The Peace of Wild Things
Tunes for a Monday Morning

Tilly & the fairies

Woodland 1

Woodland 2

The Dogs Tales are a series of posts in which Tilly has her say....

When I take my Person out walking in the woods it is my job to scout the path ahead, to lead us through the dark of the forest and bring us safely home again. With my good, furry ears and my keen, clever nose, I pick up on all the news of the forest: of foxes and badgers who have passed this way...squirrels rattling high above us in the trees...fine spiders' silk spun from leaf to leaf...coarse sheeps' wool caught in the bramble thorns...and the distinctive scent of the hillside's fairies: sweet, pungent, mushroomy and sour, all at once.

Woodland 3

But what kind of fairies? Friends or foes? I sniff more closely, but I can't quite tell.  Shy moss fairies, kindly root fairies, giggly fungi fairies: all these I do not mind. But the winged ones, buzzing through the air like overgrown bees, are tricksy, and they bite.

Woodland 4

I follow their spoor through oak and ash, all the way to the forest boundary wall. The stink of fairies is overwhelming, and yet my Person walks on without concern. She's a gentle, absent-minded creature, unaware of danger. I must guard her closely.

Woodland 5

Now fairies, as you know, love boundaries and borders; they love places that lie betwixt and between; and so the wall is riddled with fairy burrows and the evidence of fairy hands and fairy feet. I climb the wall, push my sensitive snout into the ivy, and find moss fairies curled in beds of lichen, green and plump and fast asleep. A root fairy, brown and wrinkled as a walnut, peers up with eyes the pale green of new leaves.

Woodland 6

Woodland 7

But this is not the danger I've been scenting. My hackles rise and I don't know why. My Person is drifting up the path behind me when I hear the buzz of fairy wings....

Woodland 8

Woodland 9

Suddenly a fairy swarm surrounds me, visible only as sparks of light, and I bark in warning: Stay back! Stay back! These are not the slow, soft creature of root and soil but the quick, sharp spirits of the forest canopy:  shifty, capricious, and volatile. They bear no love for the Canine Tribe, and their fondness for mortals cannot be trusted.

Woodland 10

My tail is pulled, my ears are tweaked, and sharp little fairy teeth nip my flanks. I growl and snap. I crunch. I swallow. I've eaten a fairy! I've eaten a fairy!

Woodland 11

Uh oh. I've eaten a fairy. And my Person will not be pleased.

Woodland 12

The swarm, taking fright, vanishes into the forest. The moss fairies snore. The root fairy smiles. My Person is safe now. She whistles and we walk on.

Woodland 13

She never needs to know.

Woodland 14This post originally appeared in April, 2015. The poem in the picture captions is from Poetry Magazine (December 2007); all rights reserved by the author.


Absolutely delightful and so much fun to read.Tilly so reminds me of my dog...running ahead to lead the way and check it all out. Here's to all the beautiful forest magic!!! Thank you!!

That was a grand little adventure :)

Tilly you have my heart! I sincerely hope it was just a wee fae and not Etain in her moth form! That would be a surprise, for sure!

Hi Terri

What a delightful set of pictures and thoughts from the hound's point of view. Honestly, this would make a delightful children's book with the magical narration and those wondrous shots of Tilly. Some part of me, from childhood, still believes in woodland spirits, hidden people or what some call fairies and other species and out of the ordinary things from the natural world. I believe their is a spiritual character to the trees, rivers, waterfalls and hills. If only to protect the wildness of their territory or in some instances, to enlighten us about that their property. In other words, their natural habitats having the right to be recognized, preserved and respected. Its their way of using practical magic to not only sustain them but perhaps, to enrich and widen our human imaginations, to open the gateway to more tolerance and belief in the power of change/transformation. I also feel trees have a language and character of their own, a connection to both the land and to us who own or care for the land on which they are rooted. And like us and other beings in nature, crave a sense of identity and belonging. Even if it means referring to the tree as “our” or “my”, that infers a sense of reverence and recognition etc. rather than “that” tree.

That Tree

once they go unnamed they go to some degree unseen.
George Simmel
The tree takes umbrage
at being known
as "that tree"

where an owl becomes a phantom
in the night's opera
of loneliness,

his cry shattering
the moonlit stillness

making splinters
on the casement tremble, our sleep disrupt
with a hunter's pathos,

or that tree
where a hummingbird
blends the glint of plumage
with the color of leaves

and you feel
green quiver like cello strings,

the heart knowing it hovers
in the youth of something
beautiful and uplifting,

or that tree
that fans us as we sit
reading verse and sipping wine,

our shadows initialing
its ground with the symbol
for lovers, belonging..

And in this evening's wind,
"our tree"

shakes loose her lament
but won't disclose
an identity
or whisper a name -- as if

I already know
and have called her (this) in passing.

Take care,

Oh Tilly I thoroughly enjoyed that!! Hugs and kisses to you and your Person!


"Green quiver like cello strings"--what a brilliant image, in to senses: color and sound.

it is iconic of a Wendy Howe poem.

Thanks you as always.

My heart sends green quivers back.



There is a moment in the fall
when Green departs,
packing her quiver of arrows,
the little emerald points
still sharp as briar.

In creeps Umber, his arms full
of twigs, fallen leaves,
nesting materials
of early autumn.
He builds his aerie well.

He courts Silver, with her curls
of ice and snow. She shakes
her head and blizzards castanet
across the meadows, make hillocks
like cold clouds.

They birth spring, of course,
who has no specific name of color
because he is a rainbow
of relief, finding true heart
with Green, the year complete.

Their genders shift in each re-telling,
Cue the magic makers' spelling.

©2017 Jane Yolen all rights reserved

Hi Jane

What a beautiful and creative poem describing the progression of seasons!! Absolutely love your use of personification and the vivid details to describe the character/gender of each one. But in particular, how you assign a color to several and leave the Spring colorless, because he encompasses all colors and all aspects of life that give rebirth to another year, another cycle of growth.

They birth spring, of course,
who has no specific name of color
because he is a rainbow
of relief, finding true heart
with Green, the year complete.

Thank you for sharing this, it is definitely a magical poem!

Take care
My best

Hi Jane

Thank you so much for these lovely words regarding my work and for letting me know that image works. Green to me , like water, is a sign of a life force with a very powerful influence on nature and us , as well. It has its own pulse of music; and something I always want to be privileged to feel.

Again thank you!
my best

Just a big grin Wendy. But it came from your green quiver of cello strings. I just used the words like quiver in a different way.

Maybe we should take this duo on the road!


Hi Jane,

Now that would be fun!!!

Take care

Wouldn't a little book of stories about Tilly and her adventures be wonderful!

Oh, how I love this, Terri! I needed this lightheartedness today. Thank you Tilly! I hope the fairy didn't give her indigestion.

The comments to this entry are closed.