I first realized that this garden would be different when the bamboo poles showed up with moss-covered sticks poking out of the hollow tops. That's odd, I thought. I suppose the idea is that the moss will flourish on the sticks. That will look neat. I usually walk past this garden on my way to catch the bus.
Then the bones sticking up out of pipes submerged in the dirt made their appearance. Hmmm. As a vegetarian I can't help but think of the animal these came from. But they work. They looked like little mushroom houses.
I started imagining little beings congregating and flitting from house to house. More details were revealed on subsequent walks. A human-sized bench. A pink jar. A pottery piece looking like a cross between a beehive and a kiva oven, with a tea candle inside. A fairy palace?
A fairy-sized road, but a path only just big enough for a human to take a few steps through the garden. A platform that looks like a miniature swimming hole raft. Skulls, reminding me of the cattle skulls in New Mexico, only smaller. I once painted a watercolor of skulls in my cousin Jo's Jemez yard. She liked it so much I gave it to her. I wonder whatever happened to it. (Jo died a few years ago, and I'm no longer in touch with her daughter or significant other.) There are so many interesting little details.
One day when I wasn't rushing to catch the bus for work I stopped to talk to the creator D and his housemate C, and asked if I could take photos. I told D I thought of it as The Fairy Garden. He said, "That's exactly right!" He told me he got the idea for the beehive sculpture from a medieval monastery on an island in Ireland. Like this maybe? He found mosses and ferns in the forests. One he brought back from his home state. One day he was on the road to Canby, looking for ferns off the road, he found a dying ground for deer, possibly the depository for car crash victims. Carcasses in various states of decay offered up his skulls. And I wonder what else?
His sweet dog Lou got in the picture:
I saw the two housemates another day, and they greeted me warmly. The garden artist was working on creating some tables from old growth logs. I didn't think to ask how he got them. Cormac McCarthy's The Road was perched on the fairy raft. He'd just bought it, hadn't started reading it. I told him I'd just looked up fairy in Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, and I learned that faery is the land of the fairies. (It turns out the old version that is online says faery is interchangeable with fairy. The current book version defines it this way.)
The land of faery,
Where nobody gets old and godly and grave,
Where nobody gets old and crafty and wise,
Where nobody gets old and bitter of tongue.
W.B. Yeats: The Land of Heart's Desire (1894)