Saturday, October 29, 2005

Donkey Tale - Name Games

My donkey, impishly grinned and said, "you don't know my name, do you?" "no," I answered. "Well," he mused, knowing I was embarrassed at neither knowing nor having tried to know, after all I could have asked. Trying to set it right I bit my lower lip and said in a barely audible voice, "what is your name?"

"Well," he teased, "it is not sweetie, or babe, or little donkey, and it most certainly is not you stubborn old thing." I tried to mutter an apology, again, he stood there, grinning.

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"You can be insufferable." I was nearly crying.
"You've nearly made her cry" came a small voice just to the side of me. I was quite shocked as I was not aware that the geese in the gypsy camp were also able to speak.

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"You can speak too?" "If you are willing to really listen, we can be heard to speak," the goose explained. "I'm sorry I did not mean to be insensitive, but since I did not know you could speak it seemed silly to ask you your names. Still I am truly sorry if any of the things I've called you made you feel hurt. Would you tell me now please, what are your names?"

"Mine is Ginny," said the goose, "and my grinning friend the donkey is Doncaster Grey, he likes to tease, don't feel too badly" with that ginny crawled into my lap like a cat, she was a lovely and affectionate goose. The donkey was still grinning and making faces.

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"Alright, Doncaster Grey, what is it?" "Well," started the donkey while shuffling his donkey feet in the dirt, "I've been thinking I should like to have a Halloween costume too, just as the humans do. I thought I'd like to be and angel, after all I already have wings." It seemed like a fair enough request and after a bit of consideration I took Ginny off my lap and made a few changes to have Doncaster go from just plain old flying and talking donkey to an angel donkey.

Some glitter in the wings and sparkly eyelashes glued on and a halo fashioned from tin foil and wire. "Would you mind very much, marm, sketching me in costume, to remember the moment by?" so this is what I sketched. Donkeys can be very silly.

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Episode 11. The Amazon Queen

Sophia's injunctions to seek the Amazon Queen had somewhat heartened me. Supposedly she would help me to return to my true home, not a lair masquerading as home where Sybil and her daemons dreamt up disasters for unsuspecting travellers.

An old Fresian cow came abling towards me along the path. She nuzzled into the grass by the edge, pulling up any green shoots she found.The bell around her neck rang each time she lifted her head. As she came closer I could see her brown eyes silently assessing me. Then dismissing me as she searched for another mouthful. Engraved on the bell was.....Amazon Queen!

Not at all what I had been expecting, but I sized the opportunity as it presented and hoisted myself onto her broad and ample, if somewhat uncomfortable, back. Gripping with my knees I began a slow, but for a footsore traveller, a fortuitous continuation of my journey.

Much ,much later we arrived at an open clearing on the side of a hill. In the centre was an old multi-paned glasshouse. Each pane was of a different design...a miracle that they were all intact.
A motley crew were gathered listening to a brightly clothed speaker. Moving clser I could hear
"....and with great pleasure I declare this exhibition of the Amazon Queen OPEN!". There was much cheering and clinking of glasses, and there, bowing to the adulation of the crowd was indeed a tall figure, of indiscernible age and questionable beauty dressed in a long and red cloak!

As the crowd started to disperse, I boldly approached her. She had the look of a wise and loving elder so without hesitation I poured out all that had led me to find her and ventured to ask how to find my way home.

"Home, child?" she questioned. " Which home? A home in Heaven or a home in purgatory? A home of security and love or one of dysfunction and rejection? A home of starting or that of the journey or indeed perhaps that home of final destination. When you have decided which one you really want, come back and I will tell you how to reach it.

I sat by the nearby river, a very broad and swiftly flowing river, with reed beds along the edges.
I stared deep into the water, past the reflections and the weeds and the fish and a lazy turtle following some minnows. Deep down.

First I saw the home of my beginning- my mother's laugh and my father's admonishments. Years of chores and homework and piano lessons. No, I didn't want to go back there no matter how much fun it had been. The home of my journey came into view. My flight over the mountains, the welcome of the gypsies and my obeiance at White Owl Island.The carefree years on the Island in the Archipelago.The adventures and the friendship of Sophia and the scary it was just a journey. Not home.
Next I was transported into a murky reflection of a caclking Sybil with the raven on her shoulder. A home of fear and stomach knotting anxiety. No love. An anti-home.
Suddenly the murkinesss vanished and sunlight dappled the now clear water. I could see my real home! For sure the garden was ramshackle and the Roller door needed attention, but there was love and predictable acceptance and the fluffy mutt looked pleased to see me. My final home!

Hurrying back to the Amazon Queen I pushed my way through the milling crowd and told her of my decision and asked the directions she had promised.
"Simple" she said. " Just shut your eyes and think of nothing else. Wish hard with every fibre of your being and bring into your heart all the love you can summons."

So, as the sun set, I did just that. Screwed up my eyes and thought and wished for all the peace and joy of the little things. The things I had taken for granted. And so I opened my eyes to a joyously barking and welcoming dog and a partner who would have been wagging his tail if he had one and indeed the sun was shining on my ramshackle garden.

" If death prove an experience I live through,
good angel, guide me to a sunlit kitchen
with bread rising, the great black kettle singing
of wisdom and the peaceful life to come".
( Gwen Harwood)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Spirit Servant and Medusa

Baba Yaga has bought in her Spirit Servant and the Medusa to avenge herself. Le Enchanteur can run but she will have trouble hiding from these two. Let's see how she gets herself out of this pickle. The Spirit Servant's plan is to capture her in a bottle and let her be a servant, at everyone's beck and call for awhile.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Short Lived Glory

Baba said it 'would all end in tears' and right now she is far from happy. Le Enchanteur will need to watch her back because Baba is not someone to toy with. Turning Baba into a purple dragon is not one of le Enchanteur's better ideas, especially when Augustus and Moonbeam are playing out their hero archetypes. Could be interesting come Halloween!

Tree of Lost Letters - Hermitage

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

This is a tree of lost letters. Seeing Halloween is coming up, the Hermitage is welcoming lost letters, so if you have a letter that was lost, this tree has caught them all. Feel free to write that letter and make it breathe new life. Even if you just think the letter, it might come to pass. The tree is for lost wishes that are captured by nature, and may come true one day.....

Monday, October 24, 2005

Spells Abound

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Le Enchanteur and The Amazon Queen are down at the Archipelago practicing some spells for Halloween. Baba has flown away saying that 'it is all going to end in tears'. You would think she'd be happy to be turned into a purple dragon and not a common and garden green frog. Some people just cannot be pleased.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Episode 10. Home?

I was home and dawn was breaking..this had been the longest dawn ever in my varied experience. The accompanying breeze suprisingly was ruffling the curtains. Suprising because I never opened that casement with the ever present possibility of roaming possums. I lay back, gradually taking in the old familiarities, or hoping to.

What I saw made my heart skip a beat. So much was as it had always been..the bed, piles of books scattered in front of the window. The changes I then noticed were subtle, but definite. The increasing light revealed the ceiling have become a dark purple, now matching the once forest green lampshades. The frames were all on the wall on their old positions, but closer examination showed the subjects to be changed. The rolling hills of the South-west Arthurs in Tasmania were now the mountains in Umbria I had flown over in my journey. The gypsies too were frozen in a moment of dance where once Tuscan villas were sketched. In place of my grand-parent's wedding, still in the same intricate gold frame, was an unmistakable portrait of my guide Sophia. Her eyes seemed to be watching me knowingly. Disarmingly. But to my horror, my beautiful, peaceful St Hannah had been irrefutably replaced by the outline of none other than Sophia's alter-ego, SYBIL! her long bony fingers tracing indecipherable words on the pages in her lap. A flash...was it that lightning again?...flickered through the room.

Bewildered I turned towards the prone body under the covers beside me. Closer examination was necessary but fear had gripped my soul and squashed any courage I might have summoned.
I crept out of bed, scared witless. I needn't have worried, or need I? Hesitant peering and poking showed there was NOTHING there gently pulsating with simulated life. Nothing. 3D of nothing.

Holy Toledo! Heavens to Betsy! What and Where and How, but for sure I wasn't at home at all. As sure as anti-matter existed I was at some anti-home! I fled up the hall to retrace my steps, noting as I ran the ball of fluff I thought had greeted my arrival was non other than a sleeping raven. Now stirring.

Again I raced towards the garage door, fumbling in blind panic with the obstinant and little-oiled latch in my eagerness to escape. Blundering forward I found myself falling headlong into a chilly
murky pool of water. White water rafting may have crossed my mind in the past, but simply swimming? Not. As my reluctant toes felt no sand or, shudder, mud or weeds, underfoot I had no option but to strike out. Breastroke.

By the time I had exhausted my repertoire of swimming styles, interspersed with lots of simply floating, I was not only becoming exhausted, but desperate. The gloom started at last to lift and I saw that in fact I was in quite a small billabong. Well at least that accounted for the eucalyptus smell and the tannin-coloured water I was by now simply trying to stay afloat in. I must have been swimming in circles for hours! It was then a squidgy repulsive ooze became evident underfoot and I was able to heave myself onto the bank. Standing over me, her hands on her hips, was Sophie!

"Heavens, child. I told you to go home! To escape from Sybil before she could take you to her cave."

"I think she did catch me" I sobbed in dismay, describing the anti-home I had found myself in.

"You were lucky to escape.Sybil works in mysterious and devious ways. You must start your journey towards home again. Find the Amazon Queen and follow Her directions. You will find her heading for Ithaka. That is the only true way home now." Sophia counselled. Even as she spoke, she walked towards and into the tea-coloured water, and disappeared.

Where will I find the Amazon Queen?
Is she coming? Or has she been?
Or, is she somewhere in between?

Will she greet me with a croak?
Swirl around in a long red cloak?
or, look more like ordinary folk.

Perhaps some young thing, sweet but strong
Urging me to "come along"
Bewitching travellers with a siren's song.

So I search for this Queen of Amazon
Follow the path she'll set me on
and hope that Sybil is once and for all..GONE!

The Golden Bone Chair

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Baba Yaga brings out this designer, hand crafted, chair especially for Halloween and All Soul's Night. The idea is that travellers can take turns to sit on the chair and have five minutes in the spotlight as they perform for the crowd. Come October 30th - through to November 2 Baba is hoping that one by one travellers will take the golden seat and make a special presentation. Costumes and wigs are available in Pandora's Costume Box. Excuse drunken Silenus who can never miss a party. Hopefully the donkey is taking him away.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

My Goodness, Is that?

My Goodness, Is that?

I come huffing and puffing the last little bit into the gypsy camp. The camp which until now I'd only watched from the hilltop. Somehow I've just been to tired to face too many people all at once. Today I am determined to take myself all the way to the bottom of the hill and look into the Sunday market.

There in the middle of a open area of grass just behind one of the few permanent houses sat an old woman. Not old really, more like weathered, as if there were several lifetimes carved into her knowing face. Her eyes looked through and beyond everything, or so it would seem. Maybe she was daydreaming off in some distant world. Her life might seem to her as mine now does to me, like nesting dolls, one life inside another. I don't know about the gysy but I cannot know if I am in the inner life, the outer one or one in between?

She seems oblivious to the goings on, ladies dancing, pied pipers piping, giggling girls putting up laundry and a lively kitten swiping away at butterfilies. My donkey is trotting off to meet with other donkeys at the other side of the camp, they too are making quite the commotion.

I think I'll just sit here and rest a while. I'll think if I really should tie the old gypsy scarf around my head and read cards as my aunt Anna taught me. Perhaps I might see what teas the guides suggest I prescribe for the betterment of the customer's health, all in the spirit of the market to profit the overall karma and barter back and forth for what we earnestly need.

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My fingers nervously knot the scarf around my head. I shuffle my Marseille Tarot deck. I don't need the cards, they are a prop, a lovely prop once given to me by a dear friend, for seeing babies in her future, when her twins were born, she gave me this deck. These cards have been with me for thirty years. Twenty years since I last used them.

I slipped the deck in my volumenous skirt pocket, and slowly descended the hillside, stepping gingerly sideways hoping to not be noticed just yet. Baba looked up and smiled. "Good, you're here".

Friday, October 21, 2005

For new arrivals

that you may know of the Enchantress --

for Heather.

papa faucon

Homing Tree

For each and all called by a sense of peace,
drawn to a seat of balanced calm and spirit shade,
there is a tree ‘neath which to pause and smile a tune,
or at least listen to the rustling, branching prayer.

Do you seek a shamanist World Tree to ascend,
or Kabalistic framework of intertwined paths,
or mystic single branch on a slow dieing vine,
or grafted rebirth on proven roots of worth?

Could it be, that in a more earthly, simple way
you yearn for a home – a hearth by heart warmed fire;
a chance to move beyond a house of another’s dream
to a place where your soul will hear an ancient song?

Then come soon and gather under the Enchanting Tree,
where bold spreading boughs of caring heart reach beyond
the dizzy, daily rush of hide-‘n-seek of earthly claim,
unto the fine passions of true humanity

Thursday, October 20, 2005


I found Hope waiting for me at the enterance to the forest. She almost had to knock me off my feet before I realized that she was indeed waiting for me, and not just munching on the grass. I was so excited to leave, I would have just have trekked!

The ride through the forests of Umbria was one of the most wondrous experiences in a long time. The bit that most stands out was the beautiful lake, filled with crystal clear water, that I stumbled upon. There were masses of wildflowers growing along the mossy bank and many colored butterflies flying around. I could hear birds chirping in the trees around, so I dedcided to stop for a while and soak in the experience.

As I approached the cave of the enchantress towards evening, I felt the excitement mounting and my weariness just melted away. As we approached closer, I caught my first glimpse of the enchantress. The rays of the setting sun cast a golden glow around her, standing regal and proud, in what looked to be a sheath of gold.

She extended me a warm welcome, asking about my journey as she led me towards my room. And my! What a room! The first thing I noticed when I entered was the bay window, and I gave a little exclamation of joy! Smiling, the enchantress left me to explore the room and rest a while.

A Little Reading by the Roadside

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A little reading and playing with pencils the order of the day.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

down the rabbit hole

It's disturbing at first, not to hear your own footsteps, but then you start to wonder how you ever put up with the constant pounding, thudding, and scuffing of souls - pardon...soles - on the unforgiving sufaces of the city. I never noticed how stiff I was, either, until the give of the sound-absorbing pine needles on the uneven spongy loam of this Forest of Forgiveness let my joints lose the jarring defensive tension and my hips began to sway and roll with the lope of my mind. Unrushed. What's their to rush to? I still don't know what I'm looking for. But I know I'm looking out for something. That feeling of being hunted by mediocrity and meaninglessness is the only thing I took with me, the rest of the diamonds of my life all rusted already by the back door of my discontent for all I know or care.

I suppose at some point I'll need something to guide me. what? To what not? Whatever. Whatever for? Whatever for? I'm sick and tired of asking. I've been asking myself this crap all my life. You know what I want? The one thing I know for sure that I want is someone ELSE to ask...someone what aint got no reason to lie. They aint no such person, I know. Everybody got something on the mind. Something they want and gonna get by getting what you shoulda had coming to you. Yeah, "shoulda". We all get messed up over that word, getting all up in knots inside, worrying about what we shoulda had, but all that fury and upset never makes us do what we shoulda done, or stops us from doing what we shoulda not done. I've come to the conclusion that that "shoulda" is a bad joke we all ought to stop telling. Stop telling ourselves, and stop beating others to death with it. Just a bad joke.

And I'll be honest with you; I'm a taker just like everybody else. In my heart, I've always been a taker, but I've been a coward, too, so I never hijacked anyone else's credit or good fortune or hard earned whatever, not 'cause I'm not willing to walk away with Yours, but because I always wanted people to think I was too good to do anything like that. Better. Better than. Arrogant. Prideful. Playing the nice girl but never feeling it, fantasizing about stealing your man and scratching your eyes out. You gotta be careful a me. That hot ass bitch comes out a little sometime. But I'm her keeper, her handler, her cover story. But if she ever - hey...what's that? Down in that hole? It looks like a doll. What the hell is a doll doing stuck out in the middle of nowhere?

"Waiting for you. I'm yours. Come and get me. I've been waiting."
Nothing surprises me. Nothing really surprises me, you know. Except kindness, sometimes.
"Okay. Just a minute.
...You're dirty. For something I suppose is special somehow, you're dirty and you don't look like much."
"I could say the same about you."
"I don't care."
"Yes you do. You're just tired of caring. But you care."
"Oh LOVELY! A million miles on the other side of inhibition and I dig my conscience out of a fucking rabbit hole. Or would you be Little Cindy Psychiatrist? Doesn't wet the bed, but tells you why you do?"
"Oh stop it. You know who I am. You've always known. You're the bastard who keeps dumping my body in all these filthy, cool kinda places where you figure no one'll spot me. I'm cold. I'm tired a this. Why don't you just take me with you. Tuck me back inside somewhere. I'll tell you what you're looking for. You're right: they aint no such person. I'm the only one who knows. Let me tell you."

No more words. No more words. No more words. No more words. No more words. Won't be no more words. Not now. No how. No. Just no.

She was maybe fifty yards away and over a small hill, already out of sight, but that damn dark hole where she stuffed herself was too obvious, too much a part of her awareness. There comes a time, there comes a day, when no "hidden" is "hidden enough". Standing still, sore, sorry, alone, lost and looking in that awesome Forest of Forgiveness, her mind ached and throbbed to the rythm of that familiar desperate mantra: I'm tired-Leave me alone-I'm tired-Leave me alone-I'm tired-Leave me alone-I'm tired-Leave me alone-I'm tired-Leave me aLONE!!!! Crashing down inside herself, she turned and ran back to the dank hole. Without looking inside or looking back after, she lit a match and tossed it in. She heard the whoosh of the rejected, ragged, damaged doll going up in flames and felt nothing but relief as she ambled away, unguided, uncaring, unwilling. Safe from knowing for a while longer.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Pied Piper Archetype

When le Enchanteur is in Pied Piper mode there is electricity in the air and Pegasus cannot resist coming to take someone with her, on the wings of imagination. Le Enchanteur is playing a tune that the hardiest of travellers will find hard to resist. Follow her and go for a night ride with Pegasus. Pegasus will take you anywhere in the world. He is yours for the night.

In the Water and on the Shore

My invitation to skinny dipping was answered by a bevy a ladies and chatter and laughter skated across the water to Owl Island and the whole of the shore for miles. The water was cool. Our donkeys hawed and honked on the shore.

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Blue lipped we hurried out after a few minutes to dry off and warm up. Someone came up with a box of goodies (much of it chocolate, a fire was quickly built from deadwood, so dry it lit with little work. We swapped stories of how we got here and we thought we might go next. It was late when we each left to find a bed for the night. I chose mine right there, under the stars and by the fire. My is donkey, part guardian and part pet, still keeping me company.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Dolly Dreams

My cat Stimpson, missing his favourite hug-dolly Jamaica to take naps with, is having dolly dreams.

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Letter To the Letter To the Gypsy Chief, Lavengro

Letter to the Gypsy Chief, Lavengro

Greetings, old friend. Your band has been quite busy I hear, with the newcomers trickling in, regaling you all with stories and other talents they possess. Not to mention the Festival of Lights you are getting ready for. It should be quite fun and spectacular.

I hope to be there in time with my traveler in tow. I don't want to miss it and I don't think Treasa will either. She is a fun, quirky, spunky soul, who is quite flummoxed and awed by the Soulfood Silk Road. She talks to a grandmother who passed away recently and to Jack the Chatterbox Donkey--whom she got for a ride. It's been quite an interesting trip thus far, unlike the one other I've had along this road. Treasa is enjoyable and she and Jack have been entertaining, to say the least. She's never ridden a donkey before, so we've been slow going, trying to help her get a riding rhythm established...when she hasn't been knocked or hasn't fallen out of the saddle.

After two days Treasa finally began to get the hang of it, but she's gotten so stiff and sore, poor thing, that we're still going slow. We're about three days from your camp--if you're still in the Valley of the Temples--so expect us hopefully by twilight's fall then. Treasa is enjoying, despite her discomfort, the scenery of Umbria and the temples of the valley. Apparently, she is very into Roman and Greek mythology, which is another reason we're taking a bit longer than normal to reach you. She's enjoying the history and tales Jack is telling her about each temple, and she's regaled all of us in turn with myths and legends she's learned or read about. I'm very happy I was asked to be her guide.

See you soon.

Best wishes,

Leaving the Sunday Market I was now ready to proceed to the Gypsy camp. I had left Lucinda and Destiny camping just outside the market entrance, after much insistence on my part. As I approached the campsite it was obvious that there was a problem. Lucinda was sitting on a blanket, a new hat perched stylishly on her head, and a beautiful green fan in her hand, but she was definitely not happy. Destiny was pacing and pawing the ground in frustration.

�What in heavens name is wrong�, I asked.

�I am not real�, Lucinda whaled.

�Not real? What does that mean? You look real to me�

�Yes, to you�, she answered, but not to anyone else.�. �No one else can see me.� she sobbed .

�Oh dear, I answered, How do you know.�

Lucinda proceeded to tell me that while I was at the market the Secretary of Donkeys Inc. came by and talked to Destiny. She was telling Destiny she was welcome to come and stay there any time she wanted. She even introduced Destiny to her donkey and they visited. It seems that in all that time the Secretary never spoke to Lucinda. �I even got right in front of her and she walked right through me.�, she sobbed and none of the travelers on the road could see me either.�

I did not know what to say but I knew that the Enchantress was not pleased by her taking over. Perhaps this was her way of making this journey mine instead of Lucindas. I said nothing, and luckily so, as behind Lucinda something was happening. A large blue mist was forming and I could see an outline of a figure within it. �Look Lucinda, what is that?�

Lucinda turned around, and out of the mist stepped a man. He smiled and bowed in front of Lucinda in the most gallant, old fashioned way, and said, �I have been sent to be your escort to the gypsy dances.�

Well, one more drama solved, but my little group is slowly growing and luckily the gypsy camp is now in view. I need to relax there for a while and quiet my fast moving mind. I need to stay in one spot for a while.  Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 16, 2005

In need of self indulgence

Still licking my wound from the last week, in retreat with treats, I think I might need another day's rest.

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Misery loves calories, and that always means a trip to the store first, a chace to work it off built in by having to go back a second time.

A video version to Stravinsky will be on my video page later this week.


Saturday, October 15, 2005

For some reason that totally escaped my understanding Destiny was passively obeying Lucindas� every word. As we headed down the road Lucinda filled me in on all her past reincarnations and why she was here with me. It seems her memory only goes back to the 1700s� She was born in Ireland during times of severe hardship and only lived until 8 years old. Just long enough to have dreams of the future?, she told me.

Then in the 1800s� she came into the same family line in Scotland, for only a few hours. She did not understand why she had not lived but tried one more time in the 1900s�, to my grandmother and grandfather, in the United States. This also ended in early death. I held my breath. This was not just an interesting tale. This would have been my fathers sister. I even have the obituary that was printed in the local paper at that time.

So�, she continued, You can see why once you started using my name in all your visualizations I saw a perfect opportunity to actually live in your world. as an adult and not just a newborn helpless creature. The Enchantress has allowed me to enter, with certain powers and restrictions, and here I am.

�Amazing�, was all I could think to say. But� I stammered,this is not the real visual world, this is an inner world of my imagination�

She gave me an indulgent glance. I am well aware of that, but I have a satchel filled with beautiful things to wear and I am heading to a gypsy camp to sing and dance and have pleasures I have never had before.� Now hang on. The forest is just ahead and the gypsy camp is just on the other side.

Take to the air Destiny.� We are taking a shortcut over the forest.�
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Just a Little Progress, But Progress Nonetheless.

Starting off again today, too late in the day to fully get to where I am going but still feel I should make the effort. I passed the most amazing trees wearing lacy fungus skirts, patches of toadstools at their gnarled roots.

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The donkey still followed me, though not at my urging. Doing what could only be described as an awkward bunny hop and nose-nudging it dawned on me (I am none to quick on the uptake today), the donkey was trying to point something out to me.

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Quite surprising I found a doll, looking just like the one my mother made from my dad's old corduroy pants. That was a half century ago, and miraculously this doll has never been lost, nor needed mending.

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Her name was Jamaica.

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I've no idea how she got beneath the tree, all they way out here. I last left her sitting on a shelf in my hallway. Jamaica has always been profoundly important to me, representing constancy, after all she is always there, even when I am away and forget to pack here, somehow she still is there. Gifts made with love are never lost.

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I suppose I've taken her for granted and not noticed her wandering off.


Friday, October 14, 2005

A Clutch of Hedgehogs

I had a particularly stressful day dealing with the powers that be, and are, and sadly evermore shall be. so when I got home I really needed to unwind in the worst sort of way. Well, at the end of it I found I had created this clutch of hedgehogs and thought I would share.

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Now while this may not be particularly part of the journey, it should always matter what is just to the side of us also.


Feelings, at last

The girls were very excited about Aleta's picture.
I asked them to thing about what they felt --
not what they thought. Here are a couple of

Jade, "I feel sorry for the donkeys. They can probably fly over alone, but pulling a cart may be lots too much."

'quoise, "I feel surprised. I hoped there would be roads. I can help Coral if we have to walk."

Coral, "I am excited to see what happens. On this journey I am sure a friend will show us how to get across."

Nessie, "Who is that on the other side?"

Coral, "Is that a donkey or a wolf?"

'quoise, "I'll bet its trying to catch the blackbird."

Back on the road

As soon as we had our picnic lunch the ladies were back on the road heading for the Gypsy camp. Destiny was grazing nearby and Lucinda, the doll, seemed to be very busy transforming herself. I called to her a couple of times and she always replied, "Just a bit more time. I am picking a wardrobe and fixing my hair". Ok, I guess we can get acquainted later. Right now I was anxious to finish my snapshot of the Silk Road for my mental photo album. That was what the "SEEING" game was about which we did not have time to play.

I was just settling back to enjoy the next sense, hearing, when I received another message encouraging moving on to the gypsy camp. I groaned….I just am not a speedy traveler. I would have slowly explored the Silk Road, gone to the Sunday Market, and check out the silky merchants that have warehouses on this road, with no specified destination in site, but others were already at the Gypsy camp and I was expected.

"I’m ready, Lets go" called Lucinda carrying an old fashioned satchel. I was stunned. My doll had transformed herself into a women. She also was a women of the 1800s and was the same size as me. I was speechless but their was no chance for me to say anything anyway as she was excited and quickly loading everything into a cart which appeared from nowhere. Calling Destiny who was as startled as I was, she hitched up the wagon and jumped into the drivers seat. "Come on board" "We have a gypsy camp to get to"

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Raven Guards Report to Amazon Queen

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Ravens have alerted the Amazon Queen, who is in her Summer Palace near the lake, that many travellers are on the road and that the Gypsies are camped quite close by. They have reported that le Enchanteur keeps opening the door to her realm and that the roads of the realm are busy.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

At Last

Packed and ready with some vague sense of what lies ahead. I have put my faith in the enchantress to not lead me into anything but adventure and warmth of friends. Trust has to be put somewhere. To laugh and dance, that's what I'm looking for.

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The Back Seat

I wrote this some time ago but Steph's Strike Three brought it back to me. Some of you may have read it before but most have not so here goes.

The Back Seat

She was the child
who played in the woods,
who thought the world
was hers to grasp,
the child whose dreams were bigger than the sky,
whose playmates were wild;
fleet of foot, winged, and finned.

She was the child that had needs,
that had visions
of what she wanted to be,
but the child who was told
over and over
that she would amount to nothing at all,
that she was useless,
a dreamer,
a wastrel.

She was the child who was told
over and over
to be seen and not heard,
to silently listen to what others may say,
but not to butt in,
for her thoughts and her words
were worth nothing at all.

She was that child,
tho' now an old woman
whose dreams lost their way,
who knew that, no matter what,
she could never succeed.
She'd been told so, you see,
over and over.

She was that child,
tho' now an old woman
who wonders
where went the child
that rode life like a merry-go-round,
the child that wrapped her arms around Pegasus's neck?

She was that child,
now frail and in limbo,
in the clear view of hindsight--

Her friends were their friends,
never her own,
so she sits here alone
tied into her chair
silently listening,
withdrawn into self
and searching--
for what?
She was the woman
who, throughout the years,
sat in the back.
That was her burden, you see,
to live through the lives
of those who sat in the front,
for she was no more than a shadow
on the back stage of life,
for a shadow, you see,
is seen and not heard.

She is the old woman who mourns
for the years that have passed,
with hope too late to be hopeful.
For the road back is too far,
the journey too difficult,
the path --
over-grown and weedy.

She is the old woman,
tied into her chair,
trying to escape disillusion
while life rots around her
in the half dead and the dying,
while shadows pass by
ignoring the child that once was.

She is the child, now an old woman
tied into her chair,
who knows
that by taking the back seat,
she lost her most precious possession--

her life
and what could have been.

©July 18, 2005

I am not really tied to a chair, but I could have been had I not gained the freedom of cronedom.



During the picnic preparations there was a lot of chatter about why they like picnics. Here are some thoughts. Often conversation is difficult since they will interject comments that have little to do with any flow of idea or theme (to me). ‘quoise especially, just spurts out ideas as something stimulates her interest. Just so you are prepared.

Jade -- “No. The mayonnaise has to go on the lettuce side and the mustard on the meat side. Everybody knows that!”

Coral – “At Opportunities [their workshop] we can put olives on our fingers, but she [me] says it is not grown up. So you have to eat ‘em quick.”

Nessie – “Who knows the cottage cheese nursery rhyme? [no answer]

Coral – “How do they make sun tea in Oregon where it rains all the time?”

‘quoise -- “does this man on the label cut up the bologna with his sword?”

Nessie – “On the box it says ‘large curd’. What does than mean?”

Jade – “Are there spiders where Jane is at?”

‘quoise – “itsy bitsy spiders.”

Jade – “Big ones! Miss Muffet saw a big one and it liked cottage cheese, right Nessie?”

Coral – “Pickles will keep them away, I bet. Do donkeys like pickles?”


Welcome ladies. Glad to meet you. I am known as Grandma Jane. I would love your company for a picnic. Also we have one more coming in soon to join us. The secretary of Donky Inc. has asked if she can join us too. She said she shall come with her dancing donkey, bringing a supply of apples for your team, a jug of ice cold lemonade and a sponge cake. What fun, a spontaneous party.

What am I doing? I am playing the SEEING game. I am sure you have never heard of it before because I made it up but it is a game you can play with 5 people or all by yourself. Until Fran joins us do you want to play too?

"Great! The first thing you have to do is to tell me, " What are the five senses"? Then once you know what that means you put them on 5 pieces of paper, fold each up and then each of us we will draw one I will tell you how to use it in the game later. Think about yours tell we start to play. Tell Nessie to join us too. ( Fran or I can take the fifth sense and after you finishing drawing you can tell us what ours is. )

This bologna sandwich is delicious. I havn’t had one in a long time. OH and would do you happen to have a folding chair in your cart for Fran. She says ‘Do you think the girls might have a picnic chair for me as I am very old and my knees don't bend enough to sit on the blanket’. I will have to teach her some of my yoga moves. She can’t be older then me. If you don’t have a chair I have one wish left on an old magic wand. We could wave it and take all her stiffness away.

GREAT FUN: A PICNIC: Any passerby on the road is welcome. Plenty of food for anyone.

On The Road to Ithaca

So, there we were; me, my cats, and the dragon, well, to be honest, she is my dragon. I created her from fear and a sense of helplessness, she became far more than a spirit-guide or guardian. She became a friend, and sweet comfort when I had no other comfort.

We were stopped at Destiny's Crossroads, and like an African Destiny it was fan-shaped. At the end of every path was a Destiny. Now, I coould only choose one, which one? I have no clue as to where any of them will lead, or if that is the path I should be on.

I seek any clue, even a slight hint as to where I should go. I laughed for a breath, scratched me head and did what any red-blooded over tired,over-worried, under reassured, pained of flesh, mind, heart, and spirit woman worth her Midol would do.

I sat on my fat arse and started to have a damn good cry.

I know, it won't solve anything, nothing will change by my tears, but I knew if I didn't 'blow off steam' I would lose it in a far worse way. I am the first to admit that I don't know everything; I am knowing myself better nowadays though.

I knew from that feeling of having innards made of a macrame of living snakes, and being too aware of feelings, yet being detached from even my body what could happen if I didn't release some of the pressure.

I was already avoiding knives and the kitchen, the bright edges of those cutting implements can hypnotise, and I would not follow their dictates; not today, nor for any of the tomorrows.

Yet, the pains that called this forth from the dark places of my spirit remain, and do not allow me peace or rest. So, I weep, on the dusty verge of the crossroads, with cats and dragon awaiting my choice.

"Hay-yooo-munn?" The sweet, accented voice was far too high and soft to be from a 'hay-yooo-munn' larynx. I looked up as I wiped my face with the heel of my one good hand.

A doll stood there, oh not just any doll. No Barbie, or Skipper, or betsy-Wetsy for me; she was a lving, breathing, moving 'Jane West' doll. The only doll I liked as a girl, she wore her Western Jeans and Shirt, she had on her tan chaps and cowboy hat with a spiderweb fine line of sweat-salt around the base of the little-bitty crown.

She had a living Breyer horse for her mount, I remembered him, I called mine "Chippewa Chieftain". The horse whuffled and bobbed his delicate head as if in recognition of the name.

"Hay-yoo-munn? 'ow long do you t'ink you be cryin' like dis? We need to trabell fast now, I hear dat Koschey's on de prowl. We don' want git caught by 'im. Nosirree!" One fingernail clipping-sized foot tapped impatiently, the dust it raised almost invisible.

"Uhhh..." I snifffled and wiped my eyes again. "Let me blow my nose and I'll be ready to go. Do I call you, ahhh... Jane?"

"Ho! No hay-yuu-munn!! Dat is not m'real name. Dat is what de oodder hay-yoo-munns calls me." Her wink was barely seen. "You know my real name, don' you? I'm alive peetuzz of yooo."

"You're Annelinna." My words weren't a question. I hated being the same as everyone else, even as a child, so I renamed my doll, and her herd of horses to suit me.

"Yezzz!! You do remember!!" Annelinna hopped onto my leg and clambered up to my shoulder. "Hyoo needs choozzzz w'ich way we go now."

"I know..."

"Jus' chooozzzz." The tiny whisper sparked me to choose, not by thought or even instinct. I chose by where my feer were pointing when I struggled to my feet. "We go now!!" Annelinna's chiming voice was truimphant as our strange entourage got under way.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

strike three

When I was a child, we told "behind the tree" jokes. Do any of you remember those? "When you were born and God was handing out brains, you were hiding behind the tree! Ha ha!" Those jokes upset me terribly because, while I knew I had the brains, I also knew I was missing some other important things. Instincts, for instance. I had no natural affinity for play. I learned to watch the other children and do as they did. While the other children whined to their mothers, "I-want-I-want-I-want-I-want-I-WANT!!!" I stared, wondering what this "want" thing was, and felt ashamed that I did not seem to have it. That lack of wanting was not a result of being fulfilled, but being without a sense of passion, of desire, of drive. I was a watcher of life, not a participator. So I stood out.

I learned to keep my head down, my mouth shut, and follow the crowd so as to seem to be one of them. I did as the others did. And when I couldn't find an immediate example to emulate, I responded in what I thought would be considered a 'normal' way. And so it went, for years and years and years. I'm not so devoid of personal interests or instincts today, but it is still ingrained in me that when life tosses me something, I swing the way I see others swinging, and if I get a second chance, I get more honest and swing the way I think I *should* swing, but then I need one last chance to remember to go from the guts.

I learned to pack 'the right things' by watching and emulating my partner, wilderness canoeist extraordinaire, and packed for the first of these mythical wilderness tours as he would, but with a little artistic flair thrown in I thought my fellow Soul Food dreamers would appreciate. Heather's striking up this third tour for my fellow latecomers and laggers gives me one last chance to pull out my instincts and roll 'em out like runes. Today, I pack nothing. What I have belongs where I am, not where I'm going. I'll leave my worldly goods at the door for the wolves. And then I will leave here and become the wolf. I will not beg or barter or buy my nourishment. I will take it.


River Deep, Mountain High

The doll was old. Very old.

From the looks of her, she was held together by “toy magic”. There were a few wisps of string where her hair had once been. The fabric of the body had a sheen to it. It felt smooth and thick to the touch, and very fragile. The clothes were newer, though by no means “new”. I had to wonder just how this doll was to guide and advise me, when she looked like a change of weather might disintegrate her.

As I held her at eye level studying her carefully, she raised her hand and squeezed my nose.


Needless to say, I was not expecting that, and I think it was perfectly understandable that I dropped the little creature.

“Did you just say ‘beep’”, I asked inching backward?

It, I mean, she, sat up and looked up at me blinking her wide eyes at me. I regarded her, and she, me. Her eyes suddenly seemed to crinkle up and she flung herself backward onto the ground giggling uncontrollably. Her laughter was clear and high and full of delight.

She sat up, legs splayed before her looking up at me.

“You is so scared” she exclaimed with glee. “I’s thought your eyeballs go pop!” With that statement she returned to her giggling fit.

I sank to my haunches with a sigh as the doll got up and ran rings around me chanting “pop, pop, pop,” repeatedly. What were the words of the Enchantress? Oh yes,” if we should lose our way, or be in need of help, all we have to do is ask the doll what to do. She says that the doll will assist, that we must keep her with us at all times.” Oh yea! I wrapped my pity blanket around myself and felt that this was inevitable.

This is my guide through an enchanted land, and she is broken.

Nessies ladies

I found a comfortable spot under a tree and took the blanket off of Destiny’s back and spread it out. My doll Lucinda immediately jumped from my hands and stretched herself in a tall yogi pose, "A person could get all their circulation cut off tightened in a belt like that" she sputtered.

I picked up an apple beneath the tree and began eating as destiny grazed near by, as Lucinda seemed to be conjuring images of clothing around her. I left her to her tasks and gazed across a field of grain. Inhaled deeply I absorbing the fragrance of my surroundings. Their was the dry, crispy smell of grain ready to be harvested, the smell of the grass next to me and the faint smell of clover in the distance. I once more was enjoying the reason I wanted to be on foot; To see the road, in depth.

I was deep in the enjoyment of the moment in smell when I heard a rattling sound coming in the distance and people laughing and singing . Glancing down the road I saw a donkey pulling a wagon which seemed to be filled to the brim with ladies having a fun time. I smiled as they came nearer and discovered me under a tree. All of a sudden all three lovely ladies jumped out of their wagon and came running over to me, all asking questions at once.

"Hello, hello, hello." Who are you? "What are you doing" "I am Coral, I am Jade, "I am Quoise", they all choired at once. "What is your name?" "Is that your horse? Why don’t you have a donkey"

I laughed and welcomed them to my blanket.

Let Me Out Of This Restraint

?Let me out of this restraint, you silly old lady, the doll demanded.

?What do you think you are doing�

Well now, is that any way to talk. After all you were just a cotton stuffed doll.�

That shows how much you know lady, and if you would have paid more attention you would have realized that I am much more then what meets the eye at first meeting.�

�Now stop somewhere while I search for some decent apparel for myself and we will have a little talk.�

�HMP� � I have never wore an apron in my life.� � What do you think, I am a maid!� � HMP��� Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 10, 2005

Enchanted Realm - Lemurian Journeying

When I first came by the Lemurian Abbey, and indeed the realm of Lemuria via the many patterned roads, I could see it in the distance, towering and full of dreams.

Since then, this place has gained mind pictures to its vistas, and experiences have been indelibly stamped in the various corners and turns of the roads. I see a smile in words from a fellow traveller, a word of advice from the elders, a helping hand from a raven, plants and flowers caressing the path wherever I go.

Wise words say we build our own reality. These days of strife test us to make a new book, to paint a new picture, to try out a new thought. To think deeply about places we have never been but are bidden by instinct to go.

Travel on, and build a new reality, one that values the finer things in life, sharing your dreams with all you meet on the road. Then Lemurian Realms will always be towering and beautiful, filled with dreams and adventures on the roads of the journey around the self.

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Servant for Highest Bidder

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By night this designer, Soul Hand Candle Holder, in Red Boots, will illuminate your manuscripts and art work. By day they will do the bidding of their owner and guide them safely to the Gypsy Camp. They will be a match for any of the indentured hands in Baba's house and will make sure their owner is protected from any unreasonable demands.

These hands will go to the highest bidder. Make the best, non monetary offer, to the Amazon Queen and she will command these hands become your servant.

Over the Hump

I think the girls finally understand the mixture of pretend and reality here. I hope I do. While they understand they are not really traveling to these interesting places, we are play acting some of the preparation and planning parts. Jade was the first to grasp that the list of items to bring on the trip were not "her things", but an idea of what anyone should bring. Somehow she got the others to understand. SInce she can type fairly well, she made up a list for Coral and 'quoise to carry in their scrap book. Now we will all fit into the cart easily and are on our way.

The selection of a doll is creating a new set of problems. Do we need one, three or four? Don't answer! We will figure it out. (they will. I am deliberately not helping much)

They say they have been talking with the donkeys but I am not part of this. They just giggle, though once Coral looked sad. 'quoise has always talked to herself out loud. I wonder if this donkey-chat will make any difference.


Usless guilt

I am afraid I am going to miss the roll call and the wake. This being only my first morning on the road I sent a message to Donkeys Inc. hoping the donkey would get me there in time for roll call but fate or rather Destiny has created a problem that will cause me to miss the roll call. This is the message I was forced to send Donkeys Inc. when they answered and informed me they would take care of Destiny.

Donkeys Inc.
Thank you for your kindness but Destiny has read the message and is putting up a continual argument. I am afraid she has a terrific superiority complex. To be sheltered with mules has put her into a state of unmanageability that I can not seem to change. I may not be able to work this out. She seems to think she knows the way to the gypsy camp so I have finally agreed to let her try first and if we get lost I will put my foot down and call t o you for help.. I hope by that time you will still have a mule left. I hear everyone is already at the wake and I feel terrible not to be there to lend my support.

I am feeling terrible guilt as everyone was so supportive when I went through my two losses this year. I know how touched I was at that time to have others sympathy. I know guilt is completely useless and I must get rid of it. I shall hunt for a florist shop along the road. In the beauty of flowers there must be a flower that would expresses comfort at this time.

BUT now the doll in my belt, which I haphazerdly named Lucinda, is kicking and screaming to be released from my tight belt and I must look into this.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Doll Guide

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Vasilisa, her magic doll, and the White Horseman of Dawn
(Courtesy of Russian Sunbirds)

When you set out to Baba Yaga's, via the Gypsy Camp, you were told you had a doll guide. You also had a bag with various things that the le Enchanteur felt you needed for safe passage within this realm. Items include magical spectacles, a candlestick, a tiny anchor, a compass, a medallion with the imprint of the Unicorn and a set of wings. The bag also contained a map showing where the Gypsies are currently camped.

Le Enchanteur's ventriloquist doll Stanley is a bit of a worry and keeps giving poor directions and generally distracts Sibyl. Hopefully your guide is more useful. Vasilisa, pictured here, found her doll to be a very reliable companion and indeed, the doll regularly comes to the rescue.

Many doll folktales were published in collections from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Poland, from the 1830s through at least the 1970s. Slavic tales feature dolls which aid, comfort, and advise the heroine. In most of the tales, the dolls open up the earth to enable the heroine to sink through to the underworld and escape an impending incestuous marriage to her father or brother. These tales are analyzed as stories of initiation. The heroine grows up through the course of the tale, performing various initiatory tasks, acquiring adult attributes, and subsequently marrying. The heroine's magic doll is an East Slavic variant of the fairy godmother. She is a talismanic incarnation of the heroine's dead mother, who provides life, nourishment, care and advice from the next world. The doll also embodies the "fairy" or sacred aspects of ancient Slavic earth goddess-spirits by acting as a guide in the crossing between the perceived worlds of the living and the dead.

An investigation of the heroine's descent leads to the hypothesis that the doll tales are related to narratives from agrarian rituals held between the winter and summer solstices. In these rituals, the burying of a vital female leads to her symbolic rebirth in spring, as evidenced in crop growth, marriage, and human fertility. On another level, the tales articulate the history of the Christianization of the East Slavs during the second millennium. The descent of the heroine into the earth depicts the submersion and subversion of pagan traditions under the influence of the newer religion. With the introduction of Orthodox Christianity in the tenth century, the use of dolls as votive objects literally went underground in the East Slavic lands, while the image of the female helper transformed and came to be represented instead from within the gilded frames of Christian icons.

As you travel down the Silk Road the doll is just one guide who will look after you. Some travellers have actually made dolls to accompany them and the creative results have been fascinating.

source: Doll FolkTales of the East Slaves
Make dolls inspired by the Baba Yaga mythology.


Somewhere I know we supposed to decide on a door,
but it has taken the girls a while to search and choose.
They like this the best because evryone is free to
come and go as they feel.


After safely tucking my gifts away in my backpack and sliding Lucinda, my doll, into my belt, I headed out a onto the Silk road. I put a harness on Destiny and she followed begrudgingly behind me, complaining under her breath constantly. She is use to leading. I could not hear most of what she was muttering but definitely heard the sentence "� Who ever heard of walking", many times in between mutters. I explained patiently that soon we would ride, as soon as I had heard from Donkey Inc. which we would fly to, and this seemed to make her more indignant. After repeating "A DONKEY"� a few times she kept sound to a low mutter. I was glad as the sun was now coming up and the fields were glowing in autumn colors. It was time for me to enjoy the walk.

All along the road cat tails were swaying in a gentle breeze. A group of six sparrows swooped and dash through the weeds as though in play. It is golden autumn and even the air seems to have taken on an autumn glow. The clouds are large and heavy and all the bottoms are grey. I hope that does not signal an approaching storm. For now though I will absorb all the sights my eyes can absorb, snap picture with the camera in my mind, and record them in the Silk Road album in my brain, to review later.
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Saturday, October 08, 2005

Gunnie Sack

When the girls learned they would have a cart to travel in, they immediately assumed they could take a lot more things with them. Somewhere between hiding in a gunnie sack with nothing and being "able to stretch" can a thought of transporting everything they own. Part of the problem is that none of them has ever taken a vacation trip. Coral remembers flying here years ago, and they sometimes take day trips on buses or in our old Dodge Caravan. I don't think either Jade or 'quoise have ever been more than twenty miles from home. Staying overnight in a strange place is somewhat frightening to them. The covered cart the Secratary has arranged will help a lot. 'quoise knows what a sleeping bag is and wants to take one, but has no remembrance of camping.

Anyway, they arranged piles of "necessary" things on the livingroom floor. All together this might fit in the van (Vincent van go) if they stayed home. No plans for me to bring anything. So they reduced the piles. Jade had the idea of sharing some items to save space. For this grand thought she got to decide on what snacks to bring along. (lots of rewards here). Still too much. Our neighbor Fred has an old Volkswagen bug in his yard. He has let the girls play in it before. This is interesting because 'quoise is almost six feet tall and all elbows, while Jade is almost too wide to fit behind the seat. Coral can climb throught he window. So, I have decided that they can take whatever all four of us can fit in that bug. All of the snacks, toothbrushes, pillows and such will ride on the top. All they have to worry about is their personal stuff. Good luck!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Morgaine's Beginnings.

Morgaine awoke to birds singing and noticed the first light break through the darkness. how she loved this time of day and dusk too, everything was so peaceful and serene. She lay there awhile thinking about what may lay ahead for her.

'Morgaine, I foraged with the remaining donkeys last night while you slept, they said you need to get to the Enchantress cave first to receive your bag, in it you will find some things to help you on your journey'.

'How do I do that, where do I go,'? Morgaine asked.

'You must have faith Morgaine, the answer will come, in the mean time, prepare yourself for the day, eat something, enjoy the sunrise, I shall return shortly, I will try to find out more'.

'Thank you Gallahad I am so glad you are here to help me'.

'Your very welcome Morgaine'.

Confused - Check Soul Food Silk Way for Tour Route

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Remember to keep checking the Soul Food Silk Road Official Tour Route if you are experiencing any problems on the road and mail le Enchanteur if you have a problem. Once you are familiar with the bloggers you will be able to flit from place to place and get to know people in this realm. Persist and you will find your way.

Calling on the Sec of the Donkey Union

Dear Secretary,
I am in somewhat of a dilemma in getting transport to the Gypsy Camp...I did write to you about a week ago when you asked for the name of our Donkeys we used to travel when visiting the Baba Yaga ...I wrote to tell you of my experience in not gewtting down to names ...and that the donkey and I just called one another " Donkey and Me" like in the A.A. Milne poem name of
"I met a man when I went walking

We got talking man and I " and it seemed to work well for Christopher Robin at the time.....

But I digress Secretary........ What I need is a donkey to take me to the Gypsy Camp to meet up with Megan and other travellers and was wondering if you have a spare donkey in your stable I might borrow ... It is a bit hard for me to look for the one I met as I don't know his/her name so all the calling out won't bring him/her to me.....So how about it can you oblig , if not I will check out Raven Headquarters or I believe there are a few wild camels that might do ...can you let me know A.S.A.P

I await a reply after you check out the stable and your inventory journal ...A busy job you must have , do you have an assistant you could train for the busiest season ?

Many Thanks.....Lois ( 6-10-05)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Three Gems

I would like to introduce you to my three girls. At first they will travel as hidden gems in my gunnie sack. Later they may come out of hiding and ride in a donkey cart that is being prepared. This is their selection and thoughts (edited).

"I am Jade because my daddy wear a ring like that.
When he holds me in his lap,
I play with it and know everything [is] all right."

"Nessie help me look it up.
I found a jewel like my hair
And it comes from the sea
Because I was born in Montery [California]
And also coral is a tree."

"I have a bracelet made of silver.
It has chucks of turquoise.
Grandma says like my eyes
But these have red things in them
And I don't cry anymore. "

The Soul Food Silk Road Tour

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At the moment we have quite a crowd who have come through the doorway into the world of the Soul Food Silk Road. The door to the cave is shutting and brambles are beginning to hide it from view again. Now only those who are on blogger lists will be able to participate (a few people are still listed to be signed in.)

Once you come through the door and are sent on your way you will find yourself in a labyrinth and people are at different points of the labyrinth. Only le Enchanteur and Baba Yaga have been to the centre and visited the Amazon Queen but eventually everyone will find their way to her summer palace on the lake overlooking Nemi. They will do this in their own time frame and not on a tour bus.

It is totally up to the individual to explore this realm but le Enchanteur does provide a guided tour which you can follow. Experienced travellers are unlikely to go back to the same spots all over again but they may want to revisit places. Gail Kavanagh is welcoming everyone at the Gypsy Camp. This does not mean she does the journey again any more than Fran, the Donkey Secretary will tread more leather down all the pathways. These early travellers found places to call home within the Silk Road and that is the primary object. You are not all meant to walk in continuous circles. The journey is an organic thing that keeps evolving and changing. It is not static.

If experienced travellers can lend a hand and help new travellers find places and post their work so that they are archived this would be wonderful. Everyone is currently enroute to Baba's house but not everyone will make it there by the most direct route. We have so many blogs because many are acting as archives once visitors have gone. White Owl Island is a lovely place to visit and you will find the original instructions at the beginning of the blogger.

At the moment I am trying to complile a sequential journey at Soul Food Silk Way Tours so that if people get lost and need to orientate themselves they can go and check what the outline is.

Once again

Again I am reminded that I am somewhat too protective of the girls. I attempted to explain the heading message on this blog. I guess I was a bit afraid of the concepts since they are warned never to go near a lake, and certainly not drink from one. A couple of their comments were;

"Johnnie carries a canteen to work and offers me some. Maybe the water comes from a lake. It is OK because he is my friend."

"Didn't that Florida guy look for a lake that would make him live forever. Is it like that? Except this water just makes you better for a little while"

"sometimes [Jade] and I play tea when there isn't any really. We pretend that the tea comes from a place in a book or a movie. Then it tastes good."

Then we talked about the ventriloquist thing and why someone would talk through a doll rather than speak directly.

"I saw one of those on a movie we were not suppost to see. I came alive and ate people."

"Silly person. You talk to Bettsie [her doll] all the time and told me sometimes it is your mother talking instead."

"If those donkeys really talk I don't care if it is them or someone else pretending. If they are nice."

"Those people in 'stralia don't think it is the computer talking, do they? They know it is a real person who maybe can't talk fast."

I cry here sometimes,


The Donkeys' Union has taken too much time

I am afraid I am rather slow in setting out on the trip myself and still cannot leave the office as more donkeys will no doubt be needed by those travelling and I do have to do some administrative chores for each of them. It was good of Treasa to send us a record of her relationship with her donkey, Jack. I have posted Jack's portrait and his rules. Excellent advice as you will see what happened when his rider forgot to watch where they were going. I did slip away with Mehitabel for an evening on Owl Island where I took a couple of photos. The lovely Moonbeam, our most beautiful donkey has returned to us if any of you need a very special mount. Geraldine is still at the Hermitage looking after and teaching young Georgia and so is not available. Please report to me if you need any extra equipage on your tour. Yours The Secretary of the Donkeys' Union.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Back to the Grotto? I sat down on the ground, dejected. I could feel myself slipping into the brooding child, sitting under a lilac bush, who had just been reprimanded for being mischievous . Not only that but I had no idea how to get back. As I sat there, cross-legged on the ground feeling sorry for myself I heard my courier raven calling in the distance.

�OH no� I thought, �Not again� , but he just circled above and dropped a dispatch in front of me on the path. Obviously he was still a little annoyed with me but it was not the first time and he will get over it. Opening the dispatch I find that we are soon setting out for a gypsy camp on the silk road and the entrance to the Grotto will soon be completely hidden. I must hurry and find my room. There was a picture of the grotto entrance but the dispatch had fallen in a puddle and the ink was smeared. I was just about to head out on my own journey once more when my horse, Destiny spoke.

�Get back in the saddle and I will take you to the entrance if that is where you want to go�, he said. � I know the way.� By now it was getting dark and I was tired. Obediently I climbed back on his back and he headed towards the sunset. Posted by Picasa

Stanley - Le Enchanteur's Ventriloquist Companion

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le Enchanteur is not a ventriloquist of any note. Stanley is her companion as she heads off to see her old friend Baba Yaga. Knowing Stanley there could be a few detours on this trip. Meanwhile everyone in the Gypsy Camp is enjoying Stanley and the Chief is currently reading 'Ventriloquism for Dummies' which he picked up at a second hand bookshop on the road.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Letter To the Secretary of Donkeys Incorporated

A Letter To the Secretary of Donkeys Incorporated

Dear Secretary,
Hello from the open road. My name is Treasa O'Leary, a traveler along the Soulfood Silk Road...but might already know that. I wouldn't be a wee bit surprised if you did, the way this fantastic adventure is constantly keeping me in a state of surrealness. I never know what expect next!

*shakes head in amazement* Certainly not a talking donkey! Jack has made the trip quite...interesting and humorous thus far--we've only been on the road two days. He's been helpful at times as well. And that's why I'm writing you, to tell you what an amazing trip this is going to be with him as a mount and to thank you.

I don't know how you choose which mount for which traveler, but, in my case, you hit gold. You see, I've never ridden a donkey before in my life; only horses a handful of times and not since my childhood at that. The longest I've ever ridden one has been two or three hours and afterwards I was saddle-sore for two days!

*as if the mere mention of it is their cue, all my various aches and throbbing pains intensify and I shift stiffly, trying to find a more comfortable position on my sleeping bag, unable to hold back a low moan*

*silent wry laugh as I resume writing in the combined light of flickering fire and flashlight* I'm in much the same position as I was then. Saddle-sore. But Jack is being an awfully good sport about it, thank goodnees. Right from the start it was painfully obvious to both of us and to my silent guide (whose name I've since learned is Ophelia) that I'm no natural horsewoman--or donkey rider. Jack's gentle swaying gait is as smooth and fluid as any donkey's could be. But until today, for the life of me, I couldn't establish a reasonably good rhythm that allowed me to move as one with him. My butt kept bouncing, up and down, up and down, hard on the saddle until my poor abused tailbone made its first throbbing protests. I felt like a Mexican jumping bean. *rolls eyes and shakes head in embarrassment*

Ah well. At least no one has laughed at this bobbing Irish lass yet--well, not very much and not because of my poor riding skills. For that, I have to give thanks. Jack has been really sweet and has been trying to give me pointers.

"Consider this a crash course in riding," he said after Ophelia helped pull me from the ground at his hooves that first day. We hadn't gone 20 feet down the road from the Enchantress' cave before I was bested by a low-hanging branch that caught me in the chest and knocked me from his saddle. "Rule Number 1: Relax! Your fear and uncertainty transmits to your fine noble steed, letting me--I mean, him--know he's the boss. Rule Number 2: Match your body's rhythm to your donkey's gait. The ride will be smoother and easier this way--for both of us. And Rule Number 3: You've got to be smarter than the average tree. Be aware of your surroundings too."

In my defense, I have to say I was in a state of shock when those leaves smacked me in the face and that branch connected with my breastbone! Jack had started talking--without warning--about the journey and introducing himself and Ophelia and her horse Nightshade. Who wouldn't be floored by a talking donkey when, where I come from, they don't speak?! Well, except for the ones in the Bible and Arabian Tales, but the one was from a parable I believe, the other from a fairy tale.

I gaped at his big gray-brown donkey face, blinking stupidly into his velvety brown eyes once I was back on my feet, repeating over and over, "He talks! He talks! My donkey talks!!"

Ophelia nodded, an amused look on her face. She went to Nightshade, who stood five feet up ahead, with his ebony neck craned right in our direction and dug through his saddlebags. On her way to the stallion she gave Jack an admonishing look. Pulling out medical supplies from one of the bags, she walked back toward me and doctored the few cuts and scrapes I'd sustained from the encounter with the olive tree. (I thought olive branches were supposed to be peaceful?) Once she was satisfied I was ok and taken care of, Ophelia nodded to herself decisively, gathered the box of bandages and ointment and rejoined Nightshade. Putting the things away she mounted the black stallion and motioned with her arm I should do the same.

"Yes, I talk," Jack said, gazing at me with what passes, I suppose, for patience in a donkey. "And you're quite the observer. We have a lot of miles to cover before we reach the Valley of the Temples, where we will be camping over the next few days before reaching the Gypsy Camp. Are you brave enough to try again?"

Dumbly I nodded, reaching behind me to check and make sure everything in my backpack was ok after having landed on the bag in my fall. I mounted and we were off again--albeit at a slower pace--the guide and her black stallion, Jack the donkey and me, the Irish Mexican jumping bean.

As I said, Jack has been sweet and pretty understanding, only making fun of me once in awhile, laughing his braying laugh as he watches me move stiffly about the campsite or if I do some clumsy thing like trip over an exposed tree root. "It was right in front of you, in plain view! You shouldn't read that book of Roman myths as you walk." He admonished just today as we took our lunch break.

I have to thank you. Despite moments like those, I'm sure you're well aware he can be quite amusing. I also have no doubt you already know he can hold entire coversations with himself, for Jack can talk and talk. And talk. I can't help but laugh when he gets going. By no means would this journey be dull or ordinary without him; he just adds to the the wonder and joy of it. So, with all my gratitude, thank you. He is a wonderful companion and mount, and I will take good care of him for as long as he is with me.

Treasa O'Leary, Awed, Amazed and Humble Explorer

*folds the letter written on the lavender stationery from the cave room and seals it in the matching envelope; writes the address on the front and hands it to a waiting raven who accepts it with its beak and a nod; spreading its dark wings it takes off and I shut the flashlight off, sliding and settling into my sleeping bag by the fire*

Diary of a Frantic Traveler

“What exactly does one pack for a journey to an enchanted land?” Since I posed this question to the dog, I had little hope of finding any help. You can never find a cat when you need one.

Should I pack an actual luggage set, or just a duffel bag? Or maybe a backpack is more appropriate. And shoes. Just what kind of shoes will I need? And clothes….sporty, dressy, casual…what was everyone else going to wear? I was beginning to regret ever signing on for this. It is so against my nature to leap into the unknown. The knot in my stomach was tightening.

“Doing it for yourself, weren’t you?” Oh goody. The cat had arrived.

“Of course it’s for me” I snapped at the little black and white fur ball. I sunk onto the bed. Deflated. I didn’t know anyone going on this trip. I’ve never done anything like this. Was I going to be good enough to be there? Would the others have more experience than I? Did they all know what to do? I was making myself sick with worry. And to top it all off, I was going to be late

“What matter are things you take. Possessions only. That is not what you are”. Elephi was a vision of tiny, efficient smugness.
“Okay Yoda, you’re right. I am doing this for myself. To learn for myself, test myself, and hopefully enjoy myself. But I think I should at least bring some personal hygiene products, for the sake of my fellow travelers.

I throw some jeans, t-shirts and undies in my satchel. I add some pencils, markers, crayons and paper in to the mix. Hopefully these will come in handy. I zip up the bag, stash some of my carefully horded chocolate mini-eggs into the outer pouch, and head for the door. I grab my keys and take one last glance around. I hit the lights, and close the door.

The Ravens' Scorn

After getting over the first fear of the speed and the height I found the view breathtaking. I could see my castle And the mountains to the west. The sun was just rising, casting an orange glow across their peaks. I was totally exhilarated. As we headed closer and closer to the waters beyond I heard a frantic cry in the wind, "GO BACK’ GO BACK’. I turned in the saddle and looked over my left shoulder and accidentally pulled the reins to the left. The horse turned left.

I realized for the first time that I had control here. We began soaring in a wide circle over the kingdom, viewing the many roadways, forests and hills below, but the disturbing shrieking then continued in all directions. I discovered that by pulling back on the reins I could slow the horses pace and once slowed down I could see the sounds were coming from the courier raven trying to catch up with me. "This is bad, bad, bad." He cawed.

I pulled back hard on the reins and the horse settled down on the ground and stopped . Settling right in front of my face on the horses neck the raven proceeded to give me a thorough tongue lashing:

"Why do you always go running off on your own?" " Why don’t you read directions better? Why don’t you follow them?" "How much patience do you thing the enchantress has anyway"? "Do you expect her to take you by the hand"? "Go back-Go back"
"Ok, OK," I shouted. " I know" "You obviously know where I should tell me". His loud screeching was getting on my nerves and it was obvious he would not leave me alone until I agreed.

Authoritatively he loudly stated, "You are to wait at the cave for further instructions", and with a haughty flapping of his wings and a deep grumble that sounded like swear words he rose in the sky and headed back towards the silk road. All my shouts of, "where is it, how do I find the cave, which direction do I go", was of no use. He was definitely done with me. Perhaps I can find him a crows gift on this journey to make amends. It is obvious, with my personality, I will need his help.

One Last Entry Before the Trip Begins

Making one last entry as I wait for my guide to come take me from the Enchantress' cave. I know naught where I'm headed in this strange new land, or what I'll find, or where I'll end up. It's still so surreal to me, this journey. It's not quite sunk in that I'm actually here, in an enchantress' cave, no less, by the grace of a rainbow's magic. I'm stunned, I'm thrilled beyond description, I'm nervous as all get out and...I'm humbled. I'm humbled that my grandma and I are being allowed to follow this dream, to take this journey. For this is the journey of a lifetime.

I woke up this morning, after a restful night's sleep--this mattress is sssssooooo comfortable I wish there was a way to fold it up and pack it away to take with me and the gorgeous royal purple comforter is filled with the lightest and softest down ever. *closes eyes in ecstacy for a moment as I run a hand lightly over the material then dig in briefly before resuming* Utter heaven, let me tell you!

Not a bad way to start a journey either.

It's been a wonderful room. Shaped like an upside down stone bowl with a circular window framed in dark wood, a grid molding in the same dark wood on the pane, it's the most unusual accomodations I've ever had. The window, facing the door, is about 31 inches in diameter. Beneath it is a window seat, its cushion upholstered and tufted in a tone-on-tone brocade the same material as my duvet.

Outside the window is the most exquisite, magical garden. Among roses of all types and colors, the Enchantress has tigerlilies of white, orange and pink, bleeding hearts, snapdragons that really snap and roar, chrysanthemums, carnations, daisies, lilac bushes of both white and lavender and many more flowers too numerous to name. Some I've never seen before and don't know the names to. And there are actually fairies flitting around out there! Real, live, small people with wings and a golden glow surrounding their tiny forms flying from blossom to blossom! They like to tease the snapdragons, making them snap and roar when the fairies get too close or too bothersome, then the fairies will fly away, giggling, to a tamer flower that'll open its petals for them to land in. And the sweet perfume of all those flowers mixed in such profusion! It wafts in through the slightly open window on invisible air currents, mingling with the magic scent of roses, sandalwood and that mystery element I'm unable to name still, heightening, awakening and intoxicating the senses.

On the wall to the right of the window hangs a small tapestry done in forest colors and a burst of blue, flesh tones, red, white, gold, purple, cinnamon and pink: the scene of a golden-haired elven queen presiding over her court in a secluded forest glade, her Fae courtiers laughing and making merry captured and woven for All Immortal Time. To either side of the tapestry are two comfortable medium-sized chocolate brown leather armchairs. In one a cream crushed velvet pillow, sewn in equilateral triangles, sits. In the other, a pillow of the same royal purple brocade as the window seat, resides. Four gold tassels adorn its corners. Underneath the tapestry and between the two chairs stands a small round side table of the same dark wood used at the window. At four places around it, about an inch and a half in, the tips of carved ivy vines begin. Trailing over the edge of the table and underneath to its bracings and downward, the wooden vines continue, spiraling round and round the pedastal support and along the base's four "feet" carved to resemble tree limbs bearing flat-bottomed fruit. The only items it boasts of are an inkwell with a cream feathered quill pen placed into it, sheaves of lavender parchment patterned stationery with matching envelopes and an ox-blood leatherbound copy of the complete works of the Brothers Grimm with gilt-edged pages placed at an angle.

Standing against the left wall is an armoire, again in the same dark wood, with the carved ivy vines trailing up this time. They reach up the front and sides, some higher than others, for the top of the wardrobe, but only making it halfway, some of them. The handles are gorgeous! Handcrafted gold acorns pull the doors wide and two open the drawer set in at the bottom.

To add more color to the gray stone floor--and room--a large area rug has been placed in the center of the round room. Done in an ivy covered white lattice or trellis pattern against a purple background, its threads are thick and soft and muffle any footsteps. (It was also a boon this morning when my feet touched it--and not a stone cold floor, ha ha, an unintended pun!--as I dragged myself out of bed.)

The bed itself--on which I'm sitting cross-legged--is situated in the middle of the room at an angle to the tapestry, table and chairs. It has no headboard or footboard, just a wonderful pile of pillows, shams and two regular pillows underneath. The pillows match the ones in the leather armchairs, a pair of white and gold vertically striped ones trimmed in gold braid joining them. Behind them the shams are a set to the duvet. The pillow I slept on and its mate, along with the mattress, are sheathed in white satin.

Sinfully spoiled for the night, wasn't I? *grins* I almost hate to leave! But I know this is only a stopover place before the journey begins. And we are anxious, my grandma's spirit and I, to see what lies along the Soulfood Silk Road.

I awoke to the sunlight slanting in through the window and to the mouthwatering aromas of breakfast seeping out from under the domed covers keeping it warm. I heard a light tap then a sliding noise on wood as a tray was put down on the side table. Opening my eyes and sitting up I saw a cheerful rotund woman in a muslim(?) dress straightening from the table, her hands now empty. A second younger woman, wearing a similar dress yet this one having a yellow rosebud print on a white background and a baby blue apron, crossed the room as well to place a khaki-colored backpack in a chair along with a green box and an ivory envelope bearing my name: "Treasa."

They turned, curtsied to me and smiling, walked out closing the door behind them with a soft click. I was alone again.

The food called to me, and my rumbling stomach answered all the while I got ready for the day and the journey ahead. It was then, after I'd dressed and groomed myself, I gave in to my hungry, grumbling stomach and sat down in the unoccupied chair. Removing the lids over the plates and smelling appreciatively, I ate my breakfast of Eggs Benedict, bacon, toast with fig jelly and chocolate milk.

Now that my belly was satisfied and filled I inspected my gifts. Opening the envelope I pulled the white vellum note card from it and read the neat, slanted handwriting in gold ink. It was from the Enchantress.

    I trust you had a good night's rest and have enjoyed the garden and room. Today you and your grandmother begin a wonderous journey that is unlike any journey you've ever taken. However, for this journey and the mode of transportation you'll be taking, you'll need a smaller, less cumbersome bag to carry your things in and store the things you'll want to gather along the way. Do not be deceived by its size; it can hold all your things and the things you'll acquire in the near future and throughout your life. It always has room for your most precious memories and prized possessions.

    "Please enjoy the box of chocolates, as well. They will inspire you. However, if you do take one, or however many you want, there is a requirement with each. You must write whatever or create whatever they bring to your mind. Remember, as you go along the Soulfood Silk Road, as you experience all that it offers, write, draw, create, so others can see and share your journey too. I hope and wish you all the magic, all the happiness and all the excitement this trip has to offer the travelers who wander this road. Godspeed and be careful,

    Sybil, the Enchantress"

And so, I packed my things into the backpack, even the green velvet chocolate box, *laughing sheepishly* deciding to eat them along the way. I folded and placed my big overnighter in the armoire's drawer, knowing it will somehow be safe until I collect it.

Oops, gotta go. Someone just knocked on my door, telling me my guide is here. I wonder where we are going?