Adventure #5: Heather Jones
“You don’t need to be amazing. You don’t need to be not amazing. You just are.
You are, in and of yourself, worthwhile.”
Heather Dawn Jones (nicknamed “Noodle”) | Artist | 31 | Lookout Arts Quarry
I fell in love with Noodle the moment I saw her.
There was something about Noodle—
her bright turquoise cowboy boots,
her addictive, unscripted giggle,
her handwritten notes in big green print on pale pink paper—
that captured me instantly. Instantly.
I was at Creative Mornings with a dear friend, and Heather was giving a talk on Minimalism.
She spoke a rawness that blazed open my spirit— I listened, I connected, I lusted.
I didn’t realize it then, but she was a living possibility of what I could be.
I tackled her after her speech— I swooped down and hugged her and sing-songed:
“Will you go on a date with me?”
And thus began our adventures.
Noodle is the kind of person that gets better and better as you get to know her.
She also makes art of everything (like breakfast!)
She lavished my mind with stories of her journey, and my own forgotten dreams began to flutter alive.
Heather wanted to be an artist.
But the life of an artist, romantic as it sounds, is not one that comes easy.
She tree planted for six years and put all her earnings into the bank, keeping only $2000 to live off each year.
She would sweat and toil over the summer, then hibernate and create over the winter.
She found cheap art supplies— rocks, tin cans, broken chair legs— lived simply, and made her own clothes.
When she saved enough, Noodle and her friends pooled their money.
They bought 50 acres of land (previously an industrial rock quarry) near Bellingham, and dubbed it an art collective.
They live, breathe and create as circus performers, slackline walkers, visual artists, musicians… everything.
People go to lose themselves in nature and find themselves in art.
I was hooked.
Noodle was the living, breathing proof that people could manifest their own destiny.
She was so happy, so spirited, so generous, so free. She was everything I wanted to be.
“It’s one thing to make a beautiful art piece.
It’s another to create an environment that changes people.”
And that’s what Noodle does— she designs immersive art pieces: a place for transformation.
Like a 75-foot installation at the Vancouver International Children’s Festival,
where 4000 children wove recycled strips of fabric onto a gigantic dinosaur framework.
“From the outside, it was cool… but from the inside, it was a whole new world.
Kids were playing tag, whack-a-mole, crawling around, I’ve never seen so many kids laughing!”
She reminisced about her own childhood, growing up with her cousins and neighbourhood kids.
“Once you know what that’s like [a connected collective], you’ll always be looking for it.”
And in Noodle’s case, creating it. Building it. Pouring her loving energy into it.
I could write a book about breakfast alone.
But soon we gathered up, biked our way to the Maker Faire and lost ourselves in a musical abyss.
We danced to fiddles, poked at glow-in-the-dark contraptions and surrendered to the midday sun.
We soon parted ways, and planned to meet up the next night.
But the next night, while she was biking up to my house with pho for dinner, I smashed my bike into a wall.
And this is where our friendship truly begins—
because that night, this beautiful, exquisite stranger, who I had known for just a day, saved me.
She mothered me, soothed me, and held my hand as I lay writhing in agony.
She comforted me, dressed me, and told me that I would be okay.
She took me to the hospital, talked for me, and stroked me till the wee hours of the night.
She gave me everything.
If I had been alone, I don’t know what I would have done.
I was in the kind of pain that makes a sane person irrational and crazy and reckless.
And she saved me.
That night, she was Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, and every holy angel in the world to me.
I was grateful (though grateful is not strong enough of a word) to her then, and I will be always.
Because that night, I saw the sweetness of humanity in her eyes.
I tasted a radical, exhilarating love.
I felt kindness sweep up my soul,
gathering up all the cracked little pieces of me
and sewing me back together,
one soul-stitch by one.
I have a million words and no words left to say, but there is no need to describe a thing more.
I discovered a new language with Noodle, one that exists only in being.
Her affirmation from earlier that day echoed in my ears:
“I am worth loving.”