Michael Tolkien

Grace is fascinated by the natural world. To increase this precious sense of wonder she is chosen by Nature’s spirit guides and guardians to travel on ‘a funny sometimes fearful journey’ with an amethyst stone as her guide and promise of help along the way. Creatures she expects to assist her are too self-important. Her allies are small, often overlooked plants, flowers and insects. Her main goal seems to be discovering what lies in and beyond the rainbow, but her adventures bring her only slowly nearer to its mysterious garden, bridge and palace. Everything appears to be a long way round. She decides to assist a lost, bitter boy, Downcast Don to rediscover ‘wonder’ by obtaining for him a specially-made silver spade.  This takes her through strange and fearful forests, down a well to find an underground forge, and into an overwhelming encounter with an ancient giantess in a bleak desert. Her chief guide, Heartsease, assures her that it’s all part of a search for rainbow wisdom, to recognise the importance of all things and people and to accept ‘not knowing’. She can
then ascend the Shining Stairway to a stranger country beyond.
 Up here Grace is nearer the rainbow but time and distance play tricks and she is in danger of being sidetracked. A knight, Sir Cloudy, a kind dreamer who lives in a time warp, invites her to his Castle in the Air. Just short of the rainbow garden she is deceived by a Menace and his monstrous Mother, and only just escapes their clutches. The promised places are beautiful and intriguing but she must learn about what lies under the surface. The palace that crowns the bow bridge is where the guides and guardians weave their many-coloured tapestries that reveal perspectives and choices about the future. When Grace descends the vanishing rainbow steps she meets characters who have made her journey so instructive, and once back in the everyday world she is still herself but somehow more so because she can see and understand more acutely.