Mosswood Hollow, Washington State - USA
When you fly to Seattle, there is no border between the Pacific Ocean and the mainland, but a checkerboard where islets, water reservoirs, bays and peninsulas merge, as if water and land were playing at erasing their boundaries by creating a new landscape.
Paul is there, waiting for me at the finish line, arms crossed in front of his old grey station wagon, bushy grey hair, a smile on his face and a trunk full of fresh vegetables, fish and fruit. "Hi...how are you?". It is expressed with a slowness that takes one into a time out of time where we have all the time in the world.
The air is something graceful, the first leaves of spring shine like stars in the dark green of the old pines. We cross a few peaceful villages, fields where a few cows graze who don't even look at us, a bend, then the road sinks into the dark woods.
On the roadside, posters state: "Please do not leave food for the bears". At the end of the road, on the right, under a large wooden porch that seems to bless the arrival of everyone is the entrance to the estate:
Adding up the numbers makes one. A start.
The stony path slopes steeply down to the large cedars that guard the threshold of the house. I feel like I'm entering a green belly. The forest overflows, on the path, in the garden, fir trees, ferns, moss. Here too, the boundaries are disappearing.
A large wooden building on two floors, a little bit muddled, with a body and parts as if added over time, surrounded by a large wooden deck. The birds sing and so does the lilac.
Pushing the door, we enter a history, a history with drawers. At the bend of a staircase that crackles a little, doors that might lead to secret rooms opening onto other worlds.
At the entrance, a fire sings softly, old carpets, bookcases crumbling under the books. The kitchen stands there, like a magical passage between the living room and the large dining room with its bay windows. It is in this room, wide open to nature, that the dreams of the night are told, stories are woven and possibilities are written.
Sandy the alchemist, reveals the flavours, both of food and human beings. A quality of presence and listening that transforms and magnifies.
Wild salmon with hazelnuts, flower salads, spice soups, melissa, rosemary or cardamom sorbets are all the songs of the earth that dance at meals. Here, we feel welcomed, everyone in their place, exactly as they are.
My room is like an eagle’s nest, high up. It overlooks a small sleeping lake below the house. In front of the bed, the painting of a feather with beautiful calligraphic letters: "The gift of the feather of the Eagle".
The birdsong takes over at dawn from the frogs who perform at night.
A path in the woods runs around the lake, starting at the end of the garden on a wooden footbridge hidden between the tall grass. Right after that, we are swallowed by the forest. Tangles of broken, giant branches that stubbornly reach towards the sky. One gets drunk with humus, the animal instinct awakens, one finds one's skin of soul and hair in this primeval nature. At the bend of the track, a tree gate. A mystery door. Behind, the lichen hangs from the end of century-old arms, the moss wraps around the bare trunks and the giant ferns remind the passer-by that the origin is everywhere, as old as life and as new as the child being born.
In this place of gestation, my friend Robert Moss, fantastic author and adventurous dreamer is leading a writing retreat. All together, we formed a tribe of elders. We went to the dream worlds for advice and visions, where stories wait until one is ready to hear them before being born. Catherine, tall and thin, straight from a Woody Allen film, glasses framed in black, painted lips, deep and raspy tone, Laurie, with long braided grey hair, short forehead and high cheekbones, bare feet on the ground, Amy, round, generous and laughing, who tells stories to the girls so that they can gather their strength and never forget their wild soul as they grow up, Becky, all laughter and joy, plays with the tissues of the living and twirls in colour when she reads lips.
Each of us was also all the others. Memories, inspirations, encouragements, every tear and laughter were gifts and wisdom to be shared.
Here, the stories may have healed the world once again.