nameless fathoms

Katie’s dragonfly

Contained in this short Life
Are magical extents
The soul returning soft at night
To steal securer thence
As Children strictest kept
Turn soonest to the sea
Whose nameless Fathoms slink away
Beside infinity

~ Emily Dickinson
(The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #1175)

Paradoxically, life is long and brief at the same time. The more we know, the more questions we have. At some point we come to accept that there will always be limits to what we know and that no matter how long we get to live so much will remain beyond our grasp. After many years of searching for something I couldn’t name, I am at peace with not knowing. Magic is everywhere, as all children know, and science keeps almost-finding explanations for it.

This week our granddaughter is going to a Woodland Fairies & Elves day camp and we get to pick her up every afternoon and hear all about it. Recently this delightful little eight-year old, formerly known as Kat, changed her nickname to Katie, the one I began calling her when she was born. (Longtime readers of this blog will remember this.) But, when she was about 2 years old, we noticed her parents were calling her Katherine so we followed suit. A couple of years ago Katherine started calling herself Kat and now she has chosen to go with Katie.

Katie showing us the location of a future fairy amusement park right next to her fairy house, featuring a fairy landing pad near the front of the stump

At camp the children got to choose a moniker, too, so when we go to pick her up, “Snail” is called on a walkie-talkie to come to the pavilion to collect her belongings and then Katie/Snail shows us around the fairy village the kids are creating. Katie was very excited about an exoskeleton she had found and incorporated into her fairy house design. In my clumsy attempt to get a picture of it I accidently knocked over one of the little structures! But my granddaughter was very gracious and reassured me that no harm was done as she carefully reassembled it. Phew!

heading for the garden gate to look inside for fairy cucumbers

One day we got a tour of the garden where Katie picked a fairy cucumber for us. It took her a while to find one because most of them had already been harvested. That day a counselor had brought in homemade fairy pickles for the campers to enjoy.

tiny fairy cucumber
aka cucamelon (thanks to Katie for the identification)

We’ve been so busy that keeping up with blogging has proven almost impossible. I am happy to report that we now have North Carolina drivers licenses and the car is registered with a NC plate. There are still things left to take care of on the “to-do” list but I am hoping by the time the hot weather relents we will have settled enough to get outside for our nature walks once again. Even the small amount of time we spend outside picking Katie up is very taxing for Tim. One day the “feels like” temperature was 98°F. Tomorrow the forecasters are calling for the hottest day of the year so far…

29 thoughts on “nameless fathoms”

  1. I am enchanted reading about Kathy and the world that used to be mine – too – I know it is still there,. When i close my eyes, it is – 🙂 The photos place me right in that experience of wonder, a wonder that is completely natural – I miss a little grandchild like that to share wonders with, and who will point out to me where they are, if I happen to oversee them 🙂 You are very lucky to get to dip in to this enchanted world, Barbara

    1. I am very lucky, Leelah. Having all these opportunities to spend this much time with my granddaughter has been a blessing beyond compare. I’m learning so many things about fairies and elves that I had never known before. We have been following a story each day about a fairy whose wings were damaged by a bite from a bat. The bat thought she was a moth. A fairy hospital was built and there is some hope she will recover and forgive the bat. 🙂

  2. The photo of the explorer with her backpack is adorable. I’m pleased to know you’re settling into NC officially, DMV-wise and family-wise. Blogging can wait, imo.

    1. Thank you, Ally. I’m wondering if/when we are ever going to settle into a routine and what that new routine might look like. (I’m a creature of habit!) For now I’m trying to go with the flow…

  3. I have never seen a fairy cucumber! This is exciting. I’m felt relief too that no harm was done to the fairy house and all the fairies were okay. 🧚‍♀️

    When I first opened your blog this morning my first thought was, What a gorgeous drawing Barbara. Then when I read Katie Snail is the artist I was in awe. She’s great artist already. I saved it in my photos. When I get settled into my new home I will make a large print of it to hang in my master bedroom next to the window that I plan to watch for fairies. I have not seen any fairies yet. Perhaps I will look today in the tree with the tiny red berries in the back yard.


    1. After I wrote this post, Katie informed me that the official name of the fairy cucumber is cucamelon. Apparently cucamelons are tiny fruits that look like miniature watermelons but taste like cucumbers. I did eat one and it does taste exactly like a cucumber. 🙂 Your tree with tiny red berries sounds like a perfect place to find some fairies.

      I’m happy you love Katie’s art work so much and I will let her know. She went to an art camp earlier this summer and is about to start two weeks at another one, which she is very eager to attend. I just bought two art portfolios, one for her to keep her creations in at home, and one for me to keep the ones she gives to me. ♡

  4. How wonderful for Katie to have a camp such as this to attend. Such fun! Take care in the coming heat. I hope you are drinking electrolytes! I make my own with sea salt, honey, lemon and water. It helps!

    1. Can maple syrup sub for honey and what measurements? I also heard watermelon lightly sprinkled with salt is an electrolyte.

      1. Yes, maple syrup and honey are interchangeable. I kind of eyeball it, but I use a quart Mason jar, add about 1/8 tsp. sea salt, 2 tblsp. honey (or m.syrup), enough warm water to dissolve salt and sweetener, stirring. Next add about a cup cold water, then 1-2 tblsp. lemon juice and fill the rest of the jar with cold water. Adjust all the ingredients to taste. I like it tart more than sweet. Serve on ice.

        1. I’m glad maple syrup can be used as I am sensitive to honey. It sounds so refreshing! Thanks for sharing your recipe, Eliza.

    2. It has been so much fun for Katie at this camp. They seem to know how to handle this heat down here! On Friday when we picked her up for the last time the temperature was 95°F and the heat index was 105°F. No one seemed at all fazed except these two old grandparents from Connecticut…

    1. Thank you, Susan! It’s nice to know you’ve been reading and thank you so much for being happy for us. I miss living by the sea so much but seeing the little ones takes my mind off it. Hope you and Phil are hanging in there.

  5. How wonderful when a little one finally settles into her name! “Katie” is darling, and I’m glad it’s something you called her right from the get-go. What a lovely idea for a camp (I’ve never heard of a fairy cucumber before). And congrats on settling in so much (most DMVs require dreadfully long waits). Watch out for all that NC heat — y’all aren’t used to that, you know!

    1. Katie has now informed me that the official name of the fairy cucumber is a cucamelon, a tiny fruit that looks like a miniature watermelon but tastes like cucumber. I tried one and it tastes exactly like a cucumber. We are definitely not used to this heat, you can say that again!!! However, the heat indexes in Connecticut were just as high yesterday as they were down here.

  6. Barbara, what a great drawing Katie a/k/a Snail has done. That’s good that she continues to enjoy nature and is creative as well. I think next year it would be fun for you to have a small fairy garden at your new home – inside or outside. Do you remember I did a post once about a fairy garden all contained within a planter? A lot of people liked it and I remember I got instructions on how to create it, what plants and accessories to use. I think it would be fun to do this together with Katie. I’m sure there is lots of Summer and growing season left, but start it in the cool of Spring (which I hope with climate change that Spring is still “a thing”). This whimsical venue looks like a fun place to be a kid … or an adult. I hope it gets cooler for you and Tim – this stifling heat is no fun for anyone. Tomorrow will be our hottest day as well, with today coming in second from what I’ve heard. I’m ready for Fall!

    1. You jogged me memory, Linda. Katie and I did create a fairy garden once when she was four years old.
      But it might be fun to create a new one with her help here at my new home. You’re right, though, I would definitely wait until next spring to do anything outside. I don’t remember your fairy garden post, but knowing me I might have read it and even commented on it and then forgot all about it… Do you have the link for it?
      We’ve been told to expect no break in the heat at least through the end of August. It will be wonderful getting to see what the other seasons will bring us for weather. I see from the weather maps that you’re under heat advisories, too. I’m kind of glad the next two weeks of camp for Katie are indoor art camps, although, they seem to know how to deal with the heat down here. The heat index was 105°F when we picked Katie up on Friday and everyone at the camp seemed happy, healthy and hydrated, even after spending all day outside. Amazing!

      1. It looks like we were not blogging friends back then Barbara and I could not leave a comment, so will comment here … that was a cute garden you created for Katie on your visit to SC – very creative! You have a project for next Summer to do together now. As to my post, it was just a Wordless Wednesday post – you did see it and comment, but it was just photos. I will send it in a separate comment in case it goes to your SPAM filter if you need any ideas for your garden.

        Today was our last day of this heat wave – we had a bad storm Wednesday and over 140,000 outages and lots of damage. I was unscathed but worried about that dead tree. We had another storm last night and I stayed up until 3:30 a.m. this morning to be alert in case I needed to go downstairs. We have cooler weather tomorrow and Monday – looking forward to that as it was 100% humidity, dew points in the 70s and almost 80 degrees on Friday when I left the house. Not enjoyable for walking, so I sure don’t blame you. Good thing the art camps will be indoors. Kids seem to be resilient to that sun and only see fun … 🙂

        1. Now I remember! I wonder if the botanical gardens here have any fairy gardens. I can’t wait for the weather to change so we can get out and start exploring.

          1. This is the third day of cool temperatures we’re having and I’ve been wearing my winter sweater. But I hear the heat returns tomorrow…

          2. I’m glad you had a respite from the heat … we have 85 right now. It’s been creeping up all week. Tomorrow should be nice they say, the calm before another storm. Unfortunately, we have construction and a big jazz festival near my favorite weekend stomping grounds, so I’ll go in the opposite direction. There has been no rain for a couple of days which will hopefully keep the mosquitoes at bay. They finally mowed the grounds at Council Point Park yesterday. I couldn’t see the squirrels unless they popped up on haunches so I could see them. 🙂 And the mosquitoes were horrid. I came home with mosquito bites despite trying to be careful.

          3. Apparently they spray a lot for mosquitoes down here. I’ve only seen one or two of them and have yet to get a bite. You would love making friends with all the squirrels in our yard. They’re thinner than the ones up north so I suppose nobody feeds them. But they’re awfully cute, poking those faces around from behind the tree trunks when we drive up and walk to the front door. I imagine they might have Tim pegged as a likely candidate for future feedings.

          4. I would be in my glory for sure Barbara. 🙂 Three plus hours walking around Lake Erie Metropark today – not a deer in sight, not even a squirrel. It was a “slow day” but not humid, just hot, so no bugs. Tim can just resume feeding walnuts for these squirrels like he did for your furry friend in Connecticut. I think animals sense friendly faces that translate into food sources.

          5. Yes, I think a bag or two of walnuts is in their future. It dawned on me that maybe one reason the squirrels are so skinny is because it is so very hot here. They don’t need all that body fat to keep warm and probably don’t have as much of an appetite. It’s a theory anyway… Will see if they fatten up this winter.

          6. Who can resist those cute faces and begging stance – they know it too! That makes sense Barbara – I actually took some pics of Parker once and showed how thin he was in Summer and how chubby he got in Winter. I’ll bet your theory is true.

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