Once Upon a Time in Overland Park…. (a thank you)

…..something beautiful and inspiring happened that healed hearts, brightened spirits and brought a kinder face to the world we live in. Like all good stories, there is always an ending. In this case, I was hoping that (in case the person or people responsible for Firefly Forest are stopping by and reading this site) my fellow Friends of Hollow Tree Lane would leave some words of thanks to those who gave us this remarkable gift.

Please let them know how much this project of theirs meant to you, and any other thoughts you might have about your experiences with Firefly Forest in the comments here, if you would. No one ever asked for recognition for this lovely art, nor for accolades. I’m sure they got plenty of personal notes at the tree message board when it was there, but for anyone who never got a chance to express their feelings or gratitude, I can at least offer this public space for people to do so. I think a big round of applause is in order, and some Friends of Firefly Forest gratitude.

Thank you creators of the project, and thank you readers, it was rather special to get to see that something that meant so much to me meant so much to so many others out there.

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The Firefly Forest is No More (at least as of today…)

After reading a comment here on my blog, I grabbed my cane (recent hip surgery) and headed out to see if it was true, if all of the houses and doors were in fact gone. I must report, with great regret and sadness, that all but the Little Owl Door are gone. Everything has been removed, and replaced with the silver stars that have shown up recently, all bearing inspirational messages much like those from the former sites. I am trying to see the inspiration, thinking perhaps a passing of the torch–or simply the end of a beautiful project?–but am as saddened by this presently as the rest of the people I met today on the trail, all wondering what had happened.

Here are the former sites as they were today:

The site of 12 Hollow Tree Lane:Image

ImageWhat remains at 51 Hollow Tree lane, below the star left hanging above where the house was.

Star at 51 Hollow Tree Lane

Star at 51 Hollow Tree Lane

 

Star at 64 Hollow Tree Lane

Star at 64 Hollow Tree Lane

 

ImageThe former site of 64 Hollow Tree Lane, the purple door tree with the “message board”.

The star message at the former "Blue Roof" house.

The star message at the former “Blue Roof” house.

 

What remains at the site of the Red Door, behind Deanna Rose.

What remains at the site of the Red Door, behind Deanna Rose.

The former site of the "Bamboo House".

The former site of the “Bamboo House”.

 

Where the "Stick House" was, with the hammock, behind Deanna Rose.

Where the “Stick House” was, with the hammock, behind Deanna Rose.

Apologies for the formatting of this post, WordPress is a bit twitchy today.

I guess we can all be thankful that something beautiful happened, even for a short time, here in Overland Park. It was a beauty to watch, and I hope that all of the kids never stop searching for those woodland creatures; keep dreaming, keep trying to catch a glimpse. The fireflies are still out there, tonight.

The Houses Are Gone…..

Apologies, I couldn’t get the mobile posts to go through. I went to see for myself, encountering many saddened people, as all of the houses are gone, with only stars remaining in their places. I do not know if they are coming back or not, just that they are gone from the trail, and that the Firefly Forest is no more at this point.

The former house sites behind Deanna Rose:

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The Wonderous World of Arthur Rackham–Magical Fun Outside of the Firefly Forest

I have been a fan of the works of book illustrator Arthur Rackham (1867-1939) for a few decades now, and must confess that I frequently picture and imagine his works when on my forest walks. Rackham was instrumental and quite an influence on the world of drawings of mythical creatures during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Actually, J.R.R. Tolkien credited many of his ideas on writing about trees such as Old Man Willow (The Lord of the Rings) and other “treeish” characters to his admiration for Rackham’s illustrations. Naturally, in honor of the wedding of our local forest inhabitants, Miss M. and R.T., I wished to post his “The Meeting of Oberon and Titania” (from his 1908 illustrations for A Midsummer Night’s Dream):

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I also must add that I frequently picture happening such as this illustration by Rackham happening…or at least I like to believe that something of such mystical beauty could possibly take place (“The Fairies Are Exquisite Dancers”): 

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Rackham illustrated everything from collections of fairy tales we are still familiar with today, from Hans Christian Andersen to The Brothers Grimm, to works of Shakespeare to Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelungen) myth cycle, and all was infused  with magic and wonder–and occasionally even fear (it’s easy to picture Tolkien’s admiration and inspiration here!): 

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If you find inspiration and beauty in the thought of mystical creatures in wooded places, the illustrations of Arthur Rackham are a great place to look, and if you like The Firefly Forest, perhaps you will also find delight in at least an image search of this great illustrator’s works. Many are for sale (at long last) in collections online as well, or as individual prints. And all of them are brimming with magic and delight: 

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Happy Forest-going, everyone, and best of luck in finding these woodland creatures to all the fairy hunting children out there (including those who are just children at heart)!

Location of Firefly Forest

I hope the Overland Park Parks and Rec. Dept. doesn’t mind my borrowing their map, I wanted to add the exact location of the segment of Tomahawk Creek Trail that is home to the Firefly Forest. As I have noted previously (this post is now posted separately and able to be accessed from the home page menu), this trail is located between 137th and 138th streets west of Antioch, extending almost to Switzer and then west of Switzer extending behind the Deanna Rose Farmstead park. The segment on this map in red, surrounded by the black oval, encompasses the entire area of Firefly Forest:

Firefly Forest area in the black oval on the red trail line.

Firefly Forest area in the black oval on the red trail line.

A Very Special Firefly Forest Wedding!

As was revealed the first week of the existence of the Firefly Forest, the names of the inhabitants of 64 and 51 Hollow Tree Lane, are Miss M. and R.T. They exchanged lovely notes of welcome to the neighborhood almost a year ago, when the houses first appeared. Apparently, this budding friendship turned romantic, and has finally culminated in a wedding at the glade (across from 64 Hollow Tree Lane by the Little Owl Tree) in the Firefly Forest this past Sunday! Here are some photographs of this special event, and hopes of a happy marriage for Miss M. and R.T!

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Attention, Friends of The Firefly Forest:

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There are a rather determined few individuals, or perhaps just one, who continue to vandalize these beautiful sites. Please be on the lookout for anyone who is damaging the sites, or any talk you may hear. The sign above was posted a few months back, and I’m reposting it here again.

The lovely tree with the red door has been vandalized yet again, the door ripped off and much of the surrounding decorations broken and stolen. This has been happening off and on since shortly after the homes and doors appeared, and is usually repaired quickly, but it is upsetting that anyone would want to damage these lovely creations that so many are taking such pleasure in walking to see. It’s especially upsetting as so many young children take such delight in visiting these sites in hopes of discovering the creatures who inhabit them, only to arrive and find them in such disarray.

Here is the Red Door Home, which is behind Deanna Rose and St. Andrew’s golf course west of Switzer on the trail, as of today: RedDoorRippedOff6/5

Please keep a lookout, and call the appropriate authorities if you have any tips. As I am merely the Watcher and not affiliated with the trail itself or the Firefly Forest, I would suggest (until I get further information) using the contact numbers on the Overland Park Parks & Recreation site here.

Thank You!

More Firefly Festival Fun!

It was another special day in the Firefly Forest today, and I urge any and everyone who loves the Firefly Forest to go take a look! This is the “Festival” area, located between 64 Hollow Tree Lane and the Little Owl Tree (in other words, the purple door tree between Antioch and Switzer, closer to the Switzer side). To reach this part of the forest, the best parking is either at the lot at Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead or the lot at 137th and Antioch Road. This particular site is closer to the Deanna Rose/Switzer side.

Take a look here! There are some new baked goods, a new sign and some new decor at this spot now, and all just as enchanting as the rest!

ToEveryThingSeason

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I have a feeling that this is going to be a very special Summer in the Firefly Forest, and it’s a great time of year to hit the trail!