I never reached the end of the woods, at the end of the street where we lived in Smithville, Ohio. Still, to this day, that home is amongst my favorite of the many places I have lived. The house, which had all the bedrooms along one side, was huge and open from kitchen to living room, except for a see-through fire place in the middle. It was surrounded by trees, and had a steep hill leading down to Sugar Creek. Across the creek was the town park. Huge by my child's sense of proportions. I love the feeling of space and openness of the park, especially after coming out of the woods. There was something coddling about immersion in trees, and something freeing about coming out of them and into the open park.
Decades later, the first time I walked what would become Harmony Farm in NE Kansas, my bones felt a kinship with this place in Ohio where so much of my adult life and pursuits were staged, including music and adventure. There is a pavilion in those woods now, but back in the early 70's, it was only uninterrupted trees. A big oak tree that dad had hung a tire swing from, and the huge 6 person tree house he had built next to it, was the edge, beyond which wildness expanded.
Looking at it now, it seems pretty small. Yet that playground is where I learned to love the sound of leaves on the ground in the fall. We played in piles of them, built snow forts, and wandered endlessly. I say we, but in reality, I spent a lot of time doing these things by myself, alone in the woods. I remember a few times I pushed beyond my farthest point, but I never did find the outer limit to the East of these woods. Like the cloaked figures in Shyamalan's The Village, I rarely ventured past my self-created perimeter, and the few times I did, distinctly remember that pit in the bottom of my stomach that comes when I think or dream of falling.
We spent hours in Sugar Creek and the park. We had a rock path we made to get across without getting wet. One day while working on it, I picked up a stone too big for my little body, and when i set it down (dropped it?), split two fingers wide open. I remember seeing this weird inside-stuff broiling out of two jagged tears in my finger tips. I had to get stitches, and to this day, still have the reminders. That experience didn't stop me from doing this work though.
Nearly 50 years later, I am still doing it at Harmony Farm. My Sun Temple has 42 erect standing stones, gathered from the property.
The Moon Temple has a 2,000 pound heart stone in it's center. And a stacked stone Inuksuk stands as an iconic guardian at the entrance to my property.
There are countless other stones I have moved around the place, and my relationship with them is, and will always be special, and it all began with that stone in Sugar Creek that taught me respect. A few years ago, I got my fingers caught between a large paving stone, brought from the creek, and the bed of my Kawasaki Mule. To this day, my left index finder still isn't quite as nimble as it could be. Every so often a stone reminds me to be present and collaborate with them rather than just try to man-handle them. I recently moved a few hundred pound Sioux Quartzite. I just picked it up and walked it about 50 feet. My equilibrium felt twisted for a while, but my body loves this kind of work. And more importantly, the healing properties of Sioux Quartzite are now in the right place helping to ground and anchor my house.
On my vision quest outside of Taos, NM, I lay belly down on a large table stone in the middle of my prayer-tie circle. I asked the stone why it was so hard. It's answer was clear and surprising: "I am not so much hard, as I am infinitesimally slow compared to you humans." The next deep breath I took seemed to actually sink into the stone. Suddenly, I felt like it was I, and not the stone, who was the hard one. And when I take the time to slow down to the speed of stone, we do wonderful things together. They reveal their inner secrets, and actually help me move them.
A few years back, I smashed a stone with a sledge hammer. It took hundreds of blows. I did this because, when James Jared of Stardreaming outside of Santa Fe New Mexico told me the story of how there is information stored in stones that it is now time for them to release, this stone cried out loudly to me from my property in Kansas. Inside when the stone finally broke, I found a small crystal. Like an ancient computer chip. There was only one, and it was free to give what it had stored for millions of years. The rest of the pieces now line the inner circle of my labyrinth, setting a powerful a sacred energy, held by this stone that gave all of itself.
I have connected with so many stone people over the years. In my first "spiritual portal," near my 2,000 year old Bristlecone Pine Grandmother, amazing sentinels stand watch over a community that dates back millions of years. For years I made a pilgrimage to this place, and still go there often in my mind. It is a special place.
Everywhere I go, I am drawn into collaboration with stones, rocks, and minerals. They have much to teach a willing student, child and adult alike. Some teachings leave scares, while others heal.