Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

a night of music-making in the chapel

stelios knows this region well, and so he invited us all to go camping next to a sweet little chapel on the hillside above the town where he was busking. we played tunes and made up stuff for a few hours. we unfortunately had neglected to buy wine, so the energy of the party was somewhat compromised without the influence of dionysos...

i played finger cymbals...

and i turned the lectern into a drum.... mary surprised herself by playing the bouzouki well... i think it was her first time ever on the instrument!

but stelios is a MASTER musician; he was generous and patient enough to play with a bunch of hippies from the north... you ROCK, stelios! (well, in a traditional cretan kind of way...)

panorama from olympus

Monday, November 14, 2011

stelios master of lyra

my friends pete and mary introduced me to a fabulous fellow: stelios the lyra-player.... here he is busking for his fellow country-men in a quaint-as-heck village (on the southeast slope of mount olympus....

Saturday, November 5, 2011

food of the gods

i took chocolate to the top of mount olympus and made an offering of it to zeus et alii, because the official linnean name of chocolate is cacao theobroma = food of the gods.

my new friends mary and pete shared a bit of the offering, and later we shared several liters of wine at the Refuge.

Friday, November 4, 2011

snow fields on mount olympus

keep in mind that this is QUITE high: 2800 meters or so.... this snow has already been melting off for a few days, but there is still quite a bit left on the trail....

magic appears

i mentioned to my hiking companions that there are chamois (a.k.a. gemsen) in this area, and then they were there-- we saw them just a minute or two after we referred to them! . a few minutes later one of my buddies mentioned birds, and then several crows swooped down on us.... a bit later we were talking about the lack of butterflies, and then we noticed a pair of them.... so i chanted "world peace... happiness for all sentient beings... world peace... happiness for all sentient beings..."

mule train on the trail

i thought of this as a concert.... a collection of bell-players processing up the mountain providing acoustic wonders for those who chose to listen.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

sights and sites along the path to mount olympus

the path up the mountain crosses a river (creek?) several times, and every crossing includes a lovely pool with a waterfall. i am certain that they are brilliant little swimming holes during the summer, but it was WAY too cold to consider a dip in october...

this sacred cave features a spring which magically appears right out of the rock. the little hut was once a hermit's lodge and is now a chapel for passers-by.

this is the holy spring as it comes to the surface.

mushrooms on the way to mount olympus

these pretty fungi were growing on a log across the path on the way up to mount olympus. it is moist and cool in the thick deciduous forest... not at all like most of the rest of greece, which is quite dry.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

view from litochoro

the town of litochoro is the main starting-point for an ascent up mount olympus. this is how it looks in the morning: i was just heading out for the nine-hour hike up to the refuge. that big chunk of stone looks distant, but it was just the very beginning: look at how it appears from above (in a photo to be posted later).

Monday, October 31, 2011

aphrodite and her spring

i placed my wreath around aphrodite's head.... you can see the spring water bubbling up in the pool in front of her.... this section of the temple complex is called the temple of isis, but this particular statue is aphrodite: they must have been room-mates or something... the gods and goddesses all lived near one another in dion, which was a huge flourishing town in the ancient days.. the entire town of dion was buried under mud which these springs carry to the surface. it was utterly forgotten for centuries....

my approach to olympus

this is mount olympus from the seaside village of kalithea.

here is the mountain from the beach itself.

i poured a libation to Zeus at his altar in the town of dion, a HUGE complex of temples where the ancient greeks made offerings to the gods. it is a magical place where fresh spring water comes bubbling out of the ground.

bottles here in leipzig

some of my favourite fluids: a greek brandy and a local herb elixir.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

rainbows on the green man

my dear friend katie gave us some crystals which make rainbows in our east-facing kitchen and beyond. i thought this special light would look great on our autumnal green man...

leipzig rebuilds itself with style

for some absurd reason, the DDR leaders decided to destroy a brilliant church on this site. recently the architects of the university decided to build a wonderful postmodern building which pays sincere homage to the late great church, while maintaining an awesome present presence on the augustplatz which it shares with the gewandhaus and the opera house. BRAVO! the fountain adds a neo-classic gravitas to the whole scene....

Sunday, September 25, 2011

a mysterious image

this image is on some sort of electrical outlet device in the middle of a nearby meadow.... any thoughts?

recent rainbow (a postponed welcome?)

all right... this was actually shot two weeks back... but this rainbow appeared and asked to be photographed and posted....

equinox ritual

since we have changed the season, we have changed our image of the Green Man which blesses our house... the autumnal Green Man is made of oak leaves and acorns... blessings to one and all!

Friday, September 23, 2011

field trip with ropes course

last week i took my eighth grade homeroom class to a local park where we participated in a high-platform ropes class. we all put on harnesses and climbed thirty feet or so up. it was lotsa fun, especially for those who were afraid: they got to SHOUT and SSCRREEEAAAAMMMMM their fear out.

international peace of peace

wednesday was international day of peace, and so i decided that our little school should do something to honor this holy day. a hundred or so students and a few faculty-folks gathered on the roof and formed a huge Peace sign with arms reaching UPwards (rather than the normal peace sign which shows despair and resignation). we will put the time-lapse documentation of this event on-line somewhere.... stay tuned!

many students made art projects based on optimistic peace signs:

Sunday, September 11, 2011

sheep dog working its flock right outside of the city limits

this was less than ten kilometers from the heart of leipzig. it is still a smallish city (half a million residents) and easy to escape into the woods and farmlands...

oom-pah-pah lives!

i was just cycling through the countryside and stumbled onto a local festival in honor of the onion harvest (i am not making this up!). i had a slice of onion cake and a bit of sekt (german champagne) before heading off to tilt at windmills.... this band was playing trad tunes in a tent... maybe later in the day people were dancing..... i was there too early....

Sunday, September 4, 2011

my path to the lake

we live about six kilometers from lake called cospudener see. it was once a GIANT browncoal stripmine, but was turned into a recreation site after germany's re-unification. i like to cycle thither and then skate around the lake (eleven km) and then swim at the nude beach after a quick beer and a snack .

another view of the juggernaut festival

this shows the swarm of celebrants dancing in circles round the image of krishna.

hare krishna (german style)

we stumbled onto this festival of juggernaut. i danced thrice around the idol and felt much the better for it.

too much music!

so we have been in Leipzig for a whole month now. we can verify the rumours: it is a high-culture city!

the church where j.s. bach was kapellmeister is one of the most important venues: we have heard the boys' choir associated with thomaskirche several times, and even a professional quintet of young men who used to sing in the thomanerchor. this little group is called ensemble nobiles, and thy are tight. we heard them twice: in a local little church (where their voices filled the place mightily) and once in thomaskirche (where a quintet sounds small but holy).

this past weekend was the opening event for the world-renowned gewandhaus orchester: it was an outdoor concert which showcased their energy and the conductor's warm enthusiasm. earlier in the afternoon we heard a few little concerts by members of the orchestra: a brass band doing jazz; a pair of clarinettists playing mozart; a string ensemble playing viennese waltzes....

and the night before was the "passagenfest" in which many passageways (which are filled with shops) offered entertainment and stayed open until midnight. i saw a guy dressed in a Pan-costume which was the best i had ever seen-- stilts which became hooves and gave a bouncy spring to his step.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

the official weighing station claims that i am not a witch

since witches are infamously light-weight, those accused of witchery/wizardry would be taken to Oudewater to be officially weighed. this was easier on the witches than just being tossed into the water to see whether they floated.

anyway, i am not a feather-weight. and i am officially not a witch. chuckle.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

es tut mir leiden

back in 2003, tom & i cycled the rhine from holland up through germany and france. tom made it to switzerland, but i turned around a day early and went to a folkfest in france... but that's another story.

yesterday i completed a pilgrimage which we did not manage to do (whether in ignorance or lack of time i canna recall): i cycled up to leiden where rene desCartes (who is called "cartesius" in dutch) sat by a fire and thought a thought which led european philosophy astray for centuries. i found the address where he was lodging: there is a placquard to the blackguard there which says simply: rene descartes 1640. i spat at the name and felt better for it. i felt like a haji throwing a stone at the devil!

today i might return to leiden to hear an organ concert and mayhaps to photograph the blackguard's placquard just for inclusion is a few other forthcoming photos "homages hollandaises aux philosophes". most will be kinder. (more kind? more of the kind kind?) not kindertotenlieder, fer shure.

here in the swamps of holland i am cycling hours daily, longing for a hill, any hill! and i think of my dear friend nancy perched high atop a tuscan promontory littered with renaissance castles and fabulous gardens.... sigh....

bright blessings


oh, OH! i also found a brand-new windmill in the neighboring town of schiedam: it was built to grind grain for "ketel one" products. schiedam's wealth was once based in the alcohol trade: dutch folks drink a curious liquor called jenever, which is neither gin nor vodka nor raw whisky, but it is what it is, dammit. they have decided to save money by using an old-fashioned windmill to directly harness the wind power rather than using a diesel engine like most distilleries do. there are two modern windmills in schiedam: one just opened up three months ago! and of course there are old windmills all over for tourists to gawk at and for mad knights-errant to serve as enemies at which to tilt... but there are few knights-errant roaming about... i suppose they are in spain or italy... and they all seem more like friends than enemies....