Last night I shared dinner with two friends, Mike and Ron. We sat around Ron’s dining room table surrounded by a Castor plant with its reddish feathery leaves, the large spear-leaves of a Bird of Paradise, the succulent greens of an enormous Clivia, and the large strong vines of a Night Blooming Cereus. Ron Kearns, a landscaper and plant lover, designed and planted the wildflower garden around the Olympic Bell that is in a quiet grove between our two houses.
The Olympic Bell is an installation by Paul Matisse, my former husband, that now permanently resides at the farm. Paul designed and built the bell for the Olympics in Greece, where it was installed below the Acropolis. I wrote a blogpost, The Olympic Bell – Part 1, during its installation at the farm and posted a photo of its installation in Athens. Now, I want to share its incarnation among New England’s version of stone columns, our majestic white pines.
The installation went smoothly, the bell rang all summer and fall as visitors to the farm discovered its magic and walked away carrying some of its powerful embodiment of depth and conviction. Some people visited it for the first time, and then returned again bringing their friends and family. The bell offers that kind of gift.
I walk out usually once a day to give it a ring, noticing on my way the footprints of other creatures like deer and beaver who make this same excursion. I enter the bell’s grove, stepping over the flat rock threshold. Pulling on its mighty rope, I like to lift the heavy hammer once, let it fall back, and then give a strong, long heave, letting hammer and bell meet. The sound penetrates down from my head and rises through my feet meeting somewhere in my heart space. It’s a deeply satisfying sound, as its maker describes it. I am filled with weight as I take it in. I feel the responsibility and greatness of being alive on this earth.
My friend, Linda Fialkoff, rang the bell and then sent me these words that expressed its sound.
Another friend said, “You know, Linda, I think it should have another name.” I looked at her in surprise, but asked, “Well, what would you call it?” She paused and then said, “The Earth Bell.” I thought, that does describe it. It is a bell of the earth.
Ron made us vegetarian chili, opened a bottle of red wine, passed a plate of grated cheese, chopped cilantro and avocado. Mike, the other guest, brought thick fried spicy potatoes with onions. I asked Ron what he wanted to do for the next ten years, but he turned the question back to me.
“I want to get my book published.” The words flew out out before I gave it any thought. I have been writing this book for at least five years, and it is time to finish it and move on. The memoir begins when I leave my marriage of twenty years to Paul and move to this small farm in Harvard with an old apple orchard. In bringing back the orchard, I connected to part of myself that was underground, a seed waiting for fertile ground to put out my first tender rootlet. With the bell’s arrival on the farm, it feels like a completion of all that I was trying to understand and share in the writing of the book.
We each have our own way of connecting to our creativity, the seeds deep within. They need our nurturing, and it does take persistence and patience. The wildflower garden that Ron designed and installed creates a sacred grove that takes you outside of the farm, away from time. The sound of the bell opens the door to that fertile field.
You are welcome to come by and ring the bell anytime. Park in the usual spot and walk around the pond. If you have never been here and don't know where to go, please ask. Let’s keep sounding the bell and let its deep sonorous tone fill the air, creating more space for our deepest seeds to resound.