As I’ve further explored The Hillock and its Meadow neighbors, some tiny flowers keep showing their faces as well! This little lady seems to be ‘following me’ on my walks, and getting much bolder in her appearances. Here she is in the grasses that surround The Hillock! She’s quite tall, slender and strikingly graceful! I’m not sure if she is just one flower that I see following me, or some of her sisters as well! I introduce to you through photographs, Spiral Lady Tresses! Or is she Nodding Lady Tresses? Truthfully, I’m not yet clear on what she prefers to be called. What I DO know is that she will provide quite a lesson for me on painting ‘negative space’ or whatever that process is called by ‘real painters’!
Truly, I see forms and faces everywhere! I remember once having some neurological tests done 3 years ago to check my ‘brain’ to see if my chronic Lyme disease was causing inflammation in my brain. The whole series of tests lasted for 7 hours! By the end of the process, I don’t know who felt the most crazed, me? or the woman that was testing me? When I returned to learn from the results, the neuropsychologist had very positive things to say about my intelligence, and very much agreed that it took a huge amount of my energy to stay focused on the tasks at hand. Though I was able to do them, I think it took me about three days to recover! One question she was curious about was when I said that I saw images and could hear different voices. I explained that the voices were characters in my books and that everything I saw seemed to have many ways to be seen or interpreted. She seemed relieved to hear my explanation and ready to help me cope with the challenges of Lyme to my central nervous system.
This ‘pig’ looking at me from the bark of a tree is just one example of the characters just waiting to be discovered and allowed to have their voice. I’m thinking that many of these ‘characters’ might appear in the story about The Hillock, which is in ‘the works’.
I thought I was going to excitedly write about my new book publication that will be available after tomorrow! But instead I decided to take a break after working all day on ‘the details’ of the book, and celebrate how toddlers grow up! This is a little drawing I did of one of our sons when he was in his cowboy career days! And today, that ‘lil cowboy’ turned thirty! Even though I can’t quite get the real life and likeness his wonderfulness at this age, I’m realizing that memories of our little boys and girls are etched forever in our hearts. Their chubby little legs, feet and fingers, their sweet voices, and wobbly proud walks. They are so precious growing up and the preciousness never goes away, even when they become wonderful men and wonderful women! So, rather than miss those days with sadness, I just want to celebrate how they are embedded in us forever at every age and stage, and it’s such a privilege to get to watch them grow up!
Had a dream last night that I was teaching again and was introducing working with clay, specifically ‘slab work’ with clay and rolling pins. Couldn’t find enough free surfaces for each child to spread out. Wanted to work in ‘an extra studio’ I had set up years before in an extra room at the school. As far as I knew it had not even been entered since then. (This is a ‘studio’ I’ve seen in my head for years also. Don’t know for sure if there is one somewhere. It’s not the one in our garage.) I opened the door for us to use it, and there was a whole group of kids and a teacher already in there!) So we continued to work where we were all over the place…on the floor, under tables, etc. I was trying to teach them to roll their clay a certain consistency…not too thick, and not too thin. I gave them each two flat sticks to put on either side of the clay to keep the rolling pin from rolling things too flat. I was trying to explain the word, ‘slab’. I just had to invent Slab as a character to show them what I meant. Very similar to Gumby, but uniquely Slab. So now that I’ve had the thought many times about this character at the Hillock, and have written about Slab as the character, the Potter, and have now dreamed of the importance of the character Slab as a teaching tool and example….is it time to focus on him as a character first? Also at the Hillock the other day, there was a very large colorful skink who raced into the Potter’s house, ran under the mantlepiece on the cedar tree that holds some of his pottery, and scurried down a hole there! Hmmmm….
Watching over his pond is an ancient king frog who has long turned to stone. His story is quite compelling and may surface soon as mysteries unfold at The Hillock. For now, he is content watching his offspring many generations hence, as they sparkle and shimmer as living cells in their comfortable pillowy egg sacs. Even Francklin the dog, respects their glistening greatness and allows them space when he cools his tired three legs in what he knows as ‘his pond’. Meanwhile, my head’s swimming with all these mysterious clues and characters.
Today, at the Hillock, there were awesome egg sacs in the tiny pond. They look like the big BullFrog type, but I’m not sure. So beautiful! Glistening, moving, billowing with so many new possibilities…I was so awestruck that somewhere I misplaced my phone…my one piece that reminds me that there’s another time bound world that calls as well. I know it will turn up. It always does. I’ll be patient until the weather report says rain. For now, the ‘jingle book’ is brimming with possibility and waiting for little i’s to be dotted and t’s of technology to be understood. Meanwhile there are mysteries whispering by the mossy hillock…to breathe in and out.
There is a MossWhisperer, I’m sure of that because I’ve heard her whispers. What she actually looks like, I don’t really know. The picture below is a crafted attempt to make ‘the MossTender’ out of a wooden doll I found at Goodwill. Someday I hope to paint ‘the MossTender’ but actually, she’s not the MossWhisperer. I think she just hears the whispers of the MossWhisperer more than most since she’s so close to the earth and its song. Yet from what I can surmise, ANYONE can hear the MossWhisperer, if they truly listen.
Who is The MossWhisperer? I only know what she DOES, for now…
The MossWhisperer listens…and through the mist comes a distillation of all that is…
She listens… to minglings of the night…to coyote and redwolfed triumphant howls mixed with baby screams of precious prey, dove croons, whippoorwill quails, and owl whoos mingling with windshrill cries as they crush air through cracks in the forest…to the mighty pines as they creak and tip themselves towards final breaking points…
She listens as morning harbinges hope for a new day, an new way.
The MossWhisperer feels…needing no eyes to see the grandeur of the lowest carpet of the earth, the textures that tell all…
She feels…the earth’s cool moisture that grows from twilight and forms an invisible envelope at its surface right where it needs to breathe.
She feels…the sun drained sweat of the earth …it’s lifeline for the day until night comes again, or rain drops by for a surprise visit.
The MossWhisperer smells…the soft earth’s sweat signaling that there’s enough!…assuring us that moss will preserve the earth’s water in its cells for all living things.
She smells…a scent reminiscent of moth balls, preserving all that is needed of the past to live in the present…only air and water taken from the atmosphere and radiant sun to grow chlorophyl.
The MossWhsiperer recalls…that ancient life is going on…in us…through us… and beyond us…
The MossWhisperer lets go…of struggles & stress…
She lets go…of pressures to figure out…of fears that freeze us…of distractions that lose or lock us in noisy dark closets we humans often create.
She lets go of needing…of wanting to be heard through the noise.
She lets go of frantic communication…
She just lets go…and
She LISTENS to the Earth’s whisper and then she herself whispers one word, thankyou, aciu, thankyou to All who together create her as she is this moment. And that is enough. She is enough. All is enough. Moss…prepares the present…and creates pillows of rest and renewal for all of us, and for all of life’s processes to go on…Oh…to listen as she does and learn from our ancestral storage of water and spirit! Oh…to listen to mosses…we will be renewed, restored, replenished and rebirthed!
Today was just too beautiful to stay inside! Francklin, our three-legged dog, who is my forever patient and playful companion, has found his top dog mound on The Hillock where he surveys the scene, always ready to bound into action if there is a stick flying through the air or if he can get my attention with his ball! I’ve been fine tuning the paths and walls. For some reason I am getting The Hillock ready for SOMETHING, not sure what. I’ve always wanted to have a ‘tea’ or some gathering here in the spring. And new dwellings seem to be popping up in anticipation of something! There are so many stories emerging from the mysterious mounds! Maybe after I finish publishing “What Makes a Jingle Ring,” I’ll have space in my head to hear the MossWhispers! Ready for the next Adventures!
Whoops! Didn’t want this to post in such a large way! Writing About the Author has been so much harder than writing the whole book! Here’s my first attempt! In fact, posting anything while I’m tying up the ‘loose ends’ to this book has seemed very complicated. I’m learning that it’s much easier when I’m ‘in the story’ rather than starting or completing it!
Ann Gordon remembers magical moments as a child: playing at the roots of trees, creating villages carpeted with moss and making little people adorned with their acorn caps. During her 30 years of teaching, what mattered most to her was that children have a chance to experience their own ‘aha moments’ and to explore ways of expressing themselves.
She and her husband, Alex, live in the country with their two dogs, Francklin and Lacy. They take many meadow walks enjoying symphonies of spring peepers, owls, and crickets in the evenings. They enjoy traveling to explore this incredible world and to keep up with their three children.
Ann spend lots of her days writing, working in her studio, tending her moss creations and developing the Hillock Village in the Meadow. Each day unfolds magical moments of self-discovery, and adds pages to new books being written. For Ann, the process of putting word to print and painting color to paper keeps her forever learning and surprised by the hidden mysteries of creativity.
Today I spent working on finishing touches to the Jingle story, and some time procrastinating on the next finishing touches. Nothing to post yet, so what can I write tonight? Tonight, was the dogs’ turn. On all their trips each day down in the meadow, they have gathered matts, thorns, and burrs in their fur, and I’ve just been painting and writing away!
Francklin and Lacy, lay at my feet, watching me. If they’re waiting, only I imagine that they are ‘impatient’ and ‘wondering why I waste my time with computer and brush and pencil, mostly eraser.’ no they just lay there and watch, observe, with that wise knowing look of persistent patience. Even now, if I move towards the door, they have learned to not jump up the first time, but rather to watch and wait, until I have made many trips back and forth, gathering shoes, contact lense, cell phone, and all the other paraphenalia that I seem to think I need just for our walk down in the meadow. They KNOW, just know when the last forgotten thing has been gathered, and then they bound to the door, and only then go out if I make that final step over the threshold. Then Francklin grabs a stick from the kindling basket by the door and bounds off on his three forever young legs, while Lacy makes up a four-legged romp to signal PLAY! And off we go! I carry my bucket for gathering rocks along the way. By the time we get down to the hillock, the bucket is full and putting the pieces of the cobblestone puzzle together begins! I am always amazed at how each piece has a perfectly fitting place as long as I’m willing to turn and rotate it to ‘see it another way’…Isn’t that just IT! To be open and willing to ‘turn and turn til we come round right, in the land of peace and delight.’ Or however the Quaker song sings it! And how easy it is to think ‘we know’ the way it or anything should be!’ I can think of so many times of frustration in my life when I’ve tried so hard to force things to match my point of view, when really what I need to pray is: there must be another way of seeing this! please help me see it! This whole cobblestoneway puzzle has been such a meditation in practicing being open to another way of seeing. Then comes quickening my trust process to ‘let go’ of my way so I can see the other! And all the while, Lacy and Francklin, just sit and wait for me to let go of each stone as it forms the way through the hillock. No judgments, no expectations, except maybe a stick every now and then. So tonight, I just write what comes, no judgments, no outlandish expectations. And I guess that’s just it…writing…just like breathing…