“The heart, together with the mind, is the most powerful creative state to bring your wishes and ideas into reality.” — Steven Redhead
Our Tree of Wishes was the idea of our chief volunteer, the wonderful Lucie Etheridge. She referenced a children's book she had loved as a child called 'The Magic Faraway Tree'. It had inspired Lucie's belief as a child in magical thinking. Her dream that we create our own wishing tree - where visitors wishes can be tied - has since become an indelible fixture of our Alpaca Walking experience for the past three years.
Our wishing tree stands as a sentinal of hope at the top of the driveway to Wilderley. On it, are tied hundreds of wishes, many of which have faded over the seasons.
After a walk and a tour around the farm, every visitor is issued with a little brown ticket on the end of some string. On it they may write their wishes, hopes and dreams. These have varied from 'I wish for a fish', to 'I wish I could kidnap the goats and my mum could let them sleep in my bed' as well as poigniant wishes, such as: 'I wish that my mum will read this in heaven and know that I will always love her'.
These mainly anonymous wishes are touching, funny, sometimes sad, but always heart-warming. Some are in the form of prayer, whether for 'a dark pink skateboard', 'two Dumbo rats', a wish for 'lots of sharks' (one of our personal favourites) to 'world peace', all manifested in words hanging from a fragile piece of string tied to a branch. This visual display of wishes are fragments of human dreams at their best and a testament to the beautiful souls who pass though our gates.
Wishes, when they come true, can truly validate our belief in magic and often follow a pattern. Post Covid, the majority of wishes took a different turn and became selfless; wishing health for all. During the World Cup, the wishes turned into hopes for a win, whilst during COP 26, wishes, from both young and older, were far more environmental.
Building Wilderley from a dream into a reality has been our biggest wish come true.
Inhabiting a space shared by a community of like-minded souls, both human, furry and feathered, is a privalage like no other and the Wishing Tree is one of the motivators which keep us moving forward.
One of the most moving wishes we caught spinning in the breeze, reads: 'I wish that all the animals here continue to live a happy and love-filled life like they do today.This place is magical so I hope it exists for generations to come!'
Whomever the author may be, we aim to honour your wish.