Australia #15 Fitzroy Gardens and the Fairies Tree
Relax? Are you kidding? Life gets hectic surrounded by five million people, the population of Melbourne, Victoria in Australia. That might make someone like me from a town of 7,000 feel somewhat claustrophobic. Since 1848 Melbourne has found a way of calming its visitors and residents alike. Come with Carol and me through Fitzroy Gardens and relax.
Carol and I found one of the secrets in Fitzroy Gardens in East Melbourne. Wide paved pathways lead to the Fairies Tree and the Model Tudor Village.
Ola Cohn carved the Fairies Tree and dedicated it to the children of Melbourne. One mother complained on Trip Advisor that it was not worth the walk with a baby in a tram. She missed the idea.
Young mothers like Tram Mom may have lost the skill of relaxing and enjoying an afternoon of imagination. What conversations she could have had with Tram Baby about a bear that stood no larger than a bird. Did he shrink? He looks fearful.
Fairies, full of energy, climb and play on the branches of the giant web. Some practiced their gymnastics while others cuddled the fuzzy spider. Children, surrounded by onlooking adults, imitate the fairies and practice their gymnastics on the lawn. Applause breaks out.
I picture Creative Mum and five-year-old Frannie with books and writing materials spreading out a blanket near the tree. Creative Mum opens an insulated lunch bag. Slowly she pulls out a sandwich made with magic peanut butter spread on raisin bread with a banana face dusted with a light coating of powdered fairy dust.
“I brought your favorite a fairy catching sandwich,” she says as she takes it out.
Frannie squeals, jumps up and down, spins around, and runs over to the fairies to tell them.
“Come sit down,” Mum calls out laughing.
“The fairies want a bite of the magic peanut butter.”
“Yes, they do, and they will sneak over and grab your sandwich if you are not careful.”
Frannie plopped onto the plaid blanket and lay on her belly propped up on her elbows. She looked at the fairies clamoring for her attention.
“You want some of this, you sneaky fairies? You can’t have my magic sandwich. It will make me fly like you.”
She glanced down at her peanut butter and banana sandwich. She dipped her finger in peanut butter and held it up for the fairies to lick off her. Then she rolled over and giggled as she stuck her gooey digit into her mouth. The fairies still clamored, so Frannie teased them again.
On the other side of the tree, Tram Mom’s baby reached out to the bear. The tree bear wanted to ride along. Tram Baby looked up at Tram Mom and whimpered. Tram Mom angrily pushed the Tram away from the tree.
“No, you can’t have that bear. Here, play with your teddy. Let’s go.”
Tram Mom did not realize that the tree gave HER a reason to relax and build some memories and wonder in her children.
Ola would have been grieved to hear Tram Mom’s grumpy tirade.
“A long time ago,” Mum told Frannie, “the fairies might have jumped off the tree onto your sketch pad.”
When you were my age, Mum?”
“No, no, fairies are ancient forest creatures, older than the animals, and much older than I. They would dance on your paper making beautiful designs.”
“I can do that for them, Mum!”
“Yes you can, and we can show Dad and Eric what happened when they come home for dinner tonight.
Frannie leans against her mother and doodling. Creative Mom bends forward and whispers. Frannie looks up, and giggles then gets back to her task.
Several pages go by with many shared secrets and muffled laughter. Finally, Frannie says, “I’m done! Dad and Eric will be so excited to read it.”
“I think the fairies enjoyed it too. Can you hear them buzzing?”
Frannie sits quietly and purses her lips together as she listens.
Together Creative Mum and Frannie pack up their lunch and go home to make finishing touches to the fairy story.
The day Carol and I visited Fitzroy Gardens there were more fairies than people.The sun beat down on us. We did not have a blanket with us, nor a cute five-year-old with a peanut butter face.
I Admit to Being Somewhat Tram Momish
By the time we finished taking photos, it was past noon, or at least 10:30. Since confession is good for the soul, I’ll tell you that I was a little out of sorts after walking for quite a while in the heat. We were both thirsty. Like the little red fox who got his fat tummy caught inside the tree, I wondered if I would faint from starvation. I’d had nothing to eat since my Tim Tam’s that morning.
My imagination cried out for a break. Fortunately, there was a little restaurant with air-con a few steps away from the Fairies Tree. We trudged past the Model Tudor village giving it little more than a cursory glance on the way up the hill to the Pavilion Cafe.
We both ordered an iced coffee and relaxed enjoying the pictures of the fairies tree on our digital phones. Carol quickly Instagrammed her photos. I sat patiently trolling my fingers on the table and waited.
I couldn’t post until I had internet service at the Air B & B to show my pictures on Facebook through my computer, the old-fashioned way. By that time my hubby, Vince had already liked her beautiful pictures. So I treasured them until now.
If you have a chance to wander the pathways of Fitzroy Gardens, take your camera, books, paper, crayons, and blanket and stay a while. Let the fairies do their magic before you leave. Just a word of caution, take sunscreen, cold drinks, and maybe hard candy from Ballarat or some nuts. Those fairies like to eat! And they are sneaky!
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