This Saturday, the trailing edge of the sun will slip below the horizon at 6:55 marking the last evening of summer.
In Oklahoma City’s Paseo Arts District, children will gather for the magic fairy ball on the fairy lawn across from the Paseo Grill. They’ll be dressed as bugs and elves, fairies and blossoms. They’ll string leaves and flowers through their costumes and dance and laugh in the street as the day turns to dusk.
The annual event is a celebration of innocence and creativity. With twinkling lights strung from tree to tree and gossamer wings on little girls. Even daddies wear flower crowns.
From this comes the light that sparks the wonder and imagination that can put a man on the moon and a poem in the heart of everyone, young and old.
Everybody is welcome to attend. Steve McLinn will provide music and StarDanceSwan will perform. But, on to more important matters. Can someone tell me when do we stop spinning in dreamy light?
Is it the moment hormones kick in? The day we sign our first promissory note? The hour we are taken hostage by the disappointment of a dream dashed or deferred.
The first time I went to the magic fairy ball, it reminded me of that painting by Edward Robert Hughes called a Mid Summer’s Eve. He painted it around 1908. Hughes was a Pre-Raphaelite whose work was inspired by the terrible times in which he lived. Times not unlike today. There is so much turbulence in our world. Chemical weapons and thrill killings. Hunger and disease. Stepping into that painting, stepping into the magic fairy ball, the beautiful goddess has come to take it all away.
The fairies gather ’round her in radiant light. Fireflies all aglow. She leans down and whispers to them. I can hear the call of the flute that drapes around her neck. She hushes the ethereal creatures with these words. Everything will be OK.
It’s OK to pretend that it will be, isn’t it?
Psychologists tell us that make believe and pretend play enhance a child’s capacity for cognitive flexibility and innovation. One study shows how Nobel Prize Winners in early childhood enjoyed games about make-believe worlds more often than control participants in their field.
The day after the magic fairy ball, the sun will cross the celestial equator. It will rise exactly due east and set exactly due west. And, the day and the night will each be 12 hours long. Before this, the autumnal equinox, let us spin in the last radiant light of summer and dream of peace, the human right of all.
Addendum: Pictures of Fairies
When I was little my mother had a little green book of flower fairies. I loved to look at it, and oh, what I’d give to find a copy of that exact book now. The memories of it are hidden so deep in my mind, I don’t know if I’d recognize it if I saw it. In the meantime, here are a few illustrations of fairies by Ida Rentoul Outhwaite. Her book, Elves and Fairies, was published in 1916. If these pictures don’t delight you, you’re in serious need of some fairy magic.