The Secret in Nana’s Garden

Photo from an ad at http://www.unwins.co.uk/

This has always been my favorite flower. They look like little fairies!

“Annie, come here! Come with me!”

The excitement in Nana’s whisper piqued my curiosity instantly. It meant she had a secret to share! She repeated the invitation urgently with her hand and I stood up from my seat in front of the television. Nana took my hand, and led me out into her garden.

Nana’s secrets weren’t the super-secret kind I couldn’t tell anyone. They were only secrets we kept from Daddy. Nana’s house wasn’t as much fun as Jessi’s, but like Jessi’s, it was a place where the things I was forbidden to do at home were often encouraged. Sometimes, I think Nana did that more to spite Daddy than for my own benefit. She never thought much of him.

“Be very quiet and don’t make any sudden movements,” she cautioned as we stepped off her back porch.

My heart began to race with the pure thrill of the adventure. Our collection of secrets were treasures to last me a lifetime. She led me around to where her fuchsias grew and leaned over with her cheek next to mine, pointing between the leaves and flowers to a dark shadowy area to one side of the bush. I stared intently. The fuchsias were the prettiest flowers in Nana’s garden, but to my child’s mind, they didn’t seem like much of a secret.

“Do you see her?” she whispered.

My pony-tail bounced back and forth on my shoulders.

“You have to look very carefully. You can’t see her with just your eyes.”

I was only seven, but I thought I understood. I let go of the strict physical images of the fuchsia plant and let my mind see what I thought I saw there. It was faint at first, but it was there: a shimmering light about six or seven inches tall, dancing in the shadows beneath the leaves.

“Do you see her yet?”

I wasn’t sure. What I saw didn’t really look like a her. It was more like a fluttering butterfly of colorful light. “What is she?” I asked, pretending it looked different.

“She’s a fairy! Her name is Naida. Isn’t she pretty?”

“She’s beautiful,” I said, and the more I watched, the more I saw her, and the more beautiful she was! Her wings looked as if they were made of pure magic, and her dress was as delicate as the petals of the flowers. “She’s so tiny!”

“I think they’re really much bigger and that’s just the way they appear to us.”

“What do fairies do, Nana?”

“I don’t know,” she chuckled. “I’m sure I don’t speak a word of Fairy! I think they help things grow.”

“Is she always there?”

“No. I’ve only seen Naida a few times. Deianira is the one who’s here the most often.”

“Is she here now?”

“I don’t think so. I haven’t seen her. She’s usually over by the nasturtium. I have pictures of her, though. Would you like to see them?”

“You have pictures of fairies?”

She smiled. “Just the three from my garden. Come. I’ll show you.” She took me by the hand again to pull me reluctantly away from the hypnotic sparkle hiding in the fuchsia. “I’ve seen others, but I never seem to have my camera with me.”

Nana took me back inside and sat me on the couch. She went to fetch a photo album and returned to sit by my side. The album contained quite a few pictures of the fairies! Some had Nana or her friend Lottie posing with them. In each case, they seemed to my untrained eye like they were just spots of light in the pictures, but why would Nana and Lottie pose next to an ordinary spot of light? There was one picture Papa must have taken because Nana and Lottie were both in it and the fairy had come out of the flowers to pose with them.

Nana ran her finger over the picture. “This is Kristabelle,” she said.

“How do you know their names if you don’t speak Fairy?” I asked.

“Oh honey,” Nana smiled and petted my hair. “Those aren’t their real names, those are just names I gave them. I picked them from Greek girls’ names because I thought they sounded pretty.”

Kristabelle looked much more like a fairy than any of the other pictures. You could even see her eyes and the outline of a face in the picture.

“She’s the prettiest,” I said. “How come her wings are bigger?”

“You know, I don’t know. I don’t think they really are wings.”

“They look like wings,” I observed.

“Yes they do! But I think… I think fairies and people live in different worlds that are just connected through the flowers somehow. I think they push through to look at us sometimes, and it makes light come out wherever they push through. The light shimmers and dances behind them as they struggle to stay focused in our world, and so it looks to us like they are flying on wings of light.”

I don’t remember another word Nana said as she turned the remaining pages. I was lost for the rest of the day. Lost in another world where fairies lived, wondering if I looked to them like I had wings, and what they would name me.

Visits to Nana’s never again involved the television set. I would ask immediately if we could go to the garden where I would play with the nasturtium. I never got to meet Kristabelle or Deianira. In fact, I haven’t seen a fairy since. Once, when Nana took me on one of her nature walks, she said she spotted a fairy, but by the time I looked, she was gone.

© 2013 Anne Schilde

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About Anne Schilde

Image "Webster's Kiss" © 2011 Anne Schilde Thanks always for reading! ♥
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24 Responses to The Secret in Nana’s Garden

  1. joetwo says:

    That was magical! I’m sure your Nana’s actions were partly spite and partly “Cos I can!”

  2. deanabo says:

    How wonderful. I enjoy your writing.

  3. Many years ago I had a fairy companion; her name was Too-ra-lee….
    No; I didn’t make it up; she told me…. 😉 😉 😉

  4. joetwo says:

    I like to go through other comment threads on certain occasions and I feel that I have been justified by what I just read. There is a hidden depth to you Anne, a side of you that someone so unashamedly two-dimensional as me could never hope to fathom. I feel sometimes that I could spend a year talking with you and never scratch the surface. It is a pleasure and genuine privilage to communicate with you through this medium.
    All the best,
    Joe
    P.S. If you don’t want to write for PIAW this week then don’t. You don’t owe us anything. We will look forward all the more for what you post next week.

  5. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    You are extraordinary, Anne. You haven’t skipped a beat since I was last here. Your stories are still strong, absolutely full of imagery, imagination. You really are amazing you come up with all this so frequently.

    I remember believing in fairies (until I met one – ha ha!). No, but I did. Though, I don’t speak a skerrick of fairy either. I actually like the old way of spelling it : faerie. Sort of looks quirky to me.

    Bloody kudos to you. Do you realise, you’ve got something going on that you can produce such quality so regularly? Seriously – have you looked into publishing and so on? The brevity of these tales would be perfect for 10yo girls – a few little illustrations here & there. C’mon Anne, you are SPECIAL don’t you realise, that you produce so vividly regularly. It’s like you quoth your dreams every night, & every night your dreams are so diff.

    Really sorry I haven’t been by in a long while. Things go up & down, court cases pull you sideways, you know the bitterness & utter hatred (sourced from I don’t know where, but regurgitation of pain upon self decade upon decade) – then see the support of the perpetrator of the-most-extreme-hatred-and-ill-will-I’ve-ever-witnessed-in-my-life (understandable, mind; though she’s done nil to resolve inner demons, I suspect), and then think you’ll leave sleeping “faeries” lie…. as in, LIE! Soz…

    • Anne Schilde says:

      I’ve only started writing a couple of years ago, Noeleen. I’ve been working really hard on things I found I couldn’t do very well.

      I’ve just started writing Kate again after a 4-month break. I intend to edit and publish it when I’m done. When my other work permits, I will return to Jenny and the Snowy Owl, which I also intend to edit and publish. Webster’s Kiss has been patiently waiting for me to accumulate enough skill to re-edit and publish it. I’ve been keeping track of the short stories here, and when there are enough of them that I really like, I will consider publishing a compilation of those too. So with a little luck, I’ll have 4 books someday.

      I may also make a compilation of “my childhood stories” called Flower Anne. Those are some of my favorites. But that would never happen until after Webster’s Kiss. You’ll see why when that book finally comes out.

      In the meantime, Ermilia will be publishing a book I believe will be called Picture It & Write, which will include a couple of my stories, and will be the first time I was ever published! So I’m obviously very excited about that, and keep your eye out to get a copy, as the proceeds will go to a worthwhile charity!

  6. Love your work. Love your grandmother. Love fairies.

    I see fairies when there’s no one there
    I hear fairies in their underwear
    Fairies fly about me everywhere
    I don’t care. I love them there.
    I have often walked down this street before;
    But the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before.
    All at once am I several stories high.
    Knowing I’m on the street where you live.

    adapted from Lerner and Lowe’s On the Street Where You Live

    Sometime you got to be fairy silly
    bye annie

  7. I can see the similarities and the little differences, weird. You’re right, I did like this! I’d like to think that my first laugh made a quirky and mischievous fairy (if you didn’t know, from a baby’s first laugh a new fairy is made and is sent zooming off to Never Land!). Never stop writing, Anne 🙂

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