"The pain we feel is proportional to the love we have."
January 13, 2020 2:18 PM   Subscribe

If you walk past Shannon and Joe Katona's house on a corner of one of Baltimore's busiest roads and turn down the side street, it's hard to miss the 7-foot metal dragon in the yard, standing upright, his massive wings unfurled. He looms just off the sidewalk, a graceful curve to his long neck and a hint of dragon smile. Stop to take him in and you'll notice — dwarfed by his rear claws — a tiny realm of castles and gnome houses, fairies and frogs, lesser dragons and dragonflies and even a miniature baseball diamond, all surrounded by a trickling moat.

Welcome to Xanderland. A fantasy world created by a mother in mourning, Xanderland may seem small, but its borders are as far-reaching as grief and as everlasting as the delight of neighborhood children.
(Sheri Venema, Washington Post; this tweet may bypass the paywall.)
posted by Johnny Wallflower (4 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
“We used to think grief got smaller and smaller, but now we think it’s like this big boulder. You build stuff around it; you landscape it. Sometimes things erode and that boulder shows up, and then you have to put more landscape around it. And you decorate it. You decorate your grief.”
It worries me in a way, how fragile and vulnerable it all seems, but then I suppose there's something appropriate about that too. Building this, maintaining it, sharing it with the neighborhood, must be -- much like the decision to have a child in the first place -- an expression of love and an act of faith. Thanks for sharing this.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 2:31 PM on January 13 [8 favorites]

Found it.
posted by hypnogogue at 7:07 AM on January 14 [4 favorites]

Now I know where to go to take a look, thanks!
posted by josher71 at 7:45 AM on January 14

I wish I lived close by. I still have a small trove of delicate, much-beloved fairy figurines from when I was a child, and if I could add them to the foliage around Xanderland, I would.
posted by Kitchen Witch at 5:48 PM on January 14

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