There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

Definition of Walkabout :

a short period of wandering as an occasional interruption of regular work

22 March 2017

of Mermaids, Jugglers, Living Fountains and Bagpipers

Over the past few weeks I've encountered many a strange and wondrous creature at the Renaissance Festival.

I fell in love with a silent yet enchanting Living Fountain, who swayed her hips and pulled at my heart.
A raucous and rowdy clan of bagpipers filled the air with the beautiful St. Patty's day sounds of Celtic songs, and we danced and cheered loudly, spilling our ales and laughing in triumphant jubilation.
I stood with a fairy whilst watching a mermaid blow underwater kisses to me as her tail moved elegantly through the water.

Her eyes gleamed with fantasy and wonder.
Crazy acrobats stunned the crowd with gravity defying feats and harrowing catching of moving swords. Kings and Queens sauntered the grounds, musicians played sweet sounds for little children under the watchful gaze of wise wizards.
All of this and more over my last few weeks being back in the time of the Renaissance.

20 March 2017

Ye Olde Jousting Tales

Twas with a legg of turkey between my lips
as trumpets call out the mighty and brave.

Stallions carry riders to fame
or death
on this day of jousting
at the Fest.
Swig your ale,
and raise your fists
in triumphant jubilation
as your rider boasts the victory to be.

We wont go down without a fight,
on this day of jousting and defeat.
Hip, hip, Huzzah!
Hip, hip, Huzzah!
The crowd screams in delight
as impaled our foe becomes.
Death be conquered, righteousness prevails
on the field of battle
as points crown the only true One.
Huzzah, ye wankers, Huzzah!

19 March 2017

Shen Yun

Shen Yun means the beauty of divine beings dancing. China's ancient culture is deeply spiritual and based on the idea of harmony among Heaven, Earth and Humankind.

The Chinese Communist Party doctrine however teaches just the opposite, officially atheist, it sees spiritual culture as a threat to its power. For decades it has tried to destroy the ancient heritage, and it nearly succeeded.

In 2006, a group of artists in New York formed Shen Yun and have brought this culture back from the brink of extinction. Shen Yun is not allowed to perform in China, but their message will not be stopped, with five different groups traveling the world simultaneously bringing their message to the world.
The imagery screen on display truly immerses you into the stories unlike anything I've experienced before. You are taken to magical and mystical worlds, as well as given a glimpse into the real world under Communist China.

You also never know what you may see with each show, as no two are alike. This performance gave us a chance to see an amazing soprano opera singer, and a chance to hear Xiaochun Qi play the two string Ehru, or Chinese violin, and the music that came from this instrument still sends chills down my spine.

Become one with Nature, and embody the spirit and message these young performers are giving to the world by carrying out their cultures ancient traditions.

18 March 2017

The Mickelson Trail

It was a beautiful Autumn morning as I woke up in Deadwood, on the day of the 46th year since my birth. To celebrate, for lack of a better word, I went hiking along the Mickelson trail in the Black Hills.
Originally the Burlington Northern line that took trains from Edgemont to Deadwood, the Mickelson trail is now 109 glorious miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding. As I get started making my way out of town, I see a lone rabbit eating grass along the rivers edge. So intent am I watching this creature that I don't notice the man coming up alongside me.

He greets me warmly, waving his iron claw hands in the air. A veteran of WW2, he embodies the spirit that I love about this country, it's freedom and resiliency. He wishes me luck on my journey, and we part ways.
I'm soon immersed in the beauty of Fall colors on this October day, the sounds of town fading behind me. If time would allow, I'd complete all 109 miles.

I settle for 14 though, and it's a wonderful compromise. A couple of miles in, I chat with a lady on horseback, a family out for a picnic, and a couple of young mountain bikers. We all have the same grin on our faces from such a perfect day in the mountains.

I swig some water and carry onward.
I reach a summit and find a split in the trail, which is lucky for me as the alternate route is a loop that will eventually take me back to Deadwood, instead of having to return on the same route.

Hours later, I run into the same lady on horseback, and we smile as our paths cross again.

I wasn't aware that I had my camera on the "painting" setting, yet it captured the beauty of the hills perfectly, and I couldn't be more pleased with the results.
Of all the hiking trails in all of the places in this world, I couldn't have been luckier to find myself on this trail, on this day, in this place in time.

16 March 2017

Wukoki & Wupatki

The Sinaqua Indians were here from around 1100 AD to 1250 AD, building a community out of aboriginal masonry in the high desert.

Wukoki means "Big House" in the Hopi language.
Wupatki means "Tall House", and shows more of the lifestyle of the ancient peoples, from arenas used for entertainment, to food storage areas and living quarters. This area was occupied as early as 500 AD.
No one knows why they left the area when they did, but the state of preservation of these sacred places is unbelievably well maintained to this day.

Go back in time, remember on your country's sins, and pay respect to the original inhabitants of this great land.