We Followed a Fairy Home.

It was morning.

We were visiting “the children” and their children.  The little brother went off to his caretaker. The father went to work. The mother went to work. We were left with the big brother, who had no school that day.

So we went to Sabin’s Pasture on a warm fall day.


Hold on to that tree. Out the door, around the block, across a vacant lot, and down a hill path to a ridgelet, which we descend into Sabin’s Pasture.

At the low point of Sabin’s Pasture is a little brook.

A little bridge crosses the little brook.


Grandmother and grandson, reflected in the water of Blanchard Brook.

Blanchard Brook flows into the Winooski River.

The Winooski River flows into Lake Champlain.

Lake Champlain’s outflow is the Richelieu River.

Which flows to the Saint Lawrence River.

Which flows to the Atlantic Ocean.

The brook is dabble-able.


The brook is a nice place to wade.


The brook is a nice place to hang out on a rock and look down into the water.


The rock is a good place to try to look through the reflections on the water below.


…to try to see the minnows.

Then we walked upstream along the brookside trail.

We gave a ride to some seed hitch-hikers, and became accidental epizoochorists.

There are many cool A-to-Z botanical words for how seeds are dispersed. “Anemochory” describes wind-transported seeds. “Zoochory” describes those seeds dispersed by animals. “Endozoochory” is when animals eat fruits and excrete the seeds later, elsewhere. A high proportion of tropical trees spread their seeds in this manner. “Epizoochory” is when seeds attach themselves to the outside of an animal. Think cockleburrs, or think these seed hitch-hikers who latched on to my jeans.

Beggar’s tick, or beggar-tick.

The seeds have two barbed prongs, which are very good at staying on whatever they impale.

Backtracking from Z to A, here’s our anemochoristic plant of the day.


Nice soft silky strands of floss, to seize in your fingers.


We left the milkweed patch after launching hosts of seeds into the air.

Above us, a flock of geese went by.


We went uphill then, to the edge of the woods, to a row of white pines.

We sat under the pines, on a mat of tan, fallen, needles.


We picked apart some resinous, fragrant cones. And got sticky sap on ourselves.

Cone-dissecting is a calm and pleasant activity.

Restful, even.

Then it was time to start back.

We went partway, and took another rest stop, under an almost-leafless wild apple tree.


Can you find the boy in this picture?

When we got near home, we saw a fairy princess.


It’s not every day you see a fairy princess.


Especially when she’s dancing down the street where you live.

10 responses to “We Followed a Fairy Home.

  1. Lizzie Bradley commented on the first posting of this piece, which I took down on account of having to re-edit…but here’s what she said…
    “the winooski river flowed through my first college town- plainfield varmint! goddard college is a bike ride away from its banks! and a great food coop, and some crazy hills!!”
    Thanks, Lizzie….

  2. Wonderful story and exceptional pictures. Not that I am neutral a neutral observer but I must say, really, really, nice.

  3. Reminded me of “Reason for a Flower (Reason for a Seed)” by Ruth Heller. We read this one so much we all had it memorized.
    Lovely post, thank you. Grace went to St Lawrence which is close to Eisenhower Locks on the St. Lawrence River in Massena, New York. Are/Were you in NY?

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