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.

This post was originally published seven years ago today. You can view the original with comments here.


  1. Good morning, Julia!
    I have recently returned from visiting my parents in Florida, where my dad is now in full nursing care, while my mom continues to live in their mobile home, about a block away (it’s the same community, which has been super handy).
    While visiting, Mom and I have been joining my dad for meals in the dining area of the nursing facility. They have assigned seating there, and there’s a woman that sits at my dad’s table, Katy, who plays with her food – and I mean sculptures, with airplane utensils, and generally happy distractions. Frankly, I think we could all learn from Katy, to exercise our imaginations and practice creativity. Somehow as adults we don’t let ourselves splash in puddles and such, and I think it’s kind of a pity.
    (OK, I sometimes splash in puddles when no one’s around.) 😉

    • Susan, I’m glad your parents’ situation sounds as if it has settled into a good transition. Not sure how I feel about playing with food, but perhaps it would serve as a nice distraction and possibly (for me) an appetite suppressant? I must confess, I’ve never had the slightest urge to play with my food, other than in childhood, shifting it around on my plate to try to escape my mother’s commands that I HAD to eat something I detested. But I suppose that was more work than play, and almost always futile too.

      • Very good point – I remember chasing food around my plate, hoping to give the illusion of having eaten some. That was no fun at all!
        Once, in desperation, I tried to make a bargain: if my cat, Oliver, would eat a garbanzo bean, I would eat one, too.
        Sadly, my cat betrayed me, and wolfed it right down! I was stuck, then, and had to eat one. Oh the anguish! It is probably impossible to taste anything properly once one has set one’s mind against it.

        • Susan, I think that’s definitely true. I can’t remember ever taking a (forced) bite of anything and thinking “Wow, I’m so glad I tasted that! I actually like it way better than I thought!” I won’t go into the story of how traumatic it was when a well-meaning teacher in Hawaii pressed me and my classmates into eating some (very fishy) sushi. As one who has never liked seafood, I was seriously fighting the gag impulse. Luckily it wasn’t sashimi (at least I hope it wasn’t 😦 ) but it would have been very embarrassing if I had been unable to keep it in my mouth. Hey, I don’t like garbanzos either! A few decades ago they were all the rage, and I couldn’t figure out why…

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