My daughter, Elizabeth, discovered a treat at the Will Rogers Garden, 3400 NW 36th St, OKC. Her dad and I had been to this park several times before she was born. It was just a few miles from our first home in the central part of the state. Once Elizabeth was born, parks with swings and slides topped the list and we kind of forgot about Will Rogers Garden. Elizabeth ran across the photos of the beautiful flowers and extraordinary landscape in an internet search. Now that she lives in Oklahoma City, she hunts the treasure of outdoor space better than her parents ever did.
In the intervening years, something amazing happened at Will Rogers Garden. Robert Trobaugh, employee of the OKC Parks & Recreation Department, starting adding fairy doors in the fallen trees, creating fairy houses.
They are small and often tucked away where you don’t see them unless you are looking. But, if you look, you’ll see them all over – and it’s a big park. They are fun. They are whimsical. They create stories and plotlines in your imagination. Some are solo and others are nestled together in little towns.
On a recent trip to see Elizabeth, she took us back to Will Rogers Garden. We told her about experiences we had there before she existed and she told us about discoveries she made that we missed. Her biggest delight was in pointing out all the fairy houses to me because we share this fascination with small things. We squealed with delight every time we found a new one. We told stories about the different fairies that lived in these mini castles. We marveled at how they used the natural structure of the tree to lend personality and architecture.
And then, a few weeks later, her boyfriend, Kamren, took her back to Will Rogers Garden where he asked her to marry him. They made sure to get a picture of their rings in front of a fairy house, of course.
Thank you, Mr. Trobaugh, for seeing the possibility in a dead tree trunk. Thank you for letting your whimsy run wild. You said you did this so the kids would be able to find them, but I think maybe you did it because your imagination still thrives. Elizabeth and I are delighted by the gift you’ve given and want to share this sense of delight and joy with others. Guess that’s what the old camp song is talking about, “It only takes a spark…to get a fire going. And soon, all those around, will warm up to its glowing.”