Jones’ new book features three stories that center around the adventures of Wizard Ripple on Calm Water as he helps his animal friends deal with their changing surroundings, and takes his children friends on a trip to meet their favorite animals. Along the way, the Wizard teaches children about the endangered condition of their favorite African animals, helps a penguin and polar bear whose home is melting away, and talks to a sea turtle about his troubled ocean home. Jones believes that in a world where climate change has intensified so rapidly, the need to teach children of the effects of our actions is vital to the Earth’s survival.
“Children are the future,” said Jones. “If we don’t teach them what’s going on now, then where are we going to be in 20 to 30 years? We’re declining at such a rapid rate now, and if they can bring this to the attention of their parents, that’s a start. It’s about what every individual on this planet can do to make a difference.”
Jones held a well-attended reading of his new book in Readsboro last week, and will be hosting a wizard party at Bartleby’s Book Store on Saturday, November 16, from 10 am to noon. The wizard party will not only feature a reading, but provides an interactive experience where children can win prizes, and get to dress up like wizards.
The story of the wizard began with a trip to a Peak Potentials professional personal development course that Don attended with his wife Jane, called the Enlightened Warrior course. Jones says that when you leave the course you have lost your fears, and both Don and Jane began trying everything from skydiving to piloting helicopters. But the next course they took became the catalyst for the book: Wizard Camp. While at wizard camp, his group completed a task called “the void,” a 2 ½ hour walk through the woods in complete silence. It was during the void that Jones got his inspiration.
“As we were sitting in this field listening to our instructor, a leafhopper jumped onto my fingernail and started talking to me,” said Jones. “He told me he wanted to go on a journey throughout the woods because he had always been on the grass and so I said ‘Sure, come along,’ and he sat on my finger for 2 ½ hours through the whole journey with me and the only thing he asked of me at the end, was for me to introduce him to the band of wizards. So I did and I put my hand in the grass at the end of it and he jumped off.”
Jones went home and put his first story on paper: “The Wizard and the Leafhopper.” While he had never written a book before, Jones had always felt the inkling to write. He is currently working on two more books, one in which the Wizard and his friends rescue pets lost during Hurricane Sandy, and another, a Christmas-themed story. Jones is going to Northern Tracks studio next week to record an audio book as well.
When the Joneses came home from wizard camp they decided to create a 501(c)3 funded nature camp for children, called the Magical Earth Retreat. The camp’s goal is to get children into nature, and has hosted local children as well as those from cities who may never have had the experience of being in the woods. The retreats have been held during the summer at Boyd Farm, in Marlboro, and on the Joneses’ property in Readsboro. The goal is to expand the program nationwide, and create a nature preschool locally.
“Dr. Richard Louve created the phrase ‘Nature deficit disorder in children,’” said Jones. “Kids sit at home and play video games, and their parents will throw them a box of cookies to keep them quiet. They sit in their house becoming obese, losing creativity and their imagination. When we were children we played from dawn to dusk, came home, ate dinner and went back outside until our mothers called us in. We didn’t sit around and play video games, we were building forts and playing capture the flag. I don’t see it now, so it’s our mission to bring the kids outside.”
Through his retreats and his books, Jones is hoping to enlighten a new generation just as he was. All proceeds from the book go toward funding the Magical Earth Retreat.
Jones also spends time talking to high school students about life goals and how to achieve them, and dressed as Santa Claus last year to deliver Deerfield Valley Food Pantry items to families in need.
Jones, born and raised in Pittsfield, MA, has owned Catamount Carpet Cleaning for 26 years, a business he started after 22 years as a chef. Part of the first graduating class of Johnson and Wales Culinary Institute, Jones has two grown children who reside in Pittsfield, as well as four grandchildren who helped to inspire characters in his book. Through all of Jones’ work, he hopes to have the same effect as a pebble hitting a calm lake.
“It’s all about the ripple effect,” said Jones. “The wizard’s name is Ripple on Calm Waters because every thought you put out there is energy, and it’s like throwing a pebble in a pond, it just expands, and that’s why if you can make a change in one person’s life, it’s mission accomplished. It‘s a rewarding feeling.”
To get a copy of “The Adventures of the Wizard and His Friends,” order one on Amazon.com for $11.95, or buy locally at Bartleby’s Books where they will have copies at the Wizard Party.