In a Pandemic Fairy Tale, a Garden Leads to a Magical Friendship


Kelly Kenney was once taking a late-night stroll to transparent her ideas in her Los Angeles community this spring when a colourful pinwheel stuck her eye. She stopped and located herself observing down at an elaborate fairy lawn on the base of a tree, whole with painted rocks and tiny trinkets.

Pinned to the tree was once a Polaroid image of the lawn’s writer, a 4-year-old lady named Eliana, and a poem the use of a medieval-looking storybook font that instructed her neighbors easy methods to use the lawn: “Our 4-year-old lady made this to decorate your day / Please upload to the magic, however don’t remove / These days can also be onerous, however we’re on this in combination / So experience our fairy lawn and a few nicer climate.”

Ms. Kenney hatched a plan, and at the subsequent evening, she left a observe on the lawn pretending to be a fairy named Sapphire, after Ms. Kenney’s September birthstone, who had taken up place of abode within the tree. She promised she’d depart glittery magical resin cube (a virulent disease pastime for Ms. Kenney) if Eliana finished 3 duties she indexed that had been etched in kindness. And the next day to come, they had been completed.

The observe kindled a friendship tied to the fairy lawn that may remaining via one of the most darkest months of the pandemic and hardships of 2020 for each a bit of lady and her grown-up neighbor. Ms. Kenney chronicled the revel in in a wildly popular Twitter thread this month.

“I felt like right away when I discovered it, the entire circle of relatives wedged themselves into my center,” Ms. Kenney, a photographer, stated in regards to the fairy lawn. “I used to be so by myself on the time, bodily and mentally, and I felt like those other folks had been kindred spirits.”

Eliana made the fairy lawn on April 28 the use of fabrics from her grandmother. The lawn began with fairy-size doorways at the tree, a few fairies and a gnome. It grew with contributions from neighbors, like a tiny pink self-importance with a citation from “The Lord of the Rings” inside of, Eliana’s mom, Emily Pauls, stated.

Ms. Kenney discovered a brand new function as she went via a harsh breakup by way of orchestrating elaborate notes and photoshopping herself as a tiny fairy subsequent to her cat, Nova. She gave Eliana’s oldsters her telephone quantity, to reassure them, when the letters changed into extra widespread.

She contemplated concepts for imaginative present bins to go away in the back of, with the purpose of creating every higher than the remaining one. Ms. Kenney tapped into what she stated she cherished when she was once a kid and texted Ms. Pauls for assist.

Ms. Kenney gave Eliana a filled pig and a goat; a pop-up model of considered one of her favourite early life books, “The Little Prince”; and Crayola markers with paper so Eliana would forestall draining her oldsters’s provide of replica paper when she attracts.

As a kid, Ms. Kenney stated, she was once bullied on account of how her inventive character manifested itself. She felt ashamed, and it wasn’t till later in existence, along with her uncle’s improve, that she tapped again into her imaginative facet.

Noticing that she and Eliana had an identical personalities, Ms. Kenney sought after to nurture Eliana’s inventive inspiration and supply a good affect, one thing she had lacked rising up.

Eliana’s oldsters discovered that she modified during the last 9 months, too. Through Sapphire’s encouragement, she was once changing into extra imaginative and sort all over a time when she wanted a task type for the reason that pandemic halted her 12 months in preschool.

Ms. Kenney inspired Eliana to jot down tales, which ended in “Sapphire the Explorer.” It integrated illustrations and a music that handiest fairies can sing (and browse). Ms. Pauls helped with punctuation and turning her textual content into pages.

Eliana regularly considered Sapphire and wrote to her, asking what the outside of fairies felt like and what issues Sapphire owned. Ms. Pauls stated that Eliana would pick out up pieces like a rock and consider how Sapphire may just use it as a desk or dreamed of the way to catch the fairy.

“She’d by no means noticed me, however this courting we now have is without a doubt love,” Ms. Kenney stated about Eliana. “She’s simply as magical to me.”

Then the journey encountered a plot twist. Ms. Pauls let Ms. Kenney know in mid-November that that they had closed on a space in south Los Angeles and could be transferring from the West Side, leaving the neighbors to have a tendency to the fairy lawn.

Ms. Pauls requested Ms. Kenney to assist improve Eliana, who was once having issue dealing with the transfer. Ms. Kenney instructed Eliana in a letter that she would additionally transfer — out of the lawn to a larger tree for Sapphire and her rising cat.

“Sometimes, we outgrow houses as a result of we now have an excessive amount of love and want a spot we will be able to grasp all of it,” Ms. Kenney wrote. “But it’s so a laugh to search out new bushes and consider what new adventures are in retailer for us!”

Eliana’s mom and Ms. Kenney deliberate to satisfy because the circle of relatives stated good-bye to their community on Dec. 11. Ms. Kenney and Eliana’s oldsters had been examined for the coronavirus days previous so to be certain that the discuss with was once secure. In some other letter, Ms. Kenney hinted to Eliana that she could be coming to get her ultimate issues and that fairies change into human-sized when they’re transferring.

Dressed in personality, with pointy fairy ears, Ms. Kenney walked as much as the tree and, as she rummaged across the lawn, pretended to seem startled by way of Eliana. But Eliana was once the one that was once shocked and conquer with emotion. Ms. Kenney crouched down they usually started to talk about Nova the cat and what existence is like as a fairy.

“Every time, it was once all the time this candy, candy second the place I felt so surprisingly identified by way of the stranger,” Ms. Pauls stated in regards to the letters. “Through this entire change, she’s turn into circle of relatives in some way. It’s a in point of fact sudden approach to discover a buddy.”

Ms. Kenney continues to carry the magic to Eliana via letters and video chats. But there’s extra to be discovered when Eliana makes some other fairy lawn at her new house, and expectantly, some other fairy will transfer proper in.