Lemurian City of Ladies

A Lemurian City Built in Memory of Christine de Pizan

Archive for April 2008

Ferry Woman (Part Two)

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I expected to be ignored, so it came as a surprise when the ferry woman returned my smile of recognition. Taking it as a hopeful sign, I slowed my steps and veered slightly towards her, ready to abandon any idea of conversation if she should suddenly turn her back on me.

Her boat, the The Sow’s Ear was tied securely to the dock and swayed gently, rubbing against “bumper” tires that protected the weathered boardwalk planks. The smell of river water and mud, mingled with decaying vegetation was strong, but not unpleasant.

“Finished for the day,” I asked, “Or is there an evening tour scheduled?”

“Done. No crossings tonight. It’ll be a peaceful one.” Denim overalls covered a sturdy body and a short sleeved shirt bared hefty forearms, dark from the sun and powerful enough to pole the big boat to the Isle of Ancestors. “Heading for supper. Join me?” she asked, pointing to a diner across the street.

“Thanks, that would be nice,” Nervous that the slightest display of pleasure might cause her to run off, or worse, lead to an hour of awkward silence, I kept my tone neutral and said no more. We’d met once when she’d ferried me to a midnight adventure, but although I’d tried to engage her in conversation both going and coming, she’d hardly uttered a word.

We quickly settled into a small booth at the back of The Salt and Pepper Diner and after we ordered, the ferry woman looked me square in the eye and bluntly asked, “What do you want?” She held up a beefy hand when I began to protest. “No,” she insisted, “you sought me out. Why?”

“I recognized you from Heather’s drawing and wanted to ask your advice on a writing project.” Her eyes didn’t waver, so I continued. “What with all the portraits in one place and the identity poems the Ravens have been writing, I wondered. . . . . . .”

“Not my business, I captain The Sow’s Ear.”

“I thought an interview perhaps, or an anecdote you’d be willing to share. The portrait doesn’t even give your name. I’ve loved Lemuria from the start and only want to know the people a little better.”

“Didn’t see that comin’,” I heard her mumble.

Just then waitress arrived—lemon chicken piled high with mushrooms for me and the largest bowl of beef stew I’ve ever seen. “Here’s your regular, Mir, let me know when you and your friend are ready for dessert.”

(Portrait of Miriam Konrad by Heather Blakey–Soul Food Cafe–www.dailywriting.net)

Written by porchsitter

April 6, 2008 at 10:06 pm

Ferry Woman (Part Two)

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Interview with Ferry Woman, Miriam Konrad:

Porchsitter:First, I’m delighted you agreed to be interviewed. I’m assuming, you’re a native of Lemuria and Duwaimish, yes?

Miriam:Lemuria, yes, Duwaimish, no. My great, great grandfather swam ashore after a shipwreck near Duwaimish when he was a young man. The Alluvial Mine had just been discovered and all along the coast people were talking about it. He decided to continue the adventure and get rich if he could, so he joined the first group headed inland. They got lost and arrived at the mines nearly starved. My great, great, grandmother was one of the first to offer the party food. It was love at first sight and he stayed. Worked the mines the rest of his life, and his sons, and their sons.

Porchsitter: And did he get rich?

Miriam: He found a fair amount of gold. The area built up fast, but there wasn’t any real luxury, it was too far from the coast to bring in big stuff, roads were bad, the countryside was arid and sparse. But they lived well.

Porchsitter: And your parents?

Miriam: Dad mined some, trucked food in on the side. I joined him for a few years, but the deeper you dig the harder it is to shore up tons of rock and dirt. Walls and ceilings had been caving in. Too many men had died. The owners finally closed it.

Porchsitter: Mining’s an unusual occupation for a woman? Were you the only one?

Miriam: Then, yeah. Now tourists come, mostly women; some to find a nugget or two, others to do soul work.

Porchsitter: So when the mines closed the family moved to Duwaimish?

Miriam: No, just me.

Porchsitter: Lemuria’s a big continent. Why Duwaimish? Following your ancestor’s footprints?

Miriam: Partly, but I’d always wanted to see the ocean. Once I got to the coast, though, I knew it wasn’t the sea calling me, it was the river and the Isle of Ancestors.

Porchsitter: Did you become a ferry woman immediately?

Miriam: No, that’s not permitted. First, I did odd jobs around town, later I held the main torch job on the Island.

Porchsitter: Torch job?

Miriam: Someone has to maintain the torches that light the cavern and the passageways for the ancestors and those who seek them. Torch workers also check for structural cracks and damage in between the regular scheduled inspections. With my experience in the Alluvial Mines, I was a natural for the job. You know, the isle’s honeycombed with hundreds of tunnels branching out from that main cavern. A famous Lemurian myth warns that one day all of Lemuria will collapse and sink into the sea and it will begin in the Hall of the Ancestors.

Porchsitter: That’s chilling! And after the torch job?

Miriam: I worked the orchards on the island. Loved the apples, the trees, the fresh air. I put a request in for ferry woman and one day I was called. Thought at first I’d made a mistake when I saw all the studying.

Porchsitter: Studying?

Miriam: Yeah, didn’t expect it. River lore, Lemurian history and myths, geography and geology of the whole continent and specifically this area. Then all the practical stuff: tides, engine and boat maintenance, poling, emergency procedures, communications, daily reports.

Porchsitter:Why the academic subjects?

Miriam:To qualify for an “Ancestral” job, you have to go back at least three generations on one parent’s side and two on the other, then you have to pass academic courses, practical ones related to the specific job and finally, you have to be apprenticed to an elder. There are studies for that, too and workshops. And, of course, I had to meet one of my own ancestors in the cavern.

Porchsitter: I had no idea!

Miriam: I studied nights and weekends for three years, while I saved to buy the Sow’s Ear. Fortunately, there’s no charge for schooling and room and board was included.

Porchsitter: Amazing! One more question. The Sow’s Ear is a strange name for a boat, how did that come about?

Miriam: We don’t usually disclose our choice, but since this is for Soul Food Ravens I will. Part of our final exam is to use the experience of meeting our ancestor to name our boat. My two sisters were very lovely, delicate and sweet as a teacup, mother used to say. When she left us and took them to the City of Ladies, she wanted to take me, too. I overheard my parents argue and father say, “Miriam stays with me. You can’t turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.” It hurt so much. I left soon after and never saw him alive again.

When we met in the cavern and I asked my one question, all I could manage was, “How could you?”

He cried and told me he knew it would break my spirit if I’d gone with them and been forced into a life of afternoon teas and party dresses. In my heart I knew he was right and had always loved me. What I thought cruel, was just his unfortunate and clumsy act of love.

Written by porchsitter

April 6, 2008 at 10:03 pm

Seeding a Wild Garden

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Seeds to plant a Wild Garden
Heather Blakey – April 2008

Aristotle expounded the theory that there were three different types of soul: the nutritive, the sensitive and the rational. He argued that all living things require nourishment, so that nutritive function belongs to plants, animals and men alike. He said that animals and men have both nutritive and sensitive functions and that men alone possess the rational function. The relation between body and soul is that between matter and form. Things become what they are because of their potentialities. To say, for instance, that an acorn is potentially an oak means that, given the right setting an acorn could grow to an oak. What the acorn carries within itself is the ‘form’ of the oak. In the case of a human it is the soul that makes them what they are.

Things become what they are because of their potentialities! If an acorn, given the right setting, has the potential to grow in to a mighty oak tree, what is man’ potential? Presumably, to grow in to an oak, to reach its potential, the acorn needs nourishment. It follows therefore that to reach his potential man needs nourishment. In his diagrammatic hierarchy of needs Maslow points to nutritive needs when he refers to mans need to have basic physiological needs met. Maslow argues that man needs to satisfy hunger, thirst, sex drives, safety needs, belongingness , love and esteem needs before he can fulfill his potential. Once these are met it would appear anything would be possible.

So if we take these seeds and plant them in rich Lemurian soil what will emerge? What potential are they destined to meet? What form will the Wild Lemurian Garden take? What is possible?

Written by Heather Blakey

April 2, 2008 at 12:05 pm

Return from White Owl Island – Heather Blakey

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I returned from the White Owl humbled. She did not offer me advice when I asked for guidance as I lead so many travellers through a foreign realm. Instead she gave me this pastoral crook as a symbol of divine creative power. She assured me that with this crook on my staff I could guide others on the spiral journey of regeneration.Now I am not sure what I will do with my free time here in Duwamish. I might wander down to the Gypsy encampment by the bridge or I might return to the bath-house where the Ferry Women and Priestesses bathe. My room in the Inn is very comfortable and from my window I can see the light house on White Owl Island and mentally plot the path I walked to meet White Owl.
(from White Owl Island Archive, September 2005.)
(copyright Heather Blakey 2008.)

Written by imogen88

April 2, 2008 at 12:03 pm

Out and About on White Owl Island – Heather Blakey

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I have been out and about with my sketch book and visited the big bollards near the jetty and White Owl Farm. It was the most lovely day out. I had my bag, with some sandwiches and a drink tucked inside and slept to the sound of the ocean pounding near the bedroom window when I finally got back to my hideaway retreat.

(White Owl Island Archive, March 2006.)

(copyright Heather Blakey 2008.)

Written by imogen88

April 1, 2008 at 9:29 am