Ophelia - floating amongst waterlily pads in Lake Hévíz, Hungary.


The lake was warm,
the waters constantly moving:
flowing from
left  to  right,
rising and falling.

At times there came a great swoop of cold that brushed my legs,

making me gasp,

before the soft sensation of warm silk replaced the prickling iceburn and all was forgotten.

Like Ophelia, happy and singing,
I swam among water lilies,

(unaware of all that lurked in the deeps,
trying not to think about mud creatures
of childhood night terrors.)

A dragonfly alighted in front of my vision
upon one lavender lily
stayed a brief moment
and left again.

The water felt silty, like soft sand

fairy dust,

nymph dust.


noun | nimf/


    a mythological spirit of nature imagined as a beautiful maiden inhabiting rivers, woods, or other locations.

    synonyms: sprite, sylph, spirit

    an immature form of an insect

    e.g., a dragonfly, mayfly, or locust.

Dragonflies and Waterlilies

The infant dragonfly, in its larval state, lives in the bottom of murky ponds, lakes and rivers. In this state, the young dragonfly is also known as a nymph - referencing those aquatic deities of ancient legend. The little nymph will remain in the water for many months, or even years...

Till, one day, when the weather is right and the nymph is ready, it crawls up the stem of a water-dwelling plant and sheds its skin, taking to the air to fly for the first time.

A fully grown dragonfly has long been a symbol of change, transcendence, wisdom, self realisation and enlightenment.

The waterlily begins its life in the mud.

As a rhizome, the waterlily's matrix of roots submerge themselves in the mud to absorb nutrients for the plant's survival and growth.

The leaves and flowers float on top of the water, allowing the aquatic plant the ability to pollinate and breath.

Water lilies are also known as nymphaea.

These flowers, like the lotus, are often seen as symbols of enlightenment, transcendence, rebirth, purity and potential.

Both the dragonfly and the waterlily have long-held associations with the fairy realms.

Purple water lilies growing in Lake Hévíz, Hungary.
Lily pads underwater.
clouds and lily pads
Ascending the stairs from the geothermal Lake, Hungary.
Lake Heviz still grows lilies in the winter.
Swimming in the largest geothermal lake of Hungary.
A small nymph swimming among waterlily pads.


~ Extracts from a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley

This Lady never slept, but lay in trance
All night within the fountain - as in sleep.
Its emerald crags glowed in her beauty's glance:
Through the green splendour of the water deep
She saw the constellations reel and dance
Like fireflies - and withal did ever keep
The tenor of her contemplations calm,
With open eyes, closed feet, and folded palm.
Then by strange art she kneaded fire and snow
Together, tempering the repugnant mass
With liquid love--all things together grow
Through which the harmony of love can pass;
And a fair Shape out of her hands did flow--
A living image which did far surpass
In beauty that bright shape of vital stone
Which drew the heart out of Pygmalion.
From its smooth shoulders hung two rapid wings
Fit to have borne it to the seventh sphere,
Tipped with the speed of liquid lightenings,
Dyed in the ardours of the atmosphere.
She led her creature to the boiling springs
Where the light boat was moored, and said "Sit here,"
And pointed to the prow, and took her seat
Beside the rudder with opposing feet.
And down the streams which clove those mountains vast,
Around their inland islets, and amid
The panther-peopled forests (whose shade cast
Darkness and odors, and a pleasure hid
In melancholy gloom) the pinnace passed;
By many a star-surrounded pyramid
Of icy crag cleaving the purple sky,
And caverns yawning round unfathomably.
The silver noon into that winding dell,
With slanted gleam athwart the forest-tops,
Tempered like golden evening, feebly fell;
A green and glowing light, like that which drops
From folded lilies in which glow-worms dwell
When Earth over her face Night's mantle wraps;
Between the severed mountains lay on high,
Over the stream, a narrow rift of sky.
And where within the surface of the river
The shadows of the massy temples lie,
And never are erased, but tremble ever
Like things which every cloud can doom to die,--
Through lotus-paven canals, and wheresoever
The works of man pierced that serenest sky
With tombs and towers and fanes, - 'twas her delight
To wander in the shadow of the night.
She all those human figures breathing there
Beheld as living spirits.
To her eyes
The naked beauty of the soul lay bare,
And often through a rude and worn disguise
She saw the inner form most bright and fair:
And then she had a charm of strange device,
Which, murmured on mute lips with tender tone,
Could make that spirit mingle with her own.


ophelia nymph
lake nymph
Winter at Lake Heviz - the lake is still warm and purple lilies grow.
The bathhouses of Lake Heviz, set right on the lake.