The making of The Bubble Gum Forest
It was in early January, 2016 while I was working on a story for Ayden that in his usual curious way he asked what I was doing. When I told him, he decided to try and make a story for me. The rest of the afternoon he supplied me with story titles. It wasn’t until bedtime, as I turned out the light and was leaving his room that he decided on, “Mommy and the Bubble Gum Forest.” Over the next few days we worked through the description together, and created some art as well. To get the description clarified, I asked him a few questions”
1. What does a bubble gum tree look like?
- A bubble gum tree has red, white, and green stripes
- Licorice vines
2. Where is the bubble gum forest?
- In our backyard
3. What else is in the bubble gum forest?
- Lots of bubble gum trees
- A candy sun with blue, red, and purple around it (like a lollipop)
- Watermelon flowers
- Green grass
4. What is your favourite candy?
- Kinder egg
5. What is your favourite pie?
- Apple and pumpkin
6. What is your favourite colour?
- Golden and red
Just a side note before you read the story. This place that my son and I created together has been a great tool to use as a safe place like in guided imagery. For example, we use the actual description of the bubble gum forest now for nightmares. Not only is it a fun and safe place, but it is a product of his own mind as well as a product of fun times spent with mom; it real is a powerful tool.
I invite you to add to this story, or try creating one of your own.
Bubble Gum Forest
We live in a magic zone, just on the edge of a whispering ridge. Whispering ridges used to represent the most powerful magic zones. Most people believe the magic died out at the end of the age of technologies, sort of wiped out by the wide spread cyber-virus that became a living entity. For the most part, magic has now secured a place in the fairy-tales that live in the minds of storytellers, and storytellers are a breed that remained uninfected by the cyber-virus.
It was with the belief that magic had died out that we settled on the edge of the ridge, and it was with that belief that we stumbled into one of the few remaining magic hot zones. It was a warm day in early June when we found the door by accident. We were outside in the backyard, and I was working in the garden and the greenhouse. The boys were chasing butterflies and hunting spiders. I didn’t give it much thought when they chased each other into the greenhouse screaming. It was the silence that followed that sent shivers down my spine. I raced to the greenhouse thinking the worst, I stopped cold, the greenhouse was empty.
I looked frantically around our fenced yard, but there was no sign of them. I know they went into the greenhouse, yet the clear walls showed nothing but our fence and our yard. “Boys,” I yelled with my back to the greenhouse. “BOYS?” I strained my ears thinking that I could hear the faint sounds of giggling behind me. It was distance and muffled.
“MOM.” I nearly jumped out of my skin, and I whirled around to face into the greenhouse. My eyes scanned for the source of the voice, but found only plants. “Mom, down here. Come and see what we found.”
I dropped to my knees, and crawled forward. The voice seemed to have come from the back of the greenhouse under the bottom shelf. It seemed unnaturally dark under the bottom back shelf. I could hear the boys laughing and playing, so I crouched as low to the ground as I could get and crawled forward under the shelf. My mind registered that the shelf was only a foot or two off the back wall, and there was no space for myself or the boys under there, but I kept crawling.
As my eyes adjusted I realized that there was a small door in front of me, and the boys were laughing on the other side of it. Without thinking about the fact that my greenhouse contained no small doors, or dark spaces, and it backed onto a solid wood fence, I crawled on. I had to put my head down to fit through the door, and I wasn’t looking where I was going. I came to a fast stop when I crawled head first into something hard, and textured, jarring my jaw and bruising my head. I sat back on my hunches and rubbed my eyes hard, blinking, and blinking like it would clear the image from my eyes.
I had crawled head first into a magnificent tree, or tree like object. It had texture on the trunk that looked and felt like tree bark, but it was striped red, white, and green like a candy cane. The trunk ran up to form into branches like a tree, but instead of leaves the branches had bubble gum balls dangling from them. The balls varied in size as if this strange tree grew them, and there were so many colours: pinks, blues, greens, oranges, and yellows. It was a beautiful tree. “It’s a bubble gum tree mom!”
As I looked around in ah, the only response I could muster was, “so it is.” A sign on a bubble gum machine lamp post indicated that we were entering “The Bubble Gum Forest.” The lamp threw coloured light around the area, it was like each gum ball inside the machine was a little light bulb!
The boys were running deeper into the forest, and I stumbled to my feet to follow. The ground felt strange under my feet bare feet. It was squishy with strange ridges. I looked down, and I almost tripped. It was licorice! Strands of coloured licorice pushed tight together forming a rainbow like path that lead deep into the forest of bubble gum trees.
I caught up to the boys, they had found swings on one of the trees and were giggling as they swung back and forth. I looked around, and my breath caught in my throat, the sky was red. Not only was the sky red, but it had light blue cotton candy clouds and a sun that was encircled by rings of blue, red, and purple like a large flat lollipop. The air smelled slightly of milk chocolate. Everything about this place made a person happy.
I sat down on a jellybean stone to watch the boys. They were now exploring the forest around them, and they were enjoying every second of it. They found a small garden that had apple pies and pumpkin pies growing in it. The soil was a golden sugar with what looked like crumbled bits of Oreo cookie, it looked rich and healthy. In the corner of the garden there was a small nest made from green cotton candy, and multi-coloured nerds candy, and in the center of the nest were kinder eggs!
The grass was littered with watermelon flowers. They were tiny watermelons cut in half in a zig-zag pattern. The pink flesh of the watermelon glisten in the sun, and the very center was marked by a pattern of watermelon seeds. They looked heavy, but when the boys brought me one I found it was surprisingly light like a daisy or a lily.
We saw chocolate bunnies hoping around, and chocolate chicks as well. We heard birds chirping, but we didn’t see them. I was so in awe of everything around us that I didn’t immediately hear my husband’s voice calling out in the distance for us. I rounded up the boys, and we ran back down the licorice path towards the small door. We scrambled through into the greenhouse feeling happy, and exhilarated. The boys raced out of the greenhouse yelling about what they had found. I stood there for a moment before I bent to peek under the shelf to see if the door was still there. It was still strangely masked in darkness, but the faint smell of chocolate reached me and I turned and fled the greenhouse…
To be continued…
By Shari & Ayden – 2016