Monday, February 09, 2009

In search of the Chamrosh

Another place between this town and that is a skinny little canyon. Before we got to the Canyon, my daughter's little legs gave out...but our walk wasn't for naught. What began as a normal walk in the High Desert became something else all together:

A very large juniper tree really touched my heart. About halfway up the tree, all of the branches, at some point, had come crashing down into the earth, leaving it looking like an umbrella not put up all the way. According to the Victorian Flower Oracle, Junipers are associated with the meanings of protection, sanctuary, safety and preservation. This tree gave that association a whole new meaning. It was like a touchable Celtic Knot. I adored it! The first picture was standing outside with wonder, then I got inside, and was absolutely amazed at the textures, the darks and lights, the twisting, the wrapping, the knotting. Absolutely beautiful.
They all seemed to be grabbing and in action. Though the air was still, the limbs were almost frantic with motion, like a thousand-tentacled water creature. The more I looked at this scene from inside the branches, the more mesmerized I became. I think I could've sat for a good while, watching the twisting and motion. I kept thinking that whenever I looked away it was moving and supple, and when my eyes were on them they had to freeze up in their silvered bark. From this scene, I finally turned to look at the main trunk, and this is what I saw: the sun perfectly framed in the window between the trunks. I played up the light in this one, but not much. I was amazed, to say the least, to see the aura around the sun like that in the photo. It was so bright, the rest of the inside was very dark, so I lightened that part, and it has become a kind of magical photo, don't you agree?! One thing I have always done since I was little was to see "spirits" in every natural thing...faces, or wings, or evidence of fairies. In this one, I'd like to think I see a kindly dog-type animal on the left, peering out with one soft eye. Of course the branches hanging down made me think of tiny fairies...again, frozen in silver and brown bark when I look at them, but moving and animated when I glance away. I have a veeeery active imagination...can you go with me on it?

I don't pretend to know what branches do when I am not around, but this upended root system seem to be suspended in some sort of battle, don't you think? I had to make it black and white to help you see it the way I do. Do you see a kind of alligator creature with his great maw of a mouth open as his head is inside the mouth of another kind of elephant-like creature...oh dear. I know how crazy that is sounding all of the sudden, but I can't apologize for it. I just saw it and am telling you about it now.
Here is the "great maw" of the "alligator" close up...what is in there, do you think? I almost put my hand down there, but my imagination got the better of me.

And then, look here...
Suddenly I saw in the place between the two "creatures" a little nest with a blue rock snuggled inside. The scene changed to one of protection. A kind of fortress meant to scare away any comers with visions of terrible battle and unimaginable creatures. Now, deep inside the Silver Castle is the sacred blue egg...the last of its kind...protected. Are you coming with me, still?
When I had promised the surprised guardians living in the old wood to never tell of its existence, and to forget what I had seen nestled in the crook of the branches, they opened my eyes wider so I could see the doorway into a magical village. I stepped into it with caution and wonder, and what do you think I found? A very empty little village. Abandoned homes that had been carefully created by tiny hands. Round and pink inside, I wondered strenuously at the people who must've lived here. Small, that was to be sure. Maybe gnomes...maybe an ancient gnome village!

The geologist in me understands that the soft underbellies of the rocks were worn out by a long ago river, but the storyteller in me wanted to hear little spades and pick-axes and work-a-day songs of the little people that must've created these homes by the sweat of their brows.

So cozy and dry inside, I imagined little fires warming the small families, with mending by candlelight, and pipesmoke curling around the rock walls and curved ceilings. The air smelling of burning sage and juniper wood and roasting rabbit. Animal skin flaps kept the cold wind out, and the children listened to their grandfathers tell stories of the lost blue egg of the Chamrosh. He tells his grandchildren that no one has seen a Chamrosh in a hundred years, but they would have a shock if they did see one. They have the body of a dog and the head and wings of a bird. Then he would read to them from the Persian Rivayats: "The Creator Ohrmazd has produced on the shores of the sea Vourukasha a tree and two birds who are immortal and without death. Every year a thousand new branches spring up from that tree and all kinds of seeds hang on those branches and all those seeds become ripe. A bird called Amrosh comes and sits on one of the branches and shakes it and scatters down to the ground all the seeds. Another bird called Chamrosh comes and strikes all the seeds with its wings and sides and throws them into the sea. All those seeds go inside a cloud full of rain and that cloud rains on the ground and all the seeds appear on the earth." Grey-headed Grandfather tells the littles that he is afraid for Mama Gaia if there are no more Chamrosh to scatter the seeds to help things grow, but he has heard of one last egg. One blue egg, protected by the spirits of a very old tree. The little gnome children go to bed dreaming of finding the egg beyond the entrance to their lands; they dream of helping that egg to hatch. It seems that when they all grew older, they remembered the stories of their grandfathers and took them to heart. They left their cozy, carved out lives, knowing that they were the holders of a great knowledge. Long ago, they began a gypsy life and bundled their families and journeyed beyond the doorway in search of the Blue Egg of the Chamrosh (I heard it in an echo off of a cave wall, I promise you I did.)
When I had looked in each little home and wondered over these heart-hardy peoples, I longed to know more of them, and walked deeper into their lands. I found that it wasn't as empty and forlorn as I had thought it once was. I found many lingering spirits watching over the land of the gnomes- peaceful, but watchful.

See here, this old man watching as we slipped by him?

If I thought I could get him to stop being so watchful for a moment, I think he might have had a jolly story or two to tell of the days when the air was thick with laughter and song, but alas, he was very loyal to the job he was given so long ago...the caretaker of the abandoned village. So I reverently left him to it.
Almost at once I saw these warriors standing guard to another kind of entrance that lay before me. They didn't seem to be gnomes, and I wondered at their long chiseled faces. They seemed engaged in conversation, and I almost chanced a walk through, but I knew when I stepped nearer and they quit their talking that they were most serious and alert to my presence. So cheekily, I snapped their picture and turned on my heel. I'll leave the adventure through that doorway for another time...

A little further into the magical land, and I knew I couldn't make it any longer. I wasn't going to find where the gypsy gnomes had traveled to on this day. So, I made my way back to where I had come from. Back through the quiet homes, sneaking past the old wise caretaker, with ever watchful eyes. Past the serious looking guardians at the second gate, and soon I was leaving the eerily quiet little homes. I found my way back through the first doorway, but this time, something caught my eye as I neared the path I first come from, that was very near the Silver Castle. I saw a very talkative old Root. I knew that each time I looked at her she was in mid-sentence, talking to someone nearby. When I looked away, I could hear a murmur and looked back at her. Mouth agape, and hair askew, she froze herself for fear of revealing the whereabouts of the Gnome I sat very still, and very near for a moment...looking away and feigning interest further afield, but keeping a close ear on Grandmother Root. By and by, I heard her murmuring once more, and by straining my ears as much as I dared, I caught her words, "...little people deepr in and under the Sanctuary...keeping watch over Chamrosh...before his hatching..." I turned quickly saying, "Ah Ha!" I took her picture here, and you can see how shocked and stunned she is at being caught telling such appalling secrets...

But I keep the secret with me, and do not bother the little gypsies who live in the knotted, twisting tree, for they have a very important job to attend, and do not need me to get in their way. I send them blessings and courage on their quest to shelter the unborn Chamrosh, until his hatch-day.
I shall leave you with something else rather surprising I found as I left...I've only brought the color up on the rock, otherwise, it is exactly as I saw it... There is a strange sort of whimsy magic in the land before the Canyon, don't you agree? I was so inspired by this stone kitty, I wrote him a poem:
If you can't read it, it says:
Yellow kitty with the green eyes
sitting so still
looking back
pebbles are sneaking up on you

I'd like to think that he was a favored pet of a little gnome girl, and waits for the day when she will come back home to him. He longs to become soft again in the lap of his family. He is looking rather feral these days, is he not. Poor Yellow Kitty. I left him some of my lunch.


Christine said...

it was a lovely day spent with my girls.
love you, ma

Sea Angels said...

Now I know why I fell ill and could not go to Paris....because I found the time to read your beautiful new, and magical blog...goodness Katie forget the teaching and write... I have enjoyed ever single word and loved it, you are amazing.
Bright Blessings
Lynn xx