Archive for November, 2009

Copyright #8- Fiddler

Fiddler on the Root, watercolor, by Glenn Lewis

Fiddler on the Root

Fiddling with perceptions is not exactly a fruitless activity. Consider, if you will, that you are walking through woodland, listening to a woodpecker, knocking, knocking, when you come upon a particular tree that seemingly needs to be befriended—what should you do? Why not do what the woodpecker does? Do the tree’s bidding; answer the call and open the door to your heart: Hug the tree! For those who feel self-conscious about giving hugs, sitting down ‘back to bark’ with a tree is both wholesome and beneficial; but, who hasn’t learned that, already?

Topsiders the world over have answered calls to trees, some to their own credit, some not.  As children, we were taught that Washington cut down a Cherry tree in his youth. Who, today, ever gets a whipping for cutting down a dwindling rain forest? Is it all right for us, today, to get rewarded for dragging fallen pine trees into our homes and smothering them with ornaments? On a positive note, think of what Newton learned through paying close attention to a falling apple. What missed hitting Isaac on the head sent his thoughts reeling on a course that revolutionized science and shook up the world’s academics!

Humanity’s fondness for trees goes back a long, long way to the Garden of Eden, wherein Eve’s scheming curiosity seeded the very first incident with a tree. Is it any easier now than it was then to separate fact from fiction? One arises from ashes of the other, and in keeping secret certain technological advances, science fiction can hide a fact in plain sight. What can that mean, except that the truth that is not out there; it is in herethe movie! Even allegory, magic, and fable can be sources of veritable revelation. As we walk a thin line between reality and our imagination, we must live in both worlds. Perhaps there are as many realities as there are people to perceive them. In a continual effort to deal with our perceptions, we pick through countless definitions and lay claim to their meanings, as some who have gone before us have.

We might at least question everything and read the approaching awareness with eyes wide shut. When next you sit beneath overhanging branches, try closing your eyes and reaching for understanding the way leaves do when they converse with the breeze. Listen with both ears tuned to hear. Listen for the fiddler on the root, who is no figment of imagination any more than you are. Humbly put aside in that moment your own fancy for the acquisition of riches. You can do that and fiddle around a bit, too. Fiddle as Rootini does; fiddle with thankfulness for your roots—with gladness for what you are, who you are, all that you have, and your chance to become greater then you are already.

What we have with each other is much in common—as much in common as with the Root People Opera Company seen performing in this painting. You and I are on the same stage together. Although we may not always be on the same page, we do share the same spotlight, the same audience, the same stage setting. All that is required of us is that we learn our lines, our entrances, and our exits. Some of us want to sing while we can; some want to fiddle when they shouldn’t, and some like to dance when they don’t have to. We may wish for applause, perhaps even dare to hope for an encore because, like the Root People, we want to be welcome in the world above this one; although, we should hardly expect a standing ovation when we step forth into the greater light of Love, above.

In this painting Fiddler on the Root, our viewpoint is on a level with Rootini. Two thirds of everything that we see is below us. From close up, we look down into a theater lobby that is bounded on two sides by a high wall. Looking over the top of that wall and beyond, we pass through an audience and onto a stage, where props are little houses with lighted windows.

In this live performance, Rootini stands high up on a root that winds down from a massive fig tree, above. The root dominates the stage, where a shaft of sunlight penetrates down through a topside opening. A sidelight glows from deep within a backstage tunnel.

The setting is framed on one side by blooms of bougainvillea, which trail down the hillside. High up in the picture, we are looking into the world above the surface. Our own view of that exterior is a canopy of overhanging tree branches and blue sky.

Opera goers enter the lobby low down on the right edge of the picture. Tickets to the AmphaCave Theater are sold by a gracious, redheaded lady named Mudran Beetle, and the price of admission for adults is two seeds. Children get in free. The kind of seed used in this exchange does not matter as long as the DNA has not been ‘fiddled with’ by topsider geneticists. Suspicious varieties of seeds must first be inspected by an Authentication Officer. Seeds that pass his scrutiny are then wrapped in leaf and stamped “Certified Nature Original.”

Root People like jokes, and they adore retelling urban legends. One urban legend concerns a Topsider named “Slick,” who put this so-called “silly” ad for seeds in his local newspaper. His ad in the Farmvale Gazette said this:

ATTENTION, LITTLE PEOPLE! Leaf package seeds wanted. Any garden variety. Will pay one dime for each packet stamped “CERTIFIED NATURE ORIGINAL” and delivered to the back step at 115 Morning Glory Drive.

Neighbors squealed when they read Slick’s ad—little people, indeed, Hahaha! “Hey Slick,” they called to him, “you seen any o’ those little people peeping over your back step, yet? ”

“Hey, Slickman,” said another, “here’s my dime!—bring me one o’ those little leaf packets? I don’t care which kind. Surprise me!”

The fellow got poked in the ribs by a companion who answered: “Seeds, nothing! A little canary bird must’a gotten loose outta its cage and now, Slick’s wanting to capture one of those little people!”

Waving both of her arms and calling loudly, a neighbor of Slick’s hooted: ”You-hoo there, Slick! You-hoo! If you see my cat Ruggles go under your fence, just shoo him back over there on my side; I don’t want him dragging home no little people and dropping ’em on my doorstep!”

Ruma Musha has told that story many times. That is him down there, exchanging two hazelnut seeds for tickets. He and his wife Loamella have traveled quite a distance with their two boys, Morellan, and “Spore-Sprat.” The Mushas come from Creekcheek Cavern, where they manage a mushroom nursery. This is their first trip to the opera.


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