Friday, March 31, 2006

On Angels' Breath

text and images aletta mes 2006

I let the images dictate the text and this was the result, creating image prompted poetry.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Ice Cream with Maya

images by aletta 2006

The reward for years of parenting pays off with the joy of having ice cream with a grandchild.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Desdemona's Memorial - Lois' Lemon Tree

I Plant a Tree n Memory of Desdemona

She was a special little dog
A dog much loved by her family
She was Angies darling girl
She was Ken's bike companion
riding in a basket on the front handlebars
Guarding the bike when he went into a shop
No one would dare to steal Ken's bike

Jessie dog was her adopted Mother
Desdemona knew this
Jessie perhaps was puzzled
But,her tolerance and love overcame
all obstacles
They were as was seen "The Odd Couple"
Jessie a big black Lab cross
Dessie her little glossy brown companion

We walked together we four
around our neighbourhood
Surveying any changes,or missed council clean ups
Jessie leaving messages
Dessie following behind
The younger one
learning from the older one
No questions asked
no explanation needed
Just a fact.

I will plant a tree at the Hermitage
to remember our little friend and companion
Who often boarded at our place at holiday time
She loved us ,but was always ready and waiting
when it came time to go home
Across the road we hurried ,pulling on the lead in an anxious run

I will ask Monika to plant a tree
at the Hermitage
One from my garden
Perhaps the New Zealand Christmas tree
or the Feijoa
Or maybe under the Lemon Tree,yes the Lemon Tree was the favourite to rest under from the hot sun
Where Desdemona sat and chewed on her bone
with friend Jessie.

I remember her this way.

" Grieve not,
nor speak of me with tears,
but laugh and talk of me
as if I were beside you
I loved you so-
'twas Heaven here with you.
Isla Paschal Richardson

Lois (Muse of the Sea) 28.3.06

Sunday, March 26, 2006

New Idea - Hermitage Publications Trading Room

Pre-Loved Treasures Trading Room
For details see:

- click on the above link to go there.

Most of you are already members of this blog,
but if you would like an invitation, let me or Heather know,
Imogen Crest - Hermit

Different Solitudes

Supported Solitude

Solitude of Discovery.

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Gift of Solitude

Image Hosting by
A 'view' of Owl Island
Actually taken near the Antarctic by an unknown photographer

We all need time alone. Even those of us who are social butterflies need some time to ourselves. Solitude is necessary for meditation and quiet reflection. We also may choose to isolate ourselves when we are busy and need to meet a deadline. We may cherish time alone when we want to give ourselves over to art or music, lose ourselves in a good book, or delve into a personal project. Having time to ourselves allows us to focus completely on our yoga practice or get into the zone while running or strength training. Sometimes we need to be alone to simply do nothing but enjoy the sound of silence. Our alone time revitalizes and replenishes us, grounding us in our own company.

Yet, too much isolation, especially when our intention is to hide, withdraw, or not deal with the realities of our lives is not physically, mentally, or spiritually healthy. It is during moments like these when being in isolation takes us away from our lives, rather than enhancing it. If anything, too much isolation can create a buffer whereby we don't have to deal with our problems. Sometimes, pushing ourselves to deal with our issues and be in our lives, rather than isolate, is one of the best gifts we can give to ourselves.

Also, just as it is important for us to have our "alone" time, we need to remember that as human beings, we are by nature social creatures that thrive on human contact. Our lives cannot occur in a vacuum, and we cannot fully live in this world without interacting with others. Consider using isolation as time spent for rest, reinvigoration, and personal growth. Isolation can then not only empower you, but it can allow you to return to your work and your relationships restored and ready for life. from Daily OM

Two of my favourite books are Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton and Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindberg. I have been enjoying the 'solitude' of Owl Island where I have been sketching and spending quality solitary time.

This week consider escaping from the madness of society, take some 'alone time' and share your thoughts and feelings here, at Riversleigh, lwithin the sanctuary of the Lemurian Hermitage or in the Salon du Soul.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

All is Not What it Seems....

Look closely into this image of an old, weathered tree stump, and tell me what you see--all is not what it seems at first glance.


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Friday, March 24, 2006

Gifts From Lois To The Hermitage Table

Gifts from Lois'
fine garden
are most graciously
accepted at the
Hermitage -
the best of autumn's
bounty -
the Brasilian Feijoa,
and ancient
Australian Lemons.
They are so
they had to be
copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

To Be Four Again

To be this tiny dancer again, unselfconscious, moving with liquid awkwardness from one newly attempted movement to another. Yet the sensation was more one of flying than dancing. It was not a series of movement, it was one heavenly period of movement untethered by the planet's intent to force gravity on me. No one can teach you to feel this, some do, some don't. I'd probably not have thought of the sensation being one of flight had I not (one a hundred dollars worth of dare) thrown myself out of an airplane over na old airfield in southern Ontario. I was seventeen, and age when rational thought only gets in the way of a good time.

illustration by aletta mes, 2006

I am still not much of a dancer, but I can still fly here and there. At the apex of every leap stands liberation, a suspension of the laws of gravity and the laws of man, and you don't have to remember to pull the ripcord. At the peak of every turn a mild hallucination of impressionist delights. How do I learn to live without wings?

Oak Study

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Upper Reaches

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Tara From Up Above

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Ethereal Dream

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Burn Break Blow

Re-shape, re-form, re-group,
re-sume, re-cycle,
Death, birth, life,
burning, breaking,
blowing -
elements of living.
(Thanks Vi!)
copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Bleached Bones

In response to Monika’s Sinous Seaside Wood. Thank you, Monika, for the visual for my idea.

Bleached Bones

Bleached bones
on the beach,
scattered about
some piled high
stacked like cordwood
by an unknown hand.

Whose bones are these
that I touch,
that feel so smooth
beneath my fingers?
Whose bones,
when they lived,
and where?

Would that they
could tell their tale
of what woodland,
on what mountain,
in what valley
they thrived
so stately?

And how did they come to be
here on this lonely beach,
no longer standing tall,
stripped of leaves and bark,
no longer able to provide
shade for travelers passing by,
shelter for the birds—

that come to nest,
the squirrel that finds a hole
in which to store his nuts.
The wind can no longer play
through the branches,
urging the to leaves dance
in wild abandon.

No longer providing space
for the tree house
and the young ones
who come to play,
and for those who
come to climb
and hide in the foliage.

You are though,
no less magnificent
in your smooth as silk,
white trunks.
Skeletons on the beach
to be revered
for your enduring beauty.

Vi Jones
©March 15, 2006

Sinuous Seaside Wood

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Strong Salty Sea

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Salty Succulents

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.


illustration by aletta mes, 2006

The harder I struggle the more the ropes seem to tighten, and yet I have to. After what seems like hours the chafing on my wrists has delivered rivulets of scarlet blood which I can feel making their way down my hands to my fingertips where the warm thick liquid drips in heavy drops to the gnarled roots of this old tree.

I cannot clearly see what lies ahead of me, but I can sense that it is dark and consuming. I can smell the decaying underbrush which lightly fogs the paths around the trees now that the day is turning colder, it is a strangely comforting smell, the smell of life coming and going, just as it should, just as it always has. Just the same I have no desire to become part of this great compost heap, not at all. So I struggle again against the binding ropes. Why? Let's just agree that for me this is also a natural state, I fight the inevitable, it is my way, it is who I am.

As awkward as it is to be tied up with my arms outstretched and bound around the tree's broad trunk I do manage to find a degree of comfort now and again. There is the one position with my butt pressed against the trunk and the weight of my upper body pulled forward and my head dropped.. I can even nod off in this odd position. The other is pulling my entire body forward pressing my weight into the soles of my feet. Either way my wrists are taking most of the punishment.

I am thrilled that whatever lurks out there has chosen not to finish me off just yet. I sense at times that it, whatever "it" is has gone, there is a murky smell both disgusting and sweet that hangs around, when it come close enough I can also hear breathing. Slightly laboured breathing. What the creature is doing and what it's intentions are I have no idea. I know that when I try to think about it a tear of panic pours down my face, i've bitten my lip raw concentrating on the struggle to break free. I'd have bitten through the ropes of my wrists if the position would have allowed it. I cannot bite anything, at least not anything useful.

Wrestling with wanting to scream, but if I do it might set off a series of events very much unwanted. Perhaps it would be best if I remain quiet, and perhaps he will forget, or escape and leave me, or even grow fond of me and let me live. So I don't scream even when it's smell disgusts me and feeling it's breath on my skin raises goose bumps from head to foot, I gag very quietly, and in my mind it repeat, "please, please, leave".

It was daylight still, when I found myself here, tied up, among these great old trees. I've no idea where I am, even less how I got here. Nothing I see or smell or hear is anything familiar. These are not even the bird sounds I am accustomed to. My last memory was of going to bed. I must not have actually got into bed, because I am still dressed in my jeans and a shirt, no shoes, but for me that is not unusual, I dislike footwear at home. I am disinclined to wearing even socks at home unless it is very cold. It was not cold that night. The night I last remember before waking here.

Nothing remarkable in my memories of that night. I did a little reading and washed out a few clothes which I hung to dry. I sat watching television with my favourite cat on my lap. That is my last memory, being home, with my cat.

I feel as though my arms have stretched beyond their ability and yet they do not come apart. It helps to envision my situation, a way to avoid the actual experience, which I assure you is painful, and terribly frightening.

I cringe because the ground shakes a little, and I assume the creature, whatever it is must be near. If I could just see the thing and make eye contact, then I could read if it is reasonable, and I could bargain for my life. If it is not reasonable, then, then...i could scream. I feel my hunger and wonder if I can hold the urine long enough that I will be found without added embarrassment. Does that make any sense? Why should I care that I pee my pants? Then again what if it makes the creature irate, or amorous? That's typical of me, making jokes when there really is nothing funny. It made a few seconds more bearable.

I try to think of positive outcomes. The creature might die and leave me here untouched other than by insects crawling up my pants leg. In the dark shadows I swear I can see the reaper, calmly, patiently waiting. It makes me angry, terribly angry. The reaper could take me now, why does he just stand there? Perhaps he is not even there. Hours have passed and it would not be strange right now to be seeing things.

On inspecting my legs and what I can see of myself there has not been any damage done, no blood stains no torn clothing. Small mercies. Somehow it matter that I leave a fairly nice looking body behind. Thoughts right now just happen, pulled from the ether, mostly as amusements to pass time, and more time, and ---please can something just happen? The boredom on it's own is deadly. Unrelenting pain and boredom. I found myself thinking of all possible endings to this story of mine, unlikely rescues, or I might wake up, or be eaten alive by some creature. A werewolf maybe?

Again I chuckled. A werewolf? Ha! No, my luck it is a mindless bumbling but hairy woodsman with a penchant for collecting city women with intent to have them trained as his housekeeper. Ok, also bizarre and unlikely. Somehow all of my endings were benign and I found some temporary solace there. It was very dark now and I could see nothing at all. Probably a starless sky tonight. The fog was creeping higher and higher. I was so cold that I stopped feeling pain.

The cold was killing me, one pain replaced by another. I could not even fight the ropes any more.. The presence of what I thought my be the reaper was now a comfort, and I made eye contact and was no longer afraid of the reaper. I was fighting for remaining awake. Obviously comfort was not a requirement for falling asleep, or out of consciousness. by now I was too tired to fight. Whatever the outcome of this life altering event would be, I would not know it. I took a last glance around. Just as my grip on this world was letting go I spotted an enormous claw, and without having a moment to react, or do a proper review of my life, I was gone.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

She Oak for Heather

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Salt Water Study

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Coast Banksia Blooming

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Coast Banksia Study

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Bonnie was her Name

It was 1988,
I was completing my degree in Gerontology
I chose Bonnie for my thesis of an older person
Bonnie was 78.
Bonnie was totally without sight,
lost when carrying her last child
a Daughter named Sarah....two children to her and Tom,then Sarah then tragedy...

Bonnie was in care where I worked
We became good friends
We both loved the sea
Bonnie born near Castlemaine to parents who owned a pub
but she chose in her adult years to live in St Kilda.
Bonnie managed the sweet shop at the Victory Theatre just around the corner
lollies,ice creams,coffee ,sweet biscuits,Adams cakes
Not a big variety in the 1940's.

Why do I menton her as I see Imogen 's photgraph of the Banksia
I gave a Banksia to Bonnie
I found it at a country market in the hills.
It had been shaped and smoothed
so as to stand like a beautiful statue
Bonnie could feel it,smell its sweetness
It was a talking point to others who visited
as it sat on her bedside table,
next to the wooden statue of a horse who's owner she knew,
Bonnie had a bet on this horse every time it ran in a race
Bonnie loved horse racing,especially having a bet

Her radio was her friend
Like the Seeing Eye dog called Bertha,
she had for 12 years before coming into care
Bertha was Bonnies' 3rd dog over the years
Tom had died and Bonnie managed their Daughter Sara
As her adult children left home Bonnie was
helped by her Father Jack and then when he died
she managed alone for many years

I passed on my thesis to her Family of daughters and her
son.....they never wrote back to me or contacted me
I went to Bonnies funeral.
I went to the town where she was born called Carlsure
An art gallery now replaced the pub her parents owned
I bought a watercolour painting of the town she was born in
It hangs above the mantlepiece
in my extened kitchen
Some call it a dining room
I don't as I have never had a dinner party
When people visit in my home town
everyone comes, including the dogs
and we all share a meal together
No ceremony in the Borough House of the Daleys

The Banksia will always have fond memories for me
I will often think of that time
I spent with a friend
much older than me ,but with spirit intact
a fun woman, a strong woman, an independant spirit
Someone who's memory will always be there
when I see this special cone called Banksia...

Lois (Muse of the Sea) Sat 11th March 2006

Salt Garden

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Beach Lovers

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Perfect Sea

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Autumn Fire Worship

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

I Art Showing...

After spending a few weeks sans artwork on most of my walls, I am bloody happy to have the babies back where they belong. Although, truthfully, I'd not have been hurt if a few of them had found new homes, and I was laughing all the way to the bank. However, I can at least add this to my CV, which hasn't had much to add since being sidelined. So, I am ahead, in that sense.

illustration, aletta mes

Critically according to the cafe owner, the response was overwhelmingly positive and another showing is planned for late summer. Buoyed by having made it all the way through the experience, I will not hesitate to have another showing elsewhere should an opportunity present. I will put myself to creating some more canvases for the express purpose of exhibiting (while not leaving all my walls at home bare.)

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Another Tree for Monika

This was posted last year to Lemurian Abbey and to Live Poets, but I felt a re-run was in order, Monika, for you.


I am alone, barely standing,
on this cold
and wintry mountainside.

My comrades,
they are mostly gone now.
Their skeletons scattered,
bleached white, disintegrating
on the frozen ground.
My life is short now,
my future dim.
Can I withstand
another year
of winters such as this?

Long ago,
when I was just a sprout,
a tiny seedling,
I was slow to grow,
but resilient.
My cones were full of seeds.
I was just one of a few,
spaced wide apart,
an open forest on the mountain.
Life was harsh
at ten-thousand feet,
but we thrived
from one year to another.

Bears came to visit,
nuthatches, and squirrels, too.
I heard the cry of eagles
soaring overhead.
Years passed, then centuries,
some were good, some bad.
Rain was sometimes scarce,
the snow pack thin.
I was slow to grow
in the best of times, but
in such a year—
my ring was narrow—
barely visible.
Humans came.
They picked my purple cones,
gathered up my needles,
stole bits of me for souvenirs.
They probed my heart
for specimens to study in the lab.

For centuries,
we had the mountain to ourselves.
We survived,
but only God knows how.
I am alone now,
having outlived all the others.
My trunk is twisted, and
there's very little green.
My needles are small and weak.
My cones, what there are of them,
are scattered in the wind.
These old roots cannot
hold me upright for much longer.
Soon my sun bleached carcass
will lie upon the frozen ground.

But, my energy,
my nutrients, will feed the soil.
Someday, some tiny part of me
will become a seedling,
a sprig of green
and I will survive again
to survey my world
from this lofty mountain-side.

Feel not sorry for me
or kick my bleached bones aside.
Though I am not a beauty;
a Sequoia or a Redwood,
I am unique, resilient,
I’m a hardy Bristlecone.

Vi Jones
©March 30, 2006

Friday, March 03, 2006

A Few Of Vi's Best Friends

Grandma Crepe Myrtle

Grandpa Pine Tree

Great Ancestor Plane Tree

For you, Monika

This one is for you, Monika, even though your Muse is constant, which means that you must treat her well indeed.

She Was Gone—

She was gone when I awoke,
had left without a word.
She had been with me so long
that I thought she’d stay forever.

I wandered aimlessly about,
not knowing what to do.
Without her, I was lost,
a body bereft of soul.

I made some coffee,
ate a donut, and then another,
and a slice of chocolate cake
with ice cream.

I walked down to the lake,
skipped stones across the water,
watched the clouds roll by,
and cried.

I drove out to the country,
to places we’d been together,
searching, always searching,
for my love.

I must come to terms
with the fact that she has left,
but I don’t know what I’ll do
without her—

If you ask me who she was,
I’ll say, with a tear in my eye,
Her name was Muse.

Vi Jones
©March 2, 2006

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Fire Flame

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Plane Tree Leaves Turning

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Cypress Elders

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.