The Magical Backyard


In form and name, the blue dasher dragonfly illustrates the beauty and flying prowess of these insects. (Photo: Bonnie Taylor Barry/Shutterstock)

“What’s that, Grandpa?” The little three-year-old girl was out in the old man’s backyard exploring as usual, while her grandfather watched from a chair on the patio.

“It’s a dragonfly, Dani.”

“Dragonfly?” She looked in wonder as the insect alighted onto one of the potted tomato plants at the edge of the concrete.

“Yes, it’s a flying bug.”

“A bug?” She looked down and cried out excitedly. “Here are some more bugs.” She squatted and pointed her finger.

“Yes, those are ants.”

“Ants?” She acted like she’d never heard the word before.

“Look on the fence.”

She turned her head and broadly smiled. “A squirrel, Grandpa. It’s a squirrel.” Forgetting about the ants and the dragonfly, which had since flown away, Dani got up and started running for the back fence, prompting the curious squirrel to scurry back the way he came.

“He’s running away. Why’s he running away?”

“He’s scared of you.”

“Scared of me?”

“Or maybe the neighbor’s cat.” Grandpa saw the feline coming from the opposite direction, slowly balancing on the top of the fence.

“A kitty cat!” The little girl squealed and clapped her hands with joy, then started running toward the current object of her attention. The cat quickly retreated, leaving the child standing by the flower garden.

“Pretty flowers. Can I pick one, Grandpa?”

“Yes, but only one.”

“Okay.” She clutched at a stem with her tiny fist and pulled. Then giggling, she ran back over to her Grandpa. “This is for Mommy.”

“Sure, we’ll save it for Mommy. You wait here and I’ll put it in some water.”

“Put it in this water,” she commanded, pointing to her plastic cup on the patio table.

Grandpa complied, knowing that in an hour, she’ll have forgotten all about it. “Okay. There it is.”

“Come with me, Grandpa. Let’s go.”

“Okay, where are we going?” He stood up, towering over her small frame.

“Over here.” She picked up a long, wand-shaped squirt gun, and holding it like a sword, marched toward the side of the house.

“I’m coming.” Grandpa dutifully strolled behind Dani as the two continued to explore the unknown and always new world of the backyard together. Who knows what fascinating plants, bugs, and rocks they’d find today.

I wrote this for the Tale Weaver writing challenge at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. The idea is to craft a poem, short story, or some other creative work based on the prompt “Strange Things in My Neighbourhood.”

The problem for me is I can’t think of anything particularly strange about my neighborhood. Everything seems pretty ordinary to me.

However, for my three-year-old granddaughter, everything is new, and interesting, and even strange. No matter how many times she’s seen an airplane fly overhead, it always excites her. The same for birds, bugs, cats, leaves, pine cones, rocks, flowers, and pretty much everything else.

This was about as close as I could get to responding to the prompt, and nothing like the bizarre starfish fungus Michael discovered.

Oh, the conversation between Grandpa and Dani is pretty much how my granddaughter and I interact on our little outings. Trying to get her to walk to the playground behind my house takes a while, because she stops every ten seconds to examine something. It’s fun to watch.

19 thoughts on “The Magical Backyard

  1. I think three is a lovely age, when kiddies start to take an interest in the world around them, and as you say, everything is new and exciting. I remember my nephews at that age (now 50, 51 and 44) , but not my nieces as I didn’t see much of them.


  2. Kids can be fascinating in their discoveries. Recently I was breaking up some concrete with my three grandsons and we unearthed a blind snake, about eight inches long. They were fascinated by it, had a good look and a little feel of it then we put it back. Thanks for sharing with the Tale weaver James.


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