Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Kindness of Strangers--Fairies or Angels?

I have been wanting to go to Fairy Stone State Park for a couple of years. I knew my daughter would love hunting for Fairy Stones, so I just had to pick a day to do it. Today was the day. When I know that I'm going to be gone all day, sometimes I worry if I'll get behind on my writing. For most people, summer is a time when they can slow down a bit. For me, summer time is the time I get most of my writing done. Sometimes it's during these times that my writing really is enriched. Or my life is enriched, which affects my writing. On days that I don't venture out, sometimes I find myself sitting down to the computer and wasting time because I don't know what to write. On days like today, I come back with my head so full of stories that I can't wait to get them down.

The legend goes that the woods were enchanted with fairies. When an elfin told the fairies that Christ had died, they cried. Their tears crystallized and became the fairy stones. There is another Cherokee version of the story as well. I am going to look that one up.

The woods and hunting for fairy stones? There is a story in there somewhere. I thought about it all the way home. I took the road less traveled by (you know, the one with no lines on it) and I thought about my story, while enjoying the beautiful mountains. And it was totally quiet because the trip to the park wore both of my kids out and they were snoozing in the back.

I took both of my kids by myself for two reasons 1) the hubby had to work and 2) it's less crowded on a weekday. I packed a cooler full of water, fruit, muffins, and other snacks. I had the jogging stroller (which by the way, was made for camping). And we had a handful of picture books on CD. I listened, my daughter followed along with the text, and we had a fabulous time.

Usually my husband and I tag-team. We are able to handle two kids and all of their paraphernalia without too much trouble. On my own, I have to streamline it a bit, but I was feeling very comfortable with the whole trip. I was amazed by the kindness of total strangers. An elderly man who must live locally, came in to the visitor's center when we did (he didn't work there). He told us all about the fairy stones and explained some of the hands-on skulls and displays set up. He patiently and kindly answered all of my little naturalist's questions.

Then there was the retired principal who led us out to the fairy stone trail, who spent extra time with us helping us to identify which were fairy stones and which were not (and there were about 20 of us that went--we weren't the only ones).

On the way down to the trail, there was the lady who was fairy stone hunting with her grown siblings. She waited for me to get out of the car and asked if I needed help getting my stroller down the rough, steep terrain.

At lunch a young boy, about ten, saw me pushing a stroller and dragging a cooler. He offered to come over and help me.

Perhaps we had been sprinkled with fairy dust. Or maybe sometimes you entertain angels unaware. For whatever reason, I am indebted to the kindness of strangers who made my trip to Fairy Stone that much more enjoyable. As soon as possible, I will pay it forward.

Now, off to write my story.

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