Amanda Edmiston botanica fabula: First posted on http://www.botnicafabula.co.uk blog page: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 6:03 PM
“Did Santa not get to Pollock to get me a snow globe”…..eyes try to break through the glue of an early Sunday morning…..
“I wanted one with hedgehogs like my cake….I said….muuum DID SANTA not get to Pollock to get me a snow globe”…..not stirring I wonder whether I have the will power to continue sleeping and block out the sound….
“I know I’ll make one….but not like the plastic ones, a proper good one with drawings and stuff and snow men like I had a dream about….you wait there I’m going to get the glitter”…..
….the word glitter has scarcely entered the sleep tormented air space and I have leapt from bed and am half way to the kitchen and engaging with some of Jamaica’s Blue Mountain finest before she can even begin to hypothesise about what kind of receptacle this is all going to furnish.
As the caffeine rapidly floods my adenosine receptors with a dramatically sensual wake up call, the pile of jam jars ready for recycling glisten by the kitchen doorway, the glitter sparkles precariously from the top of the kitchen cupboards….
“in my dream I was being the bird, you know the one in the story, that needs to find a tree, but instead I found a snow man, that is what I am going to make” (The story is a traditional Danish one from Florence Holbrook’s ‘Book of Nature Myths’ from what I can gather from trying to find its origin online, and is known as ‘Why the trees are evergreen’, but I learnt it from my Mum, and we have both used it as a lovely Autumn tale for groups of young children….the essence of it is this :
‘Autumn was creeping across the land, its thin whiskery cold crept through the forest, and the birds taking heed began to make plans to escape its chill winds and fly to warmer climes. Flock by flock they took to the wing ’til none but one was left. A tiny brown bird, a late fledgling, with a damaged wing, too weak to fly. As the winds began to blow and the ground took to frost, the little brown bird began to look for shelter, tree after tree it asked, ‘please give me shelter from the winters fierce touch’, but tree by tree they turned it down, the birch felt too fragile, the Oak didn’t trust the bird not to eat its acorns, the Ash feared its keys would quickly become lunch, each tree told the same story, ’til exhausted and worn the wee bird came to a dark green pine, sweet scented, sweet natured who beckoned her in and offered shelter against the ills of the cold. The tiny bird had found good friends: alongside the Pine was a tiny juniper and she quickly offered her fruit as nourishment, and with the help of these two trees she saw the Spring return and the land grow warm once more. But what of the other trees the Oak the Ash the the trembling Birch, well when the North wind swept in on Octobers summoning, he showed no mercy, ruthlessly he saw the unkindness of those trees and with a mighty gust he left those branches deciduous, bare until the warmth returned. And that is how some trees came to be evergreen’
Well back to my dream inspired child, we gathered up the plasticine, the glitter, some jars, the paper some pencils and as I told her the story again she stuck and she poured and a snowstorm appeared.
Then as I got to the Pine and the Juniper at the end I had an idea, lets add a dimension to the project, and I got out the oils, I have a box of essential oils
in the kitchen, eucalyptus for colds, jasmine my perfume, tea tree for adding to the washing when its needing a good detox! In there we found the pine and the juniper and added a few drops of each, now our snowstorm even smelt like the story. I like to do this when I’m storytelling I don’t always tell my audience, sometimes I do, but I often build a mental backdrop with smells and sounds all the senses at play at once bring a tale to life and capture people in ways that increase the power of the language …
” Can I recycle some more jars mum, mum can I recycle some more jars, mum, I’m going to do something magical and you can’t see ’til its finished”
Sounded good…..she made “A magic rainbow spell” for making the sun come out and rainbow happen, I made a magic spell for helping bring lunch sunshine out and a tummy rainbow happen (aka soup!).
Now I’ve got two of those spare glass jars saved from the recycling, twinkling in my kitchen window.
We did get a rainbow later on, just for a brief moment it hung there, adding a brilliant stroke to a rain filled day, and the squash, ginger and sweet potato soup, with some sun dried red clover flowers and a stick of celery to add a rainbow to the mix, helped fight off the chill of the wild weather. Like little bird, the right choice of plants will help us see the bad weather too.