What *Does* The Fox Say?

(In this post, two characters from the children’s fantasy novel, Because Of The Red Fox, have their say)

Shell: Shell Wakefield, here. I’m, uh, the main character in this book that just came out that tells about a very unusual day (and night) in my life. Wow, it feels really weird to type this! I mean, how would you feel if someone started writing about your life, and then made it into a book?

Anyway, folks who know about my story have been telling me I have to see this music video that’s gone viral. The music video is called The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?) by a Norwegian comedy duo called Ylvis. They are two brothers named  Bård and Vegard Ylvisåker (Bard? Wow, that’s a coincidence!). You probably all know about this video.

Yesterday I finally watched it. It’s a totally fun and whacky video! Then I got Leaves to watch it with me, and he started dancing in the woods … just like all the bard foxes do in our book. Bard foxes! And in fact, I think those folks dancing in the woods with the singers are the bard foxes!

And then Leaves said he had to have a chat with Tony the Pony, but that Santa (my cousin) should bring her ham radio, and transmit what he says in Morse code, since she knows Morse code, thanks to being an Amateur Radio Operator and all (that’s in our book too).

So I have this crazy, funny feeling when I think about The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?), because some of it feels very familiar, like it could have come out of our story, Because Of The Red Fox. Leaves is a mystery, after all. And he watches over me. sort of, and then there’s this angel bird feather I have … Really, it’s all in our book.

What do you think, Leaves? What does the fox say?

Leaves: Wa-wa-way-do, of course! What does the fox say? Our book has everything to say about what I say! Even so, this video does indeed shed a little extra light onto moi, and my way with words.

Shell: Hm! You don’t say!

Leaves: And on you as well. In the video, isn’t that Bert the Gamesmaster reading to you as a little child? And there’s that hound …. And that elephant person at the beginning has to be the Green Knight in disguise.

Shell: That’s stretching it, Leaves! Maybe. … So, it’s weird to be in a book that’s published. But it’s even weirder to see elements of our tale in a video that’s been viewed by millions! Leaves, you are an ancient mystery.

Leaves: So are you, Shell!

Shell: I have a feeling we all are, including you, dear Readers. Anyway, check out the video, read our book (or the other way around), and let us know what you have to say!

Mushrooms Rising

Note from Jane: Shell, Santa (Samantha), and Annie are three cousins who appear in my children’s “magical nature” fantasy novel, Because Of The Red Fox, which I’m delighted to say, will be available on Nov. 8! I’ll step aside now to let the girls have their say, as they tell us what’s new in their lives on Yonder Island.

Shell: Well, Santa, I knew you were excited about all those mushrooms we’ve been seeing in the woods, but ….

Annie: I don’t remember them being so blurry

Santa: They weren’t! I just got a little excited ….

Shell: I’ll say. But let’s allow our Readers to take a look.

Santa's Mushroom Photo
Santa’s Mushroom Photo

Santa: I know what you’re thinking, Shell. And you don’t need to be so critical.

Shell: Not only is it blurry, but it’s sideways.

Santa: That’s artistry! And it would have ended up perfectly if I hadn’t–

Shell: –started jumping up and down. You really can’t expect to get a good photo when you do that.

Annie: But she had reason to be excited. We all did.

Leaves (the Red Fox): As I recall, you all were boinging up and down.

Shell: Well, yes … but you have to admit, Leaves. We had good reason.

Annie: This fall has been amazing! So many kinds of mushrooms are sprouting up everywhere. Ruffly-dress mushrooms, spatter-groit mushrooms, supreme emperor mushrooms, mushroom village mushrooms, rose beauty mushrooms, feathered mushrooms, slimes ….

Shell: Annie, I don’t think those are the real names of the mushrooms we saw on our wander the other day.

Santa (vigorously waving a Field Guide in front of Annie’s face): They absolutely are not! You are so totally making up all those names.

Annie: Of course, and why not? Mushrooms are so mysterious and elegant and weird that they deserve to have us be inspired and make up names for them.

Shell: Well, it’s sure fun to dream up names for all of them, and stories and histories too.

Santa: Anyway, my photo is of some teeny-tiny mushrooms that grew up on a slab of bark.

Shell: You haven’t identified them?

Santa: Hmph! No. But give me time. The point of this post and my boldness in showing you this photo, is that this is a really special year for mushrooms, at least here on Yonder Island, in the Pacific Northwest. We are discovering so many different kinds–

Annie: –and they’re just everywhere, and a bunch of different sizes!

Shell: It’s pretty amazing. I’ve never seen mushrooms and other fungi like that before. Something about the rain and the sun …?

Santa: I don’t know. It’s just a really amazing time … to be a mushroom, I guess.

Shell (raising an eyebrow): Hmmm. Well, Readers, maybe it’s a great time for mushrooms where you live, too. Next time you see a mushroom growing on a lawn or under a tree, look a little further. We’ve been finding them on logs and under logs, on trees, pathways, under shrubs, and up slopes–

Annie: Just everywhere!

Santa: If you see any where you live, please tell us about them! Their color, their shape, what other plants hang out with them …

Shell: What they remind you of — just anything!

Annie: Is this a secret mission?

Santa (snorting): Not very secret, if we’re broadcasting the idea on a blog!

Shell: Secret enough. We look forward to your reports, Readers! Shell, Santa, Annie, and Leaves, signing off for now!

A Field Guide To Our Own Wild Minds

Note from Jane: Most of the time I’ll be posting to the kid in all of us. Occasionally though I post to “grown ups, in service to how we may nourish the magic of our true nature”. The book review is one such post. Enjoy!

I’ve long felt that the works of Bill Plotkin, psychologist, cultural visionary, and wilderness guide, should be recommended reading for parents, teachers, caregivers, and just about every adult who yearns to live a satisfying, exciting, deeply human, and unique life, and to support such an experience for the children in their lives. His previous book, Nature And The Human Soul, Plotkin introduced a model that maps how fully and creatively we can mature when soul and wild nature guide us. In his newest work,
Wild Mind: A Field Guide To The Human Psyche, Plotkin takes us on a journey through our psyche, offering us a richer, deeper understanding of our consciousness and what it might mean for us to nourish our full humanity by cultivating, what he describes as, the four facets of the Self.

As with his previous works, Plotkin is a generous, compassionate guide who ignites our imaginations and coaxes forth our own deep knowings about who we might truly be at the heart of our nature: individuals who have unique roles to play in all of the universe, who have a birthright to an intimate relationship with the natural world around us, and who have a part to play in reweaving the fabric of our culture. In this book he engages us with aspects of our selves, our whole nature aspects, as well as with our wounded, self-protective aspects–our Subpersonalities. With the latter, he is careful to point out that these aspects have had an essential role to play in our pasts, and that this should be honored. We can heal our relationships with our Subpersonalities and reassign their energies. Plotkin, as with his other works, offers practices for connecting with the whole nature facets of the Self, as well as for engaging in the process of healing our relationships with our Subpersonalities.

To engage with this book is to engage in your own inner wilderness. The journey is both wondrous and practical. We explore our own Wild Minds, come to celebrate the beauty of our Self and Soul, and discover ways to nurture and caretake who we are at heart.  And we gaze upon our wounded aspects, and learn how to take them by the hand. At the same time we explore our inner nature, we come to understand how we are threaded with outer nature. This book is very much about this interconnected relationship.

I personally would love to see this work included and personally explored by all in the field of psychology. As Plotkin points out: “Conventional Western psychology has focused on pathology rather than possibility and participation, and this renders it incomplete … and in many ways obsolete.” In this book, Plotkin points out again and again that our human psyches possess a variety of astonishing resources, which we all share by virtue of being human.  Reclaiming these essential human capacities of the Self ought to be the highest priority in many fields, for it is in our vibrant, wholeness that sustainable, life-affirming culture, the well-being of all of us and of the earth  will thrive.

Pick up a copy of this book and uncover the magic of your true nature!