Remember the old stacks-on-the-mill game we played as children, where everyone fell awkwardly on top of some poor soul and each other? There were legs, arms, torsos, heads splayed in all directions in a disorderly pile. Well, I remembered that bizarre party game when we wound our way through Riomaggiore and the other terraced villages of the Cinque Terre on the Riviera Latino.
In these terraced towns pastel pink, burnt Siena, Salmon, cream buildings all cling awkwardly to one another, hugging the sheer cliffs above the sea. However, whereas the hapless players of my childhood game were invariably forced to concede, for fear of losing a limb, these rock climbers have endured for centuries. There is nothing tenuous about their tenure. They cling on, their tentacles forming a maze of foundations that defy engineering imagination, clawing deep within the rocks. And, despite the relentless pounding of the Ligurian Sea those rocks remain steadfast, bearing witness to generations of men and women who have lived and worked here. Cockle shells, fishing nets, aged ropes, fishing baskets cling tenaciously at the seas edged, the white foam of the ocean weathering them, the relentless summer sun bleaching them. Wooden doors fill archways carved out of the rocks, narrow stairways, alleyways, all provide pedestrian access within the stack of buildings.
A sensuousists delight, Riomaggiore is full of surprises - not the least being a rock pathway that leads the hiker off to Manarola, the second of the famed five lands. It is a path much traveled, a path that was once the only means of accessing the other villages. To walk it is to walk back in a time long gone.
Spared rampant tourism by its inaccessibility and physical demands this path makes no concessions to the unfit. True the first part is an easy amble, but if you want to see the jewels that the Cinque Terre has to offer you have to trek over uneven stones, gnarled old olive tree roots, up the craggy mountainside, only to clamber cautiously, watching each step, down the other side.
Fellow hikers jolly one another's spirits, encouraging, reassuring that the next village is even more intriguing, that the good wine, Pizza, Gelati, pastries await to indulge and reward the tired body. What they often fail to mention is all the other treasure, such as the winding alleyways, the frescoes, the Virgin Mary Statues, the intriguing doorways, the fishing boats or the church bells chiming to punctuate the day.
Extract from European Journal - Heather Blakey 2001
Find a harbour and make anchorage.
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Make a post about arriving at Duwamish. Don’t be restricted by form. I drew the whole narrative the first time around and do not plan to change my genre any time soon. Of course, a whim may take me and I might begin writing poems.
Duwamish Ferry Woman
by Heather Blakey
Have you ever been to a place called Duwamish Bay? I’ve come by Ship and Ferry, on foot and horseback. I go back over and over again because of these words. I hope they inspire you as they have inspired me
From Chief Seattle’s Speech:
The young men, the mothers, and girls, the little children who once lived and were happy here, still love these lonely places. And at evening the forests are dark with the presence of the dead. When the last red man has vanished from this earth, and his memory is only a story among the whites, these shores will still swarm with the invisible dead of my people. And when you children’s children think they are alone in the fields, the forests, the shops, the highways, or the quiet of the woods, they will not be alone. There is no place in this country where a man can be alone. At night when the streets of your towns and cities are quiet, and you think they are empty, they will throng with the returning spirits that once thronged them, and that still love these places.
The white man will never be alone.
So let him be just and deal kindly with my people.
The dead have power too.
Duwamish Bay Calls to me now…will you join me? It maybe the journey of a life time…
Ever since mankind started to float off on lakes, rivers and seas the anchor has been a vital component. Without the anchor a sailor would not begin the journey.
In the world of symbols, the anchor represents hope, confidence and salvation. As the anchor secures the position of the ship in the harbor and holds it steady during storms on the open seas, so it anchors the soul in a serene harbor not found in this life. Because the anchor is secured to a firm base, it provides hope.
The anchor of the ancients has been associated with many superstitions and was a ritualistic object for sailors. It was the most important part of the ship, upon which the safety and lives of the sailors often depended. For this reason, on the metal stock of many anchors we can see appeals inscribed to the demons of the deep to ensure that the anchoring of the boat was always successful.
The writer seeking a place to moor often looks around for a place to throw down an anchor. Acclaimed cartoonist, Jack Kirby, acknowledged as the most prolific and dynamic comic artist of all time, was asked how he managed to come up with the idea of some of his more unusual characters. Kirby said, "I realized I had to find with something new..I couldn't depend on gangsters forever. And so for some reason I went to the Bible, and I came up with Galactus. And there I was, in front of this tremendous figure, who I knew very well, because I always felt him in my life, and I knew I certainly couldn't treat him the same way I would have treated any ordinary mortal character." In turning to the Bible Kirby found anchorage and gained fresh momentum.
Silver Surfer: the soul of man Kirby's most popular character was the Silver Surfer, whose inspiration was religious: "The Silver Surfer is the way I feel when I read the Bible," Kirby admitted in a 1989 conference. Ancient parables hold that the soul of man is tied to the human body by a silver cord, which anchors it to the flesh. In a like manner, the Surfer was imprisoned on Earth by Galactus, as punishment for defying the planet-consuming deity when he set his sights on Earth.
Personally I have found anchorage within the mythology of Ancient Greece. The familiar characters that people Mount Olympus have guided and directed me, providing safety and security at a time when, to be anchorless would have meant drifting. With this anchor held fast I have, time and again, found inspiration. With a silver cord my soul is tied to Greek Mythology.
When we traveled throughout Western Europe both my husband and I were fascinated by the small fishing harbors that dotted the countryside. Drifting from place to place we longed to find moorage. An abiding memory will be finding brief anchorage amid a clutter of anchors and nets at Riomaggiore on the Cinque Terre in Italy.
As a part of it's journey, sailing the Seven Lemurian Seas, the Calabar sails and puts down anchor at Duwamish. Indeed, travellers may choose to use the anchors that Enchanteur gave them in the Duwamish Harbour and settle there. After all, Duwamish is just a boat ride from the mysterious Isle of Acestors and White Owl Island is a mere ferry ride away. Some may choose to become Ferry Women and ferry more travellers to outer islands such as the Island of the Bog People.
Soul Food Cafe
The Calabar regularly moors at Duwamish Bay and crew always stay at the Duwamish Inn. Duwamish is close to the Isle of Ancestors and White Owl Island which are important destinations for pilgrims seeking the Elixar of Creativity.
Ferry Women by Heather Blakey
The Duwamish Ferry Women take travellers across to the Isle of Ancestors.
Sign in to the Duwamish Inn and take the time to meet the Ferry Woman. Consider a relaxing bath at the famed Bath-House and meet Madame Eclectica
I am the one who opens my arms to you inviting you into my embrace
My hips are wide and my lap is large
I am the one who strokes your hair and says “there, there” as we rock
Your tears wet my shawl.
I am the one who says both and
My love for you is both fierce and tender
I am the one who does not push or pry
Your gratitude reflects in my eyes.
I am the one who hears your pleas
My attention does not wander as you cry in pain
I am the one who isn’t bored with all the details
You are heard
Together we are mending ourselves
The Ferry Woman of me and I.
Rocking, crying, talking, laughing
I am she and she is I.
The Amazing Bendanti by Anita Marie Moscoso
Alder - Isle of Ancestors by Imogen Crest
Ferry Women Series by Heather Blakey
A Ferry Woman's Story by Soul Sister
Awakening the Ferry Woman by Gwen Myers
Inuit Ferry Woman by Fran Sbrocchi
Silent Ferry Women by Imogen Crest
Ferry Women Series by Heather Blakey