Sunday, October 30, 2005

Halloween and All Soul's Night Greetings

To mark All Soul's Night I took a ride with Baba, in her black swan, to the Isle of the Dead and met the Queen of the Serpents who guards the entrance to the underworld. I took a small vile of pure Castalian Water, collected at Delphi and we drank to creativity. The Serpent has blessed all travellers on the Soul Food Silk Way.

While Travellers celebrate Halloween and All Soul's Night le Enchanteur wanders deeper into the Serpent Queen's Cave, on the Isle of the Dead, to see her world. She is dazzled by the beauty of the Queen and her Treasury. The Queen has secrets to share.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

A Halloween Tale...

Or, how little children should mind their elders.

The laughter of children echoed through the pastoral valley. Life here in a community too small to have it's own name ran at a pace all it's own. If it was not for the inhabitants growing old and the occasional birth of a baby one would swear life stood absolutely still. You could think that, but you would be wrong.

Days were spent tilling the soil, looking after animals and keeping house. There was but one road going both in and out of the valley. No crimes had ever been committed here, and though a few of its inhabitants had moved out, they were few in number. It was by all accounts a life of pleasant routine.

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Not too many people had ever lived here, judging from the graveyard there were more than 300 souls gone to the afterlife from here. Roughly that’s one citizen for every year of the valley’s 300 year life. No-one remembered who founded the settlement or in what year but the first death was recorded in 1706 a Bryce Sand, no indication if it was a male or female Bryce Sand nor what this person did for a living. A life with as little to make it remarkable as each passing day here.

So it came as a great shock that grey October day that three little boys, two brothers and their friend, went missing. October days were slow and lazy, the harvest was already put away and shared with neighbours. The children were all home schooled together at Miss Miller’s house, all twelve of them, just as they had been since Miss Miller was about twenty and she'd be nearly eighty now. The great love of her life had died in one of the great wars and she was unable to commit herself to any other man. Instead she vowed to educate every child born in this valley to be upright and peaceful so there would be no more wars. She was bent over, heavy with the knowledge of all the wars that had come since making the great promise to herself. Still she should be proud of herself, for in the valley itself life had gone without any fights, without any incident whatever.

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The citizen’s in the valley had counted themselves out of every census in living memory, no wars were funded by this valley and they had no need for federal services, they could look perfectly well after themselves. There was no police, no jail, no court.

They should have been in school that day, that John and Jack and their friend Luke. Somewhere between Miss Miller’s and home the boys had gone missing. Miss Miller had assumed the boys had taken ill with the cold or flue and since the valley had no telephone it was no immediately checked on. No one could have thought it would be anything else.

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It was something else. That morning the three had met up as usual. Luke had shared some of his cake with the other two. They had chatted about the new foal at the Miller’s. White horses were born only very rarely in the valley. God seemed to favour brown for horses.

They were nearly halfway to the old schoolhouse when all three heard something. None of them knew what it was exactly, only that no one they knew had a voice anything like it. Still, whatever of whoever it was, was asking for help and the all three knew what needed to be done. They needed to go and see if they could help and if they could not they should fetch someone who could.

There was a small patch of forest where the voice emanated from. A little forests on the east side of the valley before the river. A small brook ran through it and the boys knew there were caves in this forest up against the hillside which were dangerous. The caves were from a long, long time ago, before the families had moved here, when other strange people had lived here. Inside the caves there were paintings of large cat life animals and lizards such as no one had seen ever in real life. Those were stories of course, in modern times no-one had dared go into the caves because they knew it was dangerous and everyone was quite happy without having any danger in their lives.

The boys ran into the forest, convinced that there was hero business to be done. They had long talked of being like super heroes, able to fly, to save the innocent from harm. Maybe this was their day to become heroes. That was a far as they had thought it out. They ran from one direction to the other as the voice seemed to change a great deal. At last they were exhausted and could not run any longer.

John had blisters on his feet and was complaining a lot. Luke was hungry and had started his lunch sitting on a large rock by what might have been an opening to a cave.. Jack had not quite run out of energy and paced up and down the path kicking stones. He kicked one rather hard and it went flying. They heard a small scream, it cam from right over Luke's head. It was a very good thing that the three had used the bathroom before leaving home or all three would have been standing there in wet pants.

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There sitting perched on an old stump, over the cave opening, was the strangest creature. It wasn't very big but it was very odd looking. It had very large lizard-like eyes, and it's skin was a little scaly like a fish. It's hands or where one would have expected to see hands were talons like covered to the nails with small feathers. Feathers, I kid you not. They would have gasped or screamed for sure, but they had no breath at all, not for that moment. They scarcely caught one breath before the next fright.

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Just behind the three, standing on another stump, stood another just like it. This one was a bit larger with a very round belly. They struggled to scream. They were starting to turn a little bluish from not breathing. Finally breath came and they let out a blood curdling scream which was met by another as the two strange looking creatures screamed too.

The earth shook a little and they were silent. "oh no." said the sitting creature. "Oh no," echoed the second creature. "What, what, WHAT?" screamed the three boys, no longer sure what they should fear more and their feet still frozen to the forest floor. They shot glances between the two creatures and each other. The booming continued, the earth shook and there was a thunderous sound coming form everywhere at once. The little grey creatures with the big eyes were no less frightened than the boys, actually they seemed more afraid and were turning strangely pale.

The sun seemed to appear and disappear and a twirling whooshing sound was overhead they dared look, they might as well, they were no able to run and screaming had not made anything go away. What they saw was beyond belief. Meaning that if they told this story to anyone they would be laughed at for making up ridiculous lies. Still there it was, a large flying reptile with wings and eyes a fiery orange colour, it had a split long tongue which flitted before them, and talons with long brown nails.

One of the little grey creatures looked up clasping it's hands, well whatever passed for hands, and pleaded, "let us go, we meant no harm". A booming voice came from the great lizard, or it might have been a dragon if you don't consider fire breathing important. "Get away from the humans, or you will have to deal with me. The two ran away into the cave. The dragon, to call it something for the sake of argument a dragon will do, perched above the cave opening, he shook his head and mumbled, "halloweenies."

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Now he gazed straight at the boys who had just found their feet and were bouncing around a bit trying to figure out where to run to. "Get out of my forest, the lot of you." The boys ran and clamoured all the way up the hill to where the graveyard stood but the dragon followed them out. No matter where they ran the beast was not far behind. "Climb into this tree", yelled Jack. Which is where they were headed to, the biggest tree in the valley. Unfortunately, just as they were nearly there they were caught except for Jack as the dragon swooped down and caught them with his brow talon nails.

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The dragon had miscalculated and a wing clipped into the old oak and all four of them tumbled down back to front and front to back and out they fell right in front of Miss Miller's one room school house. Well the boys thought they were safe. Miss Miller was not scared of anything they knew that and surely she would come out of the house running with her cane and thump the dragon on his scaly behind too.

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Miss Miller did not. She stayed in and did not even open the door for them. The dragon righted himself and lumbered over them. His talon reached out and the boys cringed. Well they thought they were dragon kibble right about then. They were too tired to scream or cry.

"Never," said the dragon poking Luke with his talon, "never go into the forest without an adult, those halloweenies play tricks on you, and since you'd eaten all your goodies already you'd have had nothing to pay your way out with. I am getting too old to keep saving lost children from halloweenies, sprained ankles and sick stomachs from eating the wrong mushrooms." He stood up and looked his most fearsome. "If I see you in the forest again I will let the halloweenies have you." and with that he rose up, flapped his wings and flew off back to his forest.

"Did you see that miss Miller, did you see the dragon?"
"No, didn't have my glasses on. No one else saw it because school is out and they are all gone home. Besides," said Miss Miller, "there is no such thing as dragons and no-one will believe you. Next you'll ask me to believe there are creatures called halloweenies in the forest who tricked you? No boys, you were loafing off in the forest where it is dangerous, now go home and stay on the path."

They did stay on the path and never did they see the dragon or the halloweenies again. That was on October the 31st, coincidence?

Friday, October 28, 2005

Never Forgotten

Song of Eternity: Circles in the Sun

(With Love, For Megan)

I have finally finished my paintings for Megan.
This first one is a little bit dark,
but there is color and sweetness in the darkness,
which is the way of it, I suppose.

Song of Life: Sweetness and Thorns

Monday, October 24, 2005

Gnomes and Goosebumps

There was a good lot of squabbling out on my balcony last night. Yet, every time I was out there trying to find the source of disgruntlement I could find no one. I slept fitfully, my subconscious still trying to work out who might be jabbering out there and why.

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Finally at about seven I could take no more. This time they were caught. Three unclothed gnomes with goose-bumps complaining about the night and "when are we getting those clothes we were promised anyway?" I was ten past tired and not willing to get into it right then right there. I would do something about it.

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After grabbing another couple of hours of "lie down" and rest up, i grabbed the three naked gnomes and the one suited up and planted them inside where it was quite warm. Before I could paint them the goose-bumps would have to disappear.

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I am in some part to blame for having ignored the balcony pretty much since the weather got colder. The continued blooming of the flowers, however kept me from thinking about impending winter. It really is quite amazing how much is still in full bloom and it is almost November.

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After taking the dog for a walk I took out my paints. Gwendolyn had been the most vocal about being cold, something to the effect of "I'm freezing my tits off". In keeping with her temperament I dressed her in red. She practically jumped up and down with excitement when I held the mirror up so she could see. "Can I have red flowers in my hair? Pretty please." Well, how could I refuse, and off course shoes to match were next. Red was absolutely right for her. A white furry colour would keep her "tits" from freezing off.

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Missy wanted a blue dress and purple fur trim. I was about to paint a matching set of blue shoes when she screamed at me "Stop, Aletta, mine should be red shoes too, I've always wanted red shoes." I could understand that, I've never met a girl or woman who did not want one pair of sparkling red shoes "just because". We rarely get them as little girls because red does not match enough of our daily wardrobes, it is frivolous and parents favour the sensible brown, navy or even white shoe. So Missy had her red shoes even though she hasn't any red clothes on. Her bright green hat is now trimmed in lilac fur to match the dress coat.

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Paully had waited patiently for the girls to be dressed. He and Petey were enjoying the view of the two ladies dressing up. The girls seemed to appreciate the attention and it certainly wasn't rude so I kept myself to task and did not bring it up. "I like the white, could I keep the white hat?" I did my best to please and gave him what might best be described as a blend of reverse Santa and classic "commedia del arte" clowns. Looking bright eyed and warm he asked, "White shoes please." "No problem Paully."

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"Ready to go back outside now?" All four replied in chorus "yes, please." Gnomes are very polite. I carried the four outside and sprayed them with a warm coat of glossy finish. "now you are rainproof as well." The little sparrows who live on my balcony chirped their admiration for the new duds. Not wanting to leave them behind in my attentions I remarked that their winter feathers were looking beautiful and extra fluffy this year.

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I took another look a little while ago, their little shiny faces looked very happy and not one of them had goose bumps any more. "You won't be making noisy conversation tonight will you?" There was giggling and a resounding "No marm." So now I can contently put up my feet and know that I have not neglected those who depend on me.

Pregnant With Possiblity

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The Amazon Queen takes her place on the Golden Chair, expectant, filled with a sense of creative possibility.

A Fairy for Brigitte

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This is my niece's fairy, as I'd painted one for each of her two sisters. Brigitte was very happy with her fairy. The fairy looks a little like her, purely intentional and by some happy coincidence yellow is Brigitte's favourite colour. Her next older sister Phoebe remarked that now I will have to paint a pixie for her brother, he cannot be left out. She darted into her room and brought me a book which showed pixies (somehow she sensed I had not a clue what might be3 the male counterpart of a fairy). She kindly offered to lend me the book until the painting was finished


Unable to sleep last night I finished a drawing/study for the sculpting I intend on doing next week. Even if it means booking off from other engagements. The base is rocklike because I intend for it to be an actual rock on which I will, using it as the base, sculpt in terra cotta clay with a wire frame for the figures. I will use metal to bond the two on the surface, probably in a dark patina.

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Spirit Tree

This tree spotted on my way to the pharmacy looked as though there were a person or maybe two trapped inside.

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Feeling aittle worse for wear.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Dolly dreams

Obviously hosting animated gifs myself won't work because I have insufficient bndwidth, but imageshack will host up to 1MB gifs no problem. so now you know. I used the animation feature in Jasc Paint Schop Pro 7.0 to make the gifs I post here.

My cat Stimpson, missing his favourite hug-dolly Jamaica to take naps with, is having dolly dreams.

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