Christmas among the Ferns was always a special time. From the time I was a child and until now the sight of the Ferns alight with Christmas cheer, hope, love and celebration has always enthralled me.
My own children from the earliest age and even today when they return make it their business to visit the Ferns and reacquaint themselves with the Fern people.
From December 1st the preparation for Christmas begins. I am not sure when the Fern folk began to celebrate this festive season but they always have in my lifetime. All through the Ferns, over every bush, plant and tree are strung fairy lights, minute little globes that shine at night like no other light, some that blink and glow in every increasing degrees of brightness, in every hue imaginable, each family sharing their expertise in providing a light show that is unique to their particular household.
As the days to Christmas draw closer, magical strands of tinsel appear, curling the way down from the tallest trees, wrapping themselves around every piece of foliage, prompting flowers to bloom of the most tantalising fragrances, the entire Ferns is awash with the festive season.
My children loved going there on Christmas Eve for on that evening the fairies would gather to exchange gifts with each other. My children, all six of them would sit outside the Ferns looking in, each child holding tightly to a gift they had prepared. In the land of the fairy a gift was only a gift if it was made by your own two hands. So in the weeks leading up to the particular night they could be found fashioning what they thought would be the perfect fairy gift.
Making gifts for fairies was a hard job. The gift had to be hand made, had to be something they might use, had to be of a size they could use and wrapped by the giver themselves in silver foil. Silver foil was the only man made substance the fairies coveted. They found a million uses for it and were ever so excited when they received a gift wrapped in the silver substance.
In turn they also presented to me as a child and then my children and today my children’s children gather in the Ferns and look in on the magical world. The fairies make sure that their Christmas celebration is visible to us, for much of the year they are invisible to most folk.
My children loved to receive fairy dust, it had the ability to give you power to run fast, solve multiple maths problems, sing like an angel or in fact any thing you thought you would like to do that you found difficulty in most other times.
I sit back each year and watch the fascination of the children, the joy on the fairies faces when they receive their gifts, the elation the children demonstrate when the fairies present each of them with a small gift and then the subsequent wonder at what they have received.
At the end of the night when the children have all gone to bed or are in the process of putting their children to bed I go and sit with Arwood my childhood fairy friend who still today values my friendship and counsel.
He gave me the ultimate gift so many years ago. A small bag of fairy dust very different from what my children receive. Mine he explained to me was an eternal fairy dust, one that has given the ability to write as I now do, to record their stories, to retell the tales I have been told and to be forever the keeper of the Ferns.
As I have recorded in earlier stories Arwood and I have developed a trust and love for one another and on Christmas Eve we remember each others childhood, or at least mine, for Arwood had been around for some time before I came along. As the clock ticks over to midnight and Christmas arrives, the lights in the Ferns sparkle and glow as never before. Only I have been privileged to see that phenomenon, which each year captives me and one moment I have never grown tied of.