Yesterday I took part in Hide a Book Day with Goodreads who’d teamed up with the Book Fairies (#ibelieveinbookfairies) and thousands of authors all around the globe to hide books for people to find, read, and leave for the next person.
After affixing the unique Book Fairies sticker, I bound mine with color-coordinated curling ribbon, then hid ten signed copies of Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth throughout Boise, Idaho. I opted for high foot-traffic locations such as the airport, the Towne Square mall, the capitol building, and several coffee shops in historic downtown.
If you’re an author, I hope you were able to participate. If you’re an avid reader, I hope you found a book left by a book fairy.
When was the last time you were touched by a bit of magic?
One afternoon while walking along, minding our own business, something registered in my peripheral vision. Willa and I stopped. Looked. And what do you suppose we saw?
Much to our surprise and delight, hidden in a hedgerow we saw a sun-dappled faerie village. And while we haven’t spotted any of its occupants—yet!—I’m confident that with a little patience, one of these up-and-coming dusks we will.
This village brought to mind the gnomes my mom used to have. No more than ring-finger height—including their pointy red hats—you’d turn around in the kitchen and find a rosy-cheeked fellow peeking at you from behind a cookbook; or look over your shoulder in the living room and see the beard and belly of one who hasn’t fully pulled himself behind a collectable on mom’s display hutch.
A healthy turnout of buyers for upscale restaurants, wine bars, and retailers had the pleasure of tasting dozens of stateside and european labels. Their remarks sounded something like this:
Smooth and round.
Delicate citrus acidity.
Beautiful energy on the palate.
Long mineral finish.
Lingers impressively against lively acidity and a refined texture.
An earthy aroma.
Brings richness and texture to the mid-palate.
Much like a book’s jacket, the label (of what turned out to be my favorite) is the first thing that grabs my attention. ABRACADABRA—Brian Carter Cellars, Columbia Valley, Washington State—is a blend of 11 (eleven!) red varietals aged in quality oak barrels. If this were a dog it would be a mongrel; a Heinz 57. As a wine, it has an unbeatable pedigree!
The back label has an equally engaging description:
Last year at this time we had a house full of guests, among them an elementary-school aged girl. Helping in the kitchen—apron clad—she was fascinated with our faerie whisk. Busy with the tasks at hand, “Are there really such things as faeries?” she asked in wide-eyed fascination.
Carefully sprinkling colored sugar and a wee bit of pixie dust on the cookie tops, I smiled at her thinking, “Who am I to deny their existence, especially at this magical time of year?”
Rather than the Americanized spelling fairy, I prefer the Gaelic spelling faerie, meaning from the realm of fae—those who know. And yes, there’s a difference between faeries, sprites, and pixies:
Faeries are woodland dwellers.
Sprites live near water.
Pixies—highly mischievous!—oversee moorlands, underground dwellings, and stone circles.
Over the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity for phone-intensive interaction with people—some I know, others I don’t. Regardless, at the end of each conversation, I stop and reflect on the exchange of words, tone, and delivery style.
I find myself wondering once again, “What’s it like to be on the receiving end of me?”
On a recent hot and humid day off, I went to the Crystal Lake Public Library to do some research for an idea that’s been niggling at the back of my mind—and no, I’m not telling you what it is…
As things started falling into place, there was a distinct “click.” My brain shifted into overdrive and my fingers started smokin’ the keys on my laptop. For those of you who’ve known me any length of time, you know that I type fast. Very fast!
Having just seen the movie, “Tamara Drewe“—which takes place at a writer’s colony in Ewedown, a quiet community on the outskirts of London—I closed my eyes and pretended I was there…mentally transporting myself “across the pond” (as it were) in the blink of an eye.
Sitting at a shared table—somewhat like a revolving door—people came and went throughout the day, but I kept my eyes closed and let it flow. I’d put on over-the-ear headphones as my visual signal to be left undisturbed. When all was said and done, I’d been in the same seat typing away from 9am to 6pm.
What did I have to show for it?
– The idea that had been simmering on the back burner of my mind now has a life of its own on paper, and
– A bruised finger! I don’t know how it happened. I didn’t have it when I arrived, but I certainly did when I left. And like magic, it doesn’t hurt at all.
Our property backs up to a preserved wetland area so we have a multitude of frogs and toads hopping around. In fact, I’d have made a great vendor back-in-the-day for the “toe of frog” part of the ingredients that the three witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth required for their spell:
Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble. Eye of newt, and toe of frog, Wing of bat, and tongue of dog…
We’re always on the lookout when mowing
Our back door has a cement slab that serves as the “porch.” In the evening, the porch light acts as a magnet for flying insects. Subsequently, an even bigger draw for toads—or are they frogs? If you’d like to know the difference, simply click HERE.
A few of those fine fellows manage to sniggle their way under the storm door each night to greet me in the morning when I let our dogs out. As I carefully relocate them back outside—wiggling vigorously between my cupped hands—it’s fun to think about potions and spells, and just what I’d do if I actually knew how…
Throughout the day I have the privilege of meeting with a wide brushstroke of wonderful people at HolEssence—women, men, and children alike. Without exception, they use the door on the right side of the photograph to enter the office of Laurie Buchanan.
But as evening falls, and the last client has left for the day, a subtle shift occurs …… the big door slowly swings itself shut and the rest of the evening’s visitors enter through the special door—the wee one on the left side of the photograph—to see Paden Plume.
On gossamer wings they quietly slip through the door and make themselves at home in their colorful garb. If anyone were to spy through a window, they’d see Paden smiling and listening attentively as they share about the events of their day.
There’s Willow, Sage, Awen, and Paden Faerieleaf—good friends, to be sure.
The morning started out almost like any other, but there was the slightest hint of something different in the air—magic—as we turned our bikes onto the Fox River Trail and headed south to historic Elgin, Illinois.
We turned our bikes south on the Fox River Trail
Riding along the Fox River, we enjoyed the way it winked back at the sun who was flirting shamelessly with it.
The river winks back at the sun
We rode past beautiful scenery that waved its leafy fingers, beckoning us to leave the trail and play.
We rode past beautiful scenery
But we didn’t. We stayed on the trail that eventually took us within feet of the river.
The bike path took us really close to the river
We could tell by the change in scenery that we were getting close to our destination.
We're getting close to our destination
Finally, we arrive in historic Elgin, Illinois—made famous by the Elgin Watch Company.
We arrive in historic Elgin, Illinois
I love libraries. As you can imagine, lots of magic is let loose in the children’s section of the Elgin library.
The children's section of the phenomenal Elgin library.
We continued our journey to see the Grand Victoria riverboat casino. After dazzling the security guard with our brilliant smiles (and using just a hint of magic), he allowed us to use their very nice restrooms.
The Grand Victoria riverboat casino
On the return trip, we stopped and fortified ourselves for the ride back home with a delicious breakfast at “The Measuring Cup.”
We ate a delicious breakfast at "The Measuring Cup"
Then, you’ll never … ever … believe what we saw. How had we possibly missed this on the ride down? Impossible!
How could we have possibly missed THIS on the ride down?
A castle! The early morning hint of magic in the air proved to be true.
With the zoom lens we got a closeup view. How cool is that?!
With a zoom lens, we get a closeup view
See those blue tubes hanging over our right shoulders? Those are how we drink water while riding. We wear “Camelbak” packs that each hold 100 ounces of water. When we’re thirsty, we just bite down on the bite-valve and voilà! Perfect for a long, hot ride.
Our Camelbak packs make it easy to stay hydrated on a long, hot bicycle ride
There’s magic around us all the time, all we have to do is pay attention.