"Fairies of Laguna Niguel”   By Annie M. Holland             April 2, 2017

Most residents of Laguna Niguel, CA would probably use the words “pristine”, or “sanctuary” when asked to describe their community.  Nestled behind the better known sister city of Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel can still hold her own, however, with vantage points along borders of the South Laguna Ridgeline allowing 180 degrees of sparkling ocean vistas.

Most recently however, hikers along the Aliso Summit Trail might include the word “magical” as a description of their slice of paradise, after experiencing a tiny world created using the trail’s trees.  And that seems just perfect.

You might miss them if you were only looking up at the view, and no one would blame you in allowing this distraction.  The emerald green canyons dotted with California gold wildflowers (the result of a very wet winter, for which all residents are deeply grateful) sweep dramatically downward to the ocean.  But if you do happen to look down at the base of a tree lining the trail just as you pass by, the tiny door, no more than 1 to 2 inches tall, would be the first thing you notice.  They are generally painted a bright color, the secret artist probably knowing that they are in steep competition with the surrounding nature, and have smooth pebbles delineating a path.  Somehow, they don’t seem out of place, with your first thought being how many you might have missed up until then.

Although these tiny residences appear on average every 20 feet and total about 30 in all  -taken together they could form a perfect little fairy village.  Miniature signs let the hiker know the setting: there is a tiny “Cricket Amphitheater” with branches lined up for seating; a “Fairy Playground” complete with a merry-go-round and swings; a “Lucky Wishing Well”; a bonfire where “Fairies meet at Midnight”; and all matter of front doors about 2 inches high with benches, tables, ladders, crystals, and fresh flowers as ornaments.  Some signs have instructions from Fairy Violet and Fairy Tom, espousing lovely life lessons or just directions such as “Shhh, Fairies are Sleeping”.  All are smile inducing.

You have to wonder…does this tiny world indeed come alive at midnight by the bonfire?  Maybe Fairy Willow descends from her castle to “share secrets with the dragonflies”, or let the “lady bugs dance on her hair”.  Do the elk statues in the yard of the pink mansion join the festivities in celebration of a life where clearly there is love, caring, and joy?  Or are these just longings of this Laguna Niguel hiker, who is blessed by all the material comforts of living in this paradise, but has increasing unease with a world losing any sense of “doing the right thing, even when no one is looking”, as advised by Fairy Puck Pepperglow.

But for now, there are more sprinklings of this fairy dust to enjoy, as Fairy Marigold Glimmer’s cottage has just come into view with the perfect lesson on which to end the hike: “Always believe something wonderful is about to happen”.  For Laguna Niguel residents blessed enough to enjoy this respite along the Aliso Summit Trail, it just did.  Their pristine sanctuary is now also magical.

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