Turtle Island

Yes, I have been missing in action. I’ve been engaged in another activity. I’ve been coloring. Designs that I made years ago, and even a few new ones. It’s a very long story, but the activity is one I enjoy and brings a huge assortment of added benefits. There are those who would simply dismiss it as no more than “child’s play”. But, children play for a reason other than just the fun of it. Playing puts them inside the process of learning. For instance, sometimes they play house. In doing so, they try on the roles of the adults around them and may find that some of those roles are fun, perhaps have much deeper meanings, or even allow them to consider the fact that they might not want to grow up at all.

When we, as adults, choose to engage in similar activities, we are also putting ourselves in the way of a learning process. Perhaps no more than learning what works or doesn’t. Actually, when I started this design, I simply wanted to see how many different shades of blue I could put on the page, and how they might or might not work together. I have acquired, over the years, a rather huge coloring box, of different types of coloring pens. From simple Sharpies, to real brush water color pens, as well as a few odd ones simply because they interested me in the moment.

The great part of such an activity is that it can swiftly become what is defined as “active meditation”. The hands are busy in repetitive action, and the mind is free to roam through its storage chest of memories and what those memories can bring forward all these years later. And that is exactly what happened here and how this particular black and white design turned into Turtle Island.

Somewhere, in the midst of all those different blues, I remembered my closest friend from High School. She was an incredible artist, while I remained no more than a dabbler. She and her large family were of Native American descent. Members of the Oneida Nation, which has land just west of the city where we lived and went to school. We were both a tad bit on the rebellious side, and yes, we did get into a bit of trouble now and then. My parents thought she might be a bad influence on me, while her family had similar thoughts about my person.

We together did lead a sort of rebellion (my idea) at the High School. We gathered the very best of the female Art students and demanded that we be allowed to take Drafting, a “boys only” class. We got what we wanted and she and I ended up in the class together. The other girls were separated and were kept singular in each class hour. Not nice, but the school was, I think, trying to teach us something. It didn’t work.

But Mary and I drifted apart after school. I got married and moved to a city three hours away. Had four kids and started divorce proceedings because my husband was an abusive alcoholic. And I applied and was accepted at the four year University in our neighbor city.

I loved college. Although I was almost forty when I entered, I thrived in that environment. It was where I realized that I wanted to write. I had lots of encouragement from instructors and fellow students. At one point, I asked a Philosophy Instructor if I could do an independent study with him and write about how myths and legends affect the structure of communities and nations. He gave me cart blanche, simply told me I could do anything I chose.

I had already declared a major in History. And I decided to combine a History assignment and the Philosophy study. I was doing an American History class at the time and thought it might be interesting to look into some Native American myths. Came back to my home city for a week and called out to the Oneida Nations Museum to see if I could get some information. And was absolutely amazed that the woman who answered the phone was my old friend Mary.

We set up a time and got together at the museum. She helped me gather a few books, but then recited the Native American Creation Myth and how the North American continent came to be called Turtle Island. She also explained how the Oneida Indians received their tract of land for their support of the Colonials in the Revolutionary War. All of that came back to me as I was coloring the above image. An incredibly rich store of memories, but also a reminder that when I choose my own path, things seem to come together in ways no one could or would ever imagine.

And that still remains true. I’m thirty-five years older now, but I needed that reminder. And I love that it came while I was playing with the color blue.

About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here: https://1sojournal.wordpress.com/ http://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/ http://claudetteellinger.wordpress.com/
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10 Responses to Turtle Island

  1. Sherry Marr says:

    Ah, I so love that it was Mary who answered the phone and told you about Turtle Island. Love your image, and that you have been “colouring”, which is much more than colouring, as we both know, but becomes an act of meditation. When I was in an abusive marriage, colouring is what I did to stay sane. I wonder if Mary is still on Turtle Island and if you ever speak with her. Lovely to read you, my friend, as always. I am very tired after my move, but very happy. I love my new place. Must email you soon. I have been in recovery mode after all the work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1sojournal says:

      I like that word “recovery” my friend. It is exactly how I feel about all my current activity. That I am actually recovering some essential sense of my own person, but not because I set out to do such a thing. If that makes sense. On some levels, I feel like I haven’t worked this hard in a long time, yet there is an ease about all of it. Maybe because I’m just doing my own thing? 75 is just around the corner but I’m trying not to think about that. It doesn’t seem real, if you know what I mean. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond, hugs from the hillbilly…

      Elizabeth

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  2. KT Workman says:

    I understand where you’re coming from. I’ve been learning to paint in watercolors. I still write, but the painting is a more relaxing endeavor. I learned to draw a couple of years ago, and do that as well. When sketching or painting, I’m so focused the world falls away.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1sojournal says:

      So good to hear from you, KT, it’s been way too long. I love the fact that you have chosen to place yourself in that learning arena, and even understand on some level. The brush pens were a new experience for me. A bit unwieldy to begin with, but getting friendlier and more at ease with time and doing. I like that we continue to challenge our own persons. What could be more healthy? Thanks for responding and sharing your own experience,

      Elizabeth

      Liked by 1 person

  3. KT Workman says:

    Good to read your writing again, Elizabeth. I took an extended break from bogging, and haven’t been back long myself.
    Kathy

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    • KT Workman says:

      Oops…blogging. 😊Though, who knows, bogging may be fun.

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      • 1sojournal says:

        And it’s good to see you here. I’ve had spaces of time before, but never this long. And with this one post, the words are calling to me, but I’ve gotten rather good at avoiding them, lol. But, I have also become aware that the music, the writing, especially poetry, and the digital art are all of a piece, that piece that is me. All of it is the search for harmony in whatever I am choosing to do in any moment.
        And who knows, bogging might be fun. Especially if it has something to do with using a mallet to slap wooden articles that look like small noggins, I’m up for trying.

        Elizabeth

        Liked by 1 person

      • KT Workman says:

        On a lark, I looked up bogging in the dictionary. In informal speech in Scot, it means filthy; covered in dirt and grime. Maybe it would be fun to find a big mud hole and using said mallets, slap noggins around in the mud. If one were wild enough, one would wind up boggy, I’m sure. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  4. 1sojournal says:

    I just had an image of us old women slogging around in the mud laughing and falling down and splashing one another. We were definitely having a great old time. I may have to go for a walk and look for a puddle to splash a time or two… Thanks for the info and the giggle, KT

    Elizabeth

    Liked by 1 person

  5. KT Workman says:

    Haven’t splashed around in a mud puddle in Lord knows how long. I may have to try it out next time it rains. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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