Magic happens every day...if we are willing to open our eyes and mind to it. With that said, please follow me...(there will be no photos in this blog post because the images will all be in your head)....
...come with me on an evening walk, actually an evening run, but we have to walk a bit to get to our running trail. This is a lovely, warm, musty, humid summer evening. You are walking across a short wooden bridge that crosses over a small, yet strong river. Upon crossing the bridge you will walk through untended grounds of overgrown bush. Stretching along in front of you is an ugly, old metal wire fence that runs along the length of a railroad track that is seldom used, but still in use for freight trains traveling long distances between destinations. You will short cut through a hole in the wire fence to get to the other side of the railway tracks because the next opening to access entry beyond the fence is a long distance away.
You will walk on crunchy gravel. You will step your feet over...no...pause...you will step your feet on the railway tracks because it is so fun to do. You will listen and hear that no trains are coming, so you are safe to take pause and be in the moment, to play, to balance...your arms outstretched as you walk one foot at a time ahead of the other. Then, you pause and listen again real close...no trains coming...still safe to play. You bend over real low, eyes level with the tracks and examine the tracks because they're fascinating. You notice that they are aged and rusted. And you notice that every bit of steel and wood that lays untended, rusted and old was designed with every subtle curve and angle calculated to keep that train on the tracks....the sleepers, the gauge, the ballast.
Then, you remember that you were headed somewhere. So, up go you...walk across those tracks, scramble down a steep hill that leads into a thick forested space. But, before you enter the thick of those trees, you walk along a very narrow dirt path, barely noticeable, really. You only know it's there because you've been here before. Flanked on either side of this narrow dirt path is a large meadow, overgrown to knee length with tall unkempt grass and weeds. Twilight had long set in and dusk is now heavily in loom. You are walking with your eyes set on those trees because that's where you were going. But, you stop in your tracks because in your periphery you thought you saw a dim glowing light. You look in the direction of the light and you see the light had moved. On closer examination, you realize the light did not move because you now see that there are many dim glowing lights...flashing ever so slowly, ever so dimly, ever so gently, ever so silently...flashing...flashing...flashing every where...slow...dim...gentle...silent. And you realize you are surrounded by an enormous field of fireflies...twinkling dimly, moving silently. You stand amidst the silence filled with the hot, humid, thick air of a summer night, the crickets now awakening, the sound of evening in full effect and you tell yourself that life is amazing, beautiful, magical. This is it...magic.
I am blessed to have had the experience with fireflies twice in my life. The first time was amidst a hot, humid summer evening in Ann Arbor, Michigan where I lived at the time while attending graduate school. The path we walked through above was the very path and the very experience that I remember. One does not easily forget the details of moments in life graced with magic.
The second time was while living in Kenya, many years ago. I was a Peace Corps volunteer teaching in a small village at the base of Mt. Kenya. On an evening walk to my house from the main road, which was a distance of about 4 km (2.5 mi), I had come from the market with dinner for the day. It had rained that day. The rains in Kenya come in seasons of long wet downpours or short wet downpours....they are always wet downpours. On this day, I was tired and drenched from rain and anxiously walking with a brisk because I was late getting home that night. And in Africa, you don't want to be late getting home. After the sun goes to bed, there is nothing but pitch black that does not allow sight beyond the nose. So, anxiously, briskly I walked. The dirt path leads from the high road down into a small valley before it inclines again to bring me on the trail to my boarding school. It was there in the valley that I witnessed yet another moment of true magic. Upon reaching the valley, there was a small grove of large banana trees. Here, I stopped in my tracks to witness thousands of warm, dim, glowing lights that twinkled ever so slowly and silently....the fireflies. And here, once more, I was left to stand frozen in awe and amazement, completely absorbed in the moment to feel an immense gratitude toward mother nature for the beauty and wonder she's given us.
I retell these stories of my firefly experiences because I realize now that not everyone will recognize magic when they see it and not everyone will be lucky enough to see a firefly during their lifetime. Fireflies only live in specific parts of the world. And if you happen not to live in those parts and you don't travel, then you may never see them. I retell these stories because these are the very inspirations that drive the creativity behind Scarlet Elfcup dolls and toys. They are deeply meaningful, deeply personal and they inspire the things that I make. So, the creations come from the very bottom of my heart and in bringing the memories, the stories, the ideas to life, I am expressing my gratitude for all the beauty and meaning that I have found in life. I hope that in sharing bits of my world with you, I can bring forth moments of beauty and magic into your world.
I like to dream that one day I can walk once more amongst fireflies...except this time, I want to go chasing them with my children. For now, I'll leave you to chase one certain firefly and her fairy on tomorrow's eve.