Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Dreaming Life 101

My dreaming life has been abandoned for more practical applications. My dreaming life is so important to me that I forget who I am if I am not drifting somewhere.

I am happy to rejoin the ever-expanding group. I want to tell you all how much I have missed the halls of Riversleigh Manor. Sometimes I could hear distant laughter. I could not even stop to pause and listen. What a tragedy to have to run around so quickly as to miss witnessing the subtle changes of light and shadow.

I have missed words in written form. Nothing satisfies as much as the inner world of words. I have thrown the window open and hung outside to breathe in the air like a dog from a car window.

I am here! I am ready to go forward with my dream therapy, word sessions, brain detox and the fingertip speedway. My goodness how everything has changed for me. I am currently in a new studio in a new city and state. Gone is the arid desert that taught me the gift of simplicity. Gone is the Sun who burns me and purifies by fire. I am in a different land. I call this the City of Bridges. I am a new one discovering little delights and wonders around every turn. I cannot see my beloved stars. They are hidden in mysterious clouds who swallows the sky. I am comforted by the mist that slowly moves through the hills and pines. I am comforted by raindrops that touch every surface they can find. I am surrounded by green even in winter. The trees have the tiniest buds that are waiting to burst forth.

My hands pause with anticipation. I cannot tell you how I feel changed already and I have only been here for a little over a week. I cut my hair and that was too symbolic. Like leaving old ties and stuff behind. Looking forward to new dreams. I read somewhere that once a dream is accomplished it is important to make new ones. A continuous stream of dreams. How wonderful!

I have been researching via the Faraway Tree my old dreams. I am in a new place with a new agenda. I am so happy to be back!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Four Way Gift

An amaryllis has always been a wonder to me,
four blooms pointing to the directions of the compass,
or the elementals, one. In my high-desert youth it was
a quest to get a bulb to reproduce at all --
buriying the bulb to freeze but one night.
Keeping it the dark for fortnight --
mystical spells and incantations,

Here in Tennesssee I just ignored it,
leaving the pot on a windowsill
that gets cold in winter ...


Saturday, February 25, 2006

Isolation Along the Web

Feeling somewhat isolated lately, I miss the correspondences in my inbox which stopped when our Yahoogroups moved to google. I suppose I should explain, that is why I might seem verly solitary these days. Please don't feel that I am withdrawing at all, and I certainly welcome emails directly from anyone who posts here.
orginal artwork by aletta mes
After having had some problems with AdSense and Google over their unjust cancellation of my account and thus pocketing the few dollars I had earned by supplying them with and audience for the adverts, I closed all my personal blogs on blogger (owned by Google) and closed all accounts, such as googlegroups, which is why I've lost contact with with the group here, sadly. I feel however that it is important to stick to your guns. I feel I have been wronged and until and unless Google makes some effort to ad least enter into dicussion with me and treat me as a human being and not a number on the internet, I shall have to keep it this way. I will try to post here still, but it is much harder to remain connected wihtout the group correspondences that arrived by email when it was on Yahoogroups (not owned by Google). Why must they make life complicated and dehumanize us so?

So now I moved one former blog of mine to Opera Community - http://my.opera.com/alettames, where I post most regularly, though I do try to post here at least at the Hermitage blog.

It is still cold and damp here in Vancouver. Unexpectedly cold and I've been forced to spend much more time in be, to remain warm enough to function. That has resulted in a wealth of sketches, but away from the computer so mucyh there hasn't been much writing.

Well, I thought I should explain, and to say I do miss the corespondences, but have to stay true to my convctions also. If you've no idea what I'm talking about re: google you can read my epistle regards that topic at http://my.opera.com/alettames/blog/show.dml/110757

English Bluebells

I am so excited that I’m babbling. On October twenty-third of last year I planted some English Bluebell bulbs into a container here on my patio deck. They were a gift from a special friend, a lovely lady. This morning, when I went out to check the containers to make sure they were moist enough, I spotted seven tiny green shoots just peeking through the soil. WOW! The neighbors must have thought I’d lost it, but WOW!

Before you all turn away shaking your heads and thinking that I have lost it, allow me to explain: I live now in Arizona—in the desert where little of what I know and love grows. This is a land of cactus, a few scraggly trees, rocks, scorpions, and rattlesnakes. I have to say though that it does have it’s own unique beauty. But, having come originally from Wales and then from the Northwestern United States, I am starved for the greenery of Wales, my homeland, and of my adopted State of Oregon. After all, you cannot hug a cactus.

But let me get back to those tiny, courageous green shoots that are peeking up though the lovingly tended soil I bedded them into—it is nothing short of a miracle—a little bit of Wales right outside my patio door here in Arizona. Although still very tiny, these shoots are so green—that special green that comes only in the spring and raises the spirit to fly—to meet and welcome the returning birds, flutter with the butterflies, and the other winged creatures. Life is a miracle—the proof of that was shown to me this morning in the form of those tiny, green jewels.


Friday, February 24, 2006

Early morning thought


Our body is what we know right now,
though we pay it scant attention,
while playing with flights of fancy
and sad mem'ries beyond mention.

We are vertebrates they say,
though backbone's in scarce supply,
and surely doesn't apply to soul
or spiritual panoply.

I think we are reverberates
that can echo humanity,
for it's the only word I know
that contains sought 'ever be'.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Elemental Manhole Disguise

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

At One With The Universe

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Happy Birthday Carol

Carol, I know you are a flower fan, so here
is a beautiful coral coloured rose to help
celebrate the day.

Happy Birthday, Carol!

Carol's Birthday

Put your glad rags on and join in a toast to Carol (Traveller).
It is her birthday today.

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Happy Birthday Carol

Known Kindness - a song

Known Kindness

It is more than a kindness
to extract the nestled sting
from a child's tear sucked thumb --
an act of brotherhood…

yet the soul of kindness
to listen to the story,
nay adventure,
and embrace the fear and joy.

It's only simple kindness
to clasp the hand of lonely
of a stranger never known --
an ancient call of Given …

yet the soul of kindness
to listen to his story,
nay adventure,
and embrace the fear and joy.

It's in the spirit of kindness
to gift your silent presence
at the passing of friend --
a sharing of forever …

yet the soul of kindness
to listen to her story,
nay adventure,
and embrace the fear and joy.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Skry Me A River - in collaboration with faucon

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    Mark well the objects found and gifted

    that serve to gather thoughts and futures

    into a medium profound and magick,

    for they can entrap the soul within.

    Use instead Nature’s more simple things

    that can transplace the dreamed heavens

    with the solid, barren earth below,

    and allow, in passing, sense of self.

    The mystic may use a child’s tear,

    a maiden the bright eyes of a lover;

    but I would seek a hid mountain pool

    where the ripples pulse with the Mother.

    I desire no polished sheet of glass,

    nor globe of crystal pure delight.

    Face no picture cards nor scramble bones,

    for answers I seek are of the soul.

    The image I must see is mine alone,

    with flaws well earned in daily strife.

    Of what use is the current of life

    if the lens is unreal in clarity?

    In my skryiing pool – dark of night,

    the Silver Goddess winks in mirth

    and caresses mem’ries of tomorrow

    with a forward glimpse of yesteryear.

    Know that the endless river you seek

    meanders from fear to love released,

    and you can only see deep within,

    vision lit by the Light of rebirth’s dawn.

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Woman Borne of Woman

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I am woman
borne of woman
genetically encoded
woman's knowing

Inner Ear and Third Eye

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An expansive inner ear
third eye
listening for soft sounds of a butterflies wings
water droplets
the relentless ticking of time
smelling the outside world
knowing it is time to come

The timing is right
born to be an artist

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Elven Cricket

The elves have been watching a strange new game
and decided to try it. Jeremy has lost
the Royal Rules of Imperial Cricket, the book of
Elven Ancestoral Cricket, and the players have made
new instructions. You Australians might help them
out as the Secretary and the Superintendent, being
of ancient Canadian ancestry, is ill-informed regarding
the game. Will someone please assist as the current
set up seems strange, even to a tyro? Yours, the sec and supe.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Jane - Us

A pun 'tis true --
a look at the other side of fear --
but just an opinion,
also true.

"what am I afraid of?"

More than two years ago, I pondered these words -- exploring, massaging -- seeking perhaps within myself for answers not found in writings or shared thoughts. I am now, I believe, more spiritually found and thereby bound with creation and the Source. Have I grown here as well -- less to fear -- more to love?
Back -- back to my more fearful self…

"Is that not a challenge that beguiles
hidden from the shadowed corners,
revealed only by
the scurrying of claws on ancient stone? …
But it is not a return to dust, I grasp,
that strokes off-key notes on the lyre of our souls,
but the doubt
o're what bright light
will consume our spirit
when our pace is through."

That was of 'belief', my friend. Now that I 'know', there is no fear.

"there cannot be evil
as spoke of in man's
arrogant limiting of His mercy.
Of that I have no fear."

"Ah yes, I remember now --
'tis judgment that we fear
when boundless mercy
has been our undeserved supporting guide
while we test the battle of our will."

And now, by blessed Light, I do not fear such judgment
because I choose -- accept the invitation --
join the wedding of humanity and divinity --
from 'knowing' to 'now-ing'
to 'owing' nothing.

Back then my choice of action embraced fear …

"Is it not enough
that each day we must claim
a cross to shoulder,
but we sure must also search
for the spikes to secure it to our will?
Or are these fears
the thorns that pierce and rend a bit,
but are not fatal,
and leave but tiny scars;
but when not withdrawn
the blood may drip into our eyes,
mingled with the sweat of anguish
from time spent on worthless tasks."

Yet my spirit knew even then -- the truth --
or lack of need thereof …

"Is it possible that I can learn
to stretch out my arms
in humble welcome to humanity
mixed fumble and profound?
Can the secret be
that I need neither cross nor spikes
to support this form
which is much more a drift
of the mind, and will and spirit? …
Each whistled song
or wave of hand
or lifted sack or apple tossed
does draw a spike or thorn from the suffering's claim."

I even knew the answer then -- just not that I knew…

"What do I fear?
That I must do this alone --
again alone!
That is the death …"

So why am I released from fear? What am I now -- but never then?
Know …

I cannot ever be alone -- for 'lone' is all there is!
In death I find Life, everborn 'again'.
As I have come before and ever will -- there is no 'then',
and in 'now' I am -- and thereby of Love,
there be not fear nor ever can.

By Love's increase will man's fear now wane;
and as I extinguish fear in you, dear one,
Love will rush in from fulfilled yearning,
that you too will know (again) --
'As we two join in creation's caress,
there will be Light to guide our way.'

and within this 'we' there is no room for fear;
that and 'all' and nothing more!


I have been wrestling with ‘What do you fear" all week. Most of my time has been working in the castle workshop creating a new tote that will be completely creative. I usually get into some sticky construction problems when I strike out completely on my own but this is what excites me most. But, when things routine take my time I think about the word FEAR. I am lucky to live in a safe area so I have no fears of my physical safety which to me seems to suggest the most fear that could be generated. Otherwise I really seldom experience fear. My health? No, I accept wherever my health goes. Disabilities I could handle if I have my brain. I may be concerned about blindness but not fear. Loosing loved ones…Yes, that could generate the biggest sorrow, worry, and concern but not fear. Fear is an extreme and that is why it has taken me so long to come to a conclusion on my Achilles heal. What I fear had buried itself deep within but after a lot of thought I finally dug it out. I FEAR a loss of my creative ability. Yes, without that life would definitely lose its meaning to me. The enchanter certainly gives us some hard tasks.
For anyone interested in what I am currently creating drop by my "Crone Janes castle workshop" blog. for a peak.

Fired in the Kiln

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Eye Eye

I have been playing with one of the manhole cover images Carol sent me.
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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Water Flowing Underground

Out walking in the Riversleigh grounds, and after all this
thinking about manholes and underground,
I realised there is another important element,
besides everything else, that must exist under
the ground, in the earth. The pic above is of a beautifully
woven channel cover made of iron, I saw while out in
the grounds. This cover ensures the flow of water is not
impeded by debris, and allows someone to pass over
the top of the channel. Moreton Bay trees love water
and often exist where water is plentiful. I wonder how
much of life would be dull, without water, and how
much of our inner life would stagnate, if not for the
channel of water available to us, important to us as
it is in nature. Water is also the only moving element under
the ground, allowing the tree roots to access it, and
flowing through the underground waterways.
We can make use of it and ensure the flow is always unimpeded,
and in this way the channel cover is like a bridge, allowing the flow

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.


A portion of the hooked rug in my bedroom

Snug in my attic room at Riversleigh manner, I decided to follow Anita's lead and do some journaling. I tried the OneWord link at Soul Food and got the word `own’. But I had too much to say to submit it at the site…

``If my life is for rent, and I don't learn to buy, I deserve nothing more than I get, and nothing I own is really mine..."
Dido's song seems to have special meaning for me. I believe than none of us owns anything – that everything is rented, or on loan, for the duration of our lives and no more. And that has held true for me all my life – so much has passed through my hands, and gone on to God knows where – various possessions, some valuable and some not, homes, books and things I would have liked to held onto – but none were really mine and some even ended up at the bottom of the ocean, but that’s another story.
Everything we create with our hands, buy with our money or receive as a gift eventually passes on somewhere else, gets left behind as we move through life and beyond.
Today, as I spend hours creating art, I try not to think of this – after all, art is something you do in the moment and what happens to it eventually should not be your concern. I am sure nothing of mine will end up in museums, but I know that my family will treasure whatever is left.
No, I should not think of posterity, or even next week, when I am are creating art. I don’t own what I make, I work with the mind and the hands and the dreams that I was born with, and then move on to the next thing. It is the act of creation which is briefly mine, that I hold and possess until the thing is done.
But sometimes in my rummaging through garage sales, junk shops and other foraging grounds, I come across a piece of hand made art that was clearly made with love if not great skill.
One lies on my bedroom floor today – it us a hooked rug, not quite finished because long strings of yarn still hang from it. It shows the sun rising behind tall reeds, in wonderful autumn colours. I don’t know who made it, or why it came to be bundled into a box at the Salvation Army shop. But I brought it home, because the artist deserved to be honoured. Of course I do not own it, but I hope it continues to find loving custodians.
Little framed pictures of pressed flowers, home made dolls, handmade items of all kinds – I have come across many in my rummaging. The artists are all unknown – they were likely women like me who enjoyed arts and crafts and never thought of passing their work on to someone else, or even being remembered after the item left their hands. These things connect me to generations of women who loved to create something beautiful for no more than the joy of doing it.
We leave much behind us as we move on – most of it is lost, destroyed, never to surface again, but sometimes something waits for a new temporary custodian, and I like to think that someday, something of mine will turn up this way…except, of course, that it is not really mine, it is simply an expression of the creativity that makes this planet and all its creatures, plants and wonders hum.
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A Midnight Conversation in Riversleigh Manor

There’s something buried in the Gardener’s Shed and why would someone bury something that wasn’t dead yet?

The thing in the shed isn’t buried very deep, so if you were to crawl over the dead fall in front of the door and were able to push your way through he matted cobwebs and you didn’t mind the smell of rotting leaves and small unburied creatures you’d see there under the window a slightly raised mound of earth.

Were you to look at the raised mound long enough and the light somehow managed to find it’s way through the little panes of glass covered with dust and dirt you’d think someone was lying there on their side with one arm cradling their cheek and the other laying comfortably on their side.

Wouldn’t you?

If you brought a flashlight and the beam was bright you might think you could see something wrong with the entire left side of the sleeping figure’s face. You might think that maybe that the face was gone, smashed in by something like that shovel in the corner.

Isn’t that right?

They might wonder what you were doing back there in a rotting shed behind the Manor House in the dead of Night, they might see you take the shovel and try to smooth and pound that little raised mound of Earth flat.

That’s what they’d see wouldn’t they?

So I must ask you again, why would you bury something that is not dead yet? Go ahead you can tell me. Just keep your hands were I can see them.

For Anita Marie


pay heed my children
to your fine fantasies
of portals to wonders
and lonely worlds unknown.

with a screech and a clang
spinning round about,
pry up the shields
that close guard yer soul.

they be coins on the eyes
of the unrest dead,
and rondels of armor
on breastplates of horror.

with a screech and a clang
spinning round about,
pry up the shields
that close guard yer soul.

what is not found within
must be ever without,
so gird your bold heart
for a moment of truth.

as you pry up the lids
of the cauldrons of fear,
you beg things to enter
that your heart may not bear.

with a screech and a clang
spinning round about,
pry up the shields
that close guard yer soul.

Manhole Cover

Manhole Cover
(For Alex)

Part of me
to the core
it covers
all that
the surface
it contains
all the grief
and sorrow
and joy
and loathing
and joy
part of me
to the core
the cover
is all that
you see.

© Megan Warren
19th February 2006

Saturday, February 18, 2006

A Reflection of Me

I lift the manhole cover and peer inside
And what greets my eyes
Is a reflection of me

How strange, I thought
As I reached down to see
If there was perhaps
A mirror attached

But no
Me was all I could see

What is the message?
What is the lesson?
Why did I feel the need
To lift the manhole cover?

I was walking along
I heard a sound
I walked right past it

But there it was again
A tinkling, a laughing, a murmuring

I stopped this time
Feeling foolish on the pavement

I looked around me
And at that moment everyone seemed
To be looking away

I looked down at my feet
At the sounds beyond another manhole cover
(Could there be two so close together?)

What would people say
If I bent down now?
And took a peek inside?
Has no one else heard it?

My grey skirt suit
Whispered as I crouched
My expensive leather bag
Skimmed the dirty wet ground

My hand reached towards the manhole cover
I needed to see the sounds

I lifted and I looked......

Doctor Patchwork

Doctor Patchwork

When I awoke this morning,
I saw, upon my bedside stand,
a vial of pills.
They were pink in color, and round.
These are not mine, I thought,
and wondered what on earth they were.

I had no pain, no heartburn,
no mental disability—
least I did not think so,
so why the pills?
I peered, with still sleepy eyes,
at the label which had my name
clearly inscribed upon it,
and that of a Doctor Patchwork—
Now who the heck is he?

No more than one per month,
the instructions read …
and be sure you’re laying down.
Then, think about an incident in time
that you would enjoy again.
Doctor Patchwork will make it happen,
the label read,
if he can, and he usually does.
He is a very clever man.

Now, I’m not one to take pills often,
and certainly not, when
I don't know what they are.
But this morning,
I must have left
all good sense upon my pillow.

I thought about a morning
just like this, silent
with freshly fallen snow.
I was just three or four,
as I recall,
and always up to mischief.
Then, I was swirled and hurled
through time and space …
until I stood in that room of long ago.
So, no surprise that, before I was supposed to,
I opened the front door—
Well, there had been a blizzard
that night … while I slept,
and the snow was piled so high
against that door,
that when I opened it that morning,
I was engulfed in a tidal wave of
soft, white fluff that came tumbling in
and knocked me off my feet.
I flailed my arms and giggled,
delighted at my game—
my homemade avalanche.
Oh, my, it was such fun
until, I saw Mother’s face
and Dad taking off his leather belt.

I tried to scoop the snow back out,
but there was way too much.
So, the moral of this story is;
check through the window or the keyhole,
or take a peek through the letter slot
before opening the door.
But more than that,
do not take any pills prescribed
by Doctor Patchwork,
because if you do …
you will likely find yourself
in a whole heap of trouble—
maybe even followed
by a spanking.

Vi Jones
©February 16, 2006

Plunge Into Sea of Tranquility

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Boldly I plunge
back into the
sea of tranquility
from which I rose.

fingerprinted, named
and shaped.

Amid the concentric circles
I drift
the Centre

Friday, February 17, 2006

belated Valentine for my muse

To my muse (nature) who bemuses me

apples I bought came in this box, which I covered with a paper napkin and then collaged the interior

Down the Manhole...

The street is roughly cobbled, slicked with a film of rainwater and oil. Rainbow patterns reflect in the oily pools from the moon’s light – curiously beautiful; in all this ugliness.

A film of greased covers my skin. In spite of the constant rain, it is hot – the thick steamy are feels like pushing through jelly.

Strange plants like creeping fungus crawl along the edges of the street, up the blackened walls of the buildings with their bare gaping windows, sightless eyes looking down on desolation.

The world used to be such a lovely place. If this nightmare vision of the future a dream? It feels to real to be either a dream or a vision. I can feel rivulets of sweat wriggling through my hair like bugs, smell the diesel stench of the foul air, taste it on my tongue.

In the middle of the road, something glints in the moonlight. It is a manhole cover, a strange thing to find in this bleak place, because it is beautifully wrought with a pattern of vine leaves, fruits and strange animals.

I kneel down to get a closer look at it. How perfectly circular it is in this landscape where everything is broken and rough – even the buildings look like rotted teeth.

My fingers trace the strange moldings in the metal. I know where manholes lead – sewers, subterranean tunnels where rats roam – unpleasant places. But can what is below be so much worse than what is on the surface?

My hand slips into a recess in the metal and I give the manhole cover a good tug. After some resistance, it rises.

There is utter blackness below, but I can see the faint glint of metal rungs where the moon’s light reaches.

One last look around the silent, deserted street and my mind is made up. I slide into the hole and my feet fumble for purchase on the metal rungs.

I lose track of time while I’m climbing down. The hole through which I entered has long disappeared.

I am suspended in darkness, slowly creeping from one rung to the next, my hands tired and slipping on the metal, my toes gripping through the soles of my shoes.

But it is noticeably cooler. In fact, I’m starting to feel chilly. Wherever This tunnel is taking me, the air already feels cleaner.

Now I can see a soft glow of light below, and driven by the impulse to reach the bottom, I descend faster. The light has a rosy glow, like sunrise. Far below I can see the faint pattern of fields and streams and swelling hills, thickly wooded patches of dark forest.

I continue to climb and the light grows stronger. It is the sun, rising in the east from behind the hills.

At last I reach the bottom, and my feet step onto to soft springy turf. The morning air is cool and fresh – I breathe it in deeply, feeling the soil and grime of the world above evaporate from my body.

But like the world above, this one is silent and empty. I look in vain for signs of animal or bird life. This is a new world, an unborn embryo of a world, hushed and expectant, pregnant with possibility.

Ahead I see another circle in the grass. If it is another manhole cover, shall I climb down, seeking what more lies below? But it is not, it’s a sundial set into the earth. The shadow of the triangular arm creeps slowly up the face of the sundial. What will happen when the sun is risen and the morning is born? I sit down in the grass and wait.

Slowly the shadow creeps up – now the sun is above the hills. In the distant I hear a sound like music, like a lonely flute playing to itself. But it is not a sad sound – it fills the air and suddenly erupts into birdsong, a blazing morning chorus of birds filling the trees with their bright feathers and throbbing throats.

Amazed, I watch as their song wakens the earth and creatures struggle slowly up through the grass, beautiful, strange creatures that I have never seen before. Their roars, clamours and bellows join the morning chorus and wake the trees. Their bodies shrink into human form, their leaves become locks of waving hair and they join hands and dance and sing and their song becomes a painting, colouring the grass with flowers, and filling the air with the sweet smell of lush ripe fruit.

And I look back at the sundial and it has become a manhole cover, strangely patterned with vines, fruits and animals. And I know that no matter how hard I try it will not open – not yet.

Lunch time at home plate

Lunch time at home plate
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
Heather made suggestions about lunch
so I thought of our summer noons
at the country school: sandwiches, an apple
a cookie and a thermos of milk, all so simple
Peanut butter and jam; cold roast beef;
cucumber (wilted). If you are not a gourmet
please join us in history.

Whole Man

Cover No Man Whole

A span of years ago I traveled to Texas to meet my youngest daughter's husband and step son, just five -- large for his age, but shy for all of that. As he had not accepted Patricia as 'mother', I was hardly of grandfather worth, and "Uncle Ken" didn't fit, as I was known to many others. I told him a name would come to him. For now, I was just someone with whom to walk in the rain.

They were in the midst of unseasonable deluge, and sensible people stayed indoors. So I told of our desert heritage and how to dance in the rain -- and together we went out in bathing suits and tennis shoes -- alone. We talked of many things, drawn by chance and folly -- I allowed to re-live the world through the eyes of wonder. He to allow fears an doubt to wash away. And we invented a manhole game.

Without saying a word I would drift from our obvious course to jump on a manhole cover. Whange! Then back to our exploration of singing flowers and strangely shaped branches and other important stuff. Whange! Soon he followed my example and jumped on them too. Tan - tan plonk! Later he would race to jump first. Easy. There were no cars -- sensible people stayed inside.

"Why do we do that -- no one else does?

"Sounds like a good reason to me."

"Oh, you can tell me."

"Might be something is planning to creep out and we scare them away."

"Monsters or just slimy things?"

"Maybe memories that you don't want to think about."

"Why do men go down there?"

"To help the rain get back to the ocean."

He ran over to a swollen grate and peered inside -- not having made the connection before.

"We'd have a big lake, wouldn't we?" Could a little person ride a boat down there -- you know -- all the way to the ocean?"

"Easier to just say, 'thank you', I think." Whange!

"Kind of like blood, huh? Trish has a book that shows those veins going back to the heart."

"Do you know how to spell 'manhole'?"

"Yup -- 'cover' too"

"What if I told you it should be spelled 'W H OL E'."

"Well, papa, if I told people that they wouldn't understand."

"It could be our secret, you know."



Feminine Again - The Wheel of Fortune Spins

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Rebirth - Entering A New World

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Entrance to Manhole - Part One

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Through the arteries to the world within
Now to figure out how to do the plates to attach to the CD

The Pictures

All of these delightful pictures,
and many more to be posted occationally,
are from a 'found' book on Ebay --
total cost $6.00 including shipping.

It is 11X14" -- 175 pages of pure delight
about wizards, fairies, elfs and more. --

Pictures, descriptions, stories and excitement.

I would recommend that everyone search for a copy.

The Way of the Wizards
Tom Cross, ISBN 0-7407-1965-3
Andrews McMeel Publishing, Kansas City, MO, USA

"A wizard acts as a conduit for the magic,
directing it it toward its proper place
in its proper realm."

An Art Deco Manhole Cover?

Walking through the enchanted wood
forest filled with rows of plum blossoms trees
came across this manhole hidden
amongst the tall grasses & pink blossoms
- squarish, mackintosh-like design art deco style
opaque & silky smooth,
a rose in shades of pink & red
geometrical swirls in glittering gold & silver,
squares of viridian, teal & olive green

shall i open it and enter into the unknown?
curious.. excited... fingers tingling with trepidation...
i wonder.. i ponder...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Through the Manhole

This manhole cover I discovered under a tree in the Riversleigh Garden. It took my fancy as it has a beautiful depiction of my favorite tree, the Gingko.

As I lifted the cover, I climbed down into the depths. I have expressed my experience with a "not so good" collage. I don't want to spend anymore time on it, as it is enough to remind me of my special time down under.

From The Dark

Heather Blakey asks in the Man Hole Cover Exercise:
What is behind your manhole cover? How does the symbol of a manhole cover resonate for you? How does it help you understand your writing life? How can it help you contain your inner work?

(This picture is from the Seattle Underground Tour and this room and chair really exist below the streets of Seattle.)

My manhole cover is in an alley where several years ago a terrible thing happened; innocent people were shot and killed by robbers in a little club with a Red Door.

Now the ghosts of those people haunt that club whose red doorway is less then five feet away from the cover I can see in my head but refuse to photograph or draw.

Let me then describe it to you.

The iron cover has little fishes swimming around its edges and in the center is an Indian in full headdress that looks in stern reverence at the door in front of the building where the angry spirits live.

Respect for spirits is taken very seriously in this part of Town and the site is feared so much that the door to this place isn’t locked because no one goes in.

This is the place where my manhole cover exists and that is what I had to face every single time I would try to lift the Cover with a crowbar or when I tried to pry it loose from the brick road with my bare hands.

As if that wasn’t frustrating enough the entire time I worked at lifting the cover I was afraid that the Red Door would swing open and something would see me.

Maybe it would even talk to me.

I didn’t find the thought pleasant but it didn’t stop me from trying over and over again to lift that cover.

Then one day I looked up and saw to my left, across the way from the Red Door a boarded up window and next to it a door that was opened just little.

How simple it was just to walk into the corpse of my favorite store.

Years ago you could purchase exotic fish and plants and remedies for luck and love and revenge in this little shop. You could find children’s toys and woman’s gowns crafted from silks and embroidered with beads and jewels and kitchen utensils and candies and exotic fruits, and vegetables from all over the world all stacked in no particular order on wooden shelves.

You could also find things on those sunlit shelves that existed in the dark everywhere else.

The store never displayed a name or had an address. Its windows weren’t covered but that didn’t matter because you didn’t look in unless you had business there. I don’t know, I guess it was considered bad manners to look in when others were shopping.

At least that’s the feeling I had.

No one ever admitted that they shopped there but if the truth be known we all shopped there at one time or another.

It closed a few days after the tragedy happened.

You see it was only two days after the murders that people started seeing and hearing the Spirits in their last horrible moments of life.

Someone told me that they were shopping for gifts and decorations for their New Years Celebrations when they heard the gunshots and screams and saw a ghost woman crawl into the alley.

They watched the poor ghost woman die with her face against the manhole cover.

People stayed away from the Alley after that.

I’ve never seen her but I know its true. You would know it too if you looked down into that alley. Then you would have stayed away like the rest of us after becoming so sure of something that should have been impossible to believe.

On the day I went through the open door all I found were the shadows of the inventory that use to be on the shelves and in every corner in each room I could hear whispers and laughter and conversations and even music.

Then I found the doorway in the very back of the shop.

It was an old door with a drawstring latch and stamped on the door was the word
“ Exit”

I reached out and traced the raised letters with my fingers and then I pushed at the letters and the door slid open and I looked down a set of wooden stairs held against the walls by rusted spikes.

What sort of exit I wonder is downstairs, in the dark?

I found out.

I used those stairs eaten up with wood rot and I went down into that darkness, I walked under the streets and then I found myself in this room with the vaulted ceilings and red brick walls and warped cement floors.

I come here often and sit in this high back chair and in my lap is the china doll with no face.

This is where I learn my stories and this is where I come to write my tales and some of it I make up…and as for the rest? Fact or fiction?

Well, that's my secret.

Come down here sometime and maybe you’ll be able to figure it out for yourself.

I dare you.

My Muse

a - muse - ing

I thought I'd go a-muse-ing --
might as well be today.
Perhaps I'll find just who it is
that jostles me with rhyme,
and chops my thoughts
into eight syllable lines,
except for this one.

Oh where to look??

a chiming waterfall,
frozen in surrender to the snow?

a squirrels' hollow
revealed by the Valentine moon?

the sticky hand clasp
of a lost urchin trusting me?

the snickering eyes
of my lover captured in a mirror?

Then again …

I may need no plan at all,
as long as I am laughing.

Close Up

a closer view of the guy
Heather sketched in the tower
described below.

Drain Cover to the Centre of the Earth

Innocently went out searching for drains and manholes today and
became totally captivated. Didn't expect to, because things don't
always work out as you think they will, so off I went. I found a
great many and started thinking of the journey and everything
that relates to the drain as metaphor. I have also been enmeshed in
listening to Mozart's "Zauberflote" (literally "Magic Flute") because it is
his 250th anniversary this year and everyone is talking about him and playing
his work. When the hero Tamino gets lost in the forest while hunting and passes out,
(down the drain to the underworld) one of the first things that happens to him
when he wakes is that he had no concept of where he is, and says "Wo Bin Ich?"
(Where am I?) -- the million dollar question that starts his quest for his grail
feminine, Pamina. This is also getting me back in touch with German folklore,
part of my heritage. So - Heather, as always, has laid out another unexpected
adventure for us all. I used this theme of disorientation so common
with the call to adventure, and have laid out a collage, the feminine
being Persephone of the Underworld, and the masculine bottom right,
is the masculine sun on a quest through the darkness to the light. Amazingly,
Heather and Megan both sent me boomerang and collage things that
literally made pictures by themselves, I kid you not. The drain looks
fiery now, the one I found, indicating a soujourn to the centre of the
earth and sometimes Persephone looks fiery too, but we all know
she is truly a fair maiden, skilled in the arts of nature; a Queen in her
own right, and is eventually admired for her smarts by the hero. (Swoon!)

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Treasure Hunt - To Find The Manhole Covers

Many folks will be happy to dig into their rooms and watch from a distance but if you are interested you can join me to find the Riversleigh Manhole Covers and take a journey into a fantasy underworld of your creation.

When I found these instructions

It is raining heavily but, tired of being indoors, you decide to go out for a walk. As you walk you hear the sound of a solitary raven calling. The cars spray water and you can see the drains filling. Water is gurgling and splashing like mini rivers along the curb into the drains.

Under the shelter of your umbrella you keep your eyes down and suddenly you see a manhole cover that you have never noticed before. (pause)

It is ajar and you can see that there is a ladder leading below. (pause)

The urge to explore is great. (pause)

Suddenly you are aware that you have company. The raven has landed at your feet.

The two of you decide to check out the world beyond the manhole. (pause)

As you clamber below you are greeted by... see, hear, smell, taste, feel...

I grabbed my sketchbook and took off like a startled race horse out of the starting post and low and behold I found a cover.

When I looked behind the manhole cover this is the world I saw.

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A Valentine's Day Tale

Happy Valentine's Day all! Or as a friend greeted me this morning: "Happy Singles Appreciation Day!--where you celebrate your single status and be glad you don't have to send anyone a Valentine!"

Ahem. Well, over at Riversleigh Manor we've been busy wooing and honoring our collective Muses with Valentines and holding a banquet, so while I may be single, I've been busy with making and "giving" my Muse, Zoë, Valentines.

This year, I went all out. Well, actually it was Heather's (of Soul Food Café) idea that we dress up and make this a formal, luxurious occasion. And since I missed the Café's Masque Ball at Christmastime, I couldn't resist getting dressed up. I raided Pandora's Costume Box for a mask and then went "shopping" online for a dress. *a wide smile blossoms big across my lips* I found the perfect one!


I'm going as the "Lady in Red."

Heather also said that anyone of us could perform before our fellow housemates and special guests of honor: our Muses. *another smile curves my lips* I found, quite by a stroke of serendipity, the perfect complement to my costume and to the evening--surely I was inspired to find it. And to share it.

After finding and putting my costume together for tonight, I was in the mood to read from the old tree folklore anthology I'd discovered in the Golden Seed Grove behind the manor. Mindful of the aged and yellow pages I settled comfortably on my bed, plumping and propping the pillows behind me and perused the Table of Contents. The words "The Golden Tree" caught my eye, and looking up at my mask and dress on the black velvet sewing form stationed in the center of my garret room, one more smile expressed my pleasure. My mask is painted partly gold and my gorgeous dress has gold filigreed trim. Gold. What a perfect accent; what a perfect tie-in, I thought. I would share this Jewish tale set in India with the crowd, dressed in my Valentine's Day finery!

The Golden Tree
Once upon time, long ago, in a faraway land there lived an impetuous King who had four wives. There was one wife whom he favored highly above the other three. She was kind, intelligent, challenging and beautiful. The three other wives were jealous of the time he spent with her. Over the years they connived and complained and finally convinced the King that the fourth wife was the source of all the troubles in the kingdom. One morning, when the favored wife refused to agree with the King, he banished her saying, "Your ill will is the cause of all my problems. And, you have not born me a child after years of marriage!"

The Queen knew well the devious root of the King's change of heart. Without a word, she left the palace. Disguised as a beggar, she journeyed until she arrived in India. There she found a small cottage in a forest and lived a simple life.

One night she dreamed of a magnificent Golden Tree. In the morning, she realized that she was pregnant. However, she sent no word to her husband, the King.

That same night the King also dreamed of the Golden Tree. The next morning he could not stop thinking of the wife whom he had banished. Realizing his mistake, he set out to find her and ask for her forgiveness.

He traveled following the merchants who said they had seen the woman he described. He, too, arrived in India. But he could not find his wife. Finally, he sought the advice of a sage. No disguise could hide her true beauty. The wise sage did not tell him how to find her. Instead, he advised the King to find the Golden Tree he had seen in his dream. "Then you will find your true love," said the sage.

His journey was arduous and long. Over the course of seven years, the King's feet were hardened, his robes were torn to shreds and a beard grew from his chin. But, at long last, in the middle of a boiling lake, he saw an island on which grew the Golden Tree.

He risked his life and crossed the fiery water and took a single branch from the tree. He saw his wife's beloved face reflected, as if in a mirror, on every leaf. He wept until his heart was cleansed of selfishness and the boiling water around him was cool and still. Then soon afterward, having recrossed the lake, he entered a forest he had not seen before. He came upon the cottage of his wife. She recognized him instantly for she had loved him with all of her heart. She saw the branch of the Golden Tree she had dreamed of in his hands. Yet, uncertain of the nature of his visit, the Queen let her seven-year-old son stay unseen. When she opened the door, the King knew her as well.

The King asked for her forgiveness. They told each other their tales, and she gladly forgave him.

She then introduced her husband to their child. The Queen, the King and the Prince returned home. The gold branch was planted in the royal garden and grew there as a reminder of their love. The three other queens were banished. They set off on journeys of their own. May they, too, be tempered by love.

Birthday Greetings - If A Few Days Late

Word has just reached the housekeeper that it was Janie's birthday on the 10th of February. So, we will all just have to eat some cake and have a bit of a party now won't we?

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Happy Birthday Janie

Not Me

When I am not at the Abbey, this fella tends the lantern,
and has a lot of time to ponder the green things I love ...
yet I must find the muse that calls me away,
and beyond,
and within.

Monday, February 13, 2006


I do not have a name for you.
I cannot yet see a face,
But the fruits of your presence
Continue to surprise me.

I need to give time to create
Time to sit and play.
I need to believe in you,
To have faith in you.

Outside pressures lure me away,
The ‘shoulds’ in my life drag me
Towards fulfilling a need.

Yet you patiently await my return
You shower me with gifts,
And lead me onwards
With energy and life.

Possible Muse

Not sure about my muse,
but this one might be Emmie's

Wooing my Muse

Oh Muse
Why do I no longer feel your warmth?
Your love
Your arms wrapped around my creativity?

My art needs you to release it
My poetry will die a terrible death without you

You are my lifeblood
The one that makes me sing

You pull the words out of me
And leave me free

How can I serenade you?
Woo you to me again?

Do you just need to hear the words?
And feel the opening of my heart?

Take these words as your own then
For once they leave
They are no longer mine:
Muse, will you be my Valentine?

Hi to All, I am ready for the Valentine party! I found quite an elaborate costume! My muse is the beauty of fabrics..the silks and satin and velvet and lace. Always greatly inspiring for art.

Muse musing in her cavern by the sea

muse musing
Originally uploaded by FranSb.
My muse is an unreliable wench
who appears for a moment
touches base
and away
to wait in some cavern
and forget
that the wretch is supposed
to be here
with me

Valentine for my Gypsy Muse

My wild Gypsy Muse loves Soul Food - she has been greedily tasting everything on the menu, and is ready at a moment's notice to hitch up her wagon and travel to romantic, exciting places.
For her faith in me, everytime she says ``Let's do it!" I send her this Valentine, a portrait snatched in one of her rare quiet moments.

My Muse Loves

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My muse loves it
I draw her
bold and brave
fearless and courageous

My muse loves it
I play
making snail mail
that is quirky and different

My muse loves it
my spirits lift
we go walking and talking

My muse loves
Loreena Mckennit
bold flowers
cut and paste
finding treasure
the touch of earth on fingertips

So today
I am doing
What my muse loves
with my muse
and she says
She will be my Valentine

Offering to my Muse

I have been focused on completing my
Asian inspired altered book, hence
my offering to my muse.