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  • Maren Van Nostrand

Circling Back Together

Updated: Feb 22, 2020

In mid-October, we held a Soundfalls reunion at the Carnation Tree Farm's National Historic Landmark Barn. Thirty people came, including performers from previous Soundfalls shows, Soundfalls workshop participants, my studio students, and loyal Soundfalls audience members. I opened the circle with a focus on the "we" of it all, the center. Then I spoke a blessing and named people who came before us, or who could not be there. The energy of the group built as we shared, seamlessly from one person to the next, sounds both familiar and new. We harmonized on songs we loved as kids or had sung with our loved ones. We read poems dedicated to our 90+ year-old fathers. We sang a traditional song from our homelands in our native language. We played one of our first songs ever learned on violin. We told stories of our travels across the globe and in our valley. We played cello with our baby sleeping against our chest. We strummed guitars, ukuleles and basses. We played wooden flute. We read our own writings of mystical moments and grand adventures. We were moved. 

My decision to have this fall Soundfalls event be in the form of a circle seemed meant to be. Last summer, owner Roger Thorson and I came across each other on the trail, and I told him about my recent trainings in hosting circles. (See Peer Spirit Institute and the book, The Circle Way: A Leader in Every Chair). He raised his eyebrows and not only expressed a similar passion for circle gatherings, but went on to show me how the loft was designed for them. He gave me his blessing to host the circle, and I scheduled the event.

In many ways, this reunion was a return home. Not just for others, who have expressed great need for these regular gatherings over the years, but for Byron, Julia and myself. We lived in the Hjeertos House on the farm for four wonderful years, from 1996-2000, creating long-lasting personal memories there and across the fields and wetlands, and up into Tolt MacDonald Park. It was our first home in the valley, and Julia's birthplace.

The whole farm, being at the confluence of the Snoqualmie and Tolt Rivers, is rich in the lives of many people, originally the Snoqualmie people, and then later, Roger Thoreson's family. If you are interested in learning more about this, much of the history of the farm, town, and valley is displayed by the Tolt Historical Society in the house. (Open on Saturday afternoons). Perhaps when you visit, you will see why it's so special, and how anyone can see and feel how quickly a person can become attached, and form a deep sense of place.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the renewing and validating circle on Oct 26th.

I have great anticipation and gratitude for the many wonderful things happening in this community!

- Maren

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