December 5, 2021
Refectons, Day 55
met a little elf man once,
down where the lilies blow.
I asked him why he was so small
and why he didn’t grow.
He slightly frowned and with his eye
He looked me through and through.
“I’m quite as big for me”, said he,
“as you are big for you.”
–John Kendrick Bangs
On Saturday, I had arranged my bonsai gardens nicely on the table at the Winter Art Market. The show was well-attended and there were a lot of creative and skilled vendors. Dekie and I were honored to be included.
About mid-day, I took a break and I was looking out over the tops of my gardens into the full room of the Rome Civic Center. I wasn’t looking at any person or thing in particular.
And then, my eyes were riveted to a young boy standing in front of one of the tables. I watched his eyes as his imagination walked him through the miniature garden with the “pathway, tree, stepping stones, and moss.”
I knew immediately what he was looking at.
“He sees the elf man’s world,” I thought.
I could see his interest as he noticed every nuance of the garden.
This happens every now and then with the gardens and I find it delightful.
You see, my son, Paul helped me to develop the concept of the “elf-man garden” back about 1976 when he would have been about 7 years old. Paul could quote the elf-man poem perfectly and he loved to turn his fingers into legs and walk through the gardens as if he were one of the little ones.
And that’s how I know the look on a young boy’s face when he encounters an elf man garden.
But Saturday there was an extra piece to the story.
The boy looked up from the garden and with perfect diction said,
“Mister Schulz, your designs are amazing.”
I told him that this was perhaps one of the greatest compliments I ever had.
I hope his mother sees this and reads him the poem.