Welcome to: The Cleft in the Tree:
and Creative consultant and on site artist; Artist Shelley Willis Horn
Following the creation of the “Greyhound Lady Walking Suspense Series” it came to pass that the author “aged” and retired. She came to review her life and gain perspective. It was then that she revisited her childhood loves and comforts and realized that like the victim/survivors she rescued, and whose stories she told, she wanted to share her love of the friends of her childhood. The fairies who inhabited the “hobo-jungle” that abutted her childhood home In Oklahoma and enriched her life then, and now.
In the series of “real cases” fictionalized to protect victim/survivor identities, locations, workers and volunteers, she created an “underground” for the transport of the highest risk victim/survivors. The most secure high-risk shelter was known as the “Cleft of the Rock Shelter”. The author was inspired by the old time hymn, “He Hideth My Soul In the Cleft of the Rock” which alludes to that protective opening one finds between rocks where one can hide. Thus the six foot tree stump selected for the Fairy Tree shelter had a long opening, a “cleft” in which fairies could hide It was in the cleft here that the Fairy Nursery was situated. A candle flickers protective light there in the darkness. It is now covered by a stain glass covering with a clear pane for viewing the sleeping Fairy babies. This became the foundation of “The Cleft in the Tree” shelter. Note in the picture below on the right side is a blue stained glass covering for the nursery.
A sign tells the story of how we get fairies. “Whenever a newborn baby laughs for the first time, a fairy is born. Because there are many newborn babies, there are new fairies being born as well.”
THE TOUR OF THE CLEFT OF THE TREE FAIRY SHELTER.
Begin on the south side of the tree. There is a “Fairy Dust” box which is pink , and the fairy dust is gold, silver or blue, and decorated with happy flowers. To make the Fairy Dust appear, one must first shake the sleigh bells, hung to the right side of the Fairy Dust box.
As the sign says; Shake the bells to awaken fairies. One then finds the magic tubes of varied colors of fairy dust in the box with some fairy dust for the hands. Children throw it high into the air stepping forward to receive some on the head and body.
As you look around the south-side of the tree where the Fairy Dust box is, you will see a pink fairy (lighted at night) that protects the box.
Above her to the left on a bark platform is a stain-glass angel named Leila. She is the Angel to the Fairies; and in charge of guarding all spirits that are born.
There is also a young boy fairy standing on a moss covered platform above a birdbath (and in keeping with the irreverent writer and her sense of humor, our creative consultant helped construct a scene where he is taking a whiz into the birdbath) and there is a feathered bird drinking from it.
Higher still is a small fairy holding high a bouquet of Lilies of the Valley and a decorative staircase to climb into the protection of the rooftop moss house. Above that opening is an attic opening with an owl.
The Candid Fairy Camera with its smile sign is a real draw to the mirror on the Fairy Dust box. Kids practice their smiles and some will receive pictures via email or Facebook of their visit.
Below them, under their watchful eyes and loving care, is the Fairy Nursery.
At the base of the tree is a Medieval drawbridge and door. A sign on the door says “Last Chapters” which is another salute to the theme of the author and her Greyhound Lady Walking series. .
The floor of the drawbridge is covered with copper and hand-tooled paw prints of the greyhounds which are represented by a solid brass greyhound at rest and a sign which says “Greyhound Crossing.”
The drawbridge, shown here in construction, also is functional lifting up and down. This is the Medieval door the children knock on. Behind it, when they open the door is another small cleft which the “fairies” put inside. They often have personal notes to the individual child by name, and may designate a new “Fairy Name” for the child. They have also been known to have personalized gifts inside for that child.
Moving toward the north side of the tree we find on the ground, a 3D Library which features all the books of the Greyhound Lady Walking series.
An ancient medieval style ladder connects the library to the tree (as seen in the picture with one of the “celebrity visitors” who was given the fairy name of Shaylee: Fairy princess of the fields).
On the west side of the tree is the end of the bark balcony holding Leila and it has potted flowers with butterflies.
Hanging nearby is a platform swing with “Grandma GaGa” swinging blissfully without a care in the world. Grandma GaGa is so named because she is the fairy persona of author Joyce Godwin Grubbs.
One of the unique offerings is the “Cleft of the Tree Stables” which houses the horses and unicorns. Besides the stall and hay floor with hay bales, there is “Rudy” the horse” with a beautiful blonde fairy, “Shelley”. She is riding him bareback and is holding a baby fairy, “Mac” (Mackensie). They represent the creative artist who assisted in the planning and execution of this “world for fairies” taking the author’s concept and making it a living (in progress) reality. Shelley’s horse Rudy died during the time of her work on the project and we love being able to honor him.
Now there is straw on the floor, a candle to light it at night, and some straw bales soon to be added. A recent addition not yet photographed is the new Unicorn with fairy rider.
The very favorite fairy of all is “Herbie” who glides between on a Zip-Line on an 8’ length of fish line. His wings propel him along and allow him to turn directions. He bears a striking resemblance to the author’s husband when he was in his 50’s. (LOL)
Two crystal angels now fly with him; one pink, one blue. There are also long crystal prisms to cast rainbows about the garden.
Adjoining the north/west base of the Fairy tree is the iconic forest area of lush green plants and multiple stumps of various sizes and stages of decay. (A stump collage). On one stump sits a sandstone colored Mourning Dove statue and a brown iron Mourning Dove.
In another large stump is an area containing plantings of flowers and greenery. There is also a collector’s statue of the Isabel Bloom, Domestic Violence Angel among the foliage and wood.There is also a three foot hand tied wooden “road” ladder from the floor of the garden to the top of the stump where a bird sits on her three green eggs awaiting their hatching.
A sign near the wooden tied hemp/wood ladder says; “The road less traveled is taken by fairies.”
A very large aged bronze pot filled with green plants sits on the ground encased in vegetation with a large forked branch inserted that holds a “mail box” for fairy mail.
The three foot high sign declaring this to be the “Cleft in the Tree” announces the presence of the Fairy Tree.
The Fairy Garden
*** ALL LIGHTING ON THE FENCING, TRELLIS AND INDIVIDUAL FAIRY EXHIBITS are SOLAR. As darkness falls the entire tree lights up with blinking, blue, LED mini-lights and each exhibit is individually lighted with solar lights as is the garden path.
A continuing work in progress, the Fairy Garden contains colorful, large, red and white Impatiences plants. Interspersed throughout the garden are Welcome stones, a “Glass crystal ball”, an Isabel Bloom victim/survivor angel statue, A leaded glass mirror depicting a butterfly (sign of transformation), a water feature of a fish (35”) and silver colored brass swans filled with glass marbles, “pearls” and “diamonds” for the children.
Abutting the garden on the north side is a stack of aged wood branch cuttings forming a three foot high nature wall and each wooden piece with distinctive bark age. A small grass area affords a “sitting area” with outdoor chairs (available) to enjoy the peace and serenity.
On the west side of the Fairy Garden are two 8’ sections of “Inserted Marble Fence” which produces a rainbow of color shining across the garden at sundown as the rays shine through. The marbles also provide bright coloring with their clear, transparent light from both sides of the fence during the day. The first (most northern section) is a posthumous tribute to the author’s sister, pioneer police officer Trula Ann Godwin, and many of her own childhood marbles were used in this section.
On the railroad ties below/in front of this section, is an antique WPA brick with OSKALOOSA imprinted on it and it is “gold brick;” and on either side are gold “nuggets” stretched along the length either way from the brick.
The Inserted Marble Fence construction is completed along the full length of the west side of the garden, north to south and is approximately 94’ and is 4’ high. This is the author’s husband’s labor of love and contribution as well as his upkeep of the garden. Each section when completed with being embedded will have 300-400 marbles embedded.
Between the first and second inserted marble fence sections is a “stripped willow branch” trellis 4’ high and 6’ long. The grapes and “climbing beans” (Jack and the Beanstalk being the inspiration) are growing and by next year should cover it. Meanwhile special solar lights are woven in between the openings of the trellis and they look to be flowers, and they are varying colors (red, blue, yellow, white, green) and have 8 programs which can cause them to blink, dance, fade it and out, etc. Herbie will continue to fly “overhead” on his zip line.
Last but not least is the deep-tone Asian bell that the children ring to say goodbye to the fairies. It is next to the entrance to Mr. Grubbs Fresh Fairy Food Farm.
The gate fires all kinds or rainbow colors in the day and Neon dancing colors at night from the newly added “CD reverse sides” glued to the aged gate.
The grape vineyard begins on the north border of the Fairy Garden 6’ high, show through the iron bars of antique fence once surrounding the Marycrest College, Davenport, Iowa. It is well over a hundred years old and 6’ high. Recently an iron angel was added that is about three feet by two feet high. It was inspirational in the new novel cover for “If This Isn’t Love.”
Purple “flower” lights (solar) are woven between the bars and set off the grapes, purple clematis and newly added butter colored Shasta Daisies.
There is now a solar lamp of polished brass at the end of each of the 8′ sections of the 94 feet of wood/marble fence .
The last act after the ringing of the goodbye bell is the child choosing from a gift basket a memento/jewel to take with them. These range from amethyst rocks, small antique pins, broaches, necklaces and other “shiny” fun items from the fairies to enrich their memories. They are also given a “fairy name”.
Future expansion will include the “Greenery garden” which leads out to the end of the marble fence. Already filled with Hostas from Wisconsin, Iris and Surprise Lilies (Naked Ladies) from Oklahoma, and Peonies from Carl and Lydia (now Fairy Emeritus), there are also select day lilies given by family members. We will add to the garden, fairies, and items donated by friends and family.
First on our list is the new “Fairy pig farm” because Iowa has more hogs than people.
The author’s quotes will be added on the cross-boards of the Inserted Marble Fence; including her signature: “Believe…………..you can!”
And “The end is just an opportunity to begin again.” (found at the end of every novel.)
More to come as progress is made.
Meanwhile, remember in retirement it is “doing what makes you happy and brings you joy. Seeing this most beautiful child enjoy the Fairy Tree/Garden does it for me. Her momma bought her fairy wings for the visit and when she knocked on the door, the fairies had left her a letter with a new Fairy Name for her. It was Shaylee; princess fairy to the fields. They also gave her a jewel from their basket and she chose the pearl necklace she is seen wearing below. The most magical thing happened when she stayed late enough for the dark of night and at the exact moment she “shook the bells” the entire tree and garden lighted up. Serendipity or fairies; you be the judge.
Three crystal prisms hang in the window that looks out toward the Fairy Garden in my yard. When the sun ‘hits’ them the crystals fire rainbows all over my living room walls and ceilings. They are suspended by fishline which makes them look like they are just “there” because you do not see the fishline at all.
Why? you may ask do I do this?
As many may know, I am an author prone to inserting personal things into my novels that are “real” to me. In the literary field these are known as “genius/or bonus points. One of them is the concept of prisms in windows to provide rainbows. It was a fascination left over from childhood when everything seemed dark and sad. The rainbows “picked me up and encouraged me.” I first wrote them into “The Monday Night Flight Club” where the character of Presley is introduced. At 14, after being rescued, she is put into foster care with Momma Bets. Presley strings prisms on the window of her room with dental floss and is re-vitalized by the rainbows.
I special ordered some prisms to “share” on special occasions. I had, as an adult, had a prism hanging from my car mirror and others have now done the same. I decided to put the idea out there for those who might like to have these for their own room, office, car, nursery, whatever. We all need rainbows in our life to remind us of the beauty that can be ours. As in the Bible, it was also a promise to each of us: Genesis 9:13 I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth.
I hope you consider these as a “small token gift” you could share with a note of encouragement to someone you love or see in need. Just a unique and affordable sign of love and caring. There is a large selection online one may order as I did.
Remember to always keep magic and love in your life, and to share it with others.
WHY I RETIRED ON FACEBOOK INSTEAD OF FLORIDA
Oh yeah, there is that whole “it takes money thing,” but more than that, it was because I am a definite Type A personality: from childhood to the grave looks like. So here I am in the Midwest, the Heartland of America, living on the curve just off Highway 61 with woods in front of me, pasture behind me, in a little stretch of road called Ricker Hill: not to be confused with the mail I get addressed to “Richer Hill”.
I had just retired for the third time, and was ready to be a full time writer. I had no problem continuing to work a minimum 40-hour week, although doing it all on the computer was really different. There were no casual lunches with peers, no gossip overheard in the women’s restrooms, and no ‘cornered prey’ in the halls at work to tell my old stories too( ignoring their ‘deer in the headlight’ looks. ) Nope, it was me, the computer and the old balding man with the two greyhounds who shares the house with me. Hmmmm, what to do?
As a writer who has content just ‘flow’ there is never a problem with fulfilling my hours writing: but I got lonely. I ventured onto Facebook after prompts from various members of the “Gang of Eleven” (my grandkids). I have to admit, checking up on them and embarrassing them with posts on their sites when their friends, or my grandchildren seem to have ‘inappropriate posts,’ was a great deal of fun. It gave me a sense of fulfillment: I was ‘policing’ their cyber lives thus ensuring their ‘safety and futures’.
Then I was besieged by the withdrawal from ‘Adults and Controversy’ which had been a major factor in my life for more than forty years: so I ‘friended’ a few, and responded to a few friend posts requests. Lo and behold, I seemed to have no friends who minded if I was in my pajamas. (I always assure everyone I change my pajamas daily whether I need to or not.) Last came the old need that had controlled me the bigger share of my life: the old “Need to be Needed Syndrome.”
NOW I HAVE IT ALL. I can go on my Facebook and enjoy friendly posts, enlightening commentary, political tripe which allows me to delete the opinion with a click of a button, and most of all, my new friends, and some who are old. People I went to grade school with in Oklahoma, friends from my old days in Texas, and high school and college friends, have found me. I found cousins I had “lost for 30 years”and even had a reunion in Texas with them. I have been able to continue my advocacy/counseling for victims of domestic violence and rape/sexual assault, and still worked in writing 15 books, took up photo journalism, and worked an underground mail system for victims. Whew. .
One fun thing has been to meet on Facebook, many authors, editors, producers, and the “wanna be” and “will be” authors on their way to fulfilling their dreams. I have had such lively discourses on the Facebook site to the point I now have to send a “warning” post to ‘new friends,” that mine is an eclectic site that reflects ‘all’ my friends: Political (Republicans, Democrats, Independents and Naysayers), Straight and Gay, Liberal and Conservative, Religious, Atheist, Agnostics (Yes there is a difference), Young and ‘mature’. Many are those I met through the years while working in the inner cities with street people, addicts, prostitutes, police officers, legal folks, and just plain about any and everyone. Many I have never met personally, and may never meet in this lifetime.
Now I never lose touch: I continue to make friends on Facebook I never knew before. I am happy and content to be a listening ear, a caring heart and a person who knows that God Don’t Make NO Junk, so we’re all worthy to be heard and loved.
Therefore, if at my retirement I was given a gift, I believe this one: Facebook would be the best. It keeps me engaged in people, and people have been my life. It keeps me in touch with my grandkids now scattering from Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio. Daily I know they are okay. It allows me to keep my sense of humor, and to keep my mind “sorta” sharp.
So if you have been mulling over where to retire: just remember you can retire anywhere, but for me, RETIRING ON FACEBOOK, tops the list.