Monday, September 24, 2012


by Michelle Slater
Young Yakov always listened to the wind. It spoke to him.
It spoke to his friend Anatole the fox as well.
One night he thought he heard it say, "Come, to the forest."
So he put on his boots and cap, remembering to fix the magic feather
in the headband.  His feather was like a compass--he could count on it
to turn him in the right direction if he got lost.
Shutting the door, and buttoning the latch he'd made
from rope and wood so it wouldn't blow open while he was gone,
he headed off. Anatole walked a little way along side him,
then circled back to keep watch.

Feather was pointing toward the ghost glen, 
a place he never went.
It was supposed to contain the spirits of all the trees cut for wood.
He felt a bit afraid.
Anatole had told him that on full moon nights the ghost trees were friendly.
It was a full moon night.
Despite his fear, he set his feet on the path again,
just kept going until he found them........tall, shimmering things, they were,
talking amongst themselves the way leaves talk when the wind blows.

They seemed happy. Some were laughing.
They hadn't even noticed him at all, so he strolled between them,
ever so quietly. listening, and he learned many things:
things about history, and about the movement of stars,
and exactly what snow means to them.
He learned that all their roots connect, and they are one family
which stretches around the whole earth underground.
Most important of all, he learned that
they did not hate the men who had cut them down,
that they understood why, and had forgiven them,
that each of them had left seeds to grow on into the future
 just as soon as they'd heard the ax fall that very first time!
"How clever they are"--he thought--"and kind."
 Just before dawn, they fell silent, as one by one,
birds and other forest creatures came alive.
Yakov returned to his hut as the sun was rising.
Then, although he could barely keep his eyes open,
he told Anatole absolutely everything he had seen and heard.
The little fox was very happy when they finally curled into bed.
From that day on Yakov was changed in the most wonderful way.
He had become easier in the world, and was hardly ever afraid again.
Eventually, he grew into a fine man, a builder,
famous for his excellent stone huts, which kept everyone
toasty warm in Winter, and cool enough in Summer.
He visited the ghost trees often during those many years, and
when he was a very, very old man, that's where he went to die.
He simply lay down amongst them, drifting peacefully into a deep sleep.
Moss and lichen grew over the spot, forming a smooth pillow.
You can see it there still.  It's a beautiful place.  Go at the full moon,
sit in total silence, and listen.  You might hear their song.
This story was inspired by the beautiful
Shibori Cloth Book
by Mo'a Romig-Boyles
See the real thing
Images are only screen shots of her original photographs 
first seen on Jude Hill's  
where we are participating in a group workshop


Anonymous said...

Michelle, you are a fabulous story teller. I love this story and that you were inspired to write it after seeing this piece.
I don't know how I can ever thank you. Mo'a

deanna7trees said...

love the story and the collaboration.

jude said...

well this is just swell

Nancy said...

This is a great story Michelle. It's so easy to fall into! Glad you and Mo'a shared this collaboration!

Mo Crow said...

magic! just magic, love how this came about so spontaneously Michele & Mo'a!

Velma Bolyard said...

now THIS is how it's supposed to work! awesome!

Deb G said...

Beautiful, absolutely...

Suzanna said...

Lovely so lovely!

yvette said...

thanks for this , such deep layers of wisdom, combined with the layers of cloth.
What a treasure for our ragmates group


Anonymous said...

i can't wait to read this to my grandson. what a beautiful story and lovely pictures.
thank you both

Anonymous said...

i can't wait to read this to my grandson. what a beautiful story and lovely pictures.
thank you both

MulticoloredPieces said...

Hi, Michelle. Your story fits Mo'a's work perfectly. I love collaborative work like this. Each so distinctive and yet connected. Brava!
best, nadia

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

all of the above. it's Wonder
Full and a perfect perfect match.
How beautiful it would be in
book form....oh, how i wish there
were ways this could happen..

Minka's Studio said...

Well done! Thank you