I awoke this morning to a dull, grey day. It was no matter, because today I was to meet with Hilda McFarland to find out more about the swamp fairy I saw yesterday morning on my walk. (If you don’t remember what happened you can click here to refresh your memory). I snuggled down into my warm comforter, smiling in anticipation of what the day ahead could bring.
Excited for the day to begin, I leapt out of my warm bed and headed to the kitchen for some coffee. Not that I needed it with my two dogs, Sugar and Spice, jumping at my heels begging to be walked. I poured a quick cup of steaming coffee, sipping as I got myself and the dogs ready for our walk. Overnight, the temperature had changed again. Yesterday was warm and humid, today a brisk north wind was blowing adding a chill to the air. Coffee would warm me up.
After harnesses and leashes were fastened I shrugged into my warm jacket and off we headed for our walk. The dogs tried to get ahead of me, so I had to hurry through the door.
Sugar and Spice loved our morning walks. I had to be careful where I walked them now that we had fairies around. I was in a hurry to get back so that I could get to Hilda McFarland’s place behind the swamp. I had to find out more about that swamp fairy. Feeling obsessive, I hurried the dogs back home and hustled them inside.
Ten minutes later I was on my way to Hilda’s house. The wind had come up and was blowing and tearing at the brown leaves swirling in the street in little eddies. I snuggled deeper into my jacket and took the road behind Blackberry Ridge towards the swamp.
I passed by the woods where I saw that tiny brown swamp fairy yesterday. I peered into the darkness of the bushes hoping to see another glimpse of her, but I saw nothing. I looked around for another five minutes and then hurried on down the road to Hilda’s house.
Hilda McFarland had lived in these parts of Pensacola, Florida since she was a little girl. She had been born in Germany and came here at the age of three. Pensacola was her home now. Hilda’s husband, Ian McFarland had died years ago in a farm accident. Since then, Hilda had lived in her tiny house behind the swamp. She used to work in the Beulah Elementary School cafeteria but had retired last year. Now, Hilda spent her time tending her house and garden.
(Image credit: Hilda McFarland)
I met Hilda on one of my morning walks last year. She was a kind friendly woman. She called out to me as I walked by her house inviting me in for coffee or tea. I never had the time to visit before. Today was an exception. Hilda was Pensacola’s resident expert on swamp fairies.
I arrived at her house and promptly knocked on her door calling out, “Hilda, are you home?” “It’s me, Silver Threading, we met last year, do you remember?”
“Why, Silver.” “I am so glad you stopped by.” “Come in and have some coffee,” said Hilda holding the door open for me. “Is everything alright?” “You look like you are on a mission,” said Hilda, laughing.
“I guess I am Hilda,” I told her. “I have some questions to ask you about swamp fairies.”
Hilda placed a hot cup of coffee on the table in front of me and we both sat down. It was quiet in her little kitchen. I sipped my coffee waiting for her to speak.
Hilda sipped her coffee looking at me the whole time over her cup. She smoothed her hair in place and patted her shirt, as if she was uncomfortable with my question.
“Silver, when did you see a swamp fairy?” Hilda was looking intently at me now.
“Yesterday, I saw her Hilda,” I told her. I showed her the picture of the swamp fairy in the bushes.
“Yep, that is surely a swamp fairy,” Hilda said, looking hard at the photo. “You know you are special if you can see the tiny fairies,” Hilda said. I nodded in agreement, even though I really didn’t understand how I was special.
Hilda got up from the table and came back with a photo that she laid on the table. “Silver, is this what you saw,” she asked?
(Image credit: The Swamp Fairy)
“Yes,” I told Hilda.
“She was just twirling and twisting in the branches of that bush,” I told Hilda excitedly.
“I could smell the most lovely fragrance as the fog curled around the tops of the trees,” I told her. “I could not understand the smell because the early frost we had last week killed all the wild flowers, so I have no idea where the smell came from.” “Isn’t that weird, Hilda,” I asked her? “She hummed Hilda,” I said. “I could hear her humming!”
Hilda nodded and sat back in her chair and began to tell me the story of the swamp fairy.
“The swamp fairies live in the trunk of trees or in hollow trees high up because of the water that accumulates in the swamps. Sometimes you can see the swamp fairy houses in nature. If you see a tiny opening leading into a hole in a tree, or a little hidden pathway into the hollow of a tree trunk that could be a swamp fairy home.
Swamp fairies eat berries, swamp cabbages, and fruits in the autumn to fill their pantry for the harsh winter in the swamp. Swamp fairies take care of the little animals in the swamp. They help them if they are hurt or if they can’t find food in winter. Sometimes swamp fairies can be mistaken for a brown leaf in autumn.
In the summer they look like a fancy multicolored dragonfly and can be caught by an eagle, an owl or a fox. However, when the animals discover that what they caught is really a swamp fairy and not a dragonfly or a leaf, they let the swamp fairy go and apologize for any harm they may have caused.
Swamp fairies live as long as 300 years. When a male swamp fairy marries, he does it for love, something that only happens once in a lifetime. The female swamp fairy chooses the male swamp fairy. They have families and live quite lives in the swamp.
If a swamp fairy reveals themselves to a human, it is because the human is open to the possibilities of life and not afraid to believe in magic. It also means they might need your help.”
I sat there drinking my coffee and thinking about what Hilda told me about the fairies.
Hilda patted my hand and said, “Silver, you will do fine, just be yourself.” “Wait for them to make contact again,” Hilda added. “They always do…”
I thanked Hilda for her time and started my long walk home.
Thanks for stopping by to hear more about the swamp fairies,