As I ambled toward the Fairy Tree on a sunny fall Friday, I noticed more students than usual milling about, socially distanced, gathering twigs, acorns, flowers and other autumn loot from the lightly-forested area. It was the day of what students dubbed our first Fall Festival, replete with a Deity of Good Vibes and a well-thought-out economy using an acorn currency they call “chips”.
On the same day, students organized a wedding. Unlike the inaugural Fall Festival, this was not the first wedding here at Fairhaven. Years ago, two young children made fake vows in the Kid Nook. Over the last decade, The Fairy Tree has witnessed four real wedding ceremonies, all celebrated by alumni. After learning about the number of real and fake weddings that had occurred at Fairhaven, Liza decidedly declared that she too would get married. And this time, the marriage would be to none other but herself!
“We were stressed on the day of the wedding,” recalls Liza, “running around getting ready, but then when we got to the field, we lined up 6 feet apart, and the music played, ‘All the Single Ladies,’ by Beyonce. I was nervous-laughing the whole way down the aisle! I felt like people would laugh at me, but everyone was really nice. Matt officiated, and I had bridesmaids who were also flower girls. Brad handed me a ring to use that was big enough for two of my fingers!”
At the wedding ceremony, a teenager who was asked to officiate said, “In these dark times, we celebrate self-confidence, maturity and most importantly, self-love.”
The light shifted a little and I could make out what I’ve become accustomed to in these dark times: a twinkle in the students’ eyes that signals smiling faces under all those masks. We all applauded and cheered and danced under the shade of the Fairy Tree.