I’m agnostic so I don’t know 100% if it was a real fairy or not. But here’s what you do: Spend a summer hanging out with cool people who believe in magic and talk a lot about it and talk to trees and visit a lot of places in nature. Then you might see a fairy. It also helps to read and understand a lot about fairies. Please note that they are NOT tinkerbell, cute, fluffy, or adorable. Most of them are weird (I hesitate to say “evil” because they don’t see themselves this way). Most may wish to do you harm. So be careful! ;)
A good book on fairy lore is “The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries” written in 1911 by W.Y.Evans-Wentz. He postulates that there is some form of energy which we can sense, but since our brains can’t “see” it, we fill in the gaps of information with something we might expect—like a fairy, leperchaun, sprite, nymph, etc. Based on the experience I had, I believe this is possible.
I was in a canyon with my friends, playing in a stream. I saw a tiny fairy bridge with a fairy sitting on it. He/she had wings and was wearing autumn colors even though it was summer. By “saw”, I mean… almost saw? It was as if I were both imagining it AND it was real at the same time. I saw it only a little bit with my eyes, and the rest I saw with my mind. It is hard to describe.
Other people I’ve talked to who have seen fairies have described it the same way, as well as many of the accounts in the book listed above. (I read that book AFTER seeing the fairy.)
Talking to trees is MUCH easier to do. :) Maybe practice at that first?