Many here would say it was a magical morning.
And all rose early to take advantage of this beautiful autumn day.
In fact, our sidewalks were nearly full of life by 8am.
I’m now living in a kid friendly community and one kind to cats, corgis and chihuahuas.
Even chinchillas and chickens for that matter.
And the shopkeepers’ doors were open early to all.
So was the Farmer’s Market.
But I took a short detour before running my shopping errands.
Bright sunlight through blazing red maples illuminated the dusty path back to my destination.
I was in search of one old and hollow ash by the lake down the road.
But this is no ordinary tree.
It’s blessed with a little wooden door, right at the base, for all the children in town to see.
I was conducting preliminary research for a special birthday location for a soon to be three year old.
My own little grandson.
I wanted something memorable, and maybe mystical.
And this tree is both.
For years a kindly little elf has lived inside, or so the legend goes. Young children leave him notes and trinkets, and he always replies back in kind.
This day there were several of both, circling the big old tree.
I unfolded one note from Toby, scribbled on yellow lined paper.
“Hi, how ya doing today Mr. Elf?”
I folded it back up and neatly placed it by the others.
Some days the notes are asking for much more than a response.
Maybe a return to health of a loved one, or a recovery from an illness of their own.
I also noticed this morning the wooden door was locked, and there’s an inscription now hanging on a tag composed by the elf.
The elf’s written that he’s once again returned to the castle.
That’s where he travels when winter time in near.
I understand there’s a very lovely fairy who lives there with him.
Yet our elf still religiously returns to the ash tree each spring.
I’m happy to report he’s added a special feature this year for the chilly months ahead.
It’s a P.O. box, where the children can mail their winter correspondence.
I thought about picking up the letter from Toby, and the others resting below the tree that the elf had missed.
Yet I’m thinking our little guy will magically appear some morning before the first snow finally falls.
Suddenly I felt a chilly gust of wind from the north, and I turned to walk back towards the market.
I decided instead to wait until spring, when the wooden door is once again open, to properly knock and introduce my grandson to the elf.
When I met up with my birthday boy later, we conferred with the chinchilla in the bookstore on great recommendations for kid books on animals and other mystical kingdoms.
And we selected a couple for purchase.
My princely grandson is quite content tonight.
And so am I.
We’ll both sleep well in our own special castles, dreaming of one very special little elf.
Anticipating a magical springtime to come.