May not be the sort of parent who knows how many syllables are in a Haiku poem but I am the sort of parent who will get tickets for Ads, Roo and Pix to attend the Rhythm Tree (world music and didgeridoo) festival for the weekend so they can experience hearing the largest gong in Europe.
Today, following trip to A&E for Ads’ knee to be looked at …
(he has sprained it badly. Poor Ads. A sprain always sounds so substandard next to a proper break, doesn’t it? Is like the equivalent to having a cold over having flu. All sympathy is withdrawn when someone thinks you’ve just sprained your knee instead of snapping it in half or tearing the ligaments)
… we headed off for some mind-expanding auditory learning at the Rhythm Tree.
Completed an Amazon Bird Mask workshop and then dragged everyone excitedly across to a huge khaki tent – the shape of a golf ball – for The Sound Journey.
I went on this Sound Journey yesterday. Was the most incredible experience. You enter this large dome shaped tent and lie down on layers of crimson/rust coloured rugs.
Around the perimeter of the tent hung a treasure chamber of gongs – some small, some huge.
The largest one hung from black-washed scaffolding poles and reminded me of those disks that the sailors threw at the gold giant from Jason and the Argonauts.
Do you know the bit I mean?
Once in and lying down, Bear, the mysterious blue-eyed gong man, gave a quiet welcome. He then invited us to close our eyes and allow the sounds we were about to experience to flow over and through us.
What followed is hard to explain. It was like nothing I’ve ever experienced, for the vibrations of these instruments were like a physical sensation that rushed over and through my body. I felt my trouser legs loosen at one point, as if my legs had suddenly shrunken. I felt blissed. I felt blessed. I felt in pain. The noises took on weird shapes in my head. Some I felt awed by, some felt invasive, some made my whole mind and soul melt away. Many emotions that the sounds triggered were unexpected; fear, love, overwhelming joy.
The experience went on for twenty minutes and when it came to a close we all lay there for some time. There was a sense of reverence and awe and peaceful connection as everyone slowly came back to the here and now.
For the rest of the day I felt centred, at peace, needing nothing other than to stand in the space I was inhabiting that moment on this great beautiful earth.
And that’s why, when my Amazon Bird Mask workshop was complete today, I had one mission and that was to have my little tribe experience the Sound Journey too.
Which they did.
And were equally as awed. We then took a slow, meandering stroll across to the Didge Cafe (our speed was less to do with our inner peace and more to do with Ads being on crutches) where we sat on sofas, drank hot chocolate, ate brownies and those oaty-flapjacks with dates sandwiched in between that, if they should serve in heaven, I will be quite content with.
A man called Shiva came onto the stage. He stood there and played this bizarre little instrument that again, like the gongs, seemed to actually twang my mind. That is the only way I can describe it. It was so peculiar. And primitive.
At three o’clock I went and did face painting. Was very happy to see the lovely Sailboat Goddess and her gorgeous tribe there. Grace, who is 7 and once came to a workshop with a dream to open a sweet shop in Hollywood, sat down to have her face painted.
“I had a staring competition with two babies and a dog earlier,” she told me, quite out of the blue.
“Who won?” I asked, carefully painting a red flower on her temple.
“I beat the dog. One of the babies beat me. The other one started to cry. I think I scared it.”
“At least you beat the dog.
After that we came home and I lay on the bed feeling absolutely exhausted. Downstairs Pix was playing her 3DS. Roo was outside in the garden looking for sticks to use as arrows for his bow. Ads was resting his knee.
After lying there for some time feeling v tired, I managed to peel myself off the bed, undressed, put on my running gear and despite my eyelids still being 80% down over my eyeballs, staggered out of the front door and went for a jog.
By the time I’d run down the path and over the road, my eyelids had crept upwards about 3%. I was so nearly asleep whilst running past Jol’s house that I thought it was a dream when I heard someone wail, “I can SEE you running!”
Naughty N! She was hopping around next to Jol’s with a glass of white wine. “I can see you! I can see you!”
What a peculiar end to a marvellous day, I thought and swerved across the road, doing a U turn and ending up on Jol’s veranda where she was frolicking in her hot tub whilst Naughty N supped vino.
“I have just peeled myself off the bed,” I explained, touching my half shut eyelids gingerly. “Can’t stop for long. Must go on.”
“Well, before you go, we thought we’d go to the circus tomorrow night,” announced Jols.
“Oh. Well, I was kind of thinking about taking the children to the stunt show,” I said. “Big cars. Motorbikes riding off them. Hoops of fire. That sort of thing.”
“It’s also the final night of Cinema Under The Stars and the Lion King is on,” put in Naughty N.
There was a brief discussion and a decision was made that lying under the stars watching the Lion King sounded like a very nice idea. I’m not sure how this whole outside cinema thing works. Do they hang the cinema off the trees like a big shimmery oblong gong that throws out visual vibrations as well as lionish ones?
So that is what we are doing tomorrow. Which means that my extra curricular educational programme pre-school return is out of the window again. My Perfect Parenting Plans have once again been shelved.
Returned home from run and sat on the doorstep to cool down and stretch. Could hear Roo indoors talking to Ads.
“Can you carve?”
“No. Can you?”
Sighs. “No, I’d like to though. Will you find someone to teach me?”
“I know the perfect person,” said Ads. “Now, could you go into the garden and get me some rosemary for this roast chicken?”
“Do you know which plant it is?”
And just before Roo opened the door, bursting out to collect sprigs of rosemary, I had this thought of pure gorgeousness.
What the kids get is enough. What they are learning is the best start they can ever get in life. They don’t need Tesco Maths Wizard Books and downloadable sheets on adjectives or crash-courses in Key Stage 3 “how to write a newspaper headline” when they aren’t at school.
Children need diversity, creativity, stare outs with dogs and babies, a treasure trove of experience, enrichment, dreams like having a sweet shop in Hollywood, bows for arrows and knives for carving, sensory exploration, support, love, connectedness, trust to follow their own whims and hearts and the ability to identify rosemary sprigs for when they roast a chicken.
That’s what I think anyway.
And that’s all.