The safekeeping of enchantment

Just one of the many enchanting cottages of the Martha's Vineyard Camp Meeting Association, photographed in September 2012

Just one of the many enchanting cottages of the Martha’s Vineyard
Camp Meeting Association, photographed in September 2012

“I have always felt charged with the safekeeping of all unexpected items of worldly or unworldly enchantment, as though I might be held personally responsible if even a small one were to be lost.”E. B. White

The unforgettable writer who gave us Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web and The Trumpet of the Swan certainly fulfilled his sense of responsibility for preserving enchantment.  Those of us who loved his stories can honor his legacy by handing it down to our own children, nieces, nephews or neighbors.

But what, exactly, is enchantment?  Perhaps it is the state of being attentive to, and fascinated by, the countless delights that surround us, and being readily drawn into the realm of imagination where almost anything can happen. Today may be an ordinary day in your life, but you can travel to enchanted places in your imagination, guided by books, blogs, photographs, poetry or just an engaging conversation with someone you love.

Today, I wish you enchantment.


  1. I agree wholeheartedly!

    • Thank you Clanmother! I appreciate your visits here.

      • It is a pleasure to be connected!

  2. Sheila

    Julia, sometimes the art of conversation seems to be taking a backseat to our more modern ways of communicating. But that same, less personal approach can’t be bad because look where it takes us! You and I have shared many things here and I consider it special. I will continue to be enchanted when I come to your blog. Fondly,Sheila

    • Thanks, Sheila. I think that in some ways, blogging, email, texting etc. are more efficient because each person corresponds at whatever time they are available, sometimes in very brief 5 or 10 minute segments of time. We all stay so overbooked these days that it’s very difficult to get together in person, even with friends who live close. I think it’s great to connect however we can, and historically, I think people corresponded in writing far more often than they were able to meet in person. The telephone may have changed that briefly, but the digital age may be bringing us back to written conversations.

  3. Mike Bertoglio

    Northwest garden show this weekend with some enchanting gardens. One is based on the Hobbitt.

    • Thanks Mike, that looks like a wonderful show. What a neat idea to base the gardens on famous movies. Wish I could see them in real life.

  4. A suggestion in the effort to “”travel to enchanted places”: Find an enchanted forest! That phrase is almost as old as story-telling,itself. And the best part is, when you are out searching for an enchanted forest, you never know you’ve actually found one, until you are standing in the middle of it! When you make that discovery, notice the tingle of goose bumps on your skin 🙂

    • Thanks Eric! I always thought that most forests must be hiding at least one or two enchanted spots. I agree, there are few places as magical.

  5. Kathy

    Julia, I just love what you wrote in today’s blog! You are very gifted….I envy anyone who has such a great ability to take beautiful thoughts and express them so well! Thank you!

    • Wow Kathy, what a nice thing to say, thank you! I am so happy you liked it and I appreciate your encouraging words.

  6. How lovely that cottage is Julia. Cozy and Romantic looking. Is it a B&B? I’m a huge proponent of generous amounts of enchantment sprinkled on each and every day. Whether is a pretty craft project, a bit of writing in a journal or reading a Blog that lends itself to it.

    • I tried to figure out if it was a B&B, but believe it or not, I think that’s just a private residence. There are dozens of equally charming cottages in that neighborhood and it was hard to choose just one photo to put in the blog. Some are very small and I believe they can be rented as vacation homes, but most appear to be privately owned. I have never seen any neigborhood quite like it. I can tell by your blog that you are a fan of enchantment — your crafts are so delightful!

      • sweet you! thank you Julia.

        Sounds like my kind of place. I hope we can travel to this part of the US sometime. I love these little towns. Our lake home was really cottagey. So I kind of gravitate to the beach, cottage vibe. We really stood out anyways. The house was burgundy and our entrance was royal blue with a slamming country screen door. No sneaking in or out, LOL

        • That sounds like another enchanted place. The slamming screen door reminded me of the little country shop my grandparents used to own (complete with candy sold from candy jars!) I hope you do visit the eastern U.S. sometime. Lots of cute little towns all along the coast, north to south, and really all areas between the east and west coasts. Jeff and I drove from Boston to Toronto just north of the border a few years ago, and really enjoyed seeing the small towns in Canada also. So little time, so much to explore, near or far! I don’t know how anyone could ever be bored.

          • Never, how could anyone right? Sounds like a really nice trip. I’ve been to the St Catherine’s area and loved Niagara On The Lake. Gorgeous!

            • I need to look up the names of some of the small towns we stayed in; I have forgotten them now (must be my age!). Niagara Falls was as stunning as I had remembered it to be, especially on the Canadian side, the “Horseshoe Falls.” Jeff said it was his favorite part of the whole trip. I should find some of those photos to put on this blog sometime.

  7. The classic Westminster catechism asks the question: “What is the chief end of man?” And the answer is – “To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Enchantment provides an avenue to delight in the Lord and in God’s creation.

    Thanks for the post.

    • Thank you for your comment, I love that answer! I agree, I never feel closer to God than when I am paying attention to the beautiful intricacy of creation. While trials and troubles can bring us closer to God by reminding us of our own limitations and dependence, the relationship is never complete without circling back to the recognition of how relatively small our personal struggles are in the context of the big, eternal and amazing universe.

  8. Beth

    I quite agree that all forests hold enchantment. Our cozy little two acres reveals the past when clearing ground for flowers and vegetables. Last spring I found a winding brick path underneath a massive amount of old vines and pine straw. Now the sun loving bulbs uncovered in the deep shade make sense. Thanks for your thought provoking posts, Julia. 🙂

    • Beth, that sounds beautiful! Are you going to restore the brick path? Whenever I am working in our wooded lot behind our yard (less than an acre, but I jokingly refer to it as “the lower 40”) I find surprises. There are always lots of oyster shells. At first I assumed they had been dumped there long ago, but when they kept showing up year after year, I realized they were coming in from the sea via the creek behind our land, which overflows during times of heavy rain. This (and the occasional gulls that fly over) reminds me of how close we are to the water. So much is hidden to us until we look closely. Thanks for visiting here, I always enjoy hearing from you!

  9. Rene

    Those are beautiful images, uncovering what is hidden. I think our house must have been one of the last built in the neighborhood—when I tried gardening, I uncovered things like nails and chunks of concrete!

    • Wow, that sounds scary – what if a lawn mower had picked that stuff up and thrown it! It’s interesting the stuff we find when we garden. When we first started clearing our wooded lot we found lots of trash (old bottles and cans) along with a ton of oyster shells that we continue to see every time we clear. We finally figured out they were coming from the ocean, via the creek that borders our property. Jeff thinks the critters must pull them out of the creek and leave the shells scattered everywhere.


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