As a travel advisor and one whom travels constantly, (I’ve trips in the fall for Ecuador, Switzerland, Tuscany & Ireland) reading signage, local newspapers, maps, etc. while traveling is always intriguing. As interesting is discovering the roots of our Americanized English language in countries where I am traveling. For instance in Paris last year, traveling from my hotel to the Charles de Gaul aeroporte, I noticed a sign “avance en feu” which for the US would simply be a sign which says, “Yield.” The French translation is “Advance in Fire” or in other words, the traffic’s moving like speeding bullets! My maternal grandmother used phrases like “in a few” which is a derivative of “advance en feu”…. Language arts become so alive when you travel!
Outside her window the oleander, dogbane the locals called it, bloomed profusely.
Sitting up slowly in her bed, the morning sun breaching the eastern wall of her confines, CeyLa reached for the ivory linen and it slid carefully at her insistence into her waiting hand. She sat it aside for washing to remove the accumulated dust of seasons of neglect, since her last appearance. She took the petite key from around her neck, tucked inside her night gown and listened as the lock turned the tumblers inside the small chest. Open, she reached inside and drew out the journal.
The leather journal, its’ pages floated in gold leaf to protect the edges had lain in the chest on the simple wooden table for how long, she was for the moment, unclear. The otherwise ornate marble & gold leaf trimmed room with its’ detailed carvings were quite the contrast. The table was simple, yet it was one of her prized possessions. While she was in Corsica, she would hand polish it with olive oil made from the old olive tree living in the courtyard below. When her Grandmother, the Signadori of Ren~a (RenYA) presented it to her as a child, she thought it an odd gift, especially considering the seriousness with which it was given.
The table had been hand wrought from the twisted limbs which thrust themselves against the walls beneath the balcony where she had grown from a mere slip of a girl into a beautiful young woman. When CeyLa was away, the table was covered with a fine ivory linen and nothing was left upon it with the exception of her gold leafed journal sitting in the well crafted unadorned chest her maternal Grandfather had made. Whether he had made the table, she only surmised. Grandmother never told her whose hands had laid out the wood panels, had notched the sides so they fit soundly as if hewn from one piece of wood. But it was her hands and hers alone which Grandmother had designated “fit” to oil the table, from the small crevices in each corner footing, through the side insets, the beautifully engraved paneling on the rear, which strangely no one ever saw but she & Grandmother. When she was away, the table was carefully covered and no one was to touch.
The journal opened and she read the verses as they appeared in the well scripted delicate indigo ink scored so long ago.
Oleander, your white laden limbs waft in the lilting breezes
wave after wave of wind buffeting against your branches
resilient to the storms of winter waiting as you must
until the sap of life courses through your uplifting leaves.
Each breeze, oh oleander, you accept as an offering
to glean whatever comes your way, to take and give your beauty
without asking, never questioning, never resisting, only laughing
uplifted branches white and pure herald the morning sun.
A young maiden planted you here whom now has never seen
the delicacy of your overabundance, your pure white blossoms
flowering May to June, your whites, your reds beckoning a midsummer’s night
when all the world fades from innocence and summer heat descends.
The milky juice, succor to blossoms touched by the morning sun
Tenuous branches, bending low, swaying to & fro
beckoning a welcome to little ships in the water
when their Captains drop anchor home to safe repose.
Here am I erstwhile to keep brackish water from your feet
fresh as the dew each day to you, buckets of clear love flow
Forgive me now as I do from my apron take this keen rake
to slit the limbs held high supplicant to the heavenly skies.
Flow milky juice into this flask, as a woman gives succor to her child
intended to nurture, strengthen and grow, your deadly gift, my recompense
bourn from your flowering, perfect, like the lily and the rose
possess both sexes this divine nature, giver of beauty and death.
Oleander/dogbane as Written by L.A.Chancey (Copyright 2011)
Self-guided tour. Starts any Sunday from April through October
5 nights/6 days
Daily mileage: from 42 km (26 miles) to 57 km (35 miles)
Trip starts from Geneva and ends in Annecy.
Accommodations in 3-star & 2-star properties.
Level: 2/3 (Easy/Moderate)
This unique bicycle tour in the French Alps makes it possible for leisure riders to experience the captivating cycling of the Alps without the hill hassle. Linking the three major lakes of the area (Lake Geneva, Lake Bourget, and Lake Annecy), the cycling routes essentially follow river paths, such as along the Rhone and Isere rivers, taking in historic villages, stunning natural scenery, lush meadows and valleys, and picturesque peaks along the way.
Launched in 2003, Cyclomundo, is the fruition of a love of cycling, discovering the world, and connecting people. A one-of-a-kind bike travel company, Cyclomundo offers a vast array of self-guided itineraries, as well as flexible and tailor-made “biking à la carte” trips throughout France, Catalonia in Spain, Switzerland, and Northern Italy. The trips are especially suited for singles, couples, families, leisure or serious cycling. Look for a multitude of itineraries for all levels and interests. Whether your dream cycling vacation is to make the most of discovering a regions’ beauty, culture, history, or gastronomic heritage, maximize cycling miles, or train for a cyclo-sportive, Cyclomundo has something to please everyone.
From 785 Euros per person based on double occupancy. Call 912-267-6676 to book. Mention “venusrising” for available added amenities & a 5% discount.
Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high,
There’s a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby.
Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.
Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That’s where you’ll find me.
Somewhere over the rainbow
Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why then, oh why can’t I?
If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can’t I?
” I can’t help myself, I could almost go there, just to live in a dream. I can’t help myself, I’ve got to see you again.” paraphrased from the enigmatic Nora Jones in the “Come Away With Me” album. Those of us whom travel afar and travel often, learn those jaunts abroad and domestically in search of adventure, love, fame & fortuitous moments become like a lover, one coupling with a serious addiction to find those elusive moments where time stands still and you find yourself in the center of the universe, unevenly, uncompromising and ever underestimated, YOU rule your world. Come & find yourself, find the love of your life. Travel, mysterious, unpredictable, ever-changing, moments you’ll never capture again, unless you step forward, just to live in a dream.