Have you ever seen a Fairy Ring? Thanks to Irene and Lee’s soaking rains, mushrooms have sprouted in all kinds of unusual places and formations. Two weekends ago when Keith and I spent an afternoon with his father in southern Virginia, we spotted a fairy circle in Dad’s backyard. Taking a break from the conversation and checking my cell phone and email messages upstairs in the Victorian-era bathroom addition to the original colonial plantation, I snapped this picture. Fairy Rings are fanciful things, apparently formed by an individual spore whose fruits poke up from an underground network. Much folklore surrounds Elf Circles or Sorcerer’s Rings, speaking to their danger for mere mortals. Seductive and deadly, the Ring’s sprites disappear anyone who steps into the circle then dance him to exhaustion. Rescues from the curse are rare and require help from outside one’s self.

These days, Dad world is mostly internal. He rarely leaves home or for that matter his chair so captivated is he by age and the fairyland of TV. Like the old house, Dad’s stories are decaying, swallowed by garden gnomes along with his ever-disappearing circle of friends. Dad says that he writes every day, but, in reality, his memoir now is only in his head. My father, in his declining years, also imagined the introduction to his last book several times each day, fantasizing with shining intention until the day he died. Physical decline and illness seem to make the fairy world more enthralling, but this escape is not liberating. It is a spider woman’s kiss.

Back at Vanaprastha, the fog rose out of the Rockfish Valley and crept up the mountain engulfing the house. Watching the fog, thinking about my book, jotting down ideas and phrases, I suddenly wondered: Is this my fairy circle? Am I writing in my head, too? By observing marvelous things outside, mushrooms, fog, spiders, a blue-tailed skink, I pray for enough curiosity to save me from my self-centered fairies, enough persistence to see my book into the light of day, enough patience to write in God’s time.

Have Fairy dreams ever tempted you?


  1. bardicblogger

    This is a great post. I can definitely relate to this. I’ve been writing in my head more and more in the last few years and I’m determined to get back to writing it all down again and go back to my good old days of just writing without so much judgement and planning.

    • Carole Duff

      Thank you for reading my post! I enjoyed “meeting” you through your blog, too.

      This past summer, I took courses at the Washington, DC area Writers Center. Most of us had visions of publication dancing in our heads, but few had mustered the courage to go public with a blog. And even though I had a revised draft of my book in hand, I stopped in my tracks when the marketing instructor asked us:
      What’s your target audience? Surely everyone wants to read my stories.
      What’s your pitch, your elevator speech? What is your book REALLY about? Huh, well, isn’t that strange. I don’t really know.
      Apparently, not knowing is part of the process; it is a common phenomenon especially among creative non-fiction writers.

      There is an advanced blogging course that I want to take; however, the instructor told me that she didn’t want to see me in that class until I had been blogging for some time. Yup, I could take all kinds of classes, but for what purpose if I don’t have the courage to put myself out there? I mean, isn’t that the point, to publish? And thus, I took up the challenge. I try to post once/week, to read and write every day, to find my niche, hone my craft and discover what my book is really about.

      Good luck to you, too!


  2. Sarah Myers

    Have I been tempted? Yes. Have I had to escape by moving outside myself? Again, yes. Do I expect to find myself dancing in the. Middle of anotner fairy ring? More than likely. Who continues to save me from myself? God, always.

  3. Sophie

    I enjoy this weblog, especially the shots, do you really take them your self? In Scotland we have been blessed having a massive range of flowers, the most stunning of which are in all probability the summer blooms. Am I Allowed To use a few of the photos in my own blog? I would link any photos back to here obviously. Isabella Jackson

    • Carole Duff

      Greetings, Isabella!
      Thank you for reading my blog. Some of the pictures are mine, and those that are not should be linked to their sources. Yes, please feel free to link to my blog. -C.D.


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