Ashland, Oregon’s Best Kept Secret: The Fairy Ponds

 

Neighborhood: Lithia Park
Ashland, OR 97520
United States of America

Ashland, Oregon is home to a thousand visitors a week over the course of its warm summers, drawing them in by dangling before their noses a famous theater and quaint streets lined with coffee shops and art galleries. It is the home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, an Elizabethan theater which offers the greatest plays ever written on a stage unlike any other. It is the home of parks and shops, of well-kept trees that line the streets and fascinating people who are as friendly as they are unique.

Ashland, Oregon is also the home of a secret untouched by tourists’ hands. It lies far beyond the pristine landscape of Lithia Park, past a rolling river and a twisted asphalt road; it is a place rarely mentioned, and its existence remains unknown to the majority of those who live in this picturesque town. This secret is known to the locals as “The Fairy Ponds,” a place of mystery, beauty, and perhaps even magic.

The Fairy Ponds do not show themselves during the warm summers in Ashland; they reveal themselves only during the warm showers of spring, when a wash of swirling clouds close overhead and the rain begins to fall. Thunder rolls gently over the Siskiyou mountains, and a few young men and women make their way through the underbrush towards the secret place that is about to unfold before their eyes. After pressing through a number of large leaves, being careful to stay upon the faint trail left by deer and the occasional human visitor, the site comes into view…and the Fairy Ponds begin to reveal themselves.

The rainfall weighs heavily upon the dark green leaves of surrounding trees, dragging branches down to the ground, making the plants weep; the weight draws every limb down towards an elongated, rippling pool of crystal-clear water. The rain barely touches the pond, thanks to dense foliage rising far above the pristine scene, but the limbs of each new tree dip into the crystal water and carve swirling patterns into the Fairy Pond, bringing life to the shimmering surface and forming, at each touch, a new image to be pondered.

There are those who swear that the branches carve out the image of a delicate woman, with flowing hair, long lashes, a faint smile, and a long set of butterfly’s wings set high upon her shoulders. The figure is dim, and passes quickly as new shapes take her place, but she will appear, they say, if you watch closely enough. Other etched pictures spin their way about the surface of the pond, some recognizable, some entirely abstract…and there is a magic to them, something palpable that holds your breath deep inside your chest and makes you question – just for a moment – everything you knew about logic, and reality.

And then the weather will change(as it always does in this charming town), and the sun will let its golden rays play out over the canopy above you; shimmering dust will float gently upwards as the rain moves on and the trees around the pond rise up again into their pristine places, still and peaceful. You will shake your head for a moment, and at that instant, your mind will question the fair face in the water – was it your imagination?

Or is there something truly magical about this place? Perhaps you’ll never know. But the locals – those who were born and raised here, those who have spent hours gazing upon this very pool of sunlit water – are sure of it.

Taylor Sharpe
I am a young student from Ashland, Oregon. My passions include writing, acting, and music – I am an accomplished film and stage actor, as well as the creator of multiple albums of freelance music. Philosophy and physics are my greatest interests outside of the world of art.