What’s in a name?

30 Jan 2021

It’s a big day for me Rod, I just bought a domain name. That is not a big deal in and of itself. The big deal was the reason. I have decided I want to buy a place here in France with the intention of spending at least part of my time here when I retire, maybe even getting a dual citizenship. I’m looking..nothing concrete yet. I want to be able to give this place a name. Make it real! Maybe buying the domaine name is pre-mature since I haven’t even made an offer of anything yet! The domain name is not a big annual expense, I’m good with letting it expire of nothing comes of it. I think and indeed hope something will come of it though!

The domain name: myfernleaf.com is the name I have purchased. The name of my place here in France will be called lenautilus@myfernleaf. Eventually, when I create a website for this space I can name it lenautilus@myfernleaf.com. It doesn’t exist yet! Nothing about this exercise exists physically, but it is starting to exist in my mind! Everything starts with a thought and “we become what we think about” !

What is in a name? A lot! It took me awhile to settle on this. I wanted something to reflect me, not just a name. My friends who are helping me look for a place and also help with everything that involves and also helping me with a name! Great friends in every sense of the word!

Here is the story of this name, lenautilus@myfernleaf.com: the name of my future place in the bourbonnaise mountains in France. The name is 1/2 French (lenautilus) 1/2 American (myfernleaf) with allusions to both transformation and roots. When driving to my friends in the mountains last weekend, I had that feeling..that knowing that I was nearing a transition in my life. The part of my youth was over, the part with Rodney was over, the part of being the weak vulnerable, unsure widow was coming to and end and the next part is to come! (No I have not found, nor am I looking for “Mr Right”) Is this transition life after I retire? I’m not sure yet..but something is coming! The transition and transformation go together and are in the word Nautilus. I’ve never been a seaside person, but this sea dwelling animal is amazing. It’s pre-historic and is still surviving today. What does this animal have to do with me? The summer of 2019, just after arriving in France, I went back to the US to go to my niece’s wedding in Alabama. One of the places to visit is the childhood home of Helen Keller. When I got back from that visit, I got her autobiography called the Miracle Worker. In this book, she mentions a poem called “the Chambered Nautilus” by Oliver Wendell Holmes. It tells the story of the Chambered Nautilus and how it must build a new part of its shell so that it can grow. No matter how comfortable the home is now, it must move to grow and stay alive. This was so representative of my life..so many transformations, some unwanted and worked hard for, others I didn’t want at all. Being a widow was certainly not what I wanted…but we don’t always get to choose so we? In the name for my place, The nautilus is the animal and the shell is her home and It is a part of her. Like her, the shell is simple looking on the outside, but when the inside is revealed, the shell is a coated with a pearly luster revealing the hidden elegance. She is alive and she must continue to transform herself or she cannot survive. Though I am physically in France, à part of my heart is still @ Fernleaf, KY, USA. Fernleaf, KY, The crossroads that marks the spot, on old maps, but no longer viable as a town. The spot 1 mile from my family home of bricks made from the land where I grew up that still holds my roots and a piece of her heart. Those KY hills still call my name.

You will always be the love of my life Rodney. Always. I’m getting stronger, Rod, like the nautilus, I know that I need to grow and live. Something keeps pulling me in the direction to stay here in France. I continue to listen to my heart, to God, to intuitive thought. You remain right behind my eyes. I love you and miss you so. I’ll be ok.