Muse “strikes” when she wants… Sometimes she makes us pour (virtual) ink on (virtual) pages in a “fast and furious flow”, some other times she needs resting periods to dive deep in the underwater of our unconscious to let us play spiritual Sherlock before being able to retrieve the hidden pearl of inspiration from its slumbering shell. Sometimes our connection to her will produce flash (flood) fiction, some other times a roman-fleuve (which literally means “river novel”). So here is –finally– what has emerged from the abyss, which was also fine-tuned by what I’ve heard in the hoot of the owl that opened my first blog post for Recornection.com
Dickon-If you show me where you want to make your garden I’ll be pleased to help you start it.
Mary-If I tell you a secret will you promise not to tell anyone else?
D-As you wish…
M-I’ve stolen a garden. I had to. It was locked up and no one’s taken care of it for ages and ages. And I’m not giving it back.
D-A garden’s not for givin’ or takin’. A garden belongs to all. You found the door and also the spirit key. It was meant to be. Together we will unlock its, well, our full potential again, because if you look deep, you see the green heart in the old rosebush. The thorny branches have run wild and attached themselves everywhere. Some will have died. But the strong ones will be alive, and once the dead wood’s cut away, there’ll be roses, there’ll be roses.
M-When will the roses bloom?
D-Not till June.
M-Oh, it’s only the beginning of April. June’s such a long way away…
D-Yes, but when they bloom there’ll be curtains and fountains of roses…
These lines are more or less what I heard in a movie someone dear to my heart recommended to me: The Secret Garden, adapted from the book by British author Frances Hodgson Burnett. The movie was released in 1987, ‘been a while’ or as we say in Spanish “ha llovido desde entonces” –it has rained since then–. The rain, in New Mexico, is a scarce blessing, but sometimes a recurring curse in my native country, Belgium. I guess it’s the way natural elements choose to explain to humans the inevitable presence of two poles in everything, necessary for any life form to exist and develop, encouraging us to always find balance between extremes. In 1987, April to be precise (the month mentioned in the dialogue I chose as an introduction), “teenager me” traveled abroad for the first time without my parents, on a school trip to Great Britain with my English language class. August 1987 would see a second “grown-up” trip to Greece, starting in Heraklion and ending in Delphi, but this is another story… That trip to Great Britain was #1 in a series of three “British adventures”. Until recently, I didn’t remember much of those adventures, maybe because of a somehow “irrational” distaste I had always felt for Great Britain… I am “very good” at burying, deep in the heart of my subconscious black hole, things that don’t appeal to me. My disfavor was a strange sensation that felt like a kind of rejection coming from a mysterious alien resentment. Today I want to look back at those three British trips, shedding a new light on their significance. Today I want to open my heart, which had remained locked to a certain charm and magic of the birthplace of the language that I am using now, although I prefer by far its American version. Today I want to let go off any animosity I might have felt toward the home country of Her Gracious Majesty… Today I will let the water of retained emotions flood the gates of my self-expression as I obey the urge to write this long-overdue piece of travel writing.
I am grateful that among the first things I sorted and shipped overseas, when I moved from Spain to New Mexico, were my photo albums. When prints were still a thing, I loved organizing my photos on a sheet of white paper, adding handwritten captions that built a narrative thread from picture A to Z. Then I kept those pages in plastic sheet protectors that were stored in a ring binder whose cover I usually decorated according to the theme of that particular album.
Some pictures are no longer in albums, and no longer in existence either, due to the “purification by the fire” they underwent in my sorting endeavors. What do you keep and what do you toss from your former life in order to fly towards the new one? I guess some things are meant to only be remembered by “the sacred connection between life moments and the elements your soul left in time and space” [this is not entirely mine, but I LOVED what it said and how it was expressed]. Water embraced Fire on that sorting day, when I cried “like Mary Magdalene” (the French expression for “crying your eyes out”), kneeling by the fireplace in front of my Spanish sacred mountain to figure out which letters, cards and pictures needed to go up in flames before I crossed “the pond”. So the other day I dove into the misty pond of the salvaged pictures of my British moments to try to conjure up details lost in the long slumber of my past. The first picture of me smiles from the upper deck of a ship, behind “mirror shades” and under a goofy-looking black hat, which I remember belonged to Aïcha, one of my high school peers that went on that trip with me. She “made me wear the hat” (in metaphoric French it means to put the blame on someone). Another person seemed to have enjoyed making me wear a similar black hat years before my first “big girl trip”: my maternal grandfather had lent his hat to baby-me for a funny picture…
Maybe he felt that his Fedora might cover this Pandora’s box I have for a brain! But grandpa, if Pandora had not brought that jar / box, we would not have grown out of despair into hope! So I say, off with that hat!
“My grandfather did not have a chance to make me wear his hat because he had to sail away right after my birth, and he got lost for us, just like the rest of us got lost for many, because of a war… So I ended up making my own hat out of waterfowl feather, and I built my abode in the woods where I fell asleep in white deer fur…”
This voice comes from a young female with a strange accent. She brings me a strange feeling of wonder mixed with peace… In the hope of hearing her again, I go on mentioning little-me’s moments that have to do with what the voice evoked.
“I have always loved watching wildlife, especially waterfowl and deer, although I have never seen a white deer “in person”. But I remember that the very first time I met does, I was the one wearing white, even though another day I looked more like Little Red Riding Hood.”
“Robin Hood, aka Henry Berry Lowry?” asks the mysterious voice. “I am so proud of what he did for our people fighting against injustice… Yes some lives were lost but… so many more were, back in the day. I met him sometimes in the backwoods in my deer disguise, after he “vanished” for the rest of mortals. Sometimes I would call him blue-eyed Berry-cutie pie because of his heart’s sweetness.”
“I had never heard of Henry Berry. I never met Robin Hood either… although I remember a funny story from two high school friends, I think both were named Catherine. They said that when Robin des Bois (Robin Hood in French) was little he must have been called “Robinet des Bosquets”, two diminutives and a play on words since “robinet” also means faucet… It cracked me up!”
“You talk so much…It makes you miss the point, sometimes, or unadvertently evoke it, to move on to something else too soon… What I mean is that it is sad that you should watch “wildlife” behind a fence. I never liked fences… They evoke separation.”
In my desire to keep the communication going, I do not even realize that this mysterious voice seems to know me extremely well, and I rush into talking about memories that she might wish to comment.
“Oh, well, there was another time, much later in my life, which was more natural and spontaneous. I hopped off a vehicle in Yosemite and had a beautiful encounter with a doe in the woods. I was so silent that I could hear her munch on grass. She stayed close to me for a while, looked at me after eating and then crossed the path and went back among the thickness of the woods. Could have this doe been you or a version of you?”
Damn… I must have scared her off. She is right, I guess I talk too much sometimes… Anyway, this Robin-faucet story brings me back to “waters”, the meaning of Dover in Brythonic. So let’s analyze my picture on the deck. I think I was forcing that smile a bit, due to the unspoken uneasiness many of us felt while crossing the Strait. Our concern had to do with a tragedy that occurred just one month before our trip. We were aboard one of the infamous Townsend Thoresen ships. Strangely (or magically) enough, Townsend was the last name of Stephen, the second husband of author Frances Hodgson Burnett’s, whom I quote above. Maybe that Townsend man was related to those who would found a ship company sixty years after he got married… My classmates and I started our sea venture aboard one of the “Spirit-class” ships, sister of the MS Herald of Free Enterprise, a month after she capsized, killing 193 passengers and crew on March 6, 1987. Tragedy struck only minutes after the vessel departed the Belgian port of Zeebrugge (“Bruges on Sea”, and also “Sea Bridges” if we go deeper into its etymology). Because of excess speed, water entered through the bow-door, which had been left open, and it flooded the deck in a matter of minutes, sadly sending many people to the other side of the rainbow that divides the realms of life and death. One month later we were leaving from Calais (France) instead of Zeebrugge, but our bow-door was also wide open for the whole crossing, its gaping mouth defying fate. Have you noticed that “fate” shares its Latin root (Fatum) with “fairy”? That day on the ferry the fairies were protecting us for sure! Because I am sure that the open bow was far from being a “fata morgana”…
“I am glad you called upon me. My avatars and I will accompany you in your discoveries!”
A bit startled, I understand that this must be a woman who leads fairies! I hear whispers and I feel peace, I know they will assist me in this writing piece, to turn it into a tribute to the fairy realm of our daily life… So I invite you to accompany me as I surf on the wave of time travels, swimming among undines and sailing away on a fourth (virtual) voyage to a certain aspect of Great Britain I had disregarded so far: Magic…
When aboard the ship in 1987, we were relieved to see the cliffs of Dover and make it safely to the terra firma of Kent County. As our bus driver (affectionately nicknamed Ronny the Runner) drove towards London, we ran parallel to the River Thames, and we must have had a glimpse of important towns, like Canterbury. Now I know that tales, those that we were told and those that we do tell, may influence facts, sometimes to the point of shaping the future as they cross times, tightrope-walking on the line between “reality” and “fiction”… Speaking of crossing, I guess my high school professors had interesting things to say about the area we were driving through, although not a single word from them comes back to life, no matter how hard I concentrate on the pictures I took on that bus. So my imagination decides to pour its own waters into the Thames’s “gaping mouth”, where fresh and salt water meet, a little bit north of Dover. I leave the Townsend Thoresen ship and Dover’s white cliffs behind to be headed towards the Thames Estuary. After swimming along the North Kent Marshes, I reach the river’s mouth. I will pay attention to details, such as names of towns drained by the river that seem to wave at me. I have already spotted one, on what I would naturally call the “right bank”, although in Great Britain one seems not to speak from the point of view of the water, as if we became the river, but rather from the point of view of the Earth where one stands looking at the river… So, since in Rome do as the Romans do and in London as the British do, I will say that the first town that draws my attention is on the “south bank” of the Thames: Allhallows, as in “All Hallows Evening” aka Hallow’een… This is a sign that the fairies are here! Like a salmon, my metaphoric mind keeps swimming upstream, confident that I am accompanied by mermaid fairies. I am ready for a sightseeing tour down Memory Lane, memories of mine and memories of others. My invisible guides play with the reflection of their dragonfly wings in the sun to draw hearts on the surface of the water.
Let’s see what’s around the river bend! The stream is no longer as wide as it was at its mouth. It reminds me of what I would always tell my Spanish students about the Iroquoian origin of the name “Quebec”, which means “where the (Saint Lawrence) river narrows”. For some reason though, I would always mix languages up, claiming the name was Algonquian… As I go west, the name of an anchored ferry invites me to stay in the Native American world: “Princess Pocahontas”… I call upon my magical helper to learn more about this. An iridescent arrow over the surface of the water points towards the river bank as I hear a whisper: “Look past the cruise ship”. From my river vantage point, I see that behind the white and blue vessel stands the church, in this town that Mystery chose to call Gravesend. A subtle sound, between fluttering and gurgling, invites me to look again at the river surface. Light playing with the tide is drawing on the water the shape of a fight between a man and a dragon. Saint George! This is the name of the church.
“And Tidewater was my home, and I long for another oak” I hear from the church garden.
This is no longer the fairy in chief, nor the young voice of the beginning. This is a new woman, a young lady, I would say. As I look again at the church, I see in its gardens the gray silhouette of a Native woman looking at me, clad in buckskin and whose one step forward is forever frozen in stone. This is the statue of Pocahontas talking!
“In the vault beneath the chancel of Saint George’s Church, on the day of the northward sun, I, Matoaka-Pocahontas-Amonute-Rebecca, was hastily buried, 401 years ago. My spirit saw you when you were traveling along the Thames for the first time, a few weeks after the new northward sun that came 370 years after they buried me here. I called you then, but you did not hear me… It took you 31 years to finally let Spirit take you to me. It’s ok, if you add three and one, you reach four, like the seasons in one year. Let me ride the fairy wings with you as we hover over the river, and I am sure that this will bring you a happy summer…”
Amazed by this new vocal encounter, I silently accept to let Princess Pocahontas aka-I-forgot-the-rest-of-names-she-gave-me, together with the fairies, take me where they want me to see how magical life can be. So upriver we go again. Pocahontas laughs when we reach the peak of the next river bend, at the height of a town called Grays.
“Oh, they sculpted me in “gray”, but now that we finally ride together, ladies of the seen and unseen, I “see” this day through rose-colored shades!”
“Have you noticed that “shade” also means “hue”, the color nuance?” I add.
“Oh, that’s true. Hue! Haha!” acknowledges Pocahontas who sounds very happy. “It feels so good to talk after so many silent years! It is like coming to see the light at the end of a hollow tree in which I was stuck.”
“Funny,” I say. “That image makes me think of a fat doggy that had experienced such an unpleasant situation. Where did I see that scene?”
“Oh you know, once you are in your soul aspect, you feel much lighter!” exclaims Pocahontas. “However I seem to have gained earthly, British habits, longing for spoken words! In my “Virginia” tribe, silence was a blessing and the necessary realm for deep and sacred knowledge, especially for people like me, who had undergone training to become Beloved Women…”
“Oh so you need training to be loved?” I ask her.
“Haha! Maybe some of us do, yes. Although among the Tsenacommacah, or “Powhatan Alliance” as Englishmen called my world, a “Beloved Woman” was a medicine woman, one who has a lot of power but also a lot of responsibility, which was my case when I tried to remake John Smith to our ways… He did not understand them very well though, or did not wish to do so, maybe he was too stuck in his own ways. I no longer blame him for that, now I understand that it is extremely difficult to walk in others’ moccasins. And maybe it was meant to be that way. Spirit always decides… When I finally saw him again here in England, I was mad at him because he had lied to us, saying that his own tribe did not plan to stay. He was accepted as one of our own and yet abandoned us, letting terrible things happen to my people. Then I was lied to, again, when he disappeared and the rest of Englishmen told me that my brother / pupil (that’s how we considered him) had died.
“They rhyme…” I mutter.
“Died and lied”, I clarify. “Their endings are pronounced in the same way. Maybe a certain aspect of truth as you knew it was dying; maybe a certain aspect of lies as he knew them had died; maybe it was a way for Spirit to train both of you to discern?”
“Oh, I had not thought of that. Maybe it is so,” says Pocahontas. “Later I learned that John Smith was hurt in a gunpowder accident, went back to his world and recovered. Then another John married me after he and other men did remake me to their ways. But their intentions were a bit different than mine. I think they did it in order to, how would you call it, “show me off” here in England… They needed more money from King James for their Virginia Colony, and they thought it would work if they showed how a “savage” like me had become “civilized”… John #2 used to call me ‘my fair lady’.”
“Like the movie: a young woman has a strong cockney accent and is made to repeat sentences until she “corrects” her speech. There is this famous sentence that she finally gets “right” after weeks of training: “the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.”
“How did she pronounce it before her training?” asks a very interested Pocahontas.
“Well, something like the Rhine in Spine sties Minely in the Pline,” I say.
“Well that’s how I talk…” says the mysterious first voice, “but I forgot a lot of English because of “Virginian”… Manteo did not like to talk the White Man’s tongue with me. He wanted to remake me too.”
“Wow! She is saying exactly what you have just said. Have you noticed?” I ask Pocahontas.
“Noticed what?” she asks. “I don’t know what you are talking about.”
“That voice who… Never mind… You know, Audrey Hepburn, the actress who played the role of the “fair lady”, was born in my country, in Brussels, where I spent four years studying languages. And as I watched the movie I could not help thinking of my own professor of English phonetics. Everybody feared him… He was very harsh and made us look at drawings of mouths to guess what sound was pronounced. Just imagine how difficult (and pointless) that was! He was an adept of what British people call the “RP”, “Received Pronunciation”. Received by whom, I wondered… I was (and am) an adept of American English, so we did not get along too well, linguistically speaking… I was so tired of his ways that when he asked me, for the oral exam, if I was “shoe” (sure) of how I had pronounced a word (his way to tell me I had gotten it “wrong” according to his concept of right and wrong), I answered in a bold way: “Yeah, why?” I think it occurred with the famous “phonetic conflict” regarding “tomato”: “tomEIto” or “tomAAAto”? I obviously pronounced “tomEIto”, and sounded so self-assured that it worked! He was so shocked to see that a student did not shake in fear before him, therefore mumbling what HE wanted to hear, that he did not talk back and let me go. Oh, and I passed the exam, haha! Who knows, maybe I “randomly” received tomato seeds in the mail the other day because I needed to remember that episode! My phonetic professor was the doppelgänger of Professor Higgins in My Fair Lady. Apart from being extremely demanding and not too sympathetic, he would also humiliate us, questioning our mastery of our own French language, when he was from Flanders, where Dutch is the first language.
“I believe Thomas was somehow connected with Flanders,” says Pocahontas.
“Thomas as in “Toma…to”? Sorry, heehee… Who is Thomas?”
“Until I left my homeland, he was the governor of “Virginia”: Dale.”
“Wow!” exclaims the young voice.
“Don’t tell me that you did not hear that girl now!” I say to Pocahontas.
“No, I did not. What girl? The one they called my fair lady? I must admit that sometimes I let my senses rest and it feels like they are aspired into empty space, like Sky Woman, of our origin story, when she is falling down…”
“London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down, London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady…” I sing.
“Oh, I have heard that song! Little boys and girls sometimes did a weird round dance around my statue while singing it after their Sunday Mass,” Pocahontas recalls. “They held hands above their heads to simulate a little bridge and allow the rest of dancers to go under the arch they formed. At some point of the song, when “my fair lady” came back in the lyrics, they stopped and took a “prisoner” between their lowered arms. It reminded me of my situation. I was kidnapped by the Englishmen and kept a prisoner to become their “fair lady”… At the end of the song, they mention the theft of gold, metal the Englishmen sought in my land, and then also a man who should be kept awake with tobacco, the sacred plant our two worlds understood in a completely different manner… Tobacco was the gift from First Woman. Through her sacrifice, her body gave us corn and her bones tobacco. My bones ended up here, but my soul did fly back home often. My surviving child Thomas, fruit of a forced relationship with that white man I’ve mentioned earlier, was left in this country too at first, to become fully British. I saw him in Spirit, he went back to our Native land, but fought his own maternal people in the end. I felt so much pain. But I find my solace in the fact that many people descend from me, through him, and I am sure that some of the mixed unions were full of love and happiness. I was supposed to be the bridge between two clashing worlds, allowing them both to live and thrive together. This was the purpose for me to be on this Earth, as I learned from Spirit. I did my best, I failed in the end… Terrible things happened to my people and to other people brought from other shores to work as slaves in the plantations of what was one of the most important gifts from Spirit: “Apook”, tobacco in my language. How wrong did many things go…”
I feel a bit stupid for singing that silly nursery rhyme when Pocahontas tells me about her tragic circumstances. I am extremely saddened by what I hear from the Beloved Woman. I am relieved to see that our “Spirit cruise” upriver is already in sight of London, and I tell her:
“Things are different now, you know… I believe humanity is headed to a better direction. It’s up to all of us though. Look! Speaking of bridges, here is Tower Bridge! I took a picture here during my first travel!”
“I know…” smiles Pocahontas. “I saw you crossing from here to the Tower of London. You were walking in perfect alignment with where my spirit wandered that day. I wanted to remember the visit Walter Raleigh and I paid to Thomas Percy, the Earl of Northumberland, renowned wizard who told me about his knowledge of magic and his alchemical experiments.”
“Percy? Oh wow! It was the name of that pug in your movie!” I exclaim.
“I beg your pardon?” asks Pocahontas.
“Well, maybe you are unaware of your current image in popular culture… Disney turned you into a true sex symbol, who was enamored with John Smith.”
“Who is Disney?” asks Pocahontas, whose presence feels so close that I sometimes forget that she is supposed to talk to me from the 17th century.
“He was a storyteller who told his stories with moving and talking images,” I explain. Even after he passed, his company went on telling stories, and you were the heroin of their movie #33. In the first part of their story about you, you were also friend with cute animals: a raccoon named Meeko, and a hummingbird named Flit. And in your great kindness you also adopted Percy, the pug of a greedy Englishman who had taught his dog aristocratic manners. After a while, the spoiled four-legged adapted to your ways and preferred to stay with you,” I explain.
“Oh, I see…” says Pocahontas somewhat perplexed. “Maybe that Percy succeeded at what the two-legged failed! Well, as for the human Percy I met here in England, he was imprisoned at the Tower because he had taken part in the Gunpowder Plot against King James. The Wizard was very nice to me though, and gifted me with the beautiful pearl earrings I wore for the portrait they made of me.”
“The ones you wear with that weird hat and heavy dress? I love those earrings! My mother had similar ones, and I would always borrow them from her. It is strange because usually I am not exactly fond of pearls, but those earrings appealed to me for some reason.”
“Pearls were dear to my heart,” adds Pocahontas, “because I was sent a pearl necklace by “chief Powhatan, my father” when he agreed about my marriage with the Englishman. He did not dare to come though, in case it led to a battle with the colonists.”
“And why did Percy give you those earrings?” I wonder out loud.
“He said that, like the pearl, even though we were living difficult times, both he in his prison and me in my remade personality, the particular dust peck that annoyed us would eventually turn into something beautiful. He said that it might take longer than we wished, maybe it would even come after our death, but that we should always focus on the Opus Magnum’s two main goals: to rescue the human soul and to save the Cosmos. How that man explained his views showed that he knew something about the ways of Spirit, and I liked it. He said that we would really be born again after descending into the darkest depths of a Night Sea Journey, the only way to discover “the Pearl of Great Price”.
“That is deep.”
“Yes, it was one of the few times, by then, that I had heard a White Man speak like the priests and medicine people of my world,” says Pocahontas. Then she laughs and adds: “But he also liked ladies so he said that pearls were right for me because I was a gem retrieved from the other side of the ocean, and that it reminded him of the origins of his own family. They also came from the other side of the water, although closer from here. He told me that the name “Percy” was a town in Normandy, France…”
“Once in Normandy I got lost in a corn field while riding a pony as dark as night…” I whisper. “I was a little girl and I rode bareback for the first time. I wore a red outfit. Oh my God, my skin was so white in contrast! I looked like milk spilled on an anthill, haha! I call that phase in my life “the times of my English female’s skin.”
“You shed skin like a snake?” asks Pocahontas.
“We could say so, yes. As a newborn baby I was pretty tan. Strangely enough, my mother was much whiter than me when she brought me to this world. Then I became as white as her during my childhood, to then change that color to darker again when I lived in Southern Spain. I must sound like a chameleon right now! But I am convinced that skin changes and does adapt to the climate.”
“It is true,” says Pocahontas. “I became whiter when I came to England. Some said that the artist who painted my portrait gave me a lighter tone on purpose, to show how “un-savage” I had become, but the climate did make me look more like English folks.”
“On that picture, little-me was in a patch of yellow corn,” I continue, “this tone adds up to red, black and white: the colors of the four winds… Oh, Colors of the Wind… This was a great song in the Disney movie that portrayed you, by the way. For some reason they had chosen a corn field as a symbolic separation in the middle of two realms, the English world and the Powhatan world. At some point of your teachings to John Smith, he mentions “gold”. When you ask him what it means, he describes it as being yellow, buried in the ground and very valuable, so you tell him that you have plenty in the Tsenacommacah, showing him corn. I thought it was a beautiful way to explain the differences in values between the two worlds.”
“I like it,” says Pocahontas.
“I am glad,” I say. “The lyrics (the words) of that song were very well chosen. You sing about the encounter of white and copper skins, and you tell Smith that even though he is boastful in many aspects, there are many things he does not know. Those things are mainly how to listen to the wind, the mountains, the animals, the rocks, the corn, the water…”
“It is exactly what I tried to teach him, yes! I told him that if he tried to walk in my moccasins he would admit that there were many things he never knew he never knew.”
“Impressive!” I say in awe. “These are the exact same lyrics… And now that I “remember to remember”, the song also mentions animal friends of yours like the otter and the heron… “The Heron” (Le Héron) is the name of that place where the black pony and I got lost in the middle of the corn. And I think that the otter is a symbol of adaptation because she dwells in two realms: land and water.”
“It seems that you are open to the true riches of this world and the magical winks from Spirit. That’s why I liked Percy too. Here at the Tower, he mentioned the otter, saying that his Celtic ancestors considered it one of the most sacred animals. I liked that he mentioned oak trees as his most sacred plant. It took me back home in Spirit. He also told me about the real objective of alchemists. Gold was not the ultimate goal. Wisdom and connection with Spirit were. Then he lost me when he talked about his estates in Great Britain, so I looked through the window and there you were, in that time marked 1987 in your calendar, staring at the “yeoman warder” who displayed his peculiar British humor… But you seemed more interested in the ravens of the Tower…”
“Yes, I think it was the first time I saw ravens wander around like here. I have experienced a beautiful shift in my relationship to ravens since I first came to New Mexico. Now I know that they watch over me, as if Odin himself had sent his magical birds to check on me periodically… I am impressed! It seems that you know more about me than I myself can recall! You know that Percy, “Earl” of Northumberland, reminded me that Audrey Hepburn’s father believed he descended from the Earl of Bothwell, third husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, the mother of King James.”
“I met King James too,” says Pocahontas. “What is more important for now is that you are seeing the numerous connections that Manito Aki has blessed us with.”
“¿Manito Aquí? ¿Quién? ¿Dónde?” I ask, since my brain goes to the (New Mexican) Spanish meaning of the words: “(little) brother (is) here”, another way to say that we’re all related.
“Manito Aki is the way my people talked about the realm of the Great Spirit,” explains Pocahontas. “You may remember that I mentioned four names when I introduced myself. My first name or clan name was Matoaka. Through Manito, I whispered the importance of that name to a writer from Laguna Pueblo.”
“From my beloved New Mexico!” I exclaim.
“Yes,” confirms Pocahontas.
“Believe it or not,” I say “but once I had a Pocahontas Barbie doll… I don’t even know how that doll ended up being mine. I don’t remember purchasing it, maybe I did, or maybe someone gave it to me. The thing is that I ended up turning the doll into a Pueblo woman: an Olla Maiden, to be precise, because I liked… YOU better that way. It was back in 2012.”
“Maybe the Pueblo author and I whispered that move from across the veil, because Paula’s soul had left her body four years before you turned “my effigy” into a Pueblo woman…” explains Pocahontas. “When she was alive I reached out to her because I felt she was the one who could show part of the magic of my time and world. One way was using the story of my names through their meaning in my language. She did a wonderful job. The name Matoaka, with the two syllables “ma” and “to” that always evoke a connection to Spirit, was a way to say that I was meant to be a Manito-Woman.”
“Oh…” I mutter in true wonder. “I love those initials: MW, they conjure up many personal things to me, but for now I am thinking of “Medicine Woman”, which is what you are telling me you were…”
“This is wonderful… I love to see that you work with symbols like we did at home, in the Tsenacommacah. I was supposed to pass that habit on to the chosen Englishman. It was my sacred purpose. I did my best… I did my best…”
“I am sorry, Pocahontas, well, Matoaka, I interrupted you while you were explaining the meaning of your names.”
“Do not worry, some interruptions are good because they enable us to share insights. So Matoaka has several meanings, as always when dealing with “the language of the birds”, as some of the alchemists I met here called. And birds did inspire my first name, because “matoak” also means ‘white bird’. White birds saved Sky Woman when she fell from the Sky to give way to the creation of Mother Earth as we know it. And since the prophecies had told us that the Englishmen would come and that it would threaten our way of life if we did not manage to “remake” them into family, I was signified to try to be the bridge that would unite two different people to establish a new world…”
“Brave New World…” I whisper.
“What did you say?” asks Pocahontas, who sounds a bit startled.
“Oh, it is a recurring sentence in several creations I like,” I answer.
“I heard that same sentence in a play that was called The Tempest. I felt that the only human female portrayed in it was a bit like me. She exclaimed “Brave New World” when she saw other Europeans for the first time since she and her father had been cast away on a remote island. You know, this is somewhat similar to what happened to my English husband. Their ship was caught in a tempest, and he lost his first wife and their newborn baby girl, Bermuda, who was named after the island where they landed after the shipwreck…”
“Just like my parents did with me,” says the first mysterious voice that Matoaka-Pocahontas seems to be deaf to.
“Then he and his traveling companions rebuilt three smaller ships from what was left of the first one, and they sailed away again, soon reaching my land, where John Rolfe brought tobacco seeds. Through marrying me, he was instructed in the ways of my people, to learn how to treat the sacred herb with respect. It was a great honor, only possible because we had become kin through marriage. However, after my death, his fellow Englishmen convinced him to understand his relationship with tobacco in terms of profit only, and the Colony thought of bringing Black people to work for them in the fields. How miserable it made me feel, from the other side of the veil!”
I don’t really know what I could say after that, apart from the fact that some people among the three groups did become kin in the end, but I remain silent. I think of one of the pictures I brought here with me: I am in front of a tobacco field in a Spanish village where I once lived, wearing bermuda shorts and mimicking a smoking moment. Pocahontas must somehow have “seen it” because she asks about that place.
“Where is it? Did you visit Virginia?”
“No, it was in Spain, I used to live there. The place was called “Cijuela”, a deformation of an Arabic word, “al siyula”, which means “little plain” (where “the rain mainly stays, in Spain”, haha!). They grew tobacco there. I liked seeing the “secaderos” among birch trees. They are long houses where the planters hanged tobacco leaves. They waited for them to dry, “secar” in Spanish, hence the name of those constructions that were our particular skyline. From time to time I would go to the music venue into which they had turned one of those old, long houses.”
“Long houses… It was the name the Englishmen gave to our yehakins, made out of birch branches and bark…”
“Old secaderos were made out of birch branches too,” I say. “In the Granada area we call that tree chopo.”
“So many connections confirm that we were meant to meet in Spirit! You know, the first time I saw you, when you were conversing with that “yeoman warder” at the Tower of London, back in 1987, I was also observing his uniform. In the suit’s red and black colors I saw the face paints of the men performing the ceremony that John Smith misunderstood. And the pattern on the man’s hat looked like some of the tattoos our men had on their shoulders. They made me think of what I would experience by our sacred falls, when I felt that I entered a spiral that would take me where Spirit dwells.”
“Looks like a bull’s eye to me,” says a new female voice, which I had not heard so far.
“Who was that?” asks Pocahontas / Matoaka.
“Oh, I am glad you heard this one!” I say in relief.
“Yes, I have heard her. And I can see her too! She wears turkey feathers, or maybe pheasant, but in a strange, random way, as if she had not had time to finish sewing one of the beautiful, long capes our men used for ceremony. Or maybe she tried to imitate my portrait but did not know which feathers to pick, haha!”
“Well, I did kill the birds and plucked their feathers myself, and I liked that costume even though some time ago I was made to feel ashamed of using it as a ‘costume’”, says the new voice who sounds a bit upset that Pocahontas / Matoaka is making a little fun of her. “It was back in 1919, at the Carolina Hotel in Pinehurst, North Carolina.”
“Pinehurst… Pines… What does that remind me of, here in London?” I wonder out loud. “Oh yes! The place where I stayed the first time I visited. Two friends and I stayed with a host family. They were not extremely friendly. I believe they had welcomed us mainly because they received some money in exchange. When I gave them the gift I had brought as a token of gratitude, they took it, did not open it, and closed the door of the living room, leaving us facing that closed door. When I finally decided to knock at that door again to ask if we could go outside to take an evening stroll before going to bed, they forbade us to do so “because there were thieves”…”
“Haha!” I hear my first mystery voice laughing, “Maybe they once were victims of my Robin Hood!”
I laugh too, and say that in that case their stolen riches must have been taken to a pine wood, because they lived on a street called The Larches.”
“Larches are very common in North Carolina,” says the “feather-voice”.
“Look at the house number…” whispers Pocahontas.
“What?” I ask.
“It is the year I died here in England…”
“Wow… This is strange,” I say. “And the stained glass of my bedroom seems to represent the path of the sun around a semi-circle or an arch… It reminds me of what you said about the day you died, something about the north and the sun… What was the calendar day of your death?”
“March 21st,” she answers.
“The equinox! Wow… Do you think that sun pattern on the window was Manito telling me to pay more attention, Pocahontas?”
“I do believe it was a sign that my soul was calling you in 1987, 370 years after I died, yes… ”
“87 is the year I was in London for my first trip overseas,” says the “feather voice”.
“What month in 1987?” I ask.
“No, I am talking about 1887,” she corrects me.
“Ah, oh… I see, haha! And were you wearing that feather costume then?”
“No, the feather costume –I called it “whimsical Indian costume”– was my choice for a Valentine’s Day costume ball.”
“What is Valentine’s Day?” asks Pocahontas.
“It is the day people celebrate romantic love,” I answer.
“They only celebrate love one day?” she asks.
“Good point,” I say. “Actually it has become more of a commercial celebration than anything else. Love in all its facets is felt every day…”
“So after monetizing the spiritual like what they did with Apook, they also did it with the emotional?”
“I couldn’t have put it better,” I acknowledge.
“The costume that… what is your name again, “whimsical Indian for a day”? asks Pocahontas before going on with her thread of thought.
“You can call me Phoebe…” says the feather-voice.
“So the costume that you wear, Phoebe, makes you look like you were performing in that “masque” I saw, “Visions of Delight”. It was Christmas Time.”
“And I was in a play on Christmas Eve!” says Phoebe. “It was in 1888. But it was not too successful…”
“That masque took place on what they call The Twelfth Night,” says Pocahontas.
“Oh, the twelfth night is what the English people call la Noche de Reyes…” I translate for myself while Pocahontas goes on evoking her memories.
“You know,” goes on Pocahontas, “on that Night, I thought that it was still possible to make the English people understand our ways, because the masque themes were similar to what we teach to our children. It showed the coming of spring, seasons, cycles, harmony and communication with spirits and the sky elders… I did not understand all the words, some were complicated and I had not learned them, but I understood the message and I loved the costumes and colors. I remember some lines by heart. I am better at that than the Englishmen, who need talking leaves for everything. At some point, a character named Delight said “from air, from cloud, from dreams, from toys, to sounds, to sense, to love, to joys”. I loved it, and it gave me faith and hope in my mission. I even thought that the one who had written that had seen part of my own vision that announced the encounter of our two worlds: when I saw the English ships for the first time, their sails looked like strange clouds to me.”
“So the Disney movie was right on that one…” I whisper from the inner.
“But the most important word,” she goes on, “was dream… Our society as a whole was based on Dreams and Dream-Visions. Our supreme chief, Wahunsenacawh, was named Powhatan too by the English, which was also the name they gave to our world and to the sacred waterfalls nearby the place I was born. They were sacred because we believed they were on one of the Spirit Lines Grandmother Spider has woven around the world. Water always enhances the senses of the dreamer, but some spots are more powerful than others. Any body of water does help in the connection with Manito Aki though, and it gave one great Powa, the energy that brings vision and insight. That is why I love traveling in Spirit with you as we follow the river. In reality Powhatan meant “People of the Dream-Vision”, and our chief was, first and foremost, the Chief Dreamer. In my most important Dream-Vision, I saw John Smith before he came, I saw that I had to try to teach him, I saw the future of what could be… I saw we could have been dreaming together. But maybe I just planted the seed for future lives to reap the fruit of that beautiful dream of togetherness.”
“I am sure you did,” I say with tears in my eyes. “I believe and I trust that this will be, Matoaka.”
“Thank you… she answers. Let’s leave this place now, please. The Tower was a prison after all, even though, here too, I feel that one of the Spirit Lines could run. Let’s go on a little land exploration!”
We hover over the gardens of the Tower of London and go west. Soon I notice the name of a small street: Lombard Street.
“The name takes me back to San Francisco,” I say. “That magical serpent-like street was so pleasant to stroll on. I did not know they had one in London too…”
“John, my English husband, told me that he had thought of contacting the Lombards to help in his endeavors in the colony, says Pocahontas. Those people from Lombardy were the main lenders at the time. At some point the pawn shops they owned became, instead of ‘Lombard houses’, ‘lumber houses’.”
“Lumber…” I repeat. “This is the name of a river I saw on a map of North Carolina. I believe early settlers called it Drowning Creek. I like to learn about archaeological work, and a lot was done on the banks of that river, in Robeson County. I think I learned about it in a history TV show about the Lost Colony of Roanoke.”
“I knew I had been called here for a reason!” whispers the first young voice in a sad tone.
“I like to see that you learn a lot about water,” Pocahontas tells me, again unaware of the other presence. “Do you see that dome further west? Let’s go there, this area is familiar to me, I want to show you something.”
“Saint Paul’s Cathedral? OK, let’s go. Oh look! Its name is on the ground. Maybe the line I see is in relation with those Spirit Lines you mention.”
As we reach the Cathedral, Pocahontas tells me that she was sure that the place where she and her husband stayed during their London visit was here somewhere on Ludgate Hill, but she could not quite spot it.
“Oh it’s too bad… Well, the conditions of that place were pretty bad too, the smell and filthiness were unbearable, but I wanted to show you the name of that place, because it was in French: “La Belle Sauvage” (the beautiful savage). People told me that it was meant for me, “the savage”, to stay there. It made me angry inside but I smiled, said thank you and left…
“Yes, sometimes I would do that too…” I say.
There are tons of things I could say about that. Should we speak up, talk back, remain silent, leave, confront… But I prefer, for now, to go on discovering aspects of the city that seem to underline the things that this person / these persons from the past and myself can share. So I look around and am attracted to an interesting building.
“What a weird-looking church across the street!” I say when we leave Ludgate Hill in direction of Fleet Street, named that way maybe because the river would reach that far when there was a flooding.”
“That shape reminds me of the image of a tower that Thomas Dale had drawn for me when he kept me prisoner,” says Pocahontas. “He said that he was copying a painting he had seen in Flanders before coming to England and then to my land. How did he call it again? The sound made me think of a way to say “to talk in a meaningless way”. That’s how he would always describe my first attempts at speaking English, making fun of my struggle with his complicated language. It starts with a “b”… It made him think of that tower because it was something mentioned in the talking leaves of their origin story: people started to misunderstand each other because they were condemned to speak different languages.
“Oh! You mean ‘to babble’, and the Tower of Babel! I think the name comes from Hebrew. It was a ziggurat built near Migdal or Magdala.”
“Yes what?” I ask.
“Yes what what?” asks Pocahontas. “I did not say anything…”
“My inner choir starts to be really crowded,” I sigh. “I thought I had heard a new voice reacting to my last words. Never mind… So let’s see how this strange-looking church is named… Saint Bride’s church.”
“That’s where mom and dad told me they got married!” says mystery voice #1, although I don’t even bother to react this time…
“I guess some brides are holy, yes… says Pocahontas, lost in her thoughts. “There is another church across Saint Brides’. Look, here: Saint-Sepulchre. I feel strong energy in this place, let me open to Manito Aki. That’s what I would do when I was in this country for the first time. Asking Spirit to help me understand the bigger picture of my role in the story of the encounter of two worlds…”
After some silence from her, in which I myself feel the strong energy that my Spirit friend mentioned, she exclaims: John!
“Which one?” I ask. “We mentioned at least three…”
“The one and only White Man I had seen in my Dream-Vision when I was a little girl: John Smith. He is buried here.”
I close my eyes and try to remember what I had read about the Jamestown Colony. Numbers come to my mind, and I see the Sun on its yearly path. I see two crosses too. One that is made of dancing numbers: 1, 6, 1 and 7, and another one made of the numbers 1, 6, 3 and 1. I understand that they represent the respective years of Pocahontas’ and John Smith’s deaths, 14 years apart.
“You know what’s strange?” I say. “You died on the spring equinox, and John died on the summer solstice… It seems that your encounter both in life and death definitely had to do with cosmic clocks.”
“I am so proud of you,” says Pocahontas. “And I am grateful too, that we can ponder about those things. You know, back to those “masques” we mentioned, we could say that Manito Aki is the ultimate playwright.”
“Yes,” I acknowledge. “I had a hard time admitting that, some time ago, but now I know it is true, and magical… Free-will actors acting on a script usually hidden to them…”
“Speaking of hidden, you did not tell me much about your own memories from England. What does come back to mind from your British walks? Is there anything familiar near here?” asks Pocahontas.
“Yes!” I answer. “The British Museum; I came here twice. The first time was with my English language class. I took a picture of a statue of Buddha and of an Egyptian mummy, the inner coffin of Priestess Henutmehyt. Her coffin also contained mummified fowl, as sustenance for the afterlife.
“I would like to learn more about that one day,” says Pocahontas.
“Me too,” I say. “Isn’t it ironic that they call it “British” when it displays items from the whole world, which, many times, were stolen from their original owners? Colonization at its “best”… You know when we were mentioning the (brave) new world? Now I remember that it was the title of a temporary exhibit that had a special collection of the museum on display in 2007: drawings by a member of that Lost Colony, well, the only one who did not get lost actually: John White.
“I knew I needed to follow these ladies!!” exclaims the mysterious voice.
I pretend that I did not hear that, even though it starts to be really conspicuous and I wonder why that voice keeps coming over and over again. I finish my sentence to Pocahontas, telling her that John White’s drawings gave a good idea of what life looked like for the Native people of her time and a bit earlier, in what is now known as North Carolina.
And I go on evoking memories.
“I visited the museum again in a third trip in 1989, with friends from college. You know, now that I think of it, that third trip was partly “because of your Native land”, Pocahontas. We had met people from Virginia and North Carolina one evening in Brussels. They were touring Europe and had a pied-à-terre in London. We thought it was a good excuse to go visit them to see the city again! Who knows… Maybe they are among the many descendants of your son Thomas!”
“Oh! I would love that!” says Pocahontas.
“Me too,” I add. “When we were there on that third trip, I remember we visited Madame Tussauds. It was my second time there.”
“What is special there?” she asks.
“Let’s see… When you mentioned those “masques”, I guess the actors did wear masks. Well, in this case, Madame Tussauds displays wax representations or “effigies” of famous people. On that third visit, I took a picture of one of my friends with the human and “toon” characters of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Since we mentioned your own toon character earlier, it is an interesting reminder of how sometimes reality intermingles with fiction, which is the whole purpose of the museum actually… On my first visit there, I took a picture with the effigy of… “Barracuda”, as this African-American actor, Mr. T, was named in French in a series called “the A Team”. A barracuda is a very common fish of Bermuda, right? That’s a reminder of the place where the tempest took your husband and his first family…”
“You are seeing the right connections again,” Pocahontas says in a very low voice.
“Thank you. Don’t you think barracudas look like sea dragons? Who knows, maybe there were some dragon-looking fish “hiding” in the waters of the Hyde Park pond where we took a break after Madam Tussauds. After all it’s called the “Serpentine”, and in French “Serpentin” means “streamer”, those spirally ribbons one uses at parties or New Year’s Eve. Where did you see that “masque” at Christmas by the way, Vision of Delight?”
“At Whitehall Palace,” she says.
“Oh I was there too! We visited it during the first trip. I took pictures of the changing of the guard. Seeing the horses in the heart of the city made one feel like we were back in time, maybe your time!”
“Haha! I liked seeing the horses too, when we were traveling by carriage. Those carriages were quite something,” says Pocahontas. “I was excited to ride them by then, thinking that it would bring me some of the fresh air of my home, but even with the speed one could not get rid of the stench of filthy streets… The River Thames was in a pretty bad shape too. People were far from bathing daily like we did at home in the river! Even at Windsor, the air did not smell exactly good either…”
“I was at Windsor too! And one of the few pictures I took was at the stables, by a carriage.”
“I believe it is the one that was used for the latest marriage in date in the British royal family: Prince Harry recently married an American woman of mixed African descent. You see, the human family is becoming more and more open to skin rainbows… There is hope! Speaking of royalty, when we met our Virginian friends in Brussels, we had taken a picture in front of the statue of Queen Elisabeth.”
“Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen?” Pocahontas and Mystery Voice #1 ask at the same time.
“No, Elisabeth of Bavaria, the Nurse Queen,” I clarify. She was the consort of King Albert I of Belgium, and also the niece and namesake of the famous Empress Elisabeth of Bavaria, nicknamed Sisi. Elisabeth share with the Belgian citizens her taste for the arts, Medicine and History, especially Egyptology; she was in the Valley of the Kings when they opened the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1923.”
“The pharaoh who married his half-sister… That can be dangerous sometimes,” says the fairy queen.
“Speaking of which,” I say, “King Albert, Elisabeth’s husband, had told Belgian Egyptologist Jean Capart that he shouldn’t tell His Royal wife about something dangerous, because she would be the first one to show up! We owe Capart the Belgian Association of Egyptology, and he named it after the Queen. She also visited New Mexico with her husband. On October 19, 1919, 10,000 people witnessed their visit. At Isleta Pueblo, they watched the traditional dances by Pueblo people from Isleta and Laguna, the pueblo of the author who heard your Spirit whispers, Pocahontas!”
“Her name was Paula Gunn Allen,” says Pocahontas.
“Hmn, well, if I were you, I would stick to my Gunn” says the feathered one…
“Haha! That was funny,” I say, before going on stating what I remember of the anecdote. “I am noticing that the pueblos from which came the dancers that day share, in their names, a relationship with water. I like that. The Queen must have liked the dances very much because she took pictures of the dancers with her favorite Kodak camera. Before the royal couple’s departure, “the Padre of Isleta”, Father Anton Docher, who was given the Cross of the Order of Leopold, gave them a turquoise and silver cross made by their Puebloan hosts.”
“Soon you will see my islet in the lagoon that turned green…” says the fairy in chief. “Keep on connecting the dots… and move on to the next memory-pebble we left for you to find your way in our amazing time maze…”
I gladly obey her.
“Connecting the dots, she says. Well, right now, the mention of the Queen’s camera inspires me. Kodak… I remember pictures from my first and second trip, a picture by night and another by day. They were taken under the Kodak sign at Piccadilly Circus! I always wondered what ‘Piccadilly’ means, actually.”
“Piccadills were the large, broad lace collars like the one I wear on that portrait we mentioned earlier,” explains Pocahontas.
“So there you were again, of course” I tease Pocahontas. “We always come full circle, the first meaning of “circus” actually. My caption for the night picture is “féerie” (fairyland). I had no idea by then how accurate it was! Maybe the neon signs are actually made of pixie dust,” I joke.
“I think the water of the fountain under the light signs told you about the fairy realm too,” says Pocahontas.
“It is called Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain,” I say.
“Be still, my HEART! I knew this endeavor would be fruitful,” whispers the fairy in chief.
“Now that I know how to decipher the talking leaves, or panels in this case, I am noticing the word “Samuel,” says Pocahontas. “Samuel Argall was the man who took me on his ship twice: once to keep me prisoner in Jamestown and then Henrico, and the second time to bring me here to his home country, in the east. And look, that’s what it says: Eastman!”
“I like to see what messages hide in plain sight too,” I say, “and I am also very visual. It definitely seems that Piccadilly was hinting at transatlantic journeys. Just above the letters ‘NY’ (as in New York) of the word SANYO, the Statue of Liberty is “under the spotlight” of the capital K of Kodak! And the neon sign is on the Northern side of Piccadilly Circus, so the statue is actually looking west, aka home, America! The statue did not exist yet when you left your land, but now it has become the most emblematic image of that important city, which is nicknamed the Big Apple!”
“I should invite her to my Island too, then…” says the fairy in chief.
“Wait a minute,” I say… “The statue is the first thing you see in a movie from that time period. Let me check the pictures of my third trip. YES! Look at this: Working Girl was playing during my third trip! The first thing one sees after the Statue of Liberty, in the opening credits, is the Staten Island Ferry. Wow! I love those winks. It’s as if the movie was calling me already to come to the States. Fairy / Ferry work indeed… Like what happened when I saw you at the beginning of this Spirit trip. The soundtrack of the first images of Working Girl is also very appropriate for today’s adventure: Let the River Run!”
“Then we should run west too!” says Pocahontas. “So tell me, when did you honor the “Picadill” invitation to go to my land?” asks Pocahontas.
“I waited 10 more years… I finally crossed the ocean for the first time in the summer of 1997,” I answer.
“But of course!” she says. “I was born in 1597!”
“But of course…” I repeat in awe. “May I call you Spirit Sister?” I ask.
“You may,” smiles Pocahontas.
As my “Spirit Sister” and I leave London, still following the river’s course, our minds meander as the water does, “rewinding” all the miraculous coincidences that we have mentioned since we decided to take such a strange journey together. All of a sudden, Pocahontas asks me to pause briefly, because she wants to show me where she spent some time at one of the “wizard”’s properties: Syon House, in Brentford.
“It felt good to live here,” she says, “in comparison with the city. The air was pure, the water too, and I could relate a bit more to the life I had left back home. Isn’t it a lovely spot?”
“It is beautiful, yes,” I agree. “Look! Your name is still here on a poster on this window! ‘Borders Crossing: Origins. Pocahontas and after’
“That is nice,” she says. “Although it feels like they are still retaining me. I would like to go home for good… Let’s move on. We should see Plymouth soon…”
“As you wish,” I say.
We go on traveling upriver. At some point it takes a steep bend to the North, and the fairies play with the light reflections again when we are close to Dorchester. The water surface is illuminated with four letters: I-S-I-S.
“From this point on, call the river ‘the Isis’, for this is her rightful name,” says the Fairy in chief.
The river is getting smaller and smaller, despite her new goddess name, and soon we can no longer follow the stream. We have reached Cotswolds, where ‘the Isis’ takes her source. The air is filled with salt, we are close to the Bristol Channel that opens its way into the ocean. Pocahontas is filled with joy.
“I am so happy to be here. Let’s fly south, we should be seeing Plymouth soon. However, I remember that I had seen a beautiful, old tower on a hill from the carriage, when we were on our way to London. I would like to stop by if we can find it.”
The minute Pocahontas says those words, we are taken in a whirlwind, a vortex that makes it impossible to control our “flight”. After a while, we land atop a green, lush hill that looks like a gigantic eye whose iris is a medieval tower.
“Be my guests here at Ynys Wydryn, the old Isle of Glass,” says the fairy. “I told you that you would be seeing my special Islet soon…”
I am a bit confused still there is no island that I know of in the area. The sea is southwest of here. The fairy who reads everyone’s thoughts corrects me:
“Get rid of your limiting relation to the present,” says the fairy. “What are now marshes and meadows were a real lagoon back in our glorious day. We are still here, but few people can really see us, although they know about us and keep on calling us mythic creatures. This green oasis is where the rainbow serpent has chosen to anchor one of her precious scales. Here where the Spirit Line of Pocahontas’s world are far from being dead, here where the heart dwells, here where you can really see with the heart only…”
“Like the Little Prince,” I whisper and close my eyes, suddenly feeling exhausted by the soul flight.
“Yes, I thought my Prince would come here first,” says the one who had risen from the depth of mystery when Pocahontas and I mentioned the beginning of men’s misunderstandings when their language ceased to be one. “But he refused to appear in this realm, maybe because this is too close to the gate that leads to the immensity from which he came. So he waited till I trusted enough to let my heart lead me to the place where I would regain my memory, where I could finally be me, in all the shining facets of my ancient dreams, which I always shared with him. His teasing or his seriousness took turn in leading me where I should be. I closed my eyes and surrendered to destiny, which led me to dwell by a place whose name remembers Pocahonta’s fowl story. Here, near Swan-Sea, many times under gray skies, I would mumble my beloved’s name, until one day, finally, he reappeared to visit me in my little house and reversed the curse that had made him ask me not to touch him. There he was, by the sea, in the clouds, in the rain, and his love shone on me like diamond dew drops on my rose garden.”
I open my eyes again, moved by the beautiful image this female voice is building, and I find myself… with my thumb on a hose as I water my garden! So all this was a daydream under the hot New Mexican sun? As I start to wonder about what has just happened, I hear a giggle among the rosebush leaves. “This is June already, but since we are not frail British roses who fear April, we chose to give you our best fountains as birthday presents on that month. Now you are returning the favor by walking that dream that blossomed in you. Look around you, and you’ll know if your dream was real, or your reality a dream…” I thank my roses and turn around to water the mulberry tree. Among its branches, I catch sight of a robin who has just stolen a juicy, black berry. So here’s my little thief, my winged robin hood…
I smile and greet him, telling him that he can eat all the berries that he wants, if he promises to come back from time to time to sing about that mysterious Henry Berry Lowrie… He flies away whispering “yes”. In the apricot tree facing the mulberry buddy, a raccoon tries his best to hide behind his black eyes mask, but my lone hummingbird betrays his presence as he ‘flits’ around, inviting him on a secret adventure. I let the two of them explore unknown realms while I check on the baby corn, a confirmation that I indeed “live on Gold”. The “dead wood” that was scattered in the garden is finding new avenues of existence and is ready to be reinvented anew, while the petunias smile a pink grin that tells me that all the nightshades are kin with Apook. In the front yard, the rosemary bushes open their arms to light and water as they thank me for their daily shower under a sun who draws flaming rainbows with every drop, building a bridge over the cherry sage to reach out to ephemeral iris.
So many lights and shadows embracing purple Iris when the Sun does court her…
Promise of a Contract of True Love to Celebrate…
I turn off the faucet / Robinet and smile when the name ‘Plymouth’ winks at me from the water manhole. It is time to go back inside the casita. I bend under the pomegranate tree, heavy with the promise of an abundant harvest of its fruit of Paradise, and I open the door. I am greeted by the seed mural peacock I received from a friend whose gem name takes me back to the green heart where my Spirit sisters and I found our best secret garden.
To them I vow to never again neglect any garden. I had locked up that sacred garden and had not taken care of its magic for ages and ages. I was not even aware that my garden suffocated, like Pocahontas in her English gown in the polluted and filthy streets of London, so I blamed my own polluted streets and the pollen around me for my asthmatic condition. Today my new garden has told me that by nurturing what you love, you also nurture yourself. Today the reawakened magic of my relationship with the elements of this Earth asks me to also encourage you, reader, to clear, upcycle and repurpose the “dead wood” of your own garden to soon experience the bliss of curtains and fountains of roses. At times you will feel like a baby in an adult body, like the he-ro of Avatar who has to learn so much from his alien tea-she-cher, alien version of Pocahontas. However, never hesitate to embrace the new dawn of possibilities; take each and every baby step as un don divino, a divine gift.
And you’ll hear the music of your own heart song, and you’ll see the dream lines of Spirit open a new path for you, the true path for you, there where grandmother trees can talk and old mountains can see.
When you are humble enough to recognize how bold you once were, recommending a GPS for the heart to the one who needed no artificial compass to read the tiniest hints of your soul, when you accept to silently observe and learn foreign ways to learn things that you never knew you never knew, when you learn to run with legendary does by invisible rivers in the sky, when you learn to decipher the mirror language of messenger birds, then and only then will you be ready to release them into the open skies of endless possibilities, then and only then will you touch the rainbow waiting just around the river bend.
When you believe in magic, it never leaves you again, it talks to you daily and makes your dreams come true. This is the real, secret, sacred garden that you should always tend to, because once you cherish it, life will always smile at you, connecting you in so many ways with beautiful souls who resonate with yours and wish to paint in your skies, with the colors of the wind, the face you most cherish, in its constant shapeshifting and patient unveiling of thousands of you’s. If you know which hints to listen to, you will see that special one emerge back from the Isle of Glass floating at one of the bends of your soul river, with a smile so bright that it will instantly tell you that time has come to take you home, there where the heart is, there where they see you in the only way we should always be seeing: with the heart.