Outside in the garden there were places under the grapevine, and the frangipani and the May. There was the moss covered old log at my friend's house, their old overgrown orchard and the huge pine tree at the bottom of their very large garden. And a little further away, there was a magical valley with a stream running through it, where I played and dammed the creek and tried to catch tadpoles and jilgies, where huge granite outcrops stood like sentinels facing the setting sun, tall gum trees waved in the wind and magpies sang their warbling songs and cheekily expected tit-bits. It even had a magical name...'Whistlepipe Gully'. In the last house at the end of the road before Whistlepipe began, lived an old lady who had once been an art teacher. Who knows if she might have been a kindly old wise-woman as well.
I told myself stories about this place, invented characters and names for the stones, a language for it, and a whole array of scribbled ideas about the different kinds of magic that existed there, what creatures were aligned with each, and charms and spells to use for protection in encounters with them. I think I still carry this with me now, and I go looking for it all, that sense of otherworldly-ness, in my mundane life. And so I realise that houses that I like and dislike are judged on their potential for magical possibilities. This is why, I can now see, modern glass, chrome and steel boxes hold little attraction for me, and old, rustic, slightly decrepit houses made of wood (especially wood framed windows) always do.
The house my parents moved into when I was 22 (and me with them...late to leave the nest) definitely had magic. The house itself had some (wooden windows for a start). But it was the garden that truly captured my imagination. It was the garden I'd always wanted. Big, and green, with real full-size trees including, most magical of all, an oak tree. I was married beneath that tree. Sadly it is no longer standing, the house gone with it, victims of 'developers'.
But it isn't just houses. As I thought about this, I realised that I do this with almost everything. Clothes, furnishings, jewellery, music, shoes...everything needs to have a touch of magical potential. How odd I think now, to decide between two kitchen implements on the basis of which one seems to have more magic in it (new wooden spoons win over cheap new stainless steel, but an old metal spoon found in a dusty Op Shop's back shelves would win over both). Silver jewellery is almost always more magical that gold. Green velvet and suede. Boots. Red Hair. Long skirts. Old tea cups with roses and gold edging. Second-hand books with scribbles in the margins. Sea-glass. Feathers. Shells. Rocks with holes in them. Every time I pick something up, there's a little voice in the back of my mind, the voice of a child steeped in Narnia and Faeries and Green Men and Hobbits, that asks "but is it MAGIC!?"
One forest faery outfit finished, and a happy newly six year old faery!