Today’s A to Z Challenge post is brought to you by the letter N, but these Ladies I Love may not actually exist (although some might argue with you). I’ve had a number of items in my adult life that all needed to be named. Not CL208F2, or Freddy or “Green Notebook” but something far more creative and descriptive. For example, I always wanted someone to be able to look at our department’s network of computers and go “oh – there’s the aquatic ecology lab computer” and not have to shuffle around a bunch of papers looking for the right identification code. Well, ok, that only partly relates to today’s ladies I love post – the other part is that I grew up loving fairy tales (you know, the kind with fairies). The artwork of Brian Froud used to mesmerize and terrify me all at once (I’m looking at you, Jenny Greenteeth!). Hence, being an aquatic ecologist and fish biologist and fairy “aFISHionado”, I’ve tended to assign names based on aquatic folklore. In fact, part of my email address is “limnixie”, a word I made up that loosely translates to female lake fairy.
Here are a few short definitions for you about some of my favorite aquatic fairies:
- Nymph: Generally, female water spirits who animate nature. Often depicted as young and beautiful maidens who love to sing and dance; they can be immortal, but can also die under some circumstances.
- Naiad: A type of water nymph that presides over fresh water of any kind (e.g., fountains, wells, springs, streams and brooks).
- Nixie (or Neck): German or Nordic, a water spirit, typically a river mermaid; they can be malicious but also kind or benevolent as well. They are shape-shifters, and are said to lure men to their watery doom in some cases. You can recognize them in their human form by noting that their skirt hems are always wet.
Do you have a favorite type of fairy? Do you resonate with any kind of natural habitat, type of plant, or landscape feature? If so, there might be a fairy just for you! Look it up and tell me what you find!