Nymphs – Part 9

The favorite nature spirit of teen-aged boys, nymphs can be found almost everywhere in the wild, but do not like areas of “tame” nature.  They are everywhere:  They live in mountains, hills, woodlands, rivers, streams and lakes, just to name a few.  Individual trees and ponds are home to them as well.   They are always seen sensuously clad in the colors and materials of their homes: they are sexy, alluring and beautiful young women.  Which is why we use the word to refer to real-world pretty young ladies with flirty personalities.

Most legends surrounding nymphs do not portray them in a good way.  They lure the unwary into their domain and keep them around until they get bored with them, then release them and go looking for another.  They lure young and naive men  – through their own desire – into the nymph’s home.  Years later, decades in some tales, the men return, virtually the same age they were when they disappeared.  They tell of a joyous night spent with a very friendly maiden and seem quite surprised when told how long they were gone – if the town’s folk don’t completely dismiss them as crazy.

Nymphs are not very high on the list of potential spirit encounters for the average person, and even lower on the list for ladies.  One reason is they live only in the wild areas.  Although natural woods around farms are a possibility, areas around subdivisions or cities are usually not a home for them.  Hikers, on the other hand…  There have been some materials written on the subject of nymphs giving the possibility of locating them inside urban settings.  I never encountered a case of that happening, but there are areas in urban settings that could be considered natural, especially now that people are letting parts of their yards grow wild.  Of course some people may consider bars and dance clubs wild urban settings.

Before you go running out to the woods to look for a nymph however, you should know that such encounters are rare.  Even in legend there’s only a handful of tales.   In the stories nymphs show up singly or in small groups.  They appear in quiet groves and glades or at the places where river and trail meet – all long considered magical places.  Considering that few tales picture them as helpful, it’s a wonder that anyone would go hunting for nymphs.  Still, protectors of their domains are more likely to get help from them, while those spoiling and polluting their domains are going to make them very angry.  And an angry nymph is very much like a woman scorned – they can be vicious.

Stories and legends aside, nymphs aren’t always looking for long-term relationships.  Those who believe in them may encounter them when hiking alone in the woods.  Fall asleep against a tree that is home to a nymph (tree nymphs are called dryads, by the way) and one may just wake you up.  Maybe you get to have a nice weekend in the woods safely in her company and then go home.   In addition to changing the passage of time, anyone in their company is safe from the usual risks of being in the wilderness.  By the same token, they can just as easily lure you into the dangers of the wilderness.  They can be quite nice when they want to be, and when you’re nice back.  They can also be nasty, mean bi_____.  So be nice, have fun, don’t trust them.  Just remember: don’t agree to go home to meet her folks.

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