers.

Clusters of tiny flowers bloomed in gentle colours: pink, white, yellow, mauve.  Unlike the other flowers in the garden, these huddled in small patches, as if supporting each other   — or seeking warmth from the cool, early-morning mountainside air.

“Luminous”, I’d call them now, because their petals seemed to glow, as if someone had polished each one very tenderly till it shone.

via telegraph.co.uk

via telegraph.co.uk

It was magic: they simply appeared one day, as if a fairy had waved her wand above the soil.  The size of them – about three inches tall — and the magic of them made me think that these were the sort of flowers that fairies would have growing in their own garden.

Image via

Image via self-reliance-works.com

Then, when I wasn’t looking – perhaps when I was at school during the day, or asleep during the night – the flowers disappeared completely.  When that happened, I imagined that the fairies had brought them to another garden where other children could enjoy them.  It was a sad and hopeful feeling all at once.

The timing of the flowers’ arrival always seemed spot-on: Easter time, or Holy Week, as church-going families called it.  And so, surrounded by the mysterious stories of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, my sisters and I decided that the tiny flowers were to be called Easter Lilies.  Easter lilies — brought by fairies.

Image via

It wasn’t the first time – or the last – that I’d get my magic and miracles mixed up.  For a child who is told ghost stories and biblical tales of miraculous resurrection finds it easy to believe in fairies.

Unknown to my parents, I even thought of ghosts and fairies in church.  When the pastor  got too fiery, or too boring, or glared at me for giggling and whispering to my sister, I imagined a kind ghost or fairy – or maybe God himself –  putting him to sleep right there in the pulpit – just for a while.

Now – with a garden of my own – reality overtakes imagination, most days.   I know that pretty gardens take a lot of work.   Those magical moments of my childhood were hardworking times for my parents.

It was my mother who tended the little garden and made sure the flowers would bloom.  It must have given her great pleasure, but it was work — along with her other duties as a mother, wife, designer and seamstress of women’s dresses, and active church member.

Still,  I hope Mama would forgive me for wondering — at least when it comes to the little garden — if she got a bit of help from the fairies.

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63 Comments

Filed under A Good Home, Easter, Easter Flowers, Fairies, Family Matriarch, Family Stories, First Home, Flowers, Garden, Gardening, Home, Homes, Jamaican countryside, Lifestyle

63 responses to “A Child At Easter

  1. Gardens and flowers help keep the magic alive. 🙂

  2. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words

    oh I think she knew there were Faeries 🙂
    your story brings smiles and a moment to step back in time of my own first garden, and the one I am so grateful and Blessed with these days…
    I know my Grandmother is instructing the Faeries to fix what in my drifting I missed …
    Thank you for a wonderful time in reading your thoughts and remembering my own childhood gardens
    Take Care…You Matter…
    )0(
    maryrose

    • What a lovely note you wrote, MaryRose.
      I know my readers will like it.
      Thank you, MaryRose – and for visiting my blog.
      Now – with a name like that – are you good at growing roses?

      • LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words

        I have been taught many lessons on roses..none work 🙂
        so I plant onions and garlic chives by them to keep black spot away ,
        and I pick each leaf that has the black spot if it comes along…I have been known to have very nekked roses LOLS
        (works most of the time) and I plant butterfly weed in a garden far away to keep aphids away, not sure why that works but it does..
        I did figure out roses like rich black humus.and sand ( I mix my own soils)
        all those beautiful miniature roses I buy in full bloom need to be out of they almost pure peat moss (too acidic? I am never sure why, but it works as well as they cannot dry out because that signals every spider mite in a fifty mile radius lunch is served…though too wet the roots rot…*sigh*
        and I throw in coffee grinds for some reason, I think they like it LOLs..
        I also use a cup of epsom salt in the Spring around each one, I think my grandmother must have told me that as well..
        let’s see, in Texas, it is too hot for full sun ( I think) so they get either morning til 1ish or late afternoon…
        I am a “master gardener” 🙂 which means I have killed thousands of plants and more and I usually know I did something wrong LOLs…

        I think it must have been your post I read about the roses…
        I now know it will always be different with each rose, for they are as humans, with their own needs, but love and kind words help alot… 🙂
        not sure if this is what you had in mind…but I did enjoy your post as I think it reflects more people than will admit…
        )0(

      • So I’ve been laughing too hard to take real note – I’ll have to come back and read this a second time. I especially like your definition of “master gardener”.

  3. Great post! How lucky you were to grow up with the fairies and all that beauty and magic. Blessings, Natalie 🙂

  4. What a sweet and enchanting post! I enjoyed it so much.

    Blessings,
    Theresa

  5. I have a feeling that your mother was on first name terms with the fairies in the garden. Mothers are magical. 😉

  6. Valerie

    Lovely story for Easter Cynthia – and I promise to get the jpg photos to you this week! Been toiling happily in MY flower garden this Easter weekend, accompanied by my chickens.

  7. Georgeina

    Gardens do indeed seem magical. Look closely at a flower, any flower, and you can see the magic.

  8. A lush garden is magical, even if it’s a bit wayward and there are weeds you just can’t beat a garden in spring.

    cheers

    MTM

  9. So true. How’s your garden doing?

  10. Notre enfance nous construit. J’ai aussi grandi avec les fleurs et du coup, elles continuent de m’accompagner ! Votre jardin est très beau et plein de couleurs. Bravo !

  11. Reblogged this on Cynthia Reyes and commented:

    A great favorite in Easter week. Enjoy!

  12. There is something special about a spring garden and Easter ‘s arrival – hope of renewal! 😊

  13. A lovely post. Like you my love of flowers began as a very small child as I searched for the fairies that I was sure lived amongst them.
    Happy Easter Cynthia.

  14. Lovely post and your photos are stunning! I love this time of year – new beginnings – new life. Time to get out in the garden!

  15. Oh Cynthia-that was a beautiful post! You still have the “magic” of childhood in your heart…I love your stories + you always take me back to being a child with your words!
    shhh….the fairies are in my garden today!

  16. Your post made me think of childhood garden memories. It is hard to believe I had very little interest in gardening then, but the flower and vegetable gardens had been imprinted in my memory. I am trying to do the same for my children.

    • Oh, how lovely to hear that you are doing this for your children. I did a reading from my book yesterday and a mother was there with her two well-behaved young children. As I came to the part of the book where I mention The Secret Garden, I stopped reading and asked her: have you read that book to your children yet? She said No, but her eyes lit up at the memory. Children and gardens – they go together so magically.

  17. Ah, of course! The fairies brought them!!! 🙂

  18. Loved this! I still look for fairies and magic in the garden… Some of us never stop believing:)

  19. How lovely Cynthia – Happy Easter to you!

  20. I love this. You make us feel as if we were there with you. And your timing is impeccable, as I’m reading your book and am in the section re: your grandmother’s house. You are such a good storyteller.

  21. Every child should grow up surrounded by gardens and nature. You were lucky!

  22. A lovely post, Cynthia. The garden we had when I was very young was extremely small and I didn’t find it magical as I could see my parents working in it every weekend. There were plants I loved though – peonies especially, with their scent and silky petals and the velvety seed-heads. We moved to a bigger, older house when I was nine and that garden was overgrown and magical. It had different flowering plants and shrubs with interesting scents and smells. Most of my fairies lived in the woods where we walked and where we went on holiday. Tiny wild flowers and tuffets of moss and little exciting holes under the roots of trees all belonged to the fairies. And still do.

    • Oh, you had woodland fairies, Clare! The best kind, surprising and mischievous as they are.

      I can also understand not thinking the garden is fun when you see it as nothing but hard work – as you saw your parents working at it. My friend’s family farmed, and he saw nothing romantic about that – he escaped as soon as he could.

  23. Lovely Story and Lovely photos…magic is still all around us, right? xo Johanna

  24. Have a great Easter too and thanks 🙂

  25. Easter lilies is a lovely name for them. Wishing you a magical Easter, Cynthia, with a good sprinkling of fairy dust 🙂

  26. Wonderful story!!!! I can always “feel” the places in your writing and I love that. Happy Easter to you and your family!! Tina

  27. Lovely post. Gardening is hard work but when you love doing it, there’s always a smile on your face. I always leave room in my garden for the fairies to dance, right after they do a little weeding. 🙂

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