Almost five….been awake since three… bell tolls….no phone rings….but the plaintive sound of my soul calls me from
resting to the wonderful vigil of wakefulness…

I arise to enjoy the energy that is circling from all the encounters with the mysterious…..that is the beauty and the freedom of the spirit.
I can wander in the rose gardens of Shiraz….or walk along my Mississippi River…..revisit the mountain tops of the Rocky Mountains in Aspen…where I had some of my early out of body experiences…I can go into Sacred Heart…the church where I prayed and sat with the ancient ones in the energy of prayer for hours………I can wander the places where we played growing up….I can walk in the gardens of Tabriz…….walk the beach of Monterey….the apple orchards and redwoods of California where I found such silence….and knelt on the earth feeling like it is God’s own cathedral by design.

I can wander in the gardens and trees my Dad planted on our land in the pine trees of Carolina with the magnolia trees, the flowering dogwoods and redbud trees, the azaleas, and mountain laurel, the night blooming jasmine, the little benches my brother made from stones he carried there, sculptures covered with ivy, and a hundred different flowers they planted…and my brothers still maintain the place, creating new ones. My sister lives up the hill with her family, and when I open her letters, the petals of flowers fall out of the envelope.
Birds gather around the feeders…deer wander into the yard at night…and the owl has a perch where he watches….the sea oats grow fifteen tall by our driveway carried from the ocean side. Wild roses grow by the roadside….and next to the house. The hummingbirds hover close by near the feeders and flowers. My Dad’s spirit still wanders there. He loves that place. I always liked to be around him where he was so happy.

My Dad watched the Tarheels basketball team….yelling and knocking over lamps with his waving arms…a sacred tradition when the family would gather….savoring the soups my mother made….outside the door, the poppies were like sentinels, the lilies, blue-its, wildflowers, the mockingbird in the pine tree, the cardinals bright red…catching the eye as they flew from tree to tree…..chickadees, Carolina wrens, mourning doves, goldfinch….paths through the gardens….covered with pine mulch and it seems there are always compost piles where the dogs liked to roll….my dad had a big sheep dog for a while…and they were a pair ambling through the woods…gathering brambles and stickers……..and I can still visit his study where he read and wrote and listened to the ancient poets and writers … Whitman and Emerson and Krishnamurti, who became friends who walked with him…….and all his books had conversations written in the margins. He enjoyed Ogden Nash with his limericks that made him laugh…….and we would laugh at him.

All is in the present when love gathers in the energy of those places where my heart is free to love and appreciate the beauty….and my Dad holds out his hand and says “Here, take my hand, child. I do not believe my eyes anymore. Here, take my hand, child, take me to your fire. I do not believe my ears anymore.”
Lines from his verses….”Did we pray or did we play our innocence away?” I think I developed my writing to talk to him. We wrote letters….and he used to say…”you are a thousand miles away, and there are moments, when I feel closer to you across the distance, than if you were here”…….that is the way of dreamers….we meet at that point of union where the visible and invisible touch.

Thoreau the writer….was the naturalist, the philosopher in the woods. I read the book, Walden Pond, so many times, I had to buy new copies. “To affect the quality of the day is the highest of the arts.”
Whatever I taught, I did it with questions….and I would seed it with the arts….and then move it to the heart. I found the path to it in the woods.

My Dad ran the school systems, was an administrator, and a vision carrier….and yet he loved to tramp the woods, the seaside, and get his hands in the dirt…..commune with the wildness within himself. It was where he seemed most at peace.

Suddenly, it is all available to me…all at once…..simultaneously….not longing for what was….but what is ….because love is an energy that cannot be segmented or separated. I feel like those I love must know my Dad…because you all meet in my heart. He had an irreverent humor at times, and a sacred reverence at other times. You know what he called his three acres in the woods? “Childwood” He used to bring Head Start children to the property to play and to get their hands in the dirt.

He would take me down by the stream in the woods…and it was like church to him….snapping twigs and leaves crunching beneath our feet…..the birds following us in the trees, squirrels leaping from branch to branch….and he carried a stick to roust out any sleeping snakes…. He loved the poet, Robert Frost. “Do you think that cloud will hit or miss the moon?” “Whose woods these are, I think I know.”

Maybe some of this is a book I need to write……….Childwood would be a good title …….it is good to share our joys….to tell our stories. He would sometimes sign his writing…..”A man called Jon”. He shed his titles in the woods, and he is the one I liked to go walking with to discover the gifts we could find.

Let’s get drunk on the spirit of love flowing in these songs. ‘Tis vintage wine!

Almost dawn….

My heart is a mansion with many rooms….many worlds at once open to me….many dimensions….and in the beauty of the wilderness, we are always creating new rooms…..a sacred placelessness………..I am grateful for it all.

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14 Responses to “Childwood”

  1. Jim Rotsaert Says:

    At first I thought I was seeing a desire to return to the property on Wave Road to embrace the environment, as did your dad, so as to get more of the feel that he enjoyed, so you could write your feelings better. But then having known you as long as I have thought more about it and knew you remembered all that and could write your memories from the garage.

  2. Naomi Says:

    From the garage! Now, there is a challenge.
    You are right, my spirit is free to wander there, whenever I want!
    I remember ever twig and blossom, the smells, the colors, and most of all, I remember the delight in my father’s eyes when he gazed out at all he created.

  3. gary Says:

    Enjoyed the different perspective.
    Being the maintenance man and caretaker, I get a strange sort of satisfaction from this kind of service, from still being of use (a retired teacher syndrome), and I certainly don’t have to look to Haiti to make my contributions, but it is definitely the other side of the childwood legacy.
    Love, g

  4. Naomi Stone Says:

    This is exciting to me, Gary…to discover us in the stream of the legacy that began at the dawning of creation…when we all began.
    Love takes infinite forms….and caretaker of the garden is certainly part of that!
    Love, N.

  5. Susan Says:

    I’m glad I’ve been to the Wave Road property so I can both see and feel what you describe. It feels like a window into my own history, but timeless. Thanks for sharing, Naomi!

  6. Naomi Stone Says:

    I am delighted to see you wander into my pathways of sharing.
    I am very glad you had the chance to experience Wave Road, and it warms my heart that you feel and share the timelessness of the family garden.

    Love, Naomi

  7. Ray Says:

    Good to hear your words, Naomi, and a sense of the continuing rebirth of wonder you share so unconditionally. My ‘porch time’ in the early morning hours continues to evolve, wordless mostly, and, different than feeding the birds or the cat or doing the duplex (recycle, garbage, etc.), it is a time for me to just be. I smoke a cigarette or two, but, then, just chill and listen and watch and feel, being glad of heart to be here still in this ‘meadow in the middle of the sky,’ if I remember Dad’s words . . .

    I continue to feel included and loved and party to what you continue to share. Your messages of love tell me much of what I sense about your life these days . . . involvement, contribution, the willingness to share the outpourings of love. I feel blessed to be included, more, much more than my emails, or lack of emails, can begin to express. Thank You!

    Love, Ray

    • Naomi Stone Says:

      Ray, The family is gathering here on my tribute to Childwood, and there you are keeping
      the vigil watching over it and helping to keep it beautiful! So good to remember Dad in his birthday month….and now in February…comes Mom’s birthday.
      Thank you for your kind words.
      Love, Naomi

  8. Sadiq Says:

    Dear Naomi,
    I just finished reading this enchanting piece and while reading and after it, i remain enchanted. Its a witness that truly your heart is a mansion with many rooms, many corridors and many worlds at once. A new door is made open through this lovely sharing of yours and I cant agree more that may be, yes, may be you should write a book with the richness of life experiences you were blessed by the One Who sends us all these hues and colors in this being human.

    With love to you, your family
    and specially to your beloved dad. May God bless his soul who still carry your memories in the realm of unknown.

    and with gratitude that you are known to me.

  9. Naomi Stone Says:

    Means so much to me to hear your response to this. You would love the wildness of the many gardens created there… the yards and in their hearts.

    Thank you.

    Love, Naomi

  10. gail mae ferguson-maceda Says:

    Dear Naomi,

    I found your website as I was looking for a google image of golden energy and I am so grateful to have found your site-nothing is by chance! I was looking for the image of golden energy as I was in a deep & profound meditation with/in God it was all bathed in such a beautiful golden light. It is with me since…..Your writing is so beautiful, it touches my soul & expresses my experience of God, of Source, of Oneness in a way that I can only wish I could do. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this beauty. I feel I know you-of course I do-we are one! I feel I know your Dad and that he must have been a remarkable Dad. YES, a book would be delightful & I would definitely buy it and treasure it. You are a gifted writer and I send you gratitude & love from the bottom of my heart! Gail

  11. Sera Harold Drevenak Says:

    This is wonderful Naomi! This makes me think of how personal an experience a place can be. I never knew Grandpa John called it Childwood. I feel like I did a good part of my growing up among the redbuds and magnolias, walking the paths, discovering “new” buildings, hiding, and being found. It truly was a childwood for me, magical and deep. And now it’s a septic field. Typical. 🙂 I recently went to my husband’s childwood, his grandparent’s farm in West Virginia. It didn’t have the depth or magic he described, it just looked like a rundown farm but as I walked with him through the forest looking for a long lost ginseng plant, and pet tombstones I could feel that same wonder in him.

  12. Naomi F Stone Says:

    Sera! I thought you would relate to it. I loved the piece you wrote sitting with Grandpa John listening and connecting with his dreaming. The place is magical when we look through our hearts. I enjoyed reading about your visiting with Jason. We visit the wonder within our hearts……..and find our own Childwood!
    Gary tends to the wonder in his gardens! Each of us does in our own way….creating our sacred places.
    Bless your holding the earth sacred, Sera!

  13. Connie May Says:

    I think this is the first chapter already written.

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