Sacred Journeys – the Magic of Music
By Linda Monsees Stump © 2014
The first Sunday in May saw me making my annual journey to the beautiful Spoutwood Farm near Glen Rock, Pennsylvania. It is part of the Community Supported Agriculture movement and each spring hosts the Spoutwood Farm May Day Fairie Festival. It is a time when the earth is awakening from its long (and in this year’s case – very long!) winter sleep.
For several years my youngest daughter has been making this trip with me. Now that she has moved to Pittsburgh, she was not able to make it this year. So I went alone. Although I missed being able to spend time with my daughter, the atmosphere at Spoutwood is so welcoming that, even if you attend on your own, you aren’t lonely. Driving off the highway back to the farm, a raven swooped down in front of the car in greeting. I spent time with my horse friends and I was able to chat with some artisans whose work I greatly admire. Jane Starr Weils is an amazing faerie artist; Leah Odom, with her husband, Shane, craft incredible mythical leather masks that bring green men and dryads to life. They also make amazing leaf jewelry, hair cups/clips. After taking part in the beautiful and meaningful Earth Healing Ceremony, I was blessed to visit a little with Rob and Lucy Wood, the owners of the farm. Rob and Lucy are such a wonderful, loving couple and they make visitors feel like honored guests. It is a rare gift.
I always end up rejuvenated by my visits to Spoutwood. It is a welcome break from my current busy corporate life. My creativity is sparked by the wonderful artists and crafters, even as I yearn for more time in which to follow my muse. At the same time I am grounded and deeply comforted by the connection with the earth, for the ability to walk upon the land rather than concrete.
What I didn’t expect was to be taken on a musical journey to sacred places I’ve known. There are amazing musicians who bring their talent to Spoutwood, but this journey came about in a rather unexpected way. I decided to attend the Chautauqua session by author Charles de Lint and artist Charles Vess, who have collaborated on such books as The Cats of Tanglewood Forest, Seven Wild Sisters, and Medicine Road. The two gentlemen spoke of their collaborative process and took questions from the audience. Charles de Lint and his lovely and talented wife, MaryAnn Harris, performed songs written around some of his books. The music immediately took me on a journey into my own past. The Appalachian flavor of The Apple Tree Man sent me into the Great Smoky Mountains and travels with my dad to meet relatives who lived “back in the hollow”. Medicine Road and Cherokee Girl sent me flying on the wings of a hawk to the Arizona desert, the Rincon Mountains and the long road between Tucson and Sedona. The sense of place in each piece was so spot-on, it brought tears to my eyes. I had been missing these special places and to be taken there through the magic of song was an unexpected gift.
Through the talk and the music, Charles Vess worked on an illustration patterned after the characters of Aunt Lillian and The Apple Tree Man in The Cats of Tanglewood Forest and Seven Wild Sisters – only with the characters pictured as Lucy and Rob Wood. I was fortunate to witness Charles Vess present the completed drawing to Rob and Lucy – who truly are the Lord and Lady of Spoutwood.
Although I love my home, I always leave Spoutwood Farm with a certain reluctance. I want to take with me the peace and beauty of this place – along with the love and example of its owners and caretakers. Photos taken are often my sanctuary when the corporate grind gets a bit much. A hawk wheeled overhead as I headed homeward, keeping me company on my own personal “medicine road.”
If anyone is interested in the artisans I mentioned, please be sure to check out their web sites: