Once upon a time, when my daughter was four, she stopped next to one of the large maple trees in our front yard. She said, "shh, Mommy, listen, can you hear it?" Hear what, I said. "The tree is whispering." What is the tree saying? "Mommy, the tree is saying: Hello Friend."

History is full of tales of transformations, metamorphoses, and shape-shifting. In Greco-Roman mythology, the nymph Daphne tried desperately to flee the love-struck Apollo. Daphne prayed to the river God to save her. Her prayers were answered. Just as the voracious Apollo's hands grasped Daphne, she was transformed into a laurel tree.

Certainly my young daughter had not heard this story. Had she? I've wondered ever since if there is something in the human psyche that holds these stories of nature, human nature, and humans in nature somewhere deep and somewhere precious.

My good friend, Professor Christine Jones at the University of Utah, has been working valiantly to organize a conference on these very questions. For more information, click here. In honor of her olympian efforts, I'll dedicate this week's blogs to stories of early metamorphoses, fairies, and their marvelous worlds.

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