A Brief Stay in the Body of a Dragon on the Coast of Spain #dragonlines #dragonstones #spain #travel #costabrava #begur

“You manage to find home wherever you go.”

It was a statement made by a friend on Facebook in response to my recent trip to Spain.

Somehow, in a rather mystical way, home finds me when I travel. Magic opens the window when we are willing to look outside the confines of limiting beliefs. A magic that is not about manipulating the elements to our will, but allowing the wonders that already exist to reveal themselves to the opened mind.

The view of the building that housed our rental is tucked into the sea-facing side of a hill that resembles a pyramid.

My family and I chose our beach stay because it was in our price range in Costa Brava, and because we liked the few photos we had seen of the timeshare-style resort. The photos, we discovered when we stepped out of our car, did not come close to doing justice to the wonders of the landscape.

The beautiful view of Costa Brava from our balcony. A stone dragon leads the eye to the sea.

If you begin to look for them, you will find the forms of dragons are not so uncommon along coastlines. Their rocky heads jut out over the water, seemingly pulling the energy of Earth’s oceans into the dry body of land. Their lines of fire, in turn, churning the waters around them. It is alchemy at its best. Somewhat hidden and mysterious, but unmistakably felt. The wind is often more wild in these places, the elements palpably alive and alert. How lucky we were to discover not one dragon wrapping around the coast where we stayed, but two…

A coastal walk connects the two dragons and the pyramid hills from which their bodies descend into the water. This one appears almost to be sleeping, yet the hill above it is palpably alive with fire energy.

We walked this pyramidal hill one evening after a lovely dinner in one of the restaurants in the cove below it. The climb was not long, and it was manageable even for those of us in dresses and sandals.

The wide path narrows and becomes more rugged the closer you get to the top.

Although I could find no history of this site, either on the hill itself or online, layered remains of times past still exist upon it.

An unlabeled artifact on the trail. Three crouched figures with their heads removed seemed eerily appropriate…

There is something to be said about walking an ancient land at dusk. The veil thins and the energies stir a forgotten magic. It leaves no one untouched, and I could see the feeling of elation mirrored in the faces of my family as we climbed the hill.

I was in heaven.

It’s a little frustrating not to know the history of a place aside from the feeling it offers you.

The towered remains of Rome? And what was there before it?

We encountered more mystery and intrigue the evening we climbed the well-known castle in the center of Begur, which dates back to the 11th century.

Castle view

While looking at the breathtaking views atop Begur Castle, my eyes caught upon the mounds below, where are separated from the mountains behind them. Their shapes appear more defined than by the hand of Nature.

A sunset view from Begur Castle looking towards some interesting mounds.

But that would have to remain a mystery as well. We did not travel to climb them as we had only allowed for three nights on the coast of Spain. Which, as you can see from this sunset vista taken atop Begur Castle, is stunning.

My daughter, on top Begur castle looking out to the sea, finds joy wherever we travel.

The time passes as all time does, and we were soon on our way to spend the night with giants on a much larger mountain than the hills of Begur…

This spectacular coastal trail leads to beaches, cliff-jumping spots, and restaurants along Costa Brava

The Mystical, Magical Montserrat #travel #montserrat #spain

There were elephants, apes, cats (both wild and tame), and there were giants. Lots of them. We were not a zoo or a carnival. Nor were we at the circus. We were on the top of a mountain in Spain. If you’ve been there, you will know Montserrat is nothing short of wondrous.

The elephants and their friends

“Look,” my daughter pointed her finger to a grouping of stone figures peering down upon our arrival, “They’re elephants. Except that one. That’s a monkey.”

Wonder is even better when it is shared.

The giant looming left in the image stood sentinel over our rooms.

“That,” I added to her assessment, “Is most definitely a giant and it looks like he’s lost one of his four arms.” The figure stood directly over our rooms, as if in constant guard. A sentinel watching pilgrims come and go over thousands of years. To be in the presence of these giants in stone is nothing short of amazing. It is both humbling and mind-boggling. How did they get here? One wonders. How did we get here?

The view of Montserrat’s train station from the hike down its summit.

Life’s existential questions hover with you above the clouds and you are certain you must have ascended into another world. A world of stone gods.

One of the many shrines on Montserrat

They are not unkind. The atmosphere on Montserrat is both welcoming and peaceful. To all. Even though Christian hands have stamped their marks throughout its 4,000 plus feet of peaks and valleys.

A cross marks a peak on Montserrat

Legends tell of a group of shepherds in the year 888 who encountered the presence of the divine while wandering near the top of Montserrat. Beams of holy light shone down upon them and the song of angels and bells filled the air. Each time they returned, they were met with the same holy welcome, which led them to a cave holding an icon of the black Madonna and child, “La Moreneta.”

The sun’s angle brought an ethereal light to this holy place.

Montserrat is not only revered by Christians, but by all types of seekers. It is said that the templars sought the Holy Grail here. Numerous UFO sightings have been reported, and there are legends of abductions and strange encounters with other dimensions. Caves channel through the mountain’s body and one gets the sense that its secrets will never been fully revealed.

In this image I see two lovers in an eternal embrace.

If I could have stayed here longer, I would have. Maybe for a month, maybe years…

As it was, though, we had less than 24-hrs to explore a small part of the mountain’s mysteries.

We arrived by car to the parking area below the Benedictine monastery, and the small village that includes a hotel, hostal, apartments, shops, and transport stations.

The lower part of the village of Montserrat. You can see the steep, gray line of the summit funicular in the crevice of the rocks.

If truth be told, we almost didn’t make it. Montserrat, we soon realized, welcomes you, but also tests your limits. For my husband, it was trusting the mountain would not careen us over its edge as he carefully drove us towards its top. His fear put us all on edge, testing us individually and as a family. I grew impatient as I calculated how much time we had already lost. Acceptance comes when one takes the gift as it can be welcomed only by you. For us, it was our brief, yet magical stay on the mountain.

My daughter near the summit

We were greeted with a perfect day. The sun shining almost within reach through a nearly windless and cloudless expanse of endless sky. You really do feel as though you are on top of the world when you reach the summit of the mountain.

We were greeted with our own beams of light as we conquered the mountain’s heights

We took the funicular from the village to the summit, then walked back down to the village area. By the time we checked into our hotel and wandered a bit around the abbey (abandoning the chance to see La Moreneta due to the long, inching line), it was nearing the end of the day. We got one of the last runs up the mountain and had just enough time before the sunset to meander our way down, veering just slightly off-course now and then to explore and test limits.

My son decides to conquer his own fears by climbing off-course to ascend even higher.

Despite a few tugs of temptation, we stayed the course and followed the well-marked, mostly-paved path. The views are stunning no matter where you are on the mountain, the trail of serrated rock formations instill awe at each turn. We even found a dragon, in stone, meandering down one side. Perfect.

Dragon ridge

I felt like I had found heaven. Not a perfect heaven, but just the kind-of heaven I prefer. One that awes, but also tests in order to learn.

A heavenly view of the mountain and the abbey.

Even dinner was pretty close to being divine, and we very nearly didn’t get one. Well, perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration, but when my husband called for reservations the night before, he was told they were all booked. Most likely a miscommunication, the information lost and muddled in translation, we found this was in fact not the case. Upon our check-in I had no trouble reserving us a table for 7:45pm.

The dining room at Hotel Abat Cisneros Montserrat is a wonder in itself

Our three-course, very reasonably priced meals, came with a large soup or salad (I got the pumpkin soup, which was, yes, divine), a generous and tasty entree, and dessert. If you go, make sure to choose the local cheese and Montserrat honey as one of our dessert options.

Sleeping at Montserrat is deliberately short of luxurious. Even the hotel rooms are furnished in a spartan style that favors celibacy. We had two adjoining twins adorned in plaid earth tones. A bible was the centerpiece of each of our night tables.

The courtyard of the monastery at night.

The close of day releases all but the committed travels down the mountain, and the village of Montserrat turns into a place of solitude and peace. Except for the bells, which we discovered as we attempted to slumber, ring out the time every quarter-hour. As we struggled with sleep in our rooms without air-condition, windows ajar, letting in the mountain air and the holy bells, I no longer wondered why there were so few of us spending the night.

Yet, I was glad we did.

The big dipper visible over the stone giants (these ones had a sphinx-like feel to them).

Night atop Montserrat opens another portal to the heavens. Stars break through the canvas of day to shine in all their rapture. The big dipper was clearly visible as it dove its ladle into the bodies of the giants. It is magical. Other-worldly. An experience one will never forget.

A monk makes his way to the monastery at dawn.

Dawn, in turn, brings with it a quiet splendor as the sun ascends above the clouds and the monks make their way to the abbey.

Dawn’s clouds atop Montserrat separates the world above from the world below

Breakfast, although more casual in-style, is also impressive at the hotel. It is included with your stay and arrives in buffet style in the informal dining room. Aside from various pastries and fruit, a selection of meats, cheeses, yogurts, cereals, and beverages are offered. We did not leave hungry.

But we also did not linger too long. We needed to return our car by 10:30am, which became another adventure in itself…

It was with more than a twinge of reluctance that I said goodbye to Montserrat as we made out way down from its spectacular heights. Someday, perhaps, I will get a chance to return.

An unforgettable place.

Blueberry Blessings on a Dragon Hill #nhhikes #bownhtrails #knottingcookforest

The Gathered Blessings of a Blueberry Hill

The first time I met my husband he told me a story about Blueberry Mountain. In truth, the mountain was a hill, and it had some other name, but that’s not really what matters. What matters is the magic the hill held for him. We were just seventeen, and we were on our first “date.” We first met on the 4th of July thirty years ago at the ASP program at St. Paul’s School. I was studying biology, and he, ecology. But on the 4th of July his dorm hosted my dorm for an ice cream social. The rest is our story…

Which, you could say, began atop a hill covered in blueberries. Although we could not leave the campus for our first date, he still took me to that special place. Together we sat in the tower room of the school’s library as we shared stories and got to know each other. Dave was working on an essay for the required writing course, and I was offering my feedback. The story was about a hill he climbed with his family during their summers at the lake. A hill topped in midseason with wild blueberries.

The hill, alas, as fallen into private hands, but I was lucky enough to climb it with my husband to gather blueberries together before the “No Trespassing” signs went up. Now we have our own “blueberry hill,” and there we went last night on the eve of our wedding anniversary to gather the hill’s blessings and enjoy the summer’s evening.

I call it “Dragon Hill.” The first time we climbed it, I saw the head of a dragon on the side of the path. There are places woven through Earth where the dragon lines are strong, and this is one of them. It is, undeniably, a special place. Even though it is a small hill in a small town, seekers find it from other states. They may not be consciously aware of its magic, but they are drawn to it nonetheless.

Yesterday, as day settled into dusk, we walked the back of the dragon with our two dogs and I found joy peeling away the outer layers of stress. It has been a trying couple of years for many of us, for a variety of reasons not just related to the pandemic, and in that moment of walking I felt some of that holding release. I was reminded, in the walking, that Earth offers us healing when we seek it through the space of the heart. It merely requires an opening.

What a gift it is to walk the Mother-body of Gaia. To feel the surrender to her love. There is a joy in the unity that comes from walking into her embrace. She might not actively reach for us, but her arms are always open to receive.

We had not thought to bring a collection bag with us. In truth, we were going for the sunset, which gave us in returned a clouded sky. When we saw fellow climbers gathering the ripe fruit from the hilltop, we paused but continued on. It was only in the turning back that we stopped to gather. Taking a small bag meant for the dogs’ waste, we opened up to the gift of the hill’s abundance, recalling the hill that thirty years before symbolically brought us together.

Although the area had peaked with its offering, we took just enough to make a batch of muffins and perhaps some pancakes. Not enough for a pie, but enough for joy.

Seeding the stones: Keeping A Promise to a Dragon and a Stone Part 4 #vthikes #dragonlines #dragonstones

We left the eye with more questions than answers. Inside my mind’s eye I could still see the figure of white light standing over the pyramid stone. Waiting for our arrival. Waiting for the white pillar of crystal I had promised to seed at its base.

So much to see and discover off the beaten path.

It was a short walk, through the tangle of roots and moss, to get back to the stone that had filled my thoughts for two months. I dropped my backpack nearby, and began digging through the contents for the wrapped selenite and Sophia’s small pyramid of rose quartz. As I searched for the pink stone, a noise rustled the forest into alert and we knew hikers were approaching.

Worry set in a bit as I wondered if we would be interrupted when it really matter most, but I soon discovered that our visitors were, in essence, just what we needed. A heaviness had set in after leaving the guardians and the white boulder. I, personally, felt a bit of an unease as to whether we were really meant to be near the “eye,” or had tried to “look” too closely at what was not meant to be observed. But there had been the wren, and I had to believe there was a purpose to our visit, even it if was not wholly revealed.

Ari the wolf-like rescue dog. Eager to make new friends.

The wolf-dog appeared before his human companion. Later, Deb would remark about how even her appearance seemed more than accidental. A tall blond with blue eyes filled with an ethereal light. She and her rescued husky brought a joy that was much needed. That had somehow dissipated after our climb.

Ari and his caretaker had lightened our collective mood, and after their departure we decided to take a few moments to ground ourselves with some food and water. It was clear, through our visitors, that we were not meant to rush.

Trusting the inner guidance I was receiving, I suggested we form our own pyramid to seed our offerings and then join our energy with the energies surrounding us.

It was a natural unfolding, the white pillar slid into darkness, settling well below the base of the mighty stone above it, while Sophia and Deb seeded their stones at the points of their calling. No one else appeared from the trails as we gathered together again to extend our arms into three sides. Each voice, in turn, opening to words of gratitude for our presence being allowed. And, our offerings being received.

Our work soon felt complete, and a quiet fatigue settled in as we began to make our descent down the mountain. Although we shared words, we were also individually wrapped in the processing of our experiences. I, wondering if the lines might shine a little brighter than when I had first arrived on the serpent mountain two months prior. And, perhaps, a little more opened. Lines rejoining as the crystals settled back into the body of the Mother.

“It’s a snake!” Deb announced, as I shrieked and jumped back into the arms of Sophia.

“Oh gosh,” I apologized. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to scare it away.”

Not the snake from that day, but similar.

A garter snake, well into adulthood, its brown and tawny body blending with the earth, slithered away from our path and into the underbrush of the forest.

I thought of Shesha, the snake-boy from my book. The fourth character in the six to appear that day. And we all thought of Isis. It seemed a fitting guide for the end of our journey.

The small blue car coasted down the mountain with more ease than it had ascended. As we turned the corner to join the main road, a bear arose from the wooden face of a store placard. There, before me, was my sign from Sula, the bear-girl. All that was left was Dell. The otter girl. I realized the chances of seeing an otter that day were slim, but still I wondered if the hexagram would complete itself.

Less than twenty-four hours it would. Opening the screen of my computer, an otter would appear. It was time to await the next journey. Wherever and whenever that might be.

The Eye Opens: Keeping a Promise to a Dragon and a Stone Part 3 #VThikes #dragonlines #leylines #sacredsites

When we arrived at the pyramidal stone that had caught my eye during my first visit, I found myself worrying a bit about encountering other hikers. The stone is not far from the intersection of three trails, making it likely we would not be alone. Yet I need not have worried. All beings we met seemed to be messengers even when they were not aware that they were.

This image is from my trip in July. Can you see the face near the apex?

I pointed the stone out to Sophia and Deb, who could not deny the significance of its shape. It also seemed to mark the entrance to an area that pulled us into a desire to explore, and so after paying our regards with the knowing we would return, we ventured off the beaten path.

I immediately had the sensation of entering into what felt like the body of the dragon. Dimension began to slip away, and the mind softened as the inner sight opened. I knew my companions were feeling the opening too, but I would not know until we rejoined how similar our experiences were.

As I walked, past dreams and visions started to knit together, as worlds folded into each other. As strange it all seemed, it also made sense. At least to the degree I was meant to understand that day. I soon discovered the land here holds its secrets tightly guarded and a trust must be earned to enter into their mysteries.

An other-worldly presence was undeniably evident, it turns out, to all of us. The face in the pyramid stone that had appeared during my trip in July, along with the large stone head at the beginning of our walk that day, could no longer be claimed as mere coincidences. I am a skeptic by nature, but I could not deny what I was seeing once Deb and Sophia revealed that they, in fact, had seen the same.

Yet it wouldn’t be until later, after I had some time to digest the experience, that I would begin to connect the dots and wonder how lives past and present were weaving together for a purpose just beginning to be defined. “Ammon Ra!” I was nowhere near Egypt, but the pyramids were everywhere, dimensions had collapsed the stars into Earth, and one tiny messenger was about to lead us to a mysterious eye.

I believe it was Deb who first spotted the tiny brown bird flirting among the shadows of the trees. It flew just beyond our reach, and difficult to detect. Were it not for its voice, we may have lost it. Yet despite its illusive nature, the bird seemed to beckon us to follow, and so we did. It was, in my mind, without a doubt, another messenger. Perhaps our most important one.

“I think we need to go there. In fact I know we need to go there,” I announced as I pulled my companions into the undergrowth of a path that wasn’t marked by human footsteps. The energy of the beacon had an undeniable force, yet there was a point when I knew we must stop.

Surrounding us were guardians staring out from the trunks of trees, peering through the visages of moss covered stones, and leering up at us through darkened holes. I was beginning to feel rather like I was in some Tolkien novel and the words, “Thou shalt not pass,” echoed through my mind.

We gathered between the grumpiest “troll” and the wooden head of a dragon guardian, forming a makeshift triangle on the uneven earth after we placed offerings of herbs and corn near the watchful eyes.

This wooden dragon brought back memories of a recent dream

On one side of us was the alpine forest, on the other, an immense white stone. If I had any doubts it housed the treasure being guarded, they soon disappeared.

Soon after our eyes closed in meditation, the serpent appeared. Its body emerged from the white boulder just over the head of Sophia and quickly wrapped the crown of our trinity. There it held us until we were finished.

“She’s standing in wait,” I whispered, eyes still closed and fixed upon the pillar of white energy waiting by the pyramid stone. Who she was, I still cannot say for sure, but she knew we were coming, and I was pretty certain I had seen her before. I recalled the “white goddess” who appeared in England at the foot of my bed years before, pulling the bedclothes back, urging me to surrender to the fey queen’s bidding. I thought also of Sophia, who had pulled the card for Isis before we had left. Was this her serpent energy that wrapped us tight?

It was after we rose from our mediation that I really looked at the white rock we stood beneath. “It’s the eye,” I don’t know how I knew it, but I was certain of my words.

A rock not meant to be climbed

Sophia, drawn to the curious markings that crisscrossed its surface, tried to get closer. The soft earth of the lid pulled her back and she lost her footing. “I don’t think we’re meant to go any nearer,” Deb and I both declared.

It was difficult to over-look the markings…

After a taking a few photographs, it was clear the “eye” had given has all of its gifts for the day. It was time to complete the mission of our journey and return to the pyramid stone and offer up the white pillar from Mystery Hill.

To Be Continued…

The Path of the Pyramids: Keeping a Promise to a Dragon and a Stone Part 2 #VThikes #dragonlines #pyramidstones #sacredsites

A little pyramidal cave in the rocks

There were at least as many pyramids as there were hearts along the journey that led us to one particular stone pyramid at the crown of the dragon. Too many to count, and probably a lot that were missed by our eyes. It seemed, though, like the hearts, more than a coincidence… Pyramids carved into the faces of stones, stones opening to their portals such as the one above, and rocks that had somehow fallen from Earth’s openings into perfect pyramidal shapes.

A “portal” pyramid in the boulders

Guides continued to appear as we ascended the mountain. Soon after the chipmunk, a call rang through the canopy above. “It sounds like an eagle,” Sophia remarked, “I was told an eagle would be here today.”

We did not see the eagle, but days before I had seen an eagle twice in my travels. Three times in total this summer.

Followed by the eagle, was a yellow butterfly spotted by Deb. It was becoming a little uncanny. Not only were these common guides in my personal life, the eagle and butterfly are two of the totems in my Warriors of Light series. And it would get stranger from there…

This beautiful wolf-like dog appeared at an uncanny moment for us. His name was Ari, the eagle-boy in my book series, yet he resembled Lupe, the wolf-boy.

Worlds started to collapse as the mountain watched us walk its body. So many watchers, I would later remark that I was grateful I did not take this journey alone.

So many guardians in the trees

After that rather shocking encounter with the rock face that looked like the head of a galactic being, we were constantly aware of being observed. Ents appeared in the taller trees and trolls below them. Some seemed happier than others about our presence and it was clear we were walking in a land that did not really belong to humans.

Dragon wing?

A land, we would feel every-increasingly, that was guarded with a purpose. And, was alive with forces that, well, seemed other-worldly. Unlike in many of the places I have visited in England, where the magic of the land was enhanced by an ancient sophisticated society that moved and placed stones with deliberation, here mighty stones formed uncanny alignments by the forces of Earth.

We couldn’t help but feel the body of the dragon as we neared the summit

Yet there were so many similarities. The feeling of dimensions collapsing and realms mixing. The feeling of forces dormant and waiting to be reawakened…it was more than obvious a dragon lines ran through this land, and the three of us could not help feeling and seeing that the stars also had a special alignment with this serpent mountain.

Although this may not be the best depiction, there are curious carvings in the rocks of this mountain that made each of us think of the stars.

And, even though we had not chosen to walk the path of the water lines, the feeling of the element was present. It was held in the body of the stones with whale beings seemingly embedded into the body of the dragon. Fire and water. Alchemy. I couldn’t help but think of how the magical hexagram was here. And I could only hope that the lines were still alive here, even though there were obvious disruptions. Most notably, the towers of metal we could not bring ourselves to linger near for too long (much less photograph) that several feet (thankfully) away from the crown.

One of the whale stones we encountered

Memory and intuition brought us to the crown even though we were walking an unfamiliar path to get there. The increasing pulse, pulling us to our destination to place our offerings and heed the land’s calling, whatever it may be. And if it were not for the wren, we may never have seen the eye…

To be continued…

Keeping a Promise to a Dragon and a Stone: Part 1 #VThikes #sacredsites #dragonlines #dragonstones #leylines

We left at 9:30am. Three women, piling into my little blue car to fulfill a promise I had made with a dragon. And a stone. We had everything we needed, or so I hoped. To be honest, I wasn’t wholly sure what we needed, or what at all to expect. All I knew was where I needed to go and what I needed to leave behind.

My offering was wrapped in gold satin at the bottom of my backpack. A gift unearthed six years before at in a place where it shouldn’t be by my daughter. I couldn’t deny I would miss it, just as I had the Raven’s Crystal but this too was not mine to keep.

Inside the pack, with the pillar of selenite, were my snacks and water, some tissues, bandaids, my wallet, windbreaker, and three bundles of sage and lavender from my garden. There had been no more dreams or visions, aside from the returning memory of a journey with my two companions to the Mystery Hill where my daughter had found the offering years before. They, in turn had brought their own offerings, which later we would realize were perfect. Being led, like me, with few clues but with a willingness to discover whatever awaited.

Photo taken by Deb. We saw hearts everywhere throughout the day.

The signs began to become obvious when we pulled the car into the base of the mountain. Although its electric charge was now at zero, the gas meter read 333 miles remaining in the tank. When I glanced at the sequence of 3s, then shared the number with my companions, it became obvious why we had formed a trinity for this journey. There had been a moment of guilt days before, followed by an extension of the invitation to others to join, but in the end we were left with the three I had envisioned. And, somehow we had settled, without knowing it, to embark on the day of a new moon, because it was simply the only day that worked.

Deb and I jumped out of the car to pay the park fee, get maps and make an inquiry.

“Can you tell us how to get to the Serpent Ridge trail,” Deb asked a dumbfounded attendant. I had an impulse to nudge her when I saw the look on the attendant’s face.

“There’s no trail by that name.”

“Yes there is,” Deb insisted, “readying her phone to pull up the evidence.

“Never mind,” I interjected.

I’m okay with not being considered “normal,” and perhaps a tad bit “crazy” by some people’s standards, but I saw no point in further alarming the poor woman behind the glass who seemed pretty close to making use of her own phone. To call the authorities.

“We saw it online,” I said. “It was probably just named that by some hiker, never mind.”

The car chugged up 2/3 of the mountain with some effort while Deb and I shared our experience at the gate with Sophia. Marking the beginning of a steady stream of jokes and much laughter that would carry us through to end of our day.

My faithful companions with just a hint of mischief in their visages.

The air was colder than I had anticipated, and the sky threatened a rain that never released from the clouds when we disembarked from the overheated car. Resting nicely in a near-empty lot, we left the vehicle behind to eat lunch.

“What time is it,” Sophia inquired.

“11:44”

The next time I would look at the clock on my phone it would be 12:44.

“Should we take the slut trail or the slab,” Sophia wondered as she studied the map.

“Slut?!”

“Slot, Alethea, Slot!” That was it, we were doomed. I could have blamed the wind for the tears, but it was pretty obvious that the three of us had reverted back to childhood. Laughter would turn out to be the balm we needed as we descended into the darkened forest.

Our first guide was a familiar one. “I was wondering if you’d be here,” I greeted the chipmunk as it scurried from stone to stone beside us.

“Do you remember the chipmunk at America’s Stonehenge,” I asked my companions. They recalled its uncanny hoping to the stones where our eyes needed to linger. This one, though, stayed with us for just a short time. There was another guide yet to make its appearance. A guide that would make me think of Sue.

I took it as a good omen we were in the right place, but I think the old man who passed by moments later thought I was as looney as the gatekeeper did Deb. More laughter, of course, ensued.

The next being we encountered stopped us in our tracks. Nestled into the roots of two birches aside the path, it was impossible to miss.

“It looks like…”

“Yep.”

“I had the same thought.”

All three of us, apparently, saw the same image encased in stone. And what we saw foreshadowed what was yet to come.

To Be Continued…

Our Quiet Anniversary Began at a Gorge #quecheegorge #vtsites #deweysmillpond

Before our long day of hiking, Dave and I drove up to Quechee, VT.  We stayed at an old farmhouse with a long history. Built in 1793, The Quechee Inn at Marshfield was once the home of Vermont’s first lieutenant governor, Colonel Joseph Marsh. It’s now a lovely inn filled with rooms that hold the charm of its history. I almost wish we had seen a ghost…

After an early three-course dinner complete with wine, we headed out for a walk. Although I was hoping to discover the location of a nearby site purportedly containing ancient stone chambers aligned with the solstices and referred to as “Calendar II” on cryptic websites, it was apparently not meant to be. I am now quite certain it must be on private land, but if anyone reading this knows, I’d love to learn more…

Instead of searching for the illusive stone chambers, Dave and I headed out in search of  Quechee Gorge. There is a trail on the road across from the inn that extends 1.4 miles from a pond to the famous gorge.

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Dewey’s Mill Pond is just across the road from the inn

Mindful of the goose droppings littered throughout the parking lot, we admired Dewey’s Mill Pond quilted with water lilies.

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The Ottauquechee River feeds into Dewey’s pond

A small trail through tall rushes winds through the waterways of Dewey’s Mill Pond and Ottauquechee River. While we walked, goldfinch flitted across our path and tree spirits quietly watched our passing.

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It was an unexpected delight to find our path leading to the magnificent Ottauquechee Dam and Waterfalls.

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The hydroelectric dam is quite beautiful.

As you can see from the photo, the water level was not high enough to cause an impressive waterfall from the dam, but the impressive size of the rock face is evident.

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Another view of the waterfall from the dam through trees lining the path lends the illusion of a more robust stream.

Each step of the path from the pond to the foot of the gorge is lined with beauty. Soon after the falls, the trail leads into a forest that only partially hides a sharp descent into the gorge.

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It’s hard to capture the sheer drop-off lining the forest path.

At its highest point, the drop from Quechee Gorge is 165 ft. The couple of times I have been here in the past, the gorge and its surrounding areas were filled with tourists. It was a bit surreal and eerie to be alone for most of our walk.

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Built in 1911, The Quechee Gorge Bridge is Vermont’s oldest steel arch bridge. 

One gets the most impressive feel of the height of the gorge from Quechee Gorge Bridge, which is lined with an arched railing and is posted with suicide prevention hotlines. From the pathway beside it, though, you can get a look at its underside.

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Had it been springtime, or had we been in the middle of a very wet summer, the gorge would have looked much different than it did. Although signs warn of sudden rises in water from the release of the dam, we saw only a calm stream in the middle of its rocky bed.

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The bed of the gorge.

Beyond the rocky bed, the water collects into a pond. Here we saw our first glimpse of visitors since we left the dam. A few teens were out for an evening swim. We left them alone and began our way back to the inn.

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Dewey’s Mill Pond upon our return.

It was a lovely way to spend our evening. When it got dark enough, we tried to see the comet, but to no avail.

The call of a dragon and the pyramid stone(s) #sacredmountains #vthikes #pyramidstones #sacredsites #dragonlines

She stands alone in the vast echoing darkness, as she does each day. Her hair ripples a night without stars from her crown to her waist. “Ammon Ra!” She calls through the portal. “Ammon Ra!” She raises her scepter to the apex, heralding the opening. “Ammon Ra!” Darkness slips away to the effortless lift. Stones becoming an illusion to weight. Her body, the channel for the sun, her voice, the gateway.  “Ammon Ra!” Dimension collapses into waves of light, filling the great pyramid it searches for the veins. “Ammon Ra!” The scepter meets the floor and gold spills into the ground in a vast web without endings. Below the feet of the priestess, Earth pulses with energy. Tomorrow she will return. And the day after that…

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It’s a hot morning in mid-July and I am climbing a mountain that has called to me through the channel opened to the higher self. I am not thinking of Egypt or a long ago time that has rippled back to this one. Instead, I am trying not to think, allowing myself to surrender to whatever will be. It is hot. Airless. Just as it was a year before when I climbed another mountain with my husband on our anniversary because it called me from a place beyond logic.

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Bring the crystal you were given at America’s Stonehenge

Instead I have brought a packet of tobacco leaves, as I did when I climbed to see Chocorua. It is not yet time to bring the crystal, now I know why my daughter dug the wand of selenite out of a sandlot six years before I would find myself inside a vision of  life that is woven into this one.

It’s no big deal. There are others who call in the opening, collapsing dimension in the path to the stars.

Admittedly, despite the attempts to expect nothing, I am looking for signs along the path. At Chocorua I had several: the ghostly figures of Native Americans watching us walk beside the sacred stream, the white feather fallen upon the path, two snakes, the crow greeting our arrival and the pileated woodpecker, my “feathered seer” calling through the silence. And, finally, the face of the chief in the clouds just before we turned for our descent, not having quite reached the peak of our destination.

Today there are no ravens promising magic, only a woman and her dog who quickly disappear ahead of us and out of sight. I have a feeling it will be a quiet walk and I will be watched more than I will see. This is often how it happens, I am learning. A trust needs to be earned, and I am heedful of my steps and mindful of noticing where I feel the nudge to drop a few leaves of tobacco for the spirits of the mountain.

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But the energy is there. I can see the serpents in the stones we pass by and I can feel the lines of water, even though it is nearly dried up.

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We find the spring empty of people and I am grateful for the chance to linger beside the stones (who watch us closely) and cool my skin in the cold, clear liquid.

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It is a place I’d like to linger longer. Light dances with water here, creating alchemy with color on the stones. The veins feel alive with the pulse of the dragon and the stones eroded in a way that does not feel accidental.

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But we have a long way yet to go, and I am determined to reach the peak, unlike last year. I don’t know what to expect, but I am expecting something. Our walk, though, is quiet and intense in its ascent. The path we have chosen gives us few breaks from the vertical climb and the heat is strong today.

 

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Before we leave the waterfall, I notice the metal on the rock. The chiseled words feel, well, perfect.

IMG_1730I take a final look that the stones and the light’s dance on the water. Grateful that it will be there on our return.

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Ahead of us is more heat and the rigors of our climb. But we will not rest in one spot for too long. The stones watch us while we walk, and I leave my trail of tobacco leaves hoping it is enough.

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I still don’t feel home here the way I do in England, walking the newer lands of America, but I am learning to trust that the pulse that feels like magic beats here just as strongly. Even if it’s not quite as close to the surface. I have noticed during my walks through the mountains and forest paths of New England, that the land here is cautious of my footsteps, as it should be. Our ancestors here have left a troubled path, and my veins do not course with native blood. I am often acutely aware that I am an intruder who needs to earn trust.

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Yet, the stones show me their faces and forms when I look close enough, and sometimes a bit of unexpected magic is revealed.

Like the cube of quartz we find as though it has been tossed to be seen, just inches from our feet in the bed of dried leaves. It feels like a gift to be left, but noticed. Not photographed. A reminder of what I will bring with me next time.

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Instead I photograph the tiny orange mushrooms that look like a trail of the fey, and we continue our climb to the strange little hut that I cannot imagine falling asleep inside.

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“You’d need to bring a pad with your sleeping bag,” I tell my husband as I press my fingers into the unforgiving metal mesh. I’d rather not think of what else might venture inside the opening in the darkness of night.

Did I mention my bladder has felt the need for release before we began our decent? A minor inconvenience that my mind returns to each time I take a drink to quench my thirst. For some reason I can’t bring myself to relieve myself behind a stone. There’s no one around.

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Just the stones of a former habitation as we get closer to the top.

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And lots of large, curious looking boulders that call for a better look upon our descent. But we are nearly there, the signs promise us our feet will soon reach the peak.

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I am expecting, even though I have tried not to expect, a vast rocky face with clear vistas, but instead we need to climb once more. This time it is stairs up to a guarded platform. Here, finally, we meet more visitors and it feels crowded on top of this large mountain.

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But I am not wholly disappointed. Up here I can see the peaks beyond and take in the contours of the land from a point not seen from the ground. And, I can see the ripples on the back of the dragon.

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But we are hiking in the midst of a pandemic, and others are waiting for the view, so we don’t stay too long atop the constructed tower. Besides, I still have to pee, it’s lunchtime, and the stones below are calling.

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Although there is a great deal of the mountain remaining for me to discover at perhaps another time, this place beckons to me. And soon I have an idea why.

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It’s not just the stones piled into caves that will have to wait for my eyes to peer inside, it’s the stone in the middle, curiously shaped like a pyramid. In the distance, far beyond sight, a bird calls through the forest. It is a pileated woodpecker. My “feathered seer.”

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To be continued, someday…

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But is this a choice? #pandemic #NHwalks #dragonlines #gratitude

 

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Certainly the dogs are making the most of this time

Yesterday, I wrote, “Through no choice of our own, we are all being called to pull inward, to the comfort of the hearth fire.” Later, I began to think, Is this really an absolute? Aren’t we, in fact, co-creators of our destinies? Do our thoughts, along with our actions, not weave, eventually, into being? Invisible threads coalescing into paths that we will inevitably walk, whether we want to or not?

Few (I hope) would now deny that climate change is something that has been greatly affected by our collective actions (and thoughts).  In the hours after I wrote yesterday’s post, I found myself thinking about the thoughts that I have held inside incubation and then, at some moment, unbeknownst to my conscious mind, let go.

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During one of my recent walks, my husband and I followed a glacial rift and found the head of a dragon. How many times have I longed to walk the dragon lines here?

Some of these thoughts of yearnings and wishes have now become my reality. I cannot deny the gifts of their existence.

Held inside the rules of quarantine, is the gift of family time slowed down. Distilled into poignant moments. They are not always easy moments. Often, there are they are bursts of heightened emotions. The tumbling of fears erratic struggle for air. Letting go can also be a gift.

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A beautiful day offered a social distancing hike with the cousins. Off devices (mostly) and in nature.

We are walking more, together, hiking trails through the forest nearby our home. The four of us, plus our two dogs, who could not be more pleased with this enforced family time. How often have I wished for more of these walks in the woods?

And the excuse and time to grow our own food, despite our lack of sun? Or begin the daunting task of sorting through fifteen years of photos and keepsakes to create albums for my children before they leave the hearth fire?  And, what of the pull to break free of the comforts of the known and venture into the unknown with my own work?

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Cherry tomato seedlings sprouting in the kitchen window

How many of us have longed for something similar? To slow the rat race into a meaningful walk? Could this disease that threatens the lungs also be an opportunity for us to breathe together, with shared purpose? Joined, as we are, in isolation from the oftentimes maddening cacophony of our “normal” lives?

 

Distilled time. Seconds treasured for their ability to span into minutes, then hours, and days held in the embrace of the beloved. Gratitude for the simple gifts often overlooked. Certainly Earth is breathing a bit easier without her usual congestion from our created actions.

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The family together for a walk yesterday