65 bar rises 29.73 2mph WSW dew-point 49 Beltane, sunny
Waxing Gibbous Flower Moon
The places I have visited stay with me, sometimes like ghosts, haunting my dreams and intruding on waking life. Angkor. Singapore. Bangkok. Ephesus. Delphi. Santorini. Rome. Pompeii. Venice. Florence. Crete. Delos. Istanbul. Bogota. Cartagena. Mexico City. Merida. Oaxaca. Vienna. Salzburg. Paris. London. Hawarden. Anglesey. Conwy. Edinburgh. Bath. Cities and towns, states and countrysides in the US and Canada too many to name.
Angkor drapes vines over me, inserts vast tree roots into my memories while the howler monkeys and the cicada scream. It’s hot and it doesn’t let up, just gets hotter, too hot in the midday. The stone rises and rises, carved by artists capable of rendering the delicate and ephemeral in stone. The astronomical, astrological, theological pandemonium of it all causes reverberations deep in my soul, beyond my Self and down into my links with the collective unconscious. I was there when the stone masons cut the block, shaped Vishnu turning the great turtle in the sea of milk. My hand carved the apsara and fitted stones into the great western gate of Angkor Wat.
Delphi sends music to me, pan-pipes and Apollo’s lute. The cedar scented sacred way winds it way up the side of Mt. Parnassus past the Athenian treasury, up to the Temple of Apollo where the Delphic Oracle met questioners and answered their questions with questions deep in its subterranean precincts. Here, too, is the omphalos stone, the center of the world. The Castalian spring. All round Mt. Parnassus are echoes of divinity, cries from the Pythian Games, honoring Apollo’s defeat of the cthonic serpent Python, still resound throughout the rocky hills. The Delphi Oracle still speaks today and she says, “Beware, Stranger, of forgetting your past for in it lie secrets to your future. Without your past you will wander the earth always an infant in your understanding.”
Merida and the Casa del Balam, house of the jaguar, bring heat, heat so intense that as the afternoon rains came there was no relief, only a suffocating rise in humidity. To escape the locals do much of their business in pre-dawn and dawn hours, sitting together in the main park around the confidenitales, small curved benches made so dating couples could sit beside each other, yet not touch. Here Mayan women sell blood oranges in front of the Cathedral, their roots at Chichen Itza and Tikal, not Jerusalem or Rome.
Hawarden resonates with my genetic past. On the trains in North Wales most of the people looked like they could be my cousin short, thin, dark eyes and hair. The town with its residential library (where I stayed) and its brick and stone streets and buildings had Victorian written in its architecture, public and private. It also had a bookish quality, an Oxford don would not have felt out of place. The church graveyard, just behind St. Deniol’s Library, had slate markers covered with moss and huge trees hanging heavy bows over the graves. Behind it the stone building of St. Deniol’s parish church sat calm and iconic.
There are others, many others, but these places live within me, never absent. They are the great gift of travel and one I cherish.