Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Treasures In My Room - Babushka Dolls

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Finally for something totally different...

I put away the colourng pencils for today, and finally spent some time with the red clay I bought months ago. during the joy of creating something my mind was blissfully suspende from conscious thought and my pains dropped to nothingness. It was bliss. she reclines accross the room from me. I've only glanced at her a little since the camera was put away. The progress shots are mementos of an afternoon's journey. Surely in some small way, this is how the gods felt on creating?

out of clay

Saturday, January 28, 2006


A couple of years ago I flew
to Tennessee to meet Em --
an Email friend foolish enough to say
she wished I was closer ...

then I had to return to California, 3000 miles away.

but that is what the Internet is for ...


He wrote …

When I am here and you are there
there is a part lost in between,
and I’m not sure
if it’s something we needed,
or excess thoughts and dreams –

but I’ll bet that it’s a bit of magick
that exists when we are close
and that we have lost nothing
except a memory or three.

She responded ..

Ah, but memories are never lost, my love
they are but a moment's kiss away
and the warmth of our breath kindles anew
the patterns that we have swirling 'round us
or perhaps the gentlest touches sparking a'fire
generates lovedust to soften the underlying passions desire
memories are not of the mind as most would suggest

I say they are of thine Heart and mine.


It took only 71 hours to drive there ...

Friday, January 27, 2006

Grateful for Shelter - Weather Extremes

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Saucepan Man

The drizzle which had appeared the day I met Dame Wash a Lot, had settled into a steady presence for a week. Unseasonal, but welcome. The trees and plants were lapping it up and had already lost their parched appearance in favor of a burst of green shoots. Very welcome to the residents at Riversleigh.

I had been buoyed by my meeting with the Dame and the overcast weather had given me time to pause and ponder her appearance. The sun was struggling as I set off once again in the direction the Dame had vanished. I noted her discarded wash tub, now filled with rainwater awaiting the emergence of birds with the sunshine.

The only downside to my day was a ceaslessly throbbing tooth. It seemed that my gratitude journal was about to be dominated by a paeon to my dentist who could now add "skiing" to his gratitude list as it was directly and indelibly debited from mine! (I had already spat out an ineffective clove and resorted to several swigs from a hip flask secreted into Riversleigh for such an emergency.)

I reached the Far Away Tree whose leaves were gently rustling.I wasn't ready to explore it further,especially with toothache, in spite of the stories which had drifted my way at Riversleigh. The nips of whiskey had done the trick, the ache had subsided a little, and I propped myself againt the knarled trunk into a perfectly shaped hollow. To indulge in some warm and fuzzy thoughts.

After a while in this langurous state, I turned my head to see a figure resting on the other side of the trunk, knees drawn up and a suitcase by his side. Overcoming my drugged inertia I greeted the stranger, judging from his reaction that he had been there for some time. Merely nodding his head in response, he opened his suitcase. To my suprise it held mainly saucepans. Gleaming. Of many sizes. And closed the lid.

He spoke then, which saved me the necessity of asking prying questions.
"On my way home," he explained. "Just not sure where home is" And was silent again. Then,
"That's why I carry my saucepans. Kids tease me and call me The Saucepan Man. You see my wife died a long time ago. She used to polish these pots every day."
Whistfully he added, gesturing up the ample tree,"Sometimes I live in the treetops, sometimes by the lake." With this he nodded towards Duwamish. " But I always take my saucepans".

With this he tapped the lid of the case defiantly and started to climb the branches which bowed low to the ground. I watched as he soon vanished from sight.
My toothache had finally resolved and I knew that for both of us gratitude lay in the minutiae of life.

The Cresent Moon Woman

" The silver stars are in the sky
The red-gold moon is riding high
O sleep my little one, sleep."

No hint of carols lingered in the shopping mall which was buzzing with post-Christmas haste...unnecessary haste. Not at all in keeping with the resolutions made so naively in the New Year.To avoid disharmony, disquiet, dis-ease. And shopping. But she had to admit, over the necessary capuccino, that the morning's impulsive purchases would be some compensation for yesterday's disquiet, disharmony.

She mused that the ages of her children totalled amounted to 125 years. 125 years of hoping, praying, rejoicing, and unconditional loving. The kernel of all meaning to life, she had decided. If there was to be meaning.

It always started with bringing home, tightly wrapped against any wicked faeries, a fluffy - haired bundle of new born hope. Always "trailing clouds of glory". Until the prayer time came, through nights and days when their dreams and very existence were challenged. To rejoicing when the prayers were answered and joy shone brightly in their achievment or survival. Thankfulness for their courage, gratitude for her own. All against a backdrop of unconditional love. Even when challenged by a hurtful search for independence. Seemingly endless, like yesterday, part of an infinite number of strands to be snipped in the rope that bound them to her, even though she thought she had sharpened the scissors for them.
What to do?

That evening, from the comforting and comfortable deck that was the magic of Riversleigh, she lit a candle for each of them. As darkness came, the Cresent Moon rose across the water, majestic in her startling appearance in the sky, and reflected in a silver stream across the now still bay.

As the Earthly mother watched the candles flicker in the evening onshore breeze, she wrapped up all of the lifetime of worries and prayers tightly bound to a core of parental inadequacy the previous day had let loose, and sent the bundle up with the rising smoke into the care of the Cresent Moon Woman who knew all things from her place in the Heavens. The Moon disappeared into the treetops, leaving in reply a phosphoresence on the water.
Disquiet and disharmony were replaced by the quiet confidence that " everything loved can be saved" and that the Cresent Moon Woman had them all in her care.

On the balcony, laughingly swaying in the breeze, on a branch that looked like it could not hold a bird, was a naked nymph. Grabbing my tea I rushed out on the patio not thinking I could scare her away, but she only kept laughing, and swinging. I sat down on a lawn chair and stared with amazement, as I slowly absorbed the other strange phenomena before me. The tree was covered with huge blooming flowers, each different. From one loose seed in the bottom of the bin I have this magic tree.

The nymph called to me..�Jane� Look closer�, I am your imagination spirit. I have given you this tree. It is a tree of wisdom and will always sit here, in this corner. When you feel low or void of any creative feelings just come out and one of the flowers will light up with a piece of wisdom from the sages of yore.

Today I just want to remind you of this: ENERGY FLOWS WHERE ATTENTION GOES. Think about that.

What an exciting gift that just keeps giving.  Posted by Picasa

A Picture for Vi, I went out early one spring morning, to my side yard, with my morning coffee to view the sunrise and saw the magic of the dust babies covered with dew. My camera caught some of the magic and also a surprise. Loved your dancers of light but it needed this picture.  Posted by Picasa

Just a word

'Heather' as a word,
falls in a mem'ried pile of life's moraine,
with 'copse' and 'gorse',
'moor' and 'rill' and 'loch'.

Ah, to return to the Scottish highlands,
hills of endless grey and green,
blushed with pink and yellow dreams.

Crisscrossed waterfalls allow
of arching bridges and twisty roads,
leading to surprised vale mists
and dark lakes of mystery.

Yet, of all of this --
or perhaps because of all --
only one word became
a girl's name,
rarely used today,

as 'heath' leads to 'hearth'
and 'heart' and 'home'
that we may

papa 01/21/06

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Peace of the Park

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Dancers of the Light

Who is it dares to say that there is not magic everywhere?Dancers of the Light

They're seen always in the morning
when the day is young,
and sunbeams reach inside.
They dance a slow ballet,
but when you walk among them
they will rock and roll.

They're mostly dressed in white
or silver, sometimes in muted colors
that sparkle in the light.
No matter what you do to them
they will not go away,
until the sun moves higher,
then they'll quickly disappear.

Be not sad for their swift parting
for they are with you still,
resting on your coffee table,
counter tops, and window sills.

Who are these delightful dancers?
They are dust motes
and, except in early morning sunbeams,
a bane to our existence.

©January 20, 2006

Thursday, January 19, 2006

From the Garret

I spoke to my siblings of our imaginary dormer window here at the Manor,
asking them what scene they would see ..

One brother sent this, a picture he took 40 years ago


Riversleigh View for Heather

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Having a slow time, in the rain,

A few changes on my website on the Neighbourhood page: www.aletta.org/neighbourhood.shtml
and some new children's tales : Winged Tales - "Big Slow Fred", "Halloweenies", "Nightflight"

The plan is for at least two more tales this week. Have to the keep the reaper distracted.
Image Hosted aletta.org

The sculpting clay is still just sitting there whispering that I haven't got what it takes to sculpt, well, I suppose that makes it taunting and not whispering. I saw the sun for at least fifteen minutes today, just maybe it will clear somee time soon, and with the clouds take all my sluggishness too.

Fragrant Camphor Laurels - Grounds at Riversleigh

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Em's Celtic lap harp

I made her a harp last year (from a kit)


The Harp

The gnome works in high shadowed caverns
While the pixie dances north of grace;
But together they craft the Myrddin
That his heart strings may sing again.

Honed with the teeth of the Gusari,
And rubbed with the sands of yesterday;
They'll polish his soul with eider down
And set his eyes with sharp points of light.

His voice will be one with cherried brass,
And Em will caress his fine combed hair,
For he'll be seen as a falcon wing
That flies onto the Goddess and ever.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

I was inspired to create a picture with the moon as I watched the big yellow ball rise in the East.
While it is a very cold night with a layer of snow, I like this little doll and since she is looking up, she might as well be looking at the moon!

A'harping we will go!

Wow, what a warm welcome! I've been by myself for a while, so I hope you know that I'm not being snobbish! Papa told me not to bring so much but all my musical instruments tend to take up so much room! Is there anyone who would like to carry someof them to the conservatory? Let's see....first my Gwendydd harp, which is really tall (or short, for after all, she is as tall as I and Papa calls me "shrimpy") and she is a gothic lady. Yes, if anyone wants to cuddle by the fire later, maybe she'll be in tune by then. She'll sing you to sleep and heal those of you with her harmonies. Oh, where is the conservatory? What does it look like? Is there a hearth there???

Wait! The breeze is blowing gently through some faerie bells! Let's run out and find them!!

Friday, January 13, 2006

An Invitation from Silky

Silky, the Elf who lives in the Faraway Tree asked me to give you this invitation.

Dear Guests of Riversleigh.
Everyone at Riversleigh is invited to come to afternoon tea with Moonface and I at 4:00 p.m. You will recognise my place as you climb the tree. It is the one with the lantern and flower pot near the front door.

The Land of Dreams is arriving at the top of the tree today and Moonface and I thought you just might want to join us for a short visit.

Looking forward to seeing you all and to hearing what you think of our tree.

love Silky

There will be a crowd of us so I think I will take something to share for afternoon tea. Perhaps I will make some Salmon and cucumber sandwiches.

Portrait in Pink - for Winnie

Thursday, January 12, 2006

A Packet of Mixed Seeds

Go to the green house and plant a seed, I was told. Use it as a symbol of your writing goal this year. Seemed simple enough, but although other years I'd whipped out pages of New Year's resolutions, this year not one goal came to mind. What do you do when there is no end to work towards? Begin, I suppose and see where it leads.

Few seed packets remained, some cactus, which I knew could take years to germinate, and a plain white envelope marked mixed seeds. Curious, I opened it and found dried marigold petals and fine-as-dust seed that I knew to be portulacas. A third unidentified seed completed the mix.

As I found a pot and scooped up handfuls of soil an image flooded back to me of my father standing in the center of our front yard when I was, perhaps, twelve years old.

"You can't plant seeds that way," I told him. "You need to dig a hole and put them in one by one"

"says who?" he asked. "Not, Mother Nature!"

Our yard was split in two by the front steps, with the larger section Dad was working on about ten feet wide and eight feet from the house to the sidewalk. He'd dug up the soil, removed the stones, and raked it. His hands were still blistered from a fence he'd crafted the week before using dowls twisted into holes that he'd drilled into narrow strips of wood. Painted white, twelve inches high at the tallest, the dowls swooped up and down like a suspension bridge and formed a picketless fence for a lillipution garden.

How I loved that fence! To my amazement, day by day, tiny stems pushed up from the soil and crowded into each other, barely discernible leaves appeared and unfurled. Dad carefully watered each evening with the hose on the finest mist, but he refused to heed instructions and thin out the plants. Soon a low layer of green covered our little yard from corner to corner almost like moss until not a speck of dirt could be seen. The plants grew and thrived, clustered together, jostling for space like children in a playground. Buds formed and I held my breath waiting, until one morning our swatch of yard became a dazzling meadow of California poppies, marigolds and portulacas in red, yellow, pink, orange, and white.

That day, as I watched from inside, my friend Woodsy led his little brother up the hill and stopped when he came to my garden. He said something to Barry, then both boys sat down on the low concrete ledge and leaned over my dad's fence. Barry reached in with both hands and with the delicacy of a butterfly fingered leaves and petals and buried his blind face in the blossoms.

What do I expect from these writing seeds that I'm planting at Soul Food?

I expect to honor the memories of the past, to appreciate the joys of the present, to plunge into writing as I anticipate the mysteries of the future.

My past perfectionism has led only to lost opportunities. This year I'll fling words out into the wind and soil, and wait for them to take root and blaze into flaming color. Perhaps the garden I grow will emotionally feed or shelter someone. Or perhaps one who is blind will touch and sniff and finally be able to sense a little of my world's awesome beauty.

Creatures of the Night

As I leave my room to wander down a trail that has arose my curosity I set down on the ground to enjoy the beginnning of the night
Creatures of the night
Setting on the ground looking up I see a jet passing the moon
Leaving only a dark shadow of smoke behind
The dew is beginning to fall
the grass is wet.
the night is still silent
but not for long
soon it will wake
Already I hear the chirping of the crickets
slowly I am being moved to another planet
an alien world
yes my journey has begun
I can hear the creatures of the night calling in the distance
the call is being answered from somewhere close behind
for it is loud and strong
The night has awaken
my journey has begun
I will go nowhere , yet I will go far
Just let the night take me where ever it wants me to go
it is a journey of great advernture and danger
I must stay alert
I must be aware of all that surrounds me
for the night belongs to the animals
and I am just an intruder
trying to escape from the real world.
The whipporwhills have begun to sing
the owl is hooting whatever wisdom he has to offer tonight
the tree frogs are forecasting rain
The night grows deathly quietly
even the crickets are silent
they have sensed danger
A danger so great it has silenced even the loudest of creatures
I set quietly , waiting
unsure of where the danger lies
slowly the sounds return
The crickets start to play their errie songs
soon the other animials join in
It will go like this all night
with great waves of noise
Loud enough to reach the distance stars
and silence deep enough to reach your very soul and beyond.

Dream Seeds

I cast my seeds to the wind
They will grow here without me

Seedlings will lean toward the sun
Hold tight during storms

Greet each day
With smiles and laughter

These dream seeds
Will live on

And when I am dust
They will smile and laugh

Without me

Guilty retreat

Before I left to join the journey to the Enchanted Forest I did run by the potting shed to collect my seeds, but as usual I am lagging behind and the seed packets were all gone. Luckily at the bottom of the bin I found two loose seeds. I had no idea what they were but I was in a hurry so I grabbed them and ran back to my apartment and threw them into wooden box filled with dirt on my deck that a former tenant must have left. Then the child in me ran off to visit the enchanted forest with the rest of the journeyers.

You may remember that I started out the year with a priority list: " I had decided to stay close to home and work on a booth for the Sunday market." I have some neat ideas and have already started working mornings in the castle workshop, but then I hear the word picnic and run off like a child to join the new fun.

Have you ever noticed how the older you get the wiser you get on certain subjects but for some reason your actions do not match your knowledge? Being a mother you learn quickly to control your world. No longer is it what I want but what is best in the home world for the children.

Control extends to what they do, when they do it, and even where the go, what they eat, when they bath, brush teeth, do their homework, etc, Even we as parents must conform; tape violent shows for later, turn down the set at bedtime and all the other little things influenced by the good of the whole. But then the children get older and more and more mother is forced to give up a lot of that control . The trouble is the habit lingers on and soon you are accused of being that bitch word, ‘CONTROLLING’. Then one day you realize that it is impossible to control another person. The only person you really have the ability to control is yourself, a great revelation but not so easy to do.

Now I am an intelligent woman and knowing this fact I realize it is time to control my own world to fit my needs. Then something comes along that peeks my interest and all well intended use of this knowledge disappears. . That is the moment that the priority list was left on the kitchen table, the seeds thrown in the wooden box of dirt, and I am running off to a group picnic. Like a child I do not want to be left out.

I realized I had made a mistake the next morning when all my senses wanted to follow my original ideas but I had committed myself to another journey which I well knew I could not handle. I retreated in guilt but with reconfirmed purpose.

On returning to my Suite I sat at my kitchen table with a cup of tea and reviewed my priority list once more. It was at that moment I looked out the sliding glass doors to the deck beyond and saw what one of the seeds had produced. There, glowing in the sun, was the most unusual, beautiful, baffling sight I have ever seen for a plant. . I ran for my camera to share with everyone what my mystery plant at produced.


We have touched here on dormers and seeds,
of views through garret windows,
and the blossoming of dreams ...

consider that 'dormant' means,

"temporarily quiescent",

which can certainly describe
all of the visiters found here,
and the seeds you plant
in my soul.


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

On Carol's flower (Aletta's birthday)

Furled Flower

If we could visualize a soul,
(at least that part within feeble comprehension),
it might resemble a furled flower --
tempting us to ponder if
it is opening to glorious display,
or closing up in meditation.

In sought balance, of course,
(never still -- wary of being fully exposed),
between lasting but a divine day
like a desert cactus flower,
or curled tightly in protection
like a prayer plant each evening.

It is most certainly folly,
(whether nurturing a friend or greeting a stranger),
to play a 'wait and see' game or ploy;
for you may never see the wonder,
if you only view the rippling edges
instead of embracing the beauty now.

papa 01/09/06

Monday, January 09, 2006

Traveller's seeds

There is a saying in old English weather lore – “Red sky at night shepherd’s delight, red sky in the morning shepherd’s warning.”

This is a perennial plant that grows in warm sunny climes. The flowers appear in late afternoon and are gone by the morrow.

Each flower is a different colour – pink, yellow, red, striped, etc.; they are the colours of the evening sky as the sun fades and they bring the promise of a new day. I know them as “evening flowers” but the label on the seed packet I found in the greenhouse in the gardens of Riversleigh says “Shepherd’s delight”.

of death and giving to life

Today I killed her. Today I killed them. She was one in many: some were twenty years old; other even more. In peace I read their words, her many voices – they meant so much to me! The round calligraphy turns to incline to the right of the page with time passing… They mean a life to me. I was so attached to her! Often I reread her writings and mirrored in them: always returning at the same point, an alley of emotions with a dead-end signal. Round and round they went, words of labyrinth and of sadness; words of irony and of pain. One by one I pulled the leaves and let them drop on the floor: there she was, dead. No more rereading the same old feelings. I took them in hands and buried the whole packet in the garden. They will flourish soon enough for me to see them bloom in different shapes, colours and scents.

happy birthday to Aletta

May the sun shine on you always and may you continue to bring joy to all around you. Belated happy birthday greetings.

Elf incorporated

Our most determined management has demanded that I post the Elven stories into Elf Incorporated. So despite my misgivings, you will find the first photos there. Remember that every one of you has and elf or two or three hiding somewhere among your treasures. You will recognize him when you see him as his appearance is determined by you but remember that there is not such a thing as a lazy elf and without work you will find he has found trouble. As for your Secretary who has now the added burden of Supervising naughty little creatures if you can't find her in the Manor or at the Castle Gate she is resting, incommunicado in the office of her old friend, the Great White Owl. Yours, the Sec and Supe

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Settling In

If you have been wondering at the strange noises from down by the kitchen, I have been converting the old pantry/canning room into a cozy little nest. Em is going to be joining me there, motivated by learning of the closeness of the Conservatory where she can play her harp and sing. Turns out there is also a connecting door to an old shed where I can work on staffs and fix bicycles and things, with a door to the outside for Branwen. (her Service Dog)

Auntie Em may need some help occasionally getting to and fro from some other locations when I am at the Abbey or 'up a tree'. She sees well enough to get around the Manor all right, but please identify yourself if you drop by for a chat or to 'jam' with guitar or on that old player piano.


Sprouts - Day 4

I have been watering and checking my planters everyday since the seeds were planted. The seed packet guided me to expect germination between 5-21 days. Imagine my surprise yesterday when I found the first few tiny sprouts poking through the soil only 3 days after they were planted. This morning I checked and there were yet more sprouts.


Planting Seeds

While we were still on holidays I found the Enid Blyton Classics on sale at Kmart. I had to have them. I rang aound nearly all the stores in Perth before I found them, in Kardinya. I went for the drive to collect them – I got the complete set of picture books for less than $40. While I was there I checked out the seed selection. I purchased a Summer Time Mix.

When I got home I took my purchases inside, dropping them on the table before heading out to the shed for potting mix and a pot. Not content to plant a single seed, I scattered the whole packet in a small planter and three small terracotta pots. Now to just wait and see. I photographed the pots to document the progress of the seeds, before returning inside to reacquaint myself with The Faraway Tree.


I am documenting the progress of the seeds and my journey in The Enchanted Wood at my blog Raven's Perch http://ravenstreeperch.blogspot.com/

Seed Packet

I don’t like making New Year’s Resolutions. If you don’t make them, then they can’t be broken. I do however like Heather’s idea of planting seeds. I have a mixed packet of seeds that I want to plant.
Time: for all the facets of my life, family, work, writing and creating.
Hope: one can never be too hopeful!
Dreams: from where creativity and writing stems.
Creativity: to try new things, to further expand my horizons.
Love: for my husband, children, family and for what I do.
Enjoyment: otherwise what is the point?


Saturday, January 07, 2006

Make Riversleigh Manor

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

Velida sent me these wonderful images. You can print this out and make Riversleigh using this template or come up with one of your own. If you do create one of your own please share it with us all. Megan Warren found this lovely alternative.

For Harry

My soul is like a Bonsai Tree,
with tendril roots deep in humanity,
beneath spirit's flickering grow light.

I have little freedom now and when,
save choice of religious pot and soil,
and artificial light or window seat.

Prune as I may, and twist and bend,
I am limited by other's perceptions
of what a fine tree I can be for them.

But I will escape, you will see --
for some of my cones are smuggled out
to be nurtured in the forest of dreams.

Look for the joy in children's eyes,
and the song in the heart of a friend;
for my seed will be there along with yours.

papa 01/07/06

Thanks Janie

For many years I have written and gathers thoughts
along the line of ,

"Everything you need in life can be found in the garden"

I have never had a unifying theme, however, until now --
at least in a spiritual sense ... thanks to 'Harry the Bonsai'

Now I will draw these ideas together and write more ...

what do you think??

"Beyond Bonsai" "Bonsai Ascension" "The Bonsai Forest"


Friday, January 06, 2006

hidden elves

hidden elves
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
Three naughty elves decided to play among the lovely stems in Flora Digitalis. Here they are climbing in Monika's garden. Dear Monika put them to honest work for they have obviously been on holidays much too long. The Sec and Supe.

Remember Riversleigh...

I found this diary in the rooms that the Residents of Riversleigh call “ The School Room”
They said the woman who stayed up there was Mad…or that’s what happened to her in the end.
Interesting Reading

January 6, 1906

I've left my home, which is dark and full of secrets and treasures to stay here at Riversleigh Manor.

I found the basements comforting and I've found the attics...well they found me the night I arrived.

We’ve become friends.

I think the Attics were once used as schoolrooms but I wonder at what the students were being taught here; I wonder why the doors have locks and door handles on the outsides of the doors and none on the inside.

I wonder why it is the windows are barred and why the fireplace is always warm despite the fact it is choked full of dust and weeds and spider’s webs.

I wonder what it is I hear between the floorboards and inside the walls. I wonder why the shadows have to many arms and legs and heads.

Yes I wonder…and I think I’m going to like it here, I do believe I’ll make myself at home.

I think I belong here.

I think I have no choice.

The other Residents have told me that Riversleigh is a "warm and fuzzy place" (my quote)so of course I made no friends when I asked if that's true then why is it set so far apart from the rest of the world? And what on Earth happened to the Woman in the Attics? I’ve noticed no one refers to her in the past tense. It’s like she’s still up there.

Strange Strange Place.

Inspirational Gardening

This afternoon I went for a wander around the rambling old cottage gardens which surround Riversleigh Manor. On my journey I came across a bonsai plant - a Chinese Fig Tree. It looked to be about 10 years old, and was housed in a tiny white ceramic pot. The soil in the pot was dry and its roots were exposed.

This is the story of the Bonsai tree.

Harry was a Chinese Fig Tree. Until the age of 10 he lived in a tiny ceramic pot. Physically he was fine but emotionally he suffered. Harry was prone to depression and often felt suppressed, restriced.

Harry was born in the Spring of 1995 in a bushy suburb called Monbulk. His owner, Mrs Turner, was a passionate gardener and made a living from selling trees. She hand-raised Harry as a Bonsai in a 2-inch round pot and when he turned three she decided to offer him for sale. Harry was placed on a shady shelf at Mrs Turner's nursery. He was watered every day and many people admired him. 'Oh look, isn't it cute', customers would exclaim.

One Saturday afternoon a young woman came looking for a Bonsai at Mrs Turner's nursery. After much deliberation she chose Harry and took him home to nurture, protect and control. Over the next few years the young woman moved to many different homes, taking Harry with her each time. She didn't really give him very much attention after the first six months, and often forgot to water him when it was hot. Still Harry survived.

One day the young woman decided to change the course of Harry's life by giving him a different home. She had been talking with some friends who said they didn't like Bonsai trees, and she started to think about the whole concept in great depth. She decided that it was manic to restrict a plant in a tiny pot; a plant that would normally grow into a huge tree. And so she found a nice big pot, filling it with rich soil and compost from the garden at Riversleigh Manor. She soaked Harry with cool fresh water, then carefully removed him from his tiny pot. She fluffed up his roots and placed him tenderly in the fresh soil. She flicked some rich earth across his roots then pressed firmly to make sure Harry was nice and snug in his new home. She watered him in, then stood back to enjoy the sight of freedom.


On this very auspicious day, my seed has begun to sprout.

After planting it several days ago, I peeked at it every day looking for sprouts, even though I knew it would take a while, especially with the little amount of sun it receives every day. I finally told myself, "Be patient," and let the plant be only checking to make sure the soil was moist a few days later.

I took the same tactic with a job I'm in the running for. I have been waiting anxiously to hear more. I knew the company SAID they wanted to hire me, but they hadn't set up an interview yet....so I couldn't bank on anything. I could only sit and wait and try not to pester them too much as I knew the only reason they hadn't set up the interview is because they are so amazingly busy -- which is why they need to hire me.

Today my patience was awarded. I was told that there was no need for an interview because the company wants to hire me, period, and will do anything they can to hire me. ::BIG GRIN:: This job will require relocating to a city where it will cost much more to live, and I think they get that. They are working up a formal offer and should have it ready by next week. Just hearing about the benefits today, I have a feeling the offer will be something I can't refuse....especially since I WANT to move closer to the ocean...and this city meets that requirement.

My corner of the world is happy for me today. The sun is shining -- the first day in forever! I decided it would be a good time to check my seed to see if it needed some water. It needed water, alright! But it also surprised me with 3 tender sprouts.

Aletta greeting

Aletta greeting
Originally uploaded by FranSb.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Riding on Bikenstein

Me at left, on my beloved Bikenstein, at Fossetts Circus Farm in Billericay in Essex
The morning is clear, the morning is fine,
I’m off for a ride on Bikenstein.
He turned up last night, I don’t know how,
Looking homely as ever, but more loved now

Than when I beheld him that Christmas morning,
Touched by the light of the first day’s dawning,
Big black frame and fairground wheels –
``Get on it,” Dad said, ``and see how it feels.”

So high in the air, I wobbled a lot,
``Take it down the road, give it a shot.”
I pedalled off on my velocipede,
Like Rosinante, a shaking bony steed.

My dreams of something sleek and racy,
Painted pink and considered `acey’
Fell behind as the wheels were turning,
As I clung to the pedals, grimly learning

To keep my bike upright and straight,
I managed a wobbly figure of eight,
And rode back to Dad with a smile on my face –
My pink dreams discarded without a trace.

They say you never forget how to ride,
But I wobbled a lot as I got astride.
But soon it all came rushing back to me,
The feeling of flying, completely free.

I flew through the woods like a winging bird,
Freewheeling, legs outstretched, til the trees were blurred.
I stopped for a while beside a rushing stream,
The kind of place where I used to linger and dream

And saw, in the shade of a broad and stately tree
Small yellow flowers peeking at me.
I lay down and gazed at them with joy and delight –
Primroses in Spring are always a beautiful sight.

I remembered a recipe for Primrose Pie,
Cut from a magazine in the bye and bye,
Which I’d never made – the primmies so sweet,
Were just too pretty to cook and eat.

On I rode on my rattling Rosinante,
My Bikenstein on good looks so scanty,
But with the heart of a lion to go anywhere
If my pedalling feet could take us there.

Now in a toolshed behind Riversleigh Manor,
Bikenstein rests in a genial manner,
Ready for the next freewheeling spree
Before I head off to the Faraway Tree.

Dutch House Rules - at last

Image Hosted aletta.org

After three years of on-again, off-again work on this project, it is done. I've taken what was given me as a child and framed in my room, and turned it, an ocean away and forty years later into a guide book for being a good human being,. timely as it comes just a week before the second grandchild, to whom I happily dedicate this little book.

I am quite happy with it. The full animated flash version is on my webpage: www.aletta.org/dhr.shtml it should be functional later tonight. Here is your nibble, your preview. In a few weeks I plan to have associated gift items in my cafe press Dutchgifties store. I've always wanted to see them printed on little blue tiles, and now it can be done, they can be yours and mine, happy blue things all round!

A Fitz for Winnie

Seed from Winnie:

"the wind smells quick and green . . ."

My home is of the Silent Breeze --
my heart in search of Inner Peace,
both found in meaning as Sakin'el
to which Winnie has been invited.

She sends with the wind a birthing,
recycled dreams from dormant to maiden spring --
and we sing anew of her return --
quick and green and eager
once again.


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Hyacinthodes Nonscripta: British Bluebells

Hyacinthodes Nonscripta: British Bluebells

Not seeds, but bulbs
Masquerading as onions
Impersonating garlic
Spherical sacks of promise
Foreshadowed vows,
Wrapped in
Filmy tissue paper white
Or round and slick as
Scrubbed new potatoes
This sweet, sleeping secret

After a winter of grey, they stir,
Tickled awake by the touch of water
When it swells the rushing rivers and
Gurgles down the dells . . .
When earth ripens moist and marshy
And the wind smells quick and green . . .
They shudder and stir in their darkened beds
Ancient as the standing bluestone circles
Young as the new, wet sky
They stretch, unroll, yearn upwards
In a slow, spring-seeking dance

They come and cloak the hillsides
Blanket the hollows
Deck the tumbling rills
Soft, nodding, velvet bells
Barely clinging to the earth
Gifting the eye an impossible blue
Filling the world with wonder

On the summit of spring they tremble
Shivering crest of a sapphire sea,
A brief, bright breath of joy before . . .
They fold into their own profusion
Bow back beneath abundant birth
Suddenly sunk in a veil of green
They curve and curl, cycling back
To spheres and circles . . .
Beginnings . . .

And there they wait . . .
Round and slick as
New potatoes
These sweet, sleeping
Secret bells

Endurance . . .
Eternity . . .

And a heart-stopping
memory of

© Edwina Peterson Cross
(For Vi)

Bethanna in the Bluebells


Living in a treehouse, I can't help but listen to the singing of the trees. They are more quiet during this time of year because, in my corner of the forest, it is fall. Most of the trees have lost their percusive instruments. Their singing is mostly a cappella and haunting. The tree's arms move in a creaking sound that at first caused me great fear. I was afraid a branch would give way to the load of my house, but Nina explained that branches can't creak if they are dead, and only a dead branch would break from the trunk. So, now I only worry when the singing stops. ;-)

On windy nights, treesong lulls me to sleep and in my dreams I am certain I hear the words the trees sing. Most nights they sing of dancing in the wind, of feeling strong and well rooted, or of their power to prevail any storm. After a day of storms so strong that nearby trees lose branches or fall completely, the treesong changes to one of grieving for a lost brother or sister tree. They sing of their dependance upon the soil and Mother Nature. These songs are humble and thoughtful and grateful.

In my dreams, I sing along with the trees. And in my wakefulness I dance to their rhythm. On mornings after the trees have grieved, I try to comfort the tree that holds my nest and those nearby. I sing to them of hope. I remind them of joy.

Been Watering Dream Seeds

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Heather has been in the Garden House of a night watering her seeds and there is no doubt that something is happening out there. She has some others seeds she is keeping carefully closeted in her room and keeps muttering that this is her year. Should we be worried by this behaviour? I just hope she is including me in her planning? She wouldn't make me do all my own work would she?

One of my seeds has bloomed...

I got back to my room at Riversleigh, tired but happy after looking around my new domain at the North Star Studios, and I discovered that one of my magic seeds of hopes and dreams has bloomed - this truly is a magical place.

The Magical Hawthorn

The grounds of Riversleigh are truly magical – a place where dreams come true. I awoke this morning after a dreaming about my childhood in Ireland, and the one tree that always has special meaning for me.

Travellers call it the `bread and butter tree’, others call it the Hawthorn. It’s not a beautiful tree, but the tiny hips it produces are good for you, and even the leaves can be eaten when you are very hungry. It gave shelter to the weary traveller, and was always a welcome sight.

After waking, I went for a walk in the grounds, and found myself surrounded by elves, tiny men in green tugging at my skirt. They were Irish elves of course, the Leprechaun contingent, even more mischievous than the rest.

In spite of my misgivings, I let them guide my steps. I’m not such a fool any more as to fall for the Pot of Gold mischief – leprechauns are far too canny for mere humans and trick us every time. Besides, I’ve discovered that the pot of gold I was really seeking was under my feet all the time.

But they were so very excited, so insistent that I would enjoy their discovery, that I trusted them – and they led me into a sweet green glade, where grows the most magnificent Hawthorn I have ever seen.

This Hawthorn is the leprechaun’s home. As they skittered through its branches, pelting me with hips, I felt as excited and happy as a child. I sat beneath the Hawthorn, covered in hips and elves, and felt a cold wet nose in my ear. It was Moffy, the companion of my childhood, a lean black greyhound and the best rabbit dog in all Ireland. My father had called her Molly, but when I was only able to manage `Moffy’ with my baby lips, that was what everyone called her.

Moffy grabbed my skirt and I got to my feet – I went running after her through the trees, and every step felt light. The colours of the day were so vivid and pure I knew I was seeing them with the eyes of a child again. Moffy sped down a hill and I rolled after her, tumbling through the grass and shrieking with delight.

When I was young,
I was free,
And the world was my home,
and the Hawthorn tree
shared bread and butter leaves with me.
The waves on the shore
Asked for nothing more
Than my company.
All the world could teach
was in my reach
And the earth and sea
Were good to me.

As I returned to the Manor, I had to leave Moffy at the Hawthorn tree with the leprechauns. But I know she will be waiting for me every time I go there, and that I can once again know the heady freedom of childhood, running with her through the green wild.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Strolling About

Forest Trail

Man made a mistake, m'thinks,
when he first cut a trail through the trees.
What possible event made 'being there'
more important than 'here and now' --
slow wandering a timeless natural path
amongst the trees that embraced the forest
as a community?

'course, letting the trees be your guide
will always lead to meeting a stranger --
a minstrel perhaps or gypsy or monk;
while that dusty rut so straight and true
can only lead to something known
and experienced before,
and death.



I tied up the horse
Put away the cart
Had a quick lick and a promise
(- A wash)
Meandered into the big country kitchen of Riversleigh
Not a soul in sight
Kettle boiling away on the wood fire stove
The smell of simmering vegetable soup
The table for 20 was of old grand timber,benches to match
It lay empty
It was not set for a meal
The large dresser in the corner
was full of blue and white crockery

too beautiful to use ,I thought
but there was no other,so I took a bowl and plate,
found a soup spoon
and proceeded to help myself to some much needed
One does not fly half way around the world by horse and cart
with a ready made packed lunch ..Was I Ravenous !!!
A bread crock with home made sour dough bread and off
I went
No butter needed ,the bread was just right as it was.
No one entered the kitchen
So I had myself another bowl of this delicious soup
On finishing ,I felt warm to my inners.
As I washed up,I saw a board on the kitchen wall near the dresser
Wooden tags with names and numbers etched on them
Room number so and so for so and so
I looked closely to see if there was one for me
I found, Fran,Luna,Karen,Aletta,Imogen,Jane,Rhonda,Vi,Anita,Leonie,Gail and on and on....Then there was one for Faucon....Wow one lucky bloke I thought ...Had Em known where he was with all these women.?
I asked myself..
I found mine No.18 .....Not my age but my birth date.
So with a full and warm tummy and my trusty purple backpack
I ascended the huge stairway to the upstairs rooms
Number 18 was just after no 17 and just before no 19
I was never much good at maths ,but have had to be now being on the Age Pension here in THIS country
On opening the door to my room
I was pleasantly rewarded with a light filled space
A plain glass window just beside a single bed covered with a patchwork quilt & a plumped up large pillow.
Taking off my hiking boots ,loosening the belt around my "jodhpurs"
( riding breeches loose fitting around the thighs & tight fitting from the knees to the ankles) invented just for me.
I laid down and in no time dozed off
I dreamed like Vi had said....Of sleeping in a tree and being held safely and comfortably in its warm branches and foliage.

And this is where I leave my story ,as on waking I remembered I had forgotten to take out the daffodil bulbs I had brought home from Gippsland way in November 2005.
I so wanted to plant them in the soil of my ancestors in England Town.
Gathering my thoughts and moving my very relaxed body
I headed down the huge grand staircase to make myself familiar with the layout of Riversleigh Manor......."Sanctury to Creative Travellers"

Lois (Muse of the Sea) 4th Jan 2006.

Unexpected Bloom

I am still working on a seedpacket, then unexpectedly an event involving a plant that changed my entire outlook on a dreary, raining New Year's day.

Very unexpectedly, a Christmas Cactus given to me five years ago by my foster daughter bloomed this year. It arrived well after Christmas and the blooms were nearly gone and had not bloomed since. While putting a candle in a candleholder on the back table I noticed something pink. there it was, blooming, my sad looking Christmas cactus after five years of struggling to keep it alive, was blooming.

I could not be happier than with this unexpected gift from the powers that be. for so many years I worked to have it bloom. I was the only one among my in-laws unable to have large full blooms on my Christmas cactus. I was lucky to have it live at all till the following year. Now I have done it, or rather it has done it for me. Is it not beautiful? I know they are a dime a dozen in every Walmart, especially this time of year. This, however is my Christmas Cactus and it is very, very special.

Image Hosted aletta.org

Full of admiration I picked up my camera, and despite the miserable light on such a rainy day, managed to take a few for the record. Life is good.

The drummer elves and the babes

The drummer elves are in trouble. You will find them tramping through the deep snow on the southern tip of the Island of the Great White Owl. They are searching for their wings which were lost at the dancing when their owners had just a bit too much of the Exquisite Drop. If you, or any of the sharp eyed owls can be of assistance I know it would be appreciated.

The babies on the other hand are resting comfortably drying their wings and waiting to see whom they must serve. You are welcome to drop in at Castle Elfinsand but do be careful to identify yourselves as the sentinels tend to be rather strict. Let me warn you that elves do tend to act first and think after. Yours faithfully, the Secretary and the Supe.


Jan 3, Suite 2006

JANUARY 3\Suite 2006
As I stepped into my suite I was greeted by a warm rush of comfortable energy. Even though I have studied period furniture and admired period decorating I never could imagine that I would ever live in this type of surroundings. My style had always been Danish Modern, but in the room in front of me I felt like I was returning home. Even though the paneling, fireplace and many pieces of furnishings were traditional the overall feeling was me. The more I looked around the more I realized that everything I had marked to be moved here was already in place. Even the pictures on the wall and the accessories tastefully placed were possessions of mine throughout time that I had years ago forgotten.

I gazed slowly around the room and everything my eyes fell upon pleased me: the views from the windows strategically placed, the fireplace flanked by bookcases, and in front of the fireplace was the rug I had designed for my penthouse in ACroneVillage in. Two chairs and a large coffee table sat facing the fireplace, an inviting place for tea and conversation with a friend. And then, on the north wall was the crowning space. There was a glassed niche on the north side of the room with a view facing north, east and west. . I smiled when I realized that a desire of mine had been fulfilled. I could now watch the sunrise and the sunset from one positioned perfectly.

It was a lot to take in and I had not yet viewed the kitchen, dining area and kitchen which I knew would not disappoint me. The Lady of the Manor had definitely created the perfect space for me. As that thought passed through my mind I could swear I saw her standing in front of the fireplace smiling but as I began to speak she vanished once again. I called after her my thanks anyway. I am now ready for some new experiences.

Along the path to Riversleigh Manor there is a beautiful passage of nature called Golden Grove. I found my way to the Manor by walking along Golden Grove. I carried in my pocket some dream seeds, and wish to plant them according to the instructions on the packet.

The Wandering Spirit Seeds

Plant on a full moon at midnight. Soak thoroughly in fresh water each day for one month and behold a beautiful tree bearing golden fruit, scarlet leaves and emerald green bark. Travellers who pass under the tree will muse upon the Gypsy lifestyle, paying worship to freedom and immaterialism. The tree’s five totems are acceptance, wisdom, patience, music and food.

Golden Sunset Seeds

Plant at dawn’s first light. Give plenty of water for the first 10 days and behold a stout tree with a swollen grey trunk and branches that look like fingers reaching up into the sky. The foliage is thick, juicy and green. There is a hollow at the base of the trunk where travellers’ may rest and enjoy some solitude. Feel the clarity of thought that comes with isolation and personal space, and be inspired by the golden image of a sunset in outback Australia. Hear the cicadas chirping, witness the emptiness of the land and feel the warmth in the air.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Tree Secrets

Faucon made a comment about seeds being always ready to regenerate if needed, no matter what the situation. Around me today the trees near the sea are content, doing what they do, thriving on what is there for them. Recently I have learned how old these different species are and I find myself humbled by their longevity, survival, and endurance. Millions of years old. They whisper of the secrets of renewal, but often the voice wanes, depending on the listener. Children have no self-consciousness putting their ear to a tree, to listen. Adults are frowning, thinking they left the kidstuff behind long ago, to become grownup. The trees whisper on forever, but only to those that will hear:-)
Pic - Sheoaks by the seaside, known to be tough, hardy, and bend with the
breeze. They thrive on salty soils most plants couldn't tolerate, and have adapted
to where they are most needed. Sheoaks have a great mythos and appeal particularly
to women, and totem of hardiness and endurance, in all weather. They are survivors. This
is the tale they are whispering down by the sea.
copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

No Boredom Found Here

One thing about Riversleigh and its woodland grounds: you're never bored. There are always people around--good people who might become new friends if you let them--and interesting, magical creatures like Lord Pan, who are always wanting to engage those of us here at the Manor in some kind of activity, mischief or other. There is always something to do, always somewhere to explore. And if you are bored, by any chance, then the fault lies solely with you, for as my mother is known to say, "You're bored only because you choose to be bored."

Here at Riversleigh I know I'll never be bored. There's so much to do and experience, so much that invites the imagination on flights of fancy, so much that inspires the creativity in me. And so much that piques my curiosity. There is so much I want to learn about trees, their spirits, magic and wisdom. I think...that is why I've come and joined the quest for the Faraway Tree. To learn. The trees have much to tell and to share, and they so want to, with us.

Already my mind is filling with ideas and plans and excursions and my heart with desires and hopes, inspired by the woodland atmosphere of the English manor in which my creative self will reside for a year and a day. I'll be going out into the grove near Riversleigh often to spend time amongst the trees there, listening, watching, waiting, learning. I'll be there dancing with Pan and the nymphs--if they allow. I'll be there and in the greenhouse collecting things for a Forest Fantasy potpourri I wish to make for my room at the Manor. I hear the soft wickering call of the rare black unicorn from the mural on my wall echoing inside my head sometimes at night when I'm in the between state of wakefulness and sleep and I feel his dark eyes on me. He wants to go on a Night Ride, and soon I will accommodate him. There is a lil girl's treehouse I've heard, on the grounds way up high in a tree, where we're all welcome, and I know my inner child will be making a visit there shortly. And I hope I'm lucky enough to spend several moments in the presence of the elusive yet ever present Green Man or Green Woman.

To help inspire myself and get into a woodsy mood for this adventure, I created my own computer desktop theme, using an image by Jessica Galbreth. I present to you--the Green Woman.

I leave now for the Golden Seed Grove. There is a whispered call on the wind...

Wisha, whisha, whisha, whisha...

Forest nap - a Fitz

There is a clefted opening in the woods, I know --
a dale perhaps, or dimple in Her smile,
where fragrant grass will welcome me,
and fir tips entwine to make my bed.
Patchwork shadows of golden warmth
will dance across my face and soul,
while swaying, feather towered fingers
flirt with cloud peeped azure eyes.

This journey

This journey may wash away
the soil that cocoons my roots.
I may drift downstream
bumping into other loose
wild things.
Only resting
when the waters
slow down.
Find a new place
that gives me hope
and space to

January 1, Suite 2006

January 1, 2006
Looking back it seems strange but when the lady on the stairs beckoned me to follow I felt she knew I was coming. I followed her silently because I somehow knew she had picked out a place for me to stay.
We seemed to climb forever, round and round until we reached the top, the third floor. I stepped to the rail and looked over into the entry far below. If this is where my rooms are to be I must consult my magic sources for putting in some kind of a lift. We headed down a wide hall with the sign and arrow saying ‘North East’. That sounds good for me if there is a good window for light for my easel.
I failed to mention the beauty everywhere. The floors of the hall were covered in a lush red carpeting and the walls were light colored paneling topped with thick curved cornices. The design seemed to be original but curves dominated, much like Louie the XV but more individualistic.
And finally at the end of the hall was a huge double door covered with symbols that all had personal meaning to me. I stood spellbound, running my hands over the rich molding when I noticed above the door, carved deeply into the molding: "Suite 2006 CroneJane". I turned around to say thank you to my Lady of the Manor but she had vanished. I was alone in front of my door at the end of the hall, with my hand on the handle, ready to enter my home for the next year.

Tree giggles

an excerpt from my book, "Limora Gate"


The next “Afternoon” was lightly attended and Limora guided Sally’s choice of seat – a pillow on top of an old milk can. It was so positioned that she could watch two of the grandest trees at once, separated by a corner support for the porch. On stage-left was an ancient oak, somehow alive despite a lifeless trunk with gaping cavities and gnarled roots. She had previously noted five special ‘fingers’ used by this elder for giggles. On the other side was a magnificent chestnut, a favorite for climbing kids and vigilant squirrels. It had a dozen laughing spots – maybe because the kids tickled. She focused on the five spots that were similar on both trees – mostly because she had worked out a system for recording the ‘messages’. She had calculated that there were 27 different combinations of giggles, but math wasn’t her best subject. Since that is a magic number she pounced on its importance and devised a chart to keep track of the signals. Her tick marks looked like ants on a slice of cheese.
“What ever are you doing?” asked Aunt Beth, peering with her glasses held far from her face. The truth never hurts.

“I’m studying how the trees giggle when one of you says something silly.”
“Well, Phil here will be pleased to learn that someone finds his jokes funny”
“Actually,” whispered Limora to Sally behind her eyes. “It is when you get serious that they really chuckle.”

Whispering in the Woods

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Dick stood still when he was in the wood.

"What a strange noise the leaves of the trees make." he said. "It is as if they were talking to one another - telling secrets"

"Wisha, wisha, wisha, wisha," whispered the trees.

"They are talking secrets," said Bessie. "And do you know, Dick - if the trees have any message for us, we can hear it by pressing our left ears to the trunks of the tree! Then we really hear what they say."

"Wisha, wisha, wisha, wisha", said the trees

from The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton

Slip into the grove at the back of Riversleigh and press your left ear to the trunk of one of these trees. What are they whispering to one another?

Remember that the real skill of fantastical writing about magical woodlands lies in the ability to give an authentic voice to a landscape, even if that landscape is imaginary. Tolkein's Middle Earth oozes Oxfordshire. Fairy stories were rooted in local soil, gave the reader a sense of the locale.

So spend some time with these trees before writing what they have to say and let us see if we can recognise the locale you come from.

More Than A Monterey

My observant friend also pointed out a Monterey
Pine with a difference, (overseas friends will
recognise these as their own...this one is at least
a century old and counting.), a quick look
will reveal stick eyebrows, two eyes, nose
and a mouth. A second look at the mouth area
will reveal a boy, with a flipped up page boy, wearing a medievalish
jerkin (sleeveless coat), two arms and two legs near the base of the trunk.
If you think you see other things, well, all I can say is, this is
more than a Monterey...:-) (P.S. It also reminds me of the
trees in the magical forest in Lord of the Rings.)
copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The elves castle

The elves castle
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
The home dwelling of the Green Elves of Lemuria. Note the guards. A permanent listening post will be kept here where you may post information regarding your personal elf.

The Treehouse

When I moved into Riversleigh, I discovered a treehouse on the grounds. I took up residence immediately in this amazing birds'-eye view of the forest. Much to my surprise and embarassment, I discovered the treehouse was already owned an occupied by a precoscious young girl named Nina. With more grace than her years should allow, Nina insisted I stay at the treehouse. She said "company" is what the treehouse is missing. A treehouse is happy only when there are friends inside.

So I remain a resident of the treehouse with Nina. And, at Nina's request, I am inviting all of you to join us. Nina's treehouse is a joy to see. You will not believe your eyes. It is painted in the happiest of colors. And the rooms are too much fun. I have explored 3 of the rooms so far. One is full of toys beyond belief...all the toys you enjoyed so much as a child or always wanted. Another room is specifically for sending and receiving secret messages. Only one person in that room at a time, please. We have to keep those messages secret. The third room is a place to relax. It is full of pillows and books. Take a nap or read your favorite book or chat with friends...maybe even plan a sleep over.

Nina insists that the treehouse is here for all of us to enjoy. We all have children deep within our hearts and sometimes they just have to come out and play. Come play at the treehouse.

Nina doesn't have a computer and isn't interested in learning how to use one, so please e-mail me for the secret code you'll use to get into the treehouse. Nina wants to make sure all of her visitors are friends of mine.

Can A Tree Be An Elephant?

This Claret Ash is hiding a secret. Had
my observant friend not pointed it out,
I might have missed its curling trunk, or thought I had
imagined it. Hmm...Riversleigh seems
to have very interesting, magical grounds...
well worth wandering.
copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Ancient Seeds and Wishes

The ancient waterlily story is told in full
at the Hermitage:
The wishes the seed
carries are for balance, firm roots and
blooming plans. The ancient seed
has been through the fire and
yet, has been transformed.
copyright Monika Roleff 2006.


This is indeed a trip
not without its ups and downs.
I fear that the past
has somehow let me down.
I am wont to blame my Father
he being a practical man
Who was not one to tell fairy tales
Or fill a house with books on magic
So I now find that many a book
not read by me ,has caught
me up in older age.
I will diverse
on Horse and cart
to enter the hallowed halls
of a newly built cold feeling library
And ask the stern faced worker behind the counter (Somewhat separated from the shelves of books
"Where will I find a copy please
of Enid Blytons Faraway Tree"
She will look at me and say as per her usual patter (Only one or two are not like this)
"The computer is over there,put in the names"

So much nicer if she smiled and said
"Look down in the childrens section"
"Under Enid Blyton the author"
But no,she of stern face never does this
I wonder why I bother at this our new library
No comfortable old lounges,no worn looking armchairs,no free coffee/tea machine ,no big table with the daily papers spread out in disaray.

I like the old used bookshop in my main street
I like the great bookshop now located in our 1890's red brick heritage listed post office.
The library does not beckon me
with its benches without backs,its lack of comfortable chairs....
One is not meant to sit and ponder ,one is meant to look up the book required and get on ones way.

I find the book E.B"S Faraway Tree and am off to Riversleigh Manor.
My Horse and cart stand patiently in the parking bay
No one puts a ticket on the horse ,
where the sign says "1/2 hr parking only".
People stare and say to themselves
There she goes ,she of the banner holding type
She of the 4th generation trouble makers
She who is never content to go along with the majority
I know what they think of me
I don,t really care ,life's too short
to be one of a mob,its too easy I think.
I sleep at night
knowing a day's work has been slow but fruitfull.

Before long I am out of the city and up,up,and away
Did I tell you my horse and cart
is of the flying variety ?
This horse knows its way to Old England Town
home of my ancestors.
Not down or is that up but
a bit further down the coast ,I don't have a map
down through Suffolk ,through Essex just before you get to Sussex is KENT and Riversleigh
I was confused ,my horse not so
She knew the way thank goodness.
Why is it that the English have
names that all blend into one another
A worry,having ancestors with this trait

I have arrived despite my eyes boggling at the similarity of named towns and counties
There stood a mansion as one is apt to say
when a house is more than 10 rooms
Old,two story,hand made and laid bricks
by artisans no longer in this realm
Long gone like slate repairers
The windows ,same small panes,others leadlight
a little light green and red ones not overdone
This was a Manor of a no frills use
except of course what happensin the inner depths
A place where writers and artists,and creators,
and magicians ,painters some experienced some learning as they travel along,cooks and chefs,gardeners,jam and chutney makers .
Oh one could go on and on
But one knows that one is among a chosen group,
who have travelled far to be as one with others of like mind and bravery.

I take my well travlled horse around to the stables for a rest and a good feed,unhitch (Is that the right word) the cart.
I find my way to the back entrance ,through the kitchen as it is marked in a wooden sign
I had heard a rumour that a stir fry was on the menu...
I had also heard that one had to do ones own cooking.....NOW
I am about to find out the truth
Who is this mysterious cook
with a name unheard of by me (But that means nil most of my ancestors had names like....
John,George,Alfred,Jim,Earnest,Edward,Richard,etc etc
No Faucon's among these blokes...

What surprises are in store for me at
Down Kent way.......................

Lois (Muse of the Sea) 2.1.06

Fallen and Found

I often use humor to gain time --
to give myself a respite from churning creativity,
as I did early with my special packets of seeds.

Now, I have watched in awe and appreciation as sisters
have scattered seeds of dreams and fancy
onto the grounds of the Manor,
and special pots and nurtured soil,
none in need of comment from me.

I am quietly musing in my porch swing,
'neath comfortor and someone's cat
curled in my lap --
as I watch direct and furtive attention
to the potting shed and back.

When night comes, I will again forage
on the shelves and between the boards
for fallen and forgotten seeds --
those not chosen by plan
or chance most wondereous indeed
of taking unlabled packages.

I think of the world outside this haven,
where few would risk the growth of dream unknown,
but here at the Manor, most common and carressed.

Someone left a scrap of paper and a pen --
dear me -- I think I'll jot that down ...


Other Seeds

I marvel some at the patience
of one who can guide an amaryllis
through the incantations of rebirth --
but when I find that's the only flower
that one holds in awe and focus of will,
I wonder …

I applaud the biomechanic
who spends a lifetime in perfection
of a new color of orchid or rose --
but when I learn their home is barren
save that one splendid form of bloom,
I wonder …

I wander through fields of concrete
'neath which lay fallow, yearnings meadows,
where nothing grows but what was know before --
but listen to whimpers of missing love
from those who never plant a cherish seed,
or wonder …

I search for the child of faithful choice
who sits on a hillside of wildflowers,
where every seed was unknown and magick --
but sings soft of the other right answer
and the courage to live and proclaim all
in wonder …

I Dreamed Last Night....

I dreamed last night that the ancient oak outside my room was an alive being … well, it is, isn’t it? But this was different, it spoke to me, well, trees do that, too, don’t they? This living being invited me into its branches and wrapped itself around me, sheltering me from the showers that passed through, but allowing me to experience, as did John Muir, what it was like to live as a tree. It was an experience I won’t soon forget.

It was from my lofty perch that I scattered the contents of my seed packages, knowing that they would be spread far and wide and would, when they germinate, bring pleasure and magic to all who look upon their colorful blossoms.

I swayed with the branches as gusts of that mischievous being called Wind tore through the air, making its way to destinations unknown. I was not afraid because my Oak cradled me like a baby, keeping me safe.

The breeze touched my face,
and for a moment
I feared that my lofty perch
was not the safest place to be.
I need not have worried, however,
because the leaves caressed my face
and soothed my concern.

The breeze grew into a gale
that huffed and puffed.
The branches that held me swayed,
as if dancing to a Strauss Waltz
while I relaxed and let the music
take me into that magical realm of dance.

The gale passed, and once again
the breeze caressed my face,
and the leaves massaged my willing body.
Then, the oak released me,
and I returned, through the window,
to my room at Riversleigh

and into my bed
where I slept like a baby
until the sunrise awakened me.


The seeds of things to come

I awoke to a bright sunny New Year’s morning in my cozy room. Sunlight filtered in between the curtains and I arose with a smile. Today I would wander down to the Greenhouse and pick my packet of seeds for our garden. I dressed quickly and hurried outside to walk to the planting area. The day was brisk so I walked quickly.

When I arrived at the Greenhouse I could see signs of previous activity. I marveled at all the pots already planted with seeds and set out to take care of mine. I had been thinking positive thoughts about this New Year and rejoiced when I pulled out a packet of “Seeds of Hope and Renewal”. Exactly fitting for me! The package was plain and begged me to decorate it. I decided to plant the seeds first then spend some time thinking of a suitable design for the packet. Hope. Renewal. A sort of renaissance of self as I saw it. So perfect for my first days at this glorious Manor. I found a terra cotta pot and the potting mix and gave my seeds their new home. Watering them with care I wished them all speedy and refreshing growth. I had a special shelf at my room’s window on which I would place these seeds and watch over them. Life was stirring at this old Manor again and I was part of it! What a wonderful way to start a new year!