Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Spirit In The Sky

Day before yesterday, I walked a path that runs around the perimeter of a reservoir. Stopping at a solitary bench half way around, I prepared to meditate on the clouds floating above me. Looking up, I saw a bald eagle soaring high. I knew of a nesting pair is in residence at the reservoir, but to see one flying above me was a thrill I never imagined. I tracked it's slow and regal flight for several minutes until it literally disappeared into the clouds. Meditation continues.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Preparing for another journey

Once settled on my meditation mat I let my mind review the new tour that I have elected to join.
"Come and join her on a magical caravansary expedition. "
The path leads through the Mountains of Myrrh towards the House of the Serpents and patient camels wait to take their hosts"
I let my mind wander, for a while, on my expectations of the journey. I wonder if Frans ‘Donkey, Inc,. will now include camels.? I anticipate the beauty of the desert in the spring, the smells, the warmth that heals the deepest ache, and the comfort of an ice tea in the shade of a canopy during the hottest part of the day. I wonder if they serve ice tea in Mesopotamia, and what do they wear? What will I wear?
"Enough, enough Jane. It is time to do the rose meditation."(Oh dear..I do not have an invitation for the divination tent. I must write Heather…).
"Hush active mind. "
"The rose , is a rose, is a rose, is a rose."

Morning Fitz

It is unseasonably warm and rainy this morning,
so a Fitzgerald drizzles forth ...


When it Rains

I wonder why honest rain
fills me with joy,
while a dismal, drizzled sprinkle
evokes possible despair?

Perhaps it is my high desert heritage
-- perhaps a kinship with tears.
Give me faire friends whose gifts
are bold and full of heart.

Let their joy hammer passion into my soul.

Let my love be the same.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Meet Branwen

m'lady Em's Service Dog, Branwen
is an inspiration to many people,
and like a child to us -- smarter too
than the neighbor kids.

For her birthday, I wrote a poem
(what else) -- a Sheltie dream

O, to be

Oh, to be a knight errant like my master,
and battle dragons for righteousness,
be they of greedy flesh or imagined foe --
but I am too short they say
and a girl too cute by far.

Oh, then let me brave serve as squire at arms
and protect my lady with vigor and charm,
for dangers await for those full awake --
but my bark is more than bite,
and my knees still shake from fright!

Oh, let me be then aspire a troubadour,
and entertain with harp and passion's song,
and soothe my mistress' loneliness --
but my voice range is limited
and fingers less than nimble.

Oh, that I could be a page or simple maid,
and wait on my lady's ev'ry whim and need,
that she can be concerned with mundane things --
but I cannot drive nor cook
and can't reach the upper shelf.

But I'm not saddened by such loss of chance,
for I can be something that others but dream,
to bring love and peace to all who pass my way --
I am the best at what I am,
and can you say that, little man?

I am always on time and never too late,
for like a wizard I am the center of all,
that each can find their heart in return --
for I am a fine mirror
of your spirit my friend.

Oh, would that you could just exist for love,
and extend your unseen soul to giant size,
that all can say with affectionate pride,
"would that I could so serve
with no trace of human pride."

Friday, November 25, 2005

Wattle Bird Fights Back....

...Talk about things happening
round the other way...
yesterday a bird just like
this made a very sound
challenge to the
neighbour's beautiful
black cat who wanted some
sport. It flew at the cat and
held it's ground, squawking
like mad, enough to bring me running
to see. It was something to witness,
a bird telling a cat where to
get off, indeed! Gave the cat
a pat because she was
a little upset to be chastened
and put in her place by the bird....
image copyright B. C. 2005.


On Friday I sat under MY tree
The Lemon Tree planted
by Albert Edward Daley on the 18th Oct 1936.
For a first born child,first born grandchild ,first born female
for many many years
Proudly and with worn limbs it still stands
providing not only shade in summer months
but bountiful aromas and fruit like no other.
I do not remember such foliage

I sat to read the daily newspaper
and as I read the noise got louder and louder
On looking to whence it came I found nothing
The shrieks continued,
birds ,baby birds and adult birds
crying all at one time
I bent down to get under the tree
and there in its tight foliage was a nest
A home had been set up by a family,
The noise ,babies calling for food

Now you may ask.....
What is so strange about this occurence ?
Well birds are not known to make nests in lemon trees
The brances and leaves are too sparce
But this is not so in this lemon tree
Perhaps it is climate change or
seasons out of kilt
Or the bore water from the old path the river once took.

Only the tree knows why.
For in all the 69 years it has stood
No bird has ever built a nest in this tree of mine
There is no one here to ask the truth of what I say
So I am led to believe
That it is a sign of something wonderful
New life for the bird family
Or perhaps an ill omen
That for seasons changing
Is this not a warning that all
is not well on the earth
But perhaps it is also a sign
of a new life for many
who need a break from harsh
happenings ..I hope so...........

Lois (Muse of the Sea) 26/11/05

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving Blessing

We are have a very eclectic group of eleven
for dinner at Sakin'el. So I have modified
this Blessing writ long ago.



Close Presence,
join us at this simple table.

Help us break bread
that is a gift of your grain,
and the toil of honest hand.

Share a toast of pure water
that distills from the heavens,
and washes away our fears.

Grant that our friendship here
be ever strengthened
by the fruit of your compassion.

Abbey Kitchens - Still Life

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Circling back

We've made full circle
travelled the wide road
I have seen once more the wide-spread fields of wheat
shorter, here in Australia, than those I knew
cream-yellow ripe
rolling hillsides dotted with clumps of trees
like massive flowers, golden in the sun
dark stems patterning the sky.

This is my first sight of harvest readiness
since I left the prairie fifty-five years ago
the scene so different
yet familiar, all nostalgia.

BOOK BAG COMPLETE AND BOOK MARK IN THE POCKET. Now for the hot pads, Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


At dinner last night I tried some of the Abbey's mead - mmmm, it is delicious, made with honey from the Abbey's own hives, I understand.
The Abbey vintner closely guards her secret mead recipe, so i thought I'd share this recipe I found in a wonderful book I've been reading, The Great British Christmas by Maria Hubert.

8 quarts water; 2 pounds of honey; 1 lemon; 1 pint pale ale; 1/4 teaspoon bread yeast; a few raisins; a little sugar
Bring the water to the boil in a large preserving pan. dissolve honey in it. Peel lemon thinly, remove pith, slice fruit, remove pips, put slices and rind into pan. Turn off the heat, leave until almost cold. Add ale, and the yeast dissolved in a little tepid water. Leave to stand overnight. Strain mead into bottles adding two washed raisins or sultanas to each bottle with a teaspoon of sugar.
The author of the piece (`Anon') suggests using screwtop bottles - if you use corks, tape them down or they will pop out. Store the bottles in a cool dark place for a week or so.

Cloistered away

I am here in the abbey but am hidden away in my room. I have been struck with a creative thunderbolt and am filled with ideas and plans. I have been doing some energy work as well, and so am more comfortable in private for now, but my spirits have been steadily rising since Halloween. I have felt your support and care, good friends, from all across the globe. I will be out and about soon! YOU will be tops on my list of things to be thankful for this year.

Other Song

SEED: "a thousands songs of strangers met tomorrow"

I hear a song -- bass beat vibration,
that echoes in chambers of memory,
so innate, so inborne --
I do not think of them as music …

I hear a song -- star chime enchantment,
that is a Siren beckoning of rebirth,
so ethereal, divine --
I choose not to listen closely …

I hear a song -- hidden symphony,
of imagined instruments beyond knowing,
so believable, magick --
I'll waste time in fain alchemy …
never more.

I know a song -- yearned loving call;
of a thousand strangers met tomorrow,
so vibrant, compassionate --
I strive to listen more closely …
more, oh more!

Anyone for Spruce Beer?

"Spruce beer has quite a long and (ig)noble history in Canada and the United States from way back to the 1700s. Spruce Beer gets it name from the spruce tips or the spruce shoots used to produce it. These are mixed with hops, yeast, water, molasses in most recipes. There is both an alcoholic and a non alcoholic version (like a root beer or a ginger beer). The recipe for the two seems pretty much the same. Apparently, the difference between the alcoholic and non-alcoholic version is amount of molasses."
courtesy of following direct click link --
This is fascinating -- have been learning lots from history and authors lately,
dipping into Emma by Jane Austen, in which they drink Spruce Beer.
Just when I thought I knew everything (not).....
Would be most keen to hear anyone's personal experience from tasting this lovely
sounding drink. Sounds like Christmas to me.....

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Abbey, being created to stimulate committment to artistic productivity. has captured me once more. Back in my cell I constantly get ideas for my next project. I have gotten Quesadillas for my childrens families for Christmas already, plus a book on tortilla fillings...but how much more festive would a book bag and a book mark be. Perhaps tomorrow I will make a couple of pot holders to match. By the way, the machine is red too. This really puts me puts me in the Christmas spirit.
 Posted by Picasa


A New God

"the fire is 'Tess', or so goes the song;
but I had forgotten that tending her
was a form of religion, requiring more
focus of attention than time spend on
prayer and supplication for my spirit.

We have a Corn Stove -- marvelous invention,
without the roaring fury of ancient Bal,
but a quiet warm of seething passion.
Of course, someone must fill the hopper
twice a day, and turn the klinker out,
a process of much bowing and ritual
and timing of offerings, and patient trust.

Actually, the process is much akin
to forming a community or business venture.
First must come a foundation of faithful followers --
too many and the 'fire in the belly' is smothered.
Next comes some social excitement from an external source,
with members coaxed to play close attention with whispers.
Then a few more members are added carefully
until a critical mass is reached and the group
becomes self sustaining -- for a little while,
with a gentle rain of gold and gusty breeze.

Of course, the old burnt ideas and rules
have to be thrown out or the passion dies;
and one must watch for special interest groups,
which clump together and do not share enough
to sustain the community vitality; but this is solved
by scattering the disruptive elements about
within the community at large.

All in all, 'tis a wondrous thing to behold;
and having our entire day's schedule
direct by a petulant minor deity
is perhaps not too great a price to pay,
for four pets asleep in a circle,
and m'lady snuggled in a nearby chair.

The call of the kitchen

Once back in the Abbey I headed straight for the kitchen. The smells coming towards me were beyond imagination. I pushed open the huge carved door into the kitchen and was bombarded with the sounds of laughter and many voices . It looked like a party was going on. I started to back out as I did not want to intrude on all the excitement but the Enhanteur saw me and came rushing over. "Come, come," "Now we all are here"…" she called. The delicious smells drifting through the Abbey were like the gong in the chapel, calling everyone into the kitchen. Falcon was in the kitchen stirring a huge pot of the source of those delicious aromas and Lois was passing out a huge platter of pasties. Each crescent was golden brown and inviting. I hurried over and picked up a plate and squeezed in between Gail and Chameleon at the long plank table. The conversations that swirled around me were stimulating and just what I needed after so many miles alone, but right at the moment the pastie were dominating my thoughts. They stirred up many buried memories from the past. My husband was raised on pasties and soups in the frigid mining community in Northern Wisconsin. My mother-in-law taught me how to make them when I was just 19, exactly as Lois had made them. Pasties were my husbands favorite meal and were made exactly as Lois had made these. Only thing is family always put ketchup on them. Anyone have any ketchup?

A Thousand Eyes

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Many eyes are watching as travellers wander back to the sanctuary of the Abbey and the Golden Seed Grove. Not everyone is making themselves obvious yet.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Back to the Abbey...

I have moved my caravan back to its shady spot in the Abbey grounds. It's like coming home. I just sat on the step for a while and breathed in the peace while Tinker joyfully kicked up his heels and rolled in the grass.

It's so lovely here, especially with Christmas so near - I have a few projects that I'm working on for the festive season, so I have been busy gathering pine cones, and the head gardener has kindly offered to bring fresh holly to decorate my caravan at Christmas. According to her, the Abbess frowns on plastic for decoration so he has to gather holly every year. She showed me the grove where the fir trees grow, and the one chosen to be the Christmas tree this year. This is the most perfect place to contemplate the real meaning of the season, and to pray for peace and joy in the world.

I have settled in here for a while, and will use some of the time to explore the Abbey and its grounds. I hope I can be of use here as well, everyone is so quietly busy that I'm sure there is plenty of work for idle hands!

This morning I was walking through the grounds when I was overcome by the most delicious heady scent of roses and I found the Abbess' rose garden nestled behind ancient stone walls. It is filled with the most mouth watering selection of roses, but the loveliest grows in a quiet corner near the sundial. As I got closer I realised the sundial was surrounded by shamrock.

What memories that brought back as I gazed out over the lovely green vista beyond.

Catch up Time....

So this is where everyone has been hiding out!! The clues have been everywhere, but I didn't see, or follow. Didn't want so see? So I am here now, belatedly, but nevertheless here in my comfortable cell. The window is not at all monastical...wide and large and I can see clear past the gingkho tree across the valley. I expect to wake in the morning to see mist rising ....does the word mysterious have anything to do with mist, methinks.

I am excited by all the activity going on around me. Not boisterous, as yet, but industrious, purposeful. Colourful. Decorations are going up, trees trimmed, instruments tuning. The gardeners are busy raking and trimming too. A subdued hum of anticipation. After I unpack, I must pay my respects to the Abbess. She must truly be a charismatic individual to have inspired all this activity.

In the Pot


"I've caught the hare and snared the grouse,
which I'll skin as I walk, my friend --
gather thee forage of tuber and root,
fruit of the trees and favored bush,
and we'll have stew on the morrow"

The Basque peoples of the Pyrenees traveled great distances as herdsmen when fodder was scarce in the meadow. They often had meals from 'found', that could be quickly prepared on a late evening fire. Here is one such dish partially prepared the evening before, with ingredients added throughout the day. It is unique in having no spices, herbs or added flavoring, yet was a favorite amongst friends after a cold day's outing. Ingredients can vary, of course -- but not the simplicity.

3 cups of cubed meat (large chunks) -- I use 5-6 chicken thighs, boned
2-3 cups of chunked potatoes (size of an egg) -- I prefer red potatoes with skin on
1 large red bell pepper cut in chucks (1") -- green OK or mixed
3 cloves garlic (smashed then chopped)
1 large can of whole tomatoes (cut into vary large chunks) (save juice)
2 cups chicken broth (made from boiling the thigh bones??)
1/2 cup or more of green olives (pitted - pimento type OK)
optional chucks of mushrooms or whole pearl onions (shallots)

the day before:
Stir fry the chicken (rabbit/turkey) medium well in scant olive oil.
Pan roast the potatoes (or microwave for 6 minute)
Carry all day in your backpack ;-)

Before eating: (10 minutes to prepare)

Use a large, deep skillet or Dutch Oven stove-top type pot, with cover.

Saute' the garlic and peppers in a little olive oil.
Add the other fixin's and fill to cover with broth (add tomato juice as necessary).
Boil two, then simmer six (minutes that is)

Serve in wooden bowls with tear bread and raunchy red wine

The perfect workshop

As the tower came into view I saw an old lady, wrapped in a hand woven blanket, coming towards me. As she approached I could see it was Baba followed by three dogs and four cats. The dogs ran ahead and greeted me and I recognized them from the day I was looking at the buildings around Babas tower. She embraced me and encouraged me to walk faster.

"I have your building waiting for you". I started to ask how she could know and then realized who I was talking too. Of course..she knew all the time what I needed. I too became very excited.

I was right to be excited as the building we entered far exceeded my expectations. It was a vision of comfort and efficiency, a hard combination to duplicate. I walked over to the counters and pulled out drawers viewing ribbons, beads, gold threads and yarns of all colors, and a cupboard of patterned and colored companion fabric pieces. Two sewing machines and a serge sat at the end of the workspace. On the other side were my water colors, oils, acrylics, dyes, stamps, assorted papers…etc. Anything and everything I ever would need to create in any medium. On the north wall was a 10 foot high window with an easel and stand in the middle and comfortable overstuffed furniture facing the view. There would be no excuse for not producing in this environment. I headed back to the Abbey in high spirits. I was settled in and could not wait to start.
BUT now I realized I was hungry. Hopefully there will be a pot of something waiting in the kitchen.

For three crones

A search of the archives here will
give knowledge of the Courtyard.


The Courtyard was a place of learning,
which is too say that no one taught there,
but that everyone became a willing student.

Oh, some elders there might tell a story,
and draw an audience for a space or wit,
but then might as readily sit in another's shade.

There was one though who never moved,
nor sang or danced or rhymed a phrase,
yet held beneath the most desired tree of all.

He patiently toiled on a tapestry of sorts --
oceans of creamy silk rolled on cedar shafts
of which only a tiny section was ever seen.

He did not paint in awesome sweep of brush,
or stitch threads of thought in colored cross,
nor sketch upon a faint design of memory.

Instead, he made, or caused to be, tiny dots --
pressed down and in with a quill of raven bone,
and formed of ink made in tiny ivory bowls.

He would call out to someone passing by -- a stranger,
and send this one on a quest to find a special stone
from which he might grind powder of a different hue.

When the student returned, successful or no,
it amused the ancient to hear the story of their search,
and crowds would gather for amusement and more.

Some would offer substances for the requested inks,
and these were graciously set aside for another time,
and would be used in passing if one had real faith.

Dot by dot -- colored specks of universality --
images emerged still uncomprehendable
across the winding scroll by his darting hands.

For he did not work to complete a scene at all,
but wound across to place dots of that color alone --
until the ink of that person's gift was spent and done.

My ink is in there somewhere, next to yours perhaps;
surrounded by the touch of countless simple souls

beyond identity, but part of something grand, I know.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Abbey Meditation - The Circle Back

What a year...being back here makes a circle.

Might just sit and stare out of the Abbey window

of my quarters, take stock of this

amazing journey...

copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Silky Oak Tree Spirit

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We have set up the divination tent beside the Silky Oak in the Golden Seed Grove and visitors can go inside the Oak, with the Silky Oak Spirit and have a mystery unravelled. Any takers?

Silk Road Returnee

Nov 19,05
10 degrees outside this morning and the grass makes a crunching as I move down the path from the Abbey. I arrived late in the night and could not seem to unwind and get any much needed sleep, so I headed out outside. It looks like the enchantress has not arrived as yet as her door is standing open and there are no signs of anything touched. I think it was an excellent idea of hers for us to return to the abbey to refuel. With the holidays coming, and the many projects I need to finish in one month, I need a place to gather my energies and prioritize. I also need a space of my own to spread out all my embellishments, stashes of material , paints, and threads I can create on my desk in the abbey but once my plans are sketched I need to touch and view all my supplies. To others this space, spread wide with all sorts of supplies, dominates my workspace, so shared quarters would never work. As the light was just breaking over the distant mountains I headed out to search for a perfect workshop.
I had an idea in the back of my mind. When I was visiting BaBas’ tower I explored the surrounding grounds of the tower and walked in and out of the various run down, deserted buildings. I could not get one of the buildings out of my mind. I think the tower is just over the next hill.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Up the creek

With it being so quiet here at the Abbey, I've had time to wander up some of the canyons.
Found this that might be an artifact, seeing as it doesn't do anything -- just is!

Which is OK with me.


Friday, November 11, 2005

Candlelight Fairies

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On the bus on the way to my doctors I found myself sketching out these two fairies one floating on a lily pad with a small lantern on her hand. Decided to have a bit of fun and animate in the colour. I think I'm happy with it, certainly I passed the time well on the bus.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Among Anemones

Sometime magic just happens, in a garden or in a box of pencils.
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