Friday, April 30, 2010

Laying Memories on the Hearth

Frances Mayes is one of my favorite authors. 
In her latest work,
  A Year In the World, Journeys of a Passionate Traveller
she explains the allure of travel
 in a manner that captures it perfectly. 

Last week I, too, experienced the joy 
of a journey unfolding before me.  
Let Frances narrate as I share images 
from my travels over those four days.  

Come along, won't you?  

View from the Castle Restaurant ~ Dunleith Planation, Natchez, MS

Travel pushes my boundries.

Seemingly self-indulgent, travel
paradoxically obliterates me-me-me,
because very quickly--
pretissimo--the own little self
is unlocked from the present
and released to move through
layers of time.

Upper floors {unfinished due to the Civil War}
Longwood Plantation, Natchez, MS

You are released also because
you are insignificant to the life
of the new place.

Illinois and Michigan monuments,
Vicksburg Battleground, Vicksburg, MS

When you travel,  you become
invisible, if you want.

I do want.

I like to be the observer.

What makes these people
who they are?  
Could I feel at home here?

No one expects you to
have the stacks of papers
back by Tuesday, or
to check messages or
to fertilize the geraniums.....

Travel releases spontaneity.
You become a godlike creature
full of choice, free to visit
the stately pleasure domes....

....sketch a bell tower,
read a history.....

You open, as in childhood,
and--for a time--
receive this world.

Moon over Dunleith

There's the visceral aspect,
too--the huntress who is free.

Free to go, free to return
home bringing memories
to lay on the hearth.

Thank you for traveling with me.
Your comments have been so meaningful
and precious.

enjoy this weekend...
Go out as a traveler 
in your own life, pause and
receive this world!

[1 Country Living] [All others: Privet and Holly]

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Other Side of the Looking Glass

Last week my traveling partner
{AKA my mom} 
and I took a wonderful trip to
Mississippi.  We'd always wanted
to visit the Natchez area in the 
spring to tour the antebellum
homes and gardens that are open
to the public.

Like all intrepid explorers, we
had to find a rhythm to our days.
Our sea legs, so to speak.

Because we were in the South
and staying in bed and breakfast establishments,
we started each day with a lovely
BIG breakfast.

Yes, including grits!

Those breakfasts would give us energy
for a day of visiting many of these 
antebellum {built before the Civil War}
and Victorian {built between 1840 and 1900} beauties.

On three of the days, the afternoons
included me driving our rental car for
a fair distance, which meant stopping
at the local gas mart for a caffeine jolt
like this

We had some interesting dinners.
One night was at a local joint in Natchez
where we both had hush puppies, a sort
of fried corn fritter and we swapped tastes
of grilled shrimp and fried oysters, which
I have to say are really, really wonderful!

The evenings included movies in our room, feet up
under the canopied bed, swathed in the white terry cloth robes
 provided by the plantation....

and plenty of these.

Now, I don't want you to think
that Natchez was all Gone With The Wind
and perfect and shining.

As one of our tour guides explained,
these big homes have been in families
for three to four generations.....

Which many of the families feel
is a privilege
but also can be a burden.

Many of the homes we saw were down
at the heels, so to speak,
with peeling paint and yards that
were crying out to gardeners that had
tended and loved them in years gone by.

We saw a lot of signs like this:

And shops in downtown Natchez that
were vacant and boarded up.

So much potential, but in this economy,
no one to bring it alive.

Did I mention the plantation where we
spent three nights?

Even that had a faded charm.

{Which I can sort of relate to!}

In the end, the good far outweighed 
the bad.  After the storms and tornadoes
had passed the weather was outstanding
and I was with my darling friend, my mama.

I'll toast to that!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

TAG....You're IT!

Image: flickr ~ emma freeman
The ravishing Terri, AKA "La Dolfina" from
the blog of the same name has tagged me
for a game....

.....where you reveal who your seventh
follower was
and then TAG seven more
to do the same.

Now, I'm not very scientific....
but, if I go back to the first "followers"
square and count backwards....
this is who appears:

It's the Fair Maiden
A dream of a blog
that was one of the first
to pull me into this
world.  This blogdom!

Image:  Sea Cottage
My heart truly skipped a beat
when I logged on that morning
{I write very early....5AM}
and there she was.
looking oh so ethereal
on my blog page!

Once you know that someone
is actually reading what has
been floating around in
your mind, it is truly an
exciting thing.

Image:  Wikipedia

Thank you, Fair Maiden!
And thank you to everyone
else who has been kind enough
to visit and see what I have
to say and to pop in on a regular
basis as a follower.

Now, back to the game.....

{I'd love to tag all of you!}

Tag, you are it to these lovely
blogging friends.....

Have fun catching your seven!

xx P&H

Monday, April 26, 2010

Into the Wardrobe

Like Lucy from
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
I feel like I've opened
 the door
to a magical world....

Filled with castles
from the past.

The air is heady
with a profusion of flowers.

The subjects of
this realm can be

but always,

Nourishment comes in
many forms--

for body and soul.

we avoided a terrible
one of these.

Others in this fair land
were  not so fortunate,
and we pray for them
and those who love them.

Have you guessed where 
we are?

We are in Na.....

{No, not Narnia!}

Natchez, Mississippi!

Thank you for all of your
bon voyage wishes ~
they have meant 
so much to me!

Travel day, tomorrow.

Talk to you when I get home....
over the privet!

[Narnia:] [Tornado:]
[All others: Privet and Holly]