It’s not unusual for family and friends of interns and staff members to visit those of us staying at the Homestead for the season, but the presence of children on the grounds is a little unusual. It was therefore all the more special an occasion when 11-year old Maia, the niece of resident gardener Seamus, visited with her family for the weekend.
Maia was quiet at first, and could often be found nestled in on the lodge’s couch, with a book in her lap. Her introspective manner was not to be taken for shyness though, for when we engaged her in conversation, Maia truly sparkled. She was eager to show us a book about stars that Will had found for her, pointing to the star cluster Pleiades, the fourth brightest star of which she is named after. “I can name all the stars in Pleiades,” she had said proudly. Maia often kept me company while I did chores in the lodge, and we talked about all of our favorite books and pastimes. I learned that she was homeschooled, and that in addition to reading, she loved drawing, singing, and sewing. She had even designed and sewed her own hat based off of a favorite Pokémon character, which she eagerly showed me. She was excited by all the work going on with Summit Academy’s construction project, and quickly made friends with some of the students.
One evening the two of us went for a walk that turned into a game of make-believe pirates. To our eyes the deck of the Wilderness Center became our ship, and the lake became the ocean. We jumped to dry land and started on a trek for buried treasure, which took us through a thicket of raspberries and down a dirt road, as we followed a map sketched on a piece of birch bark. After we tired of our game, Maia and I fell into easy conversation. She told me she thought the Center was awesome, and how much she liked Will, adding that she thought he was really cool. We passed a large bolder covered in a thick green moss, and we both stopped to examine it more closely. It looked like a miniature forest, spread out on the surface of stone, and I remarked that maybe there were two little fairy girls like us, too tiny for us to see, going for a walk on it as we looked down. “And they’re stopped at a rock like this,” added Maia, “and are looking down and wondering if there are two more even smaller little fairies on it. And there are two more littler fairies on that, and –
“ “And it goes on for infinity?” I asked.
“Yeah,” she agreed. “Maybe the whole earth is just a piece of dust on an even bigger piece of rock.”
“Maybe,” I said with a nod, as we started back for the lodge.
When I asked Maia if it was okay if I wrote something about her, there was only one thing she wanted to be sure that I mentioned. She became very quiet, took a deep breath, and said, “I really, really, really, really want to eat sushi right now.”
Photo: Maia with one of her new friends from Summit Academy, Jermaine