I remember a time when I was innocent enough to enjoy the simpler things. Today, I am old and wary, and quick to judge things for what they are, or in most cases, what I choose to believe they are.

When I was about 5, my older sister and I went out to the back of the garden where we had a small citrus orchard. She asked me if I wanted to see some fairies and elves. "Oh, yeah!" I remember answering enthusiastically. She went on to explain that all we had to do was to build a beautiful place for them, and they’d come and visit us.

We piled dry grass from the lawn that had just been mown the day before into a dim corner of the yard where some flowering hedges intersected. On this pile we put coloured berries and flowers we found all around the house and garden. We even put in orange coloured peel from the mandarins from the orchard, and coloured stones.

Once we were satisfied that it was the most beautiful of fairy grottoes, we crouched down and watched, and waited. After a while I started to get concerned. No winged mites were traipsing around our grotto yet. "Where are they?" I hoarsely whispered to my sister. "Shhh," she replied still staring at the pile, "keep watching." We stared for a while longer, then suddenly, there was movement! Something out of the corner of my eye moved. Then something out of the other corner.

I knew that staring long and hard at this thing on a blazing hot day was making my eyes do funny things, but I was so wound up about the whole fairy-thing, that I believed what I saw was fairies.

Today, my old and cynical mind believes that my mind back then told me to see these movements, because it was so convinced they were going to happen.

I take myself back to that day in my mind from time to time. It is my secret place where I find solace in the warmth, and comfort of my sister’s company - both grown adults today, living hundreds of miles apart. I see the fairy movements, and feel the distractions and stresses of adult life leave me for a second as I fall back into that lost childhood innocence.

I am there now, looking at the pretty flowers and berries and stones. I am five, and my sister is sitting there beside me - staring at the grotto and waiting.

It makes me smile...

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