Saratoga Springs New York then and now

For the past 27 years, I have been estranged from my home town, home to my genealogy:  Great-Great Grandfather William Ryall, my Great Grandfather William Ryall, Grandfather James Ryall, My father William Alfred Ryall and mother Mary Rose Sullivan and our family of four children. My parents are gone now and like the prodigal son, I went full circle to the place of my birth and first 18 years of my life. I returned to memories, my heart, preservation, elegance, tradition and beauty. Saratoga Springs is a crown jewel in the league of fame and fortune.

Oran2-S.V_1 by Regis Brodie
Oran2-S.V_1 by Regis Brodie

My cousin Jim and wife Stephanie gave me two stunning pieces of pottery. One was made by my Aunt Pat. She has had a brilliant pottery and ceramic career over the years. She studied under Regis Brodie who permitted her to work on her craft in his art studio at Skidmore College. Matter of fact, he encouraged her to come.

The piece I have is a blue bowl that was crafted by using my Great Aunt Sarah and Mary’s doilies of intricate pineapple shapes. Aunt Pat stated that she made a paste like dough that she pressed the doily on.. Then she rolled the shape out to a flat sheet, which was somehow incorporated into the pottery. I feel like I have a intricate art piece that has my own family’s history in it. I  Sarah and Mary Renolds, my great aunts, were outstanding seamstresses, who at one time worked in the garment district of New York City. You can learn about Regis Brodie, the other famous potter at http://www.rcbrodie.com/

Sunday morning, Jimmy and I watched as hundreds of Canada geese flew over North Broadway in the biggest migration formation I have ever seen in my life. Later in the day, my sister, her husband and I saw thousands of Canada geese resting in the large reservoir. Jimmy lives on land that goes right to the edge of the pristine reservoir.  It is gorgeous to see beautiful water and forest, which was carpeted in oak leaves and a sporadic bright green ground-cover. To hear the sound of thunderous wings fluttering and geese honking, was to witness the power sounds of nature’s force in action. On reflection, it was a wonderful prayer I was honored to see and hear.

Finding the answer to my heart’s question

Grandfather boulder
Grandfather boulder

Yesterday I hiked out on a trail through a forest near Fitchburg, Massachusetts; last week I was rewarded while on the same path by what I discovered while out in the woods.

Meantime, I have been feeling torn about taking an altar from my home in Minong, Wisconsin. I am moving to Massachusetts from Wisconsin. The beautiful raw wood is a single piece of wood, a former tree limb. Many years ago, a severe storm hit Southern Maryland and the limb fell during the storm. The fallen limb was from a sacred tree hidden in the forest, along a horse trail in Lusby. There were no other footsteps because no one hiked or road horses on the trail any longer. I used to go here with Tia, my dog,  when we lived in Southern Maryland. I could unburden my heart at the base of the ancient tree. I loved the tree that survived massive development of Southern Maryland, withstood thunder storms and still strongly stood. I sensed the tree had good medicine. I could feel it. I had many experiences to learn from the ancient tree. I don’t know how to express it any other way.

When we moved to Northwest Wisconsin, I took the limb with me. For many years it stood on the mantle over the fireplace at our home in Minong, Wisconsin. Here is where I lit a candle to set the day’s intentions. Here is where I put sacred objects to honor the Great Spirit and Mystery of the Cosmos and Universe. The altar is still there. I return to Wisconsin on Wednesday. Shortly, I will be moving to Massachusetts into a small alcove penthouse in Fitchburg, MA. There really isn’t room for many of my things, including the sacred wood of the prayer tree. Now you know how I was feeling about moving this sacred object. All my family including my husband, our animals, and most of my elder friends have walked on whom once lived on B Street, Minong. It was here in this little valley where we had our retirement home and I spent many a happy year.

Now, it is time for me to move on too.

 

 

Woodland trail
Woodland trail

It was while hiking within the woods, in Massachusetts, that I was led to another ancient tree. It was then I literally broke down because I had found the tree, or was it that the tree found me? I knew then that I didn’t need to bring the altar to MA. I could now honor the altar by placing it with the sacred place where my animals are buried. It is here also where the bullets from my husband’s Military Honoring Internment Ceremony are also buried. My husband is interned at the Veteran’s Cemetery in Northwest Wisconsin. Someday, I will return to Wisconsin to be interned with my husband. It is a beautiful place. There are native gardens that border the woods and I will someday be in these beloved woodlands forever.

In the meantime, I am getting ready to fly to Wisconsin on Wednesday, pack up the house, and say goodbye to this sweet interlude that embraced me for 12 years. Know that when I return to Massachusetts, I can walk out to my sacred tree as long as I have the strength of my legs to carry me. How sweet this reality is and how honored I am.