kinders dig to the other side of the world and find water.
“if there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.”
Back in the 1970s, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science hired artist Kent Pendleton to paint the backdrops for many of the museum’s wildlife dioramas. Little did it know that Pendleton’s penchant for hiding tiny mythical creatures in these paintings would add a whole new dimension to the museum experience.
It all began with eight elves—or gnomes, or leprechauns, depending who you ask—hidden in Pendleton’s wildlife dioramas. An elf hiding in the lowland river. An elf riding a dinosaur along a cretaceous creekbed. Another elf sat on a rock in the Great Smoky Mountains. And others, hard to spot but definitely there, in various backdrops throughout the museum.
When these eagle-eyed volunteers began to spot the museum’s incongruous and thoroughly unscientific inhabitants, the whole thing began to snowball. The staff decided to go along with the game, adding more elves and gnomes to the museum. A ceramic elf, for example, found his way onto the Candor Chasma of Mars. And now a digital elf exists in the entrance video, cleverly concealed within a cluster of stars.
The fantasy easter eggs diversified, too; there are angels, unicorns, even a Millennium Falcon and a tiny Yoda hidden in the museum. Precisely how many creatures are hidden around the museum is an open question. The museum’s official elf scavenger-hunt guide currently lists nine. But Maura O’Neal, the museum’s communications and media relations manager, says there are about double that amount.
So even if you do go on the scavenger hunt, guide in hand, you’ll never quite know when you might spot an undocumented elf lurking somewhere, surreptitiously, in the Denver museum…
peaches: “your writing is beautiful. may i read it?”
grandie v: “it’s written in magic fairy language, peaches, so i’ll have to read it to you. it says: fairies, mermaids, and unicorns are magical.”
peaches: “we’re both so lucky that you know magic fairy language.”
”if i fall asleep with a pen in my hand, don’t remove it
— i might be writing in my dreams.
he was a ‘well-seasoned’ magic man
who came in
to entertain the youngest children
while he wasn’t smooth
his jokes and tricks and props and velvet
had been around a long time
the children loved every trick
opened their eyes wide with wonder
as doves and bunnies and coins and cards and wands and scarves
appeared and disappeared
in all kinds of unexpected places
volunteered to help him
squealed and giggled and clapped with pure delight
until they lost their breath with laughter
he was a showstopper of the highest order
who had found the perfect audience.
“it is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. “
-antoine de saint-exupery
grandies wake up in the cottage
and run downstairs
to take in all the magic
of the new morning snow
perched atop piles of books
eagerly await the arrival
of their cousins
who will soon help them bake
a team of sweet gingerbread reindeer.
“always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.”
― e.b. white
and in a tiny shop,
filled with delicate treats
ice cream, cookies, cakes, and sweets
who better to sell these lovely delights
than a shining unicorn-
so brave and full of light?
“there are wild elephants in the country,
and numerous unicorns which are nearly as big,..”
my poem is dedicated
to my very young grandie, v,
who is an amazing artist
with a boundless imagination.
may you always have
magical unicorns in your life.