Erik Walker Wikstrom
Once upon a time there was a girl named Wendy. She loved grass. What can I say? She loved grass—she loved the feel of it between her toes; she loved the smell of it when it was freshly mown; she loved its bright green color. Wendy loved grass more than just about anything.
One day her family decided to go to the beach. Wendy wasn’t too sure about it. “Come on,” said her older brother, “we can go swimming.” “And we can collect rocks and shells together,” said her mom.” “And you can bury me in the sand,” said her dad. It sounded like fun, so they all piled into the car, and off they went.
When they got to the beach it sure looked great. Like nothing Wendy had ever seen. But when she first touched the sand it was way, way, way too hot. “This isn’t cool like grass,” she said. “I wish this sand was grass,” she cried!
Now, Wendy had a good luck fairy who followed her around, and he heard her wish and decided to grant it. With a flash, all of the sand, turned into grass. Now it was her family’s turn to be “not too sure.” (Wendy, of course, was delighted.) “I guess I won’t get buried today,” said dad.” “That’s okay,” said mom. “Let’s collect some shells.”
Everyone went down to where the water lapped the edge of the grass. There were polished rocks and beautiful shells lying all about. They all set to work looking for the shiniest or the biggest or the most colorful. Everyone except Wendy. “Ouch,” she said. “Oooch.” “Eeech.” The rocks and shells hurt her feet. “I wish these rocks were soft like grass,” she thought to herself, and as soon as she did her good luck fairy—who could hear her thoughts as well as her words—made it so. The rocks and shells turned to grass too!
The family looked at one another. “Well,” they said, “at least there’s swimming.” Everybody laid their beach towels on the grass and changed into their bathing suits. “Last one in is a rotten egg,” Wendy’s older brother cried, and he ran into the waves followed closely by Wendy’s sister, their delighted squeals trailing behind. Wendy followed tentatively. But when her toe touched the water she said, “Yuck! Too wet and cold.”
This time she didn’t even have to think it—the fairy changed the water into grass without her even having to ask for it! Everyone turned to her and said, “Wendy!” but what was she to do? But her family was very understanding—they were, after all, Unitarian Universalists—so they decided to try to make the best of it. “Let’s have lunch,” said mom and dad. So they got out their picnic basket, found a nice spot on the now wide lawn, spread out the checkered cloth, and they all set to it.
Wendy was in heaven. After all, didn’t she love grass more than just about anything? But she had to admit, she was beginning to feel a bit bored and something just didn’t feel right. After all, every where she looked there was nothing but grass. And all of the sounds of the beach—the waves, the seagulls, all of it—they’d gone too. Grass was nice, but maybe not so much when that’s all that there was.
“Well,” said her mom, “we went to the beach and we’re at a lawn. This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.” “What do you mean?” Wendy asked.
Her dad said, “You made it all the same—the sand, the rocks, the water. Each was different, and you made them the same because their differences made you feel uncomfortable. But those differences also made them special and beautiful and without them there’s a whole lot missing. In fact, everything that makes this place what it is is missing. And that means that you are missing out on everything you really came here for.”
Wendy thought about this for a while. She did want to collect rocks and shells; she’d seen some really beautiful ones. And the water was cold, but her brother and sister looked like they were having a lot of fun, too. And the idea of burying her father in sand was too good to pass up. “I wish it was all back the way it was,” she thought, and the good luck fairy made her wish come true.
Wendy and her family had the best time that day. She still loves grass more than just about anything, but she’s learned to love other things too. And she’s come across some things that she doesn’t like much, and that’s okay too. But she’s never, ever wanted everything to be the same again. Because she knows that things are supposed to be different, each thing as it is, and that exploring new things makes life so much more fun!
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Last updated on Thursday, April 24, 2014.
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