There is an amazing story of an “Inchworm” who shares with “Lady Beetle” his journey under the forest canopy where he meets “Joe” the Jumping Bean from Mexico and with the help of the forest creatures he learns “The Forest Romp!”
Melody Ray shares her warmth and love of nature and all creation. She has learned about nature through elders, her own travels and spending time communing with nature.
Melody Ray is a Native American who travels the world and shares with others how we can live in harmony with the earth.
“We use our gift of speech to praise creation, we use our gift of sight to bathe in the beauty surrounding us, we use our sense of touch to connect to the energy of the earth, we use our sense of smell to experience our world and we use our sense of hearing to listen to the voices of creation big and small. The music and words in the Forest Romp Song is just one of the ways we can celebrate life and all creation.”
Quotes by Melody Ray
Melody enjoys making art out of natural earth elements such as stones, plants and fibers.
Someone once said; “Poetry is a dying art.” The Library of Congress is trying to ensure that Poetry stays alive by breathing new life into the genre. Each year they work hard at hosting Poetry events.
“I love poetry, prose short verse and lyrical poetry. It is already a part of me to create musical rhyming phrases and its fun. I feel we need to keep poetry alive and help children appreciate the fun, simplistic creative side of poetry which will enable them in their future to utilize poetry and express in short form or poetical stories.”
Quotes by Melody Ray
“I am a musician and I like folk instruments; zither, lap harp, dulcimer and I enjoy the rain-stick, chimes and bells. I love to listen to a classical music on the piano. I would like to learn to play the tongue drum and work harder at playing the piano.”
Quotes by Melody Ray
Author & Earth Guardian, Melody Ray; Legends and Seeds
By Jaris English
When Melody Ray was a child, she often traveled across country for months at a time in the back seat of her family’s station wagon. Her father was an entrepreneurial business man, and liked having his family along on business trips. Traveling with family was part of his heritage passed on from indigenous ancestors. He had often traveled with his own father as a child. There were seven other siblings in the car along with Melody and her Mom and Dad. Melody said, “Even though we had a home on the reservation, we also had homes in many states and were always traveling. I think the nomadic ways of our ancestors run deep in our veins. I have traveled almost every year of my life. These experiences opened my eyes to worlds within worlds. I saw the diversity in people and culture and how different tribes lived. I noticed in detail the differences and commonalities between us all. I wanted to see more and learn more and someday share the journey and experiences.”
Melody’s Great, Great Grandfather, Mountain Chief was chief of the Ojibwa/Chippewa tribe. (O-ge-mah-o-cah-wub). He was born in 1863 and settled in Minnesota. On February 26, 1960, Mountain Chief and other elders in the Great Lakes region met with Jack Kennedy in Chippewa Falls when he was a young senator. Kennedy was interested in the progression of US Relations with indigenous nations. Three days later, Kennedy addressed the senate for: “Insurance for Peace for the Native Americans”
Melody remembers stopping at all the tourist stops along the way. Her favorite purchase was a jumping bean, imported from Mexico. In the evenings, she would lay down in the back seat, staring out the window at the stars as they drove through the night. She held the jumping bean tightly in her hand and felt it jump. It amazed her. What made it jump? It seemed no one could answer her question. It was a small magic miracle! Melody discovered many miracles on these trips and became intrigued by the changing scenery and the stops to visit natural phenomena. And she observed with wonder all the tiny creatures she would see when she looked close enough. Melody would make up stories to entertain everyone in the car on these travels.
“Eagles were a big deal for us kids, playing a game to see who could sight them the longest. We crossed miles of desert and snakes would lunge across the highway. Sometimes we would see sun baked snake skins on the side of the road of those who didn’t make it. The road runner is one of the funniest creatures. We watched them run across the barren land just like in the cartoons. One of my favorite trips was to Virginia where I saw my first firefly. I was in total awe, filled with wonderment about how they created their glowing light. On one three-month trip during the summer, we visited reservations in several different states while traveling east.
Her father, grandfather and other Ojibwa/Chippewa elders shared fascinating stories passed down from their ancestors. Melody learned that her people respected earth and nature, even asking a flower’s permission to be picked. They are one of the largest Native American tribes in the United States. The Ojibwa/Chippewa people refer to themselves as Anishinabe, an Indian term meaning “original man” or “original people.” They relied on each other for trading and were close with the Potawatomi and Ottawa tribes, calling the three tribes together “The Council of Three Fires.” These bands of native Americans occupied areas in the northern region of the United States and part of Canada.
The Ojibwa/Chippewa used birch-bark for many necessities, but they were especially known for their well-crafted and graceful birch-bark canoes. They not only caught different types of fish, but they also caught crayfish, mussels, frogs and turtles from the water. Some Chippewa crafts were made for beauty, but many were made for more practical uses such as baskets, wampum, snow-shoes, and intricate beaded moccasins and pouches. The Woodland groups lived in houses called wigwams which were made of birch-bark. Those in the Great Plains region lived in tipis ma de of animal hide to accommodate their nomadic lifestyle.
Once the French and English settlers arrived in the 1600’s, the tribe became involved in fur-trading. Women traditionally wore long dresses and kept their hair in long braids until the introduction of European styles including blouses and jackets made of cloth. Men wore breechcloths and leggings. Both men and women wore moccasins and ponchos in colder temperatures. The French were the first non-native people to marry into the tribe, and the French influence is evident today.
Years later, Melody traveled internationally doing marketing research. Recently, she incorporated these experiences with her childhood memories, the stories of her ancestors, and the mystery of the jumping bean into song and stories. Melody said, “Children today spend more time with technology than exploring nature. Animals have a natural respect for nature, but people need to learn. Learning can happen in a fun way. The only way we can truly love nature is to spend time with it.” Melody’s first published book, The Forest Romp, has been called lyrical poetry for children to learn about the environment. The Forest Romp song, which was released in February was first written in 2009. During her time in Brazil, she realized it was a perfect setting for her first book. The Forest Romp song has been translated into Portuguese, and played in more than 160 countries.
Melody said, “I would have to say I am of the traditional way of the Ojibwa/Chippewa at heart. My hair is long, I wear skirts and long dresses -even in the cold. I commune with nature, and I believe in preserving nature and history. I love to feel the bark and woods just like my ancestors did while making the birch bark canoes. And canoeing is one of my favorite activities!”
It’s a good thing that Melody Ray loves to travel. She will be leaving soon for an extended book tour, starting in Ohio for the Barnes and Noble Earth Day release of book one in The Forest Romp series.