Itinerary- Day Three

12 03 2007


There are very few things, if you ask me, that are as exciting as planning a trip. Well, maybe going on the trip is as exciting, but…I love to peruse maps, read books, make notes, research on my computer- so many possibilities to explore, so many adventures to anticipate. At the same time, we don’t like to over-plan; in other words, to attempt to micro-manage every last detail like booking our hotels in advance and reducing the trip to a grocery list of places to go and things to see that one can check off like, well, like a grocery list. We like to leave room for the pleasant surprise, the serendipitous, the unexpected. So, with these thoughts in mind, here then is our itinerary:

First stop: Paris, to meet Marcel and arrange for our transportation on the first leg of the Grand Tour. We will, bien sur, meet him at the Ritz (GPS coordinates:N48.52.0625 E002.19.7538). Next, we’ll take the old Roman road to Arles, France, to check up on Vincent and bring him some much needed painting supplies from Pere Tanguey in Paris. We’ll stay with him in the yellow house for a few days, depending on what kind of mood he’s in. Then we’ll proceed to Siena, Italy (GPS coordinates N38.01.37 E12.43.05), a town that’s said to remain closest to it’s Medieval origins and is therefore of interest to Marcel for it’s architecture and to me for it’s pottery and ceramics. Next stop will be Delphi, Greece, for reasons which will become clear later. Onward through Konya, Turkey, home of the Sufi mystic and poet Jalal al Din Rumi and the Whirling Dervishes, and Catal Hoyuk, to participate in the dig there. In Syria, we’ll visit the ancient city of Mari on the banks of the Euphrates and Aram, the oldest inhabited city in the world. Down through the Levant to the Alexandrian Mouseion in Egypt (GPS coordinates N29.97.7712 E31.13.2604) to learn what we can from the scholars. From Alexandria we’ll take a newly established train line all the way across the top of the African continent to Morocco. In Morocco I hope to learn the art of making tangines and the foods one can make inside them. On to Spain, to visit the Alhambra and take the St. James of Campostela pilgrimage in reverse, then back to Paris. We plan to follow the dictates of previous Grand Tourists, who would “…return with crates of art books, pictures, sculptures, etc..” and the dictates of our hearts, meaning we plan to buy things that will have an essence of the place in them that speaks to us. Some items will be for inclusion in the Riversleigh Mouseion, some will be for gifts, some Marcel will keep, and some will reside with us.

The day for departure nears, the pile of luggage grows, the goodbyes are being said. Be with us on our journey, and we’ll share as much as is possible of what we learn and experience. Bon voyage!


more of Traveller’s travel collages

7 01 2007

These are my latest creations for a private RR, the subject of this book is ‘travel’. The quotation above the question reads “all journeys lead to secret destinations of which the traveller is often unaware”.

Note: an RR (round robin) is an art exchange of some form – in this case each of the 5 participants has chosen a theme and has created the first couple of pages of what will eventually be a book. Each participant sends their completed pages to the next person on the list, who makes their contribution and then posts it on to the next participant, and so on until they return to their creator. If the participants wish the order can then be reversed and a second lot of pages created.


9 12 2006



Last Summer Mata Dark and her family took a vacation.

Mata was almost 20 at the time and during her entire twenty years of life none of the Dark Family had set foot off of the Olympic Mountain Range in Washington State. They had never traveled further then 40 miles away from their hometown of Leaning Birches.

It’s because Mata’s Father was a workaholic and he had this thing about being replaced. He was terrified of losing his job.

” Lord Derby, do you really believe there’s a line of people waiting for to do your job? ” Mata’s mom Rue screamed at the top of her lungs while waving around a bunch of travel pamphlets in her hand. Mom had wanted a vacation in the worst way and she felt like if she didn’t get this trip she wouldn’t have the energy to fight for another.

Derby’s eyes crossed a little like they always do when he thinks to hard and finally he said, ” I’m sure there’s a few people who would love to do my job. And do you know what Rue? They’re probably a lot younger and smarter and quicker then me. Don’t ask me to take a chance on losing the only thing I’ve ever been good at in my life.”

Rue who’s eyes never crossed when she thought to hard lowered her voice and said ” Derby you are the hardest working man in town and you’ve earned a vacation. Promise me you’ll think about it.”

Derby who adored his wife and family as much as he adored his job gave in about a week after that argument. He came home one night from work and out of nowhere asked Rue would she mind if they took a road trip? He had a route and a destination picked out. He even had a leather folder that read “ USA TOURS” full of flyers, confirmation forms and event tickets.

The travel agent he had worked with in town had even got them t-shirts to wear.

Mata’s Mom looked through the folder and then she unfolded one of the T-Shirts and held it up. ” You’ve got to be kidding. ” was all she could think to say.

The shirt read:

                                   ” UFO PALOOZA 2006 “



Derby smiled and shook his head. ” Pack up, we leave at Dawn “


Mata’s brother 15-year-old brother Wilton not only wore the t-shirt the morning they left he went out to Joker’s Galore the night before and bought a set of ” Deeply Boppers” to wear on his head too.

The ” Deely Boppers ” were silver antenna with gold balls at the top that were the size of marbles. When you turned your head something in them shifted and made a crackling sound.

Mata took one long hard look at her brother, walked out the front door and then jumped on her motorcycle and rode at break neck speed into town and bought herself a set too.


Mata and her brother Wilton had agreed with each other sometime during that very long drive that if Mom said the words, ‘ UFO’s? Are you kidding me Derby UFO’s? Our one and only vacation as a family is to celebrate something that doesn’t exist?” one more time they were both going to jump out of the car and take their chances on the New Mexico Desert, the New Mexico Sun and until they decided it sounded like fun the mutants that were suppose to have been created by the first Atomic Test back in 1945.

” Hey Mom ” Wilton asked, ” do you think there really  are Radioactive Mutants out here? “

” Well I haven’t seen any but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist…am I right Derby? “

Derby reached over and patted her shoulder and said, ” That’s the Spirit Querida “


The little town was almost full of people dressed up like aliens, there were also a lot of people not dressed like aliens and they all seemed to know a lot about space travel and where you could get ” Saucer Burgers “, ” Milkyway Meals ” and everyone wanted to know if you were able to get reservations to stay at the ” Station 51 Hotel “

Most of the Dark Family were secretly pleased they were staying at the ” Place to Be ” for the Festival but they kept it to themselves because of the look on Rue’s face.

Rue’s face was this mask; she looked like someone had attached strings to her eyebrows and yanked them straight up.

She had speechless since they arrived in town, which was actually a relief.

Finally she opened her mouth, breathed and said ” God in Heaven ” and then she went back to the hotel and ordered a blood red steak and drank Strawberry Margaritas until she couldn’t focus her eyes.

After that she went back out and joined her family.


Derby talked Rue into joining a UFO Watcher’s Group and by the time they got back from spending an evening learning to plot their own star charts and joined in on a few debates about the Roswell Incident and watched a video of a genuine Alien Autopsy it was obvious Rue was having a good time.

At least her eyebrows had gone back to their normal spot on her forehead and she had quit saying ” God in Heaven ” everytime someone walked by.

So it really turned out to be a good trip and on their last night Rue and Derby went out with some new friends to make arrangements to get together for next year’s festival and Mata and Wilton went shopping.

Mata and Wilton decided to go and pick up some souvenirs for their friends back home and they spent a lot of time talking to Mr. Fanshaw who ran the little Museum just around the street from the hotel. 

They talked about their Mom and their Dad and their home back in Washington. Small town stuff but Mr Fanshaw was a good audience and he asked lots of good questions.

Mr Fanshaw, Mata and Wilton were pleased to discover knew all about Aliens and he also knew at least an hours worth of  top drawer ghost stories and as he packed up Mata and Wilton’s purchases he asked, ” so tell me about your Mom, in the end she had a good time? Is she a believer now do you think? “

” Doubt it, ” Wilton said “she doesn’t have much going in the way of imagination.”

” Sorry to hear that…its a curse of the Modern Age ” Mr Fanshaw said sadly. Then he asked, “and what does she do for a living? “

” Homemaker, ” Mata told him ” she use to be a Phlebotomist. That’s how she met our Dad. See the offices she worked at used to get busted into and vandalized all of the time. One night she got attacked and our Dad actually saved her from being killed. They’ve been together ever since”

” And what does your Dad do? ” Mr Fanshaw asked.

” He’s a Vampire Hunter ” Wilton said from behind a stack of packages and then he and Mata thanked Mr Fanshaw for all of his time and as the two young people left the Museum Mr. Fanshaw heard Mata say ” hey Wilton we should talk to Dad about The Triangle for our next trip…”


Near the Cabin

9 12 2006




Just left of yesterday

and ‘round tomorrow’s bend,

there is a place where I can be alone –

where all the theoried strings

cross or are snarled hopelessness

such that I can be ‘all one’ again.


but not today …


I choose to never be lonely

which is something else again,

for I am of knowing rather than believing.

So you cannot go there with me

for you are already of its creation,

and I but the singer of the EverSong …

and by simple faith alone

I will be there when you find

the special wonder of just being you.



Visiting Stonehenge

8 12 2006

As I approach Stonehenge, I’m engulfed in the mysticism of the place. An other world feeling envelops my soul. My feet float over the ground. I sail along until I touch the bluestones, feeling the pores beneath my finger tips. A haze begins to fill the circle, smokey curls filter the sunlight. I’m lifted upward and perch on a crossbar. Through the mist I watch female figures twist and whirl around a center caldron. After a time one approaches the caldron and begins dipping cups to hand to each figure. Bowing, each retreats and raises the cup to their lips and drinks. Then they circle the area one more time before disappearing to meet their lovers. I am as certain of this as I am that I’m alive. The fog lifts away in wispy strands and I am once more on the ground standing in warm sunshine wondering at the realness of a dream vision.

I linger waiting, longing for I don’t know what.

Stonehenge picture

8 12 2006

I tried to edit and reinsert the picture, but it didn’t come. I can see it on my screen when I’m working but it doesn’t get posted.

Guess I’ve more to learn.



7 12 2006

The stones are great
And magic power they have
Men that are sick
Fare to that stone
And they wash that stone
And with that water bathe away their sickness
-Layamon 1200

I’m on my way to visit this place of ancient stones on the plain of Salisbury. Stonehenge dates from 3100-2300 B.C.
I’m curious, I’m excited. What vibes will I get? Will something tell me that this is a place of ritual, of Druid magic, of scientists who studied the movement of the planets and stars?
The effort, the energy that went into constructing this place is beyond my conception. I’m one light shining in the world. How many lights combined to move and place these stones?
I know that I will stand in awe trying to commune with the ancients and feel the emotion, be it scientific, religious, psychological, of this experience.