2007-08-09 through 13
Jim, Gary and I arose at 4 AM so that we would have enough time to make our Morning Offering before leaving. Gary and I said good-bye to the pussycats and Jim took us and our baggage to Louisville International Airport. We shared a light breakfast there before Jim went back home to begin his mowing for the day and Gary and I headed for security.
Passing through security, I encountered a new level of infringement of my civil rights. The security measures are paranoid these days. My purse, a large tote designed to hold my laptop, was declared suspect after being scanned. An agent took me aside so that he could search the bag. I knew there was no liquid substance anywhere in that bag because I had emptied the purse and packed it from scratch. So I was not nervous about the search. However the agent, a beefy, overbearing man, said that their scan showed that there was liquid there.
I started to open the tote for him and he physically batted my hands away. Then when he had unzipped the bag, I tried to pick up the two extra diapers Mick had stuffed in the top of the tote, just “in case”. The diapers were blocking everything else in the tote, so I reached for the diapers to lay them aside so the agent could see clearly into the bag. The agent raised his voice, loomed over me and said quite sharply that if I insisted upon touching my bag, I would be detained.
In the event, the culprit seen on the scan was a tiny, 3”-tall bottle of homeopathic “mag-phos” tablets, the kind one puts under the tongue to melt. I keep them handy in case of cramps in my feet. How is this going to become a terrorist weapon? Even if the vial had contained a liquid substance, how could the ounce or so that would fit into that bottle be dangerous to our country?
Folks, we have allowed our nation to be ruled by fear.
And the rudeness of the agent was deliberate. It is all about intimidation. The agent could have explained that the rules were such that I needed not to touch the bag as he inspected it. He did not. His object seemed to be to make me cower and cringe and let him, the uniformed agent of the government, do whatever he liked, abridging my simplest rights. THIS WAS MY PURSE! However, I had no right even to help the agent. And I do not doubt that he would have detained me if I had tried to help him further. It was a sad beginning to the trip.
Shaking off the foul taste of that encounter, we hitched a ride on a cart to our gate and had a fine trip, laying over in Detroit, looking longingly at a dandy storm pelting the city and wishing it were pelting Louisville instead, and then boarding another small plane which arrived in Pellston, Michigan, at 2 PM. A shuttle had been arranged for us by Bob R and it took us to the ferry, about a twenty minute ride.
The ferry had three tiers and Gary and I climbed to the top tier so that we could have an unobstructed view of Lake Huron during the 20-minute crossing to Mackinac Island. The wind whipped at our faces and suddenly the air was tingly and chilly, a most refreshing and bracing feeling after being cooped up in small airplanes and airports all day. The boat, a catamaran, lumbered over the chop with a good bit of bouncing sway, moving fairly smartly. We could see the Grand Hotel immediately, for it stretches across the landscape near the shore and we guessed that only one structure would look like that. It grew plainer to the eye as we approached, its stunning length and architectural beauty evident even from afar. As we pulled in to shore on the island, we saw the hotel in all its glory, its many flags flying and its white-painted veranda going on forever.
The year-round population is only 700 or so, but in the summer there are about 15,000 people there enjoying the beautiful scenery and the water. Since motor vehicles are not allowed on the island except for emergency services, we boarded a horse-drawn, open carriage which taxied us up the hill to the hotel. The main street of the village was stuffed with small shops and rental properties and teeming with people on bikes and other carriages carrying taxi fares and bringing all manner of supplies to the hotel and the other restaurants and smaller hotels on the island. We passed an historic lighthouse and a building which houses the center for the national park which takes up a good deal of the island.
Clip-clopping our way up the hill and passing many fudge shops, tourist shops and charming rental properties, we eventually came to the extensive grounds of the hotel, which was built in 1887, while John Jacob Astor was still trading in beaver pelts there. The golf course stretched out before us to the right, while on the left there were lovely gardens and walks everywhere. And flowers! The hotel owners have continued to plant the flowers most loved by the Victorians who first gardened there in masses that delight the eye. Even the garbage cans along the walks are planted on top with the geraniums that also stretch across the entire façade of the hotel.
When we got checked in, discovering that even our soap and shampoo were scented with geranium, we found that Gary’s room was fine, but mine still lacked the hospital-type articulated bed which was the cornerstone of my plan for staying comfortable during the workshop weekend. Gary checked in with the desk and they assured us that the bed was in the hotel and that the staff would have it set up by dinnertime.
I was feeling a bit hungry, as we had not eaten since before the dawn, and we strolled over to an outdoor bistro at the beginning of the hotel’s golf course. I had a cup of delicious lobster bisque soup to tide me over, while Gary chose a chicken soup. We sat and soaked up the ambience for a while and then wandered about the hotel, getting our bearings and giving the staff a chance to erect my bed. We came back to our rooms only when it was time to freshen up for dinner. The bed was still not set up. Again Gary asked the staff to set up the bed and they promised to have it done by the end of the dinner hour.
Going in to dinner at the hotel was a trip! Everyone is asked to dress for dinner there – dresses, suits or dressy pants suits for the women and a coat and tie for the men. Since most people do not wear such clothes often, we saw a lot of prom dresses and bridesmaid’s dresses on the younger women, and many fancy tops worn over pants for the older women. As well, there were some beautiful dinner dresses to be seen, including mine! I absolutely love to dress up for special occasions and have some pretty frocks.
They offer five courses at dinner, including appetizers, salads, soups, entrees and desserts. Gary and I had a lovely, waist-expanding dinner and then walked out on to the second-story veranda, where we were able to rest back in rocking chairs and watch the sun set while we chatted. The weather was simply heavenly the whole time we were there, topping out in the high 70s or low 80s in the day time and sinking to a comfortable 60 or so at night. The skies are dramatic, since we gaze out over the water’s expanse to the horizon. It is a big sky! When it was dark, we came back inside and had a glass of wine.
It was so much fun, wandering the nooks and crannies of the Parlor level, where the dining room is. There are a hundred places to sit and have a comfortable coze. The public areas of the hotel – the ground floor and the parlor floor – are chock full of places to sit and chat. The ground floor holds many shops, including a kind of grocery store, a tea room, a couple of art galleries and a clothing shop.
The parlor floor boasts a ballroom and the huge, mirrored dining room as well as a library bar and other small bars set up along the promenade. It lets out on to the veranda which stretches across the length of the hotel. Gary and I sat, first in the anteroom leading to the ballroom to hear the music, and then in the Library Bar. Our hope, again, was to give the staff time to set up my bed.
At 10:30 we assumed that the bed must be set up by now and came to our rooms on the first floor. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Again, Gary went down to the front desk and finally was able to get in contact with the people who had the bed, in part of the housekeeping section. They sent a man up with it and he put it together with Gary’s help. Sadly, it had been set up facing the wall instead of facing out into the room, so it had to be re-done. Then, when we tried to make the bed, we found there were no bed linens, just blankets. We called for sheets and they sent up one only. This meant that we had to un-make the other bed in my room to harvest a second sheet. We got that done and Gary said good-night at 11 PM.
I surveyed my room. In all the trips to the room to set up the bed, I had accumulated no less than three bedspreads and seven blankets. Every chair and table in the room held rumpled, tumbled bedding. We had pulled it all apart looking for stray sheets. I have a deep need for orderly surroundings, and this was not orderly! So I spent a solid hour folding and re-folding the bedding and centralizing it on the other bed. At midnight, I at last was able to lie down in contentment.
However the saga was not yet at an end. I was not strong enough of hand to unpin the safety latches on the windows, and loathe to awaken Gary, who was exhausted. Also, I thought my air conditioner unit was not operational because I could not locate the thermostat. The air conditioner itself came on about every ten minutes on a rising note with a very loud noise, Hah-Whooooom, but it was sound and fury, signifying nothing in the way of cool air.
After three solid hours of being awakened by this stentorian unit every little while, I gave up the attempt to sleep and called the front desk yet again. I asked for the night manager to visit. He came up and was very kind, for I was lucky enough to have the a.c. perform its roaring salute while he was there. And he beheld the small mountain of blankets. He wrote everything down, and I am happy to say that the next morning, the manager kindly took all room charges off for that night, except for the food, which is included in the room rate. They also fixed the air conditioner (showed me the thermostat) and put sheets on my bed which fit it.
Bob R, who had co-produced the weekend with Gary, was not in the hotel until the next day, having taken longer than he expected to drive his rented mobile home up from Detroit. We met him after our gargantuan breakfast. This was better food than a cruise ship’s, since we could enjoy the sights of the shore and wander wherever we wished. There is not a lot of wandering on a cruise ship! But the repast’s richness reminded me of the food on the one cruise I have taken, when Mick and I were married 20 years ago, in terms of the food’s bounty and its constant availability.
Gary and the hotel manager went over the arrangements for our meeting room and we changed it all around so that the chairs were in a sort of vee-shaped crescent, with the speaker’s chair at the top of the vee, instead of in rows. We were lucky that the tables they provided were the right size to do this easily.
Just as we got the arrangements made so that the room was welcoming and comfortable, Bob arrived. He okayed our decisions on the room. It was great to meet him for the first time.
We re-gathered with all the attendees in late afternoon. We talked around the circle, each person sharing what he and she chose to share, and formed that intentional, conscious circle of seeking that is so important to form right at the beginning of such a gathering.
It was a great group! All the participants were very familiar with the Law of One material. Anna was from Norway, a beautiful Viking women, tall, slender and blonde. Her blue, blue eyes snapped with energy and fun. She is a journalist and political activist, a Marxist in her politics and of the belief that the world should be re-formed under the banner of the law of One.
Janet (from another planet), as she distinguished herself from the other Janet in attendance,was from Maryland, where she is a computer programmer. She was especially interested in acquainting us all with the virtues of sun gazing.
JanE.T. was a peppy redhead from Alabama who makes her living as a performer, singing everything from rock to contemporary Christian music.We heard her band's cover of a Journey song she had recorded to CD which was so authentic that Gary was convinced it was the real Journey!
Mike, a long time friend of Bob R., was a railroad engineer from the Toledo area of Ohio.He was as gentle as he was kind, with a real passion for Xango juice!
Bob R, the co-producer, was also an engineer for the railroad, and hailed from Toledo. All of the above people were in their forties and fifties.
And then there were Gary and I to round out the group which started the weekend off.
After a good round-robin discussion, we had our first talk.
We had arranged with BBS Radio beforehand to broadcast my two speeches live, so I had to start on a count-down for the talk. This was a tad unnerving, but it went well. My first talk was on the inner or metaphysical aspects of 2012’s big shift in consciousness. It was well received both in the room and over the air, I am most happy to report.
Down for dinner we went, sharing a table together and getting to know each other better as we ate. Afterwards we wandered out to the second-story front porch and had a glass of wine together. There was a distinct feeling of coming home, something which has never failed to happen when people who love the Law of One material get together.
Our schedule was clear until late afternoon on Saturday, so Gary and I took the horse-drawn taxi down to the main street of the village in the morning, where we spent several hours just wandering and sitting, taking in the lovely breeze and sunshine, buying the fudge for which the island is famous to take home to Mick and Valerie – the natives call the tourists “fudgies” - and finding a couple of shot glasses for the lady who oversees the service department at Louisville Tractor, where Jim has all his mowing equipment repairs done. She collects them and is always delighted if I can find one to bring her when I travel.
Gary and I had planned to rent a bike which had a passenger perch on the back, so he could wheel me around the small port, but the last such bike was being wheeled away as we got to the rental shop, so we were on foot. I cannot walk well any more, due to many previous troubles with my feet, including several stress fractures, so we had to go very slowly. Gary was extremely patient with me and, by virtue of going slowly and resting often, I made it OK – except that somehow, I had sprained my left ankle. How this happened I could not tell you. I do not recall any sort of falling or stumbling which would have caused it. But there it was, bruised and swollen. It made my characteristic limp more complex! It was worth it, though! I had a total ball.
We ended up finding a place which, for the price of a soft drink, allowed customers to sit at picnic tables right at the water’s edge. We had a sublime time watching the waves and being distant witnesses to a wedding which took place while we were lounging there.
It was really interesting to see how a town works when there are no cars. The noise factor is way down! No honking, no motor noise, everyone mellowed out. It was sweet! There were a jillion bicycles on the road, as that is how everyone gets around there unless they walk or take a carriage. Sometimes it got quite congested, with tourists taking over the streets, but everyone was good natured and cheerful.
There must have been three dozen fudge shops along Market Street! As well, there were all sorts of other stores, a medical center, a church and many lovely Victorian homes which had mostly been turned into bed-and-breakfast places. Children were everywhere. The Grand Hotel has a day-long children’s program, which allows the adults to leave their children for the day and golf, swim, ride horses or whatever suits their fancy. Even though the room rates are screamingly expensive, the hotel is always booked full. It really is a wonderful experience to be there. I recommend it highly.
We reconvened in our meeting room in mid afternoon for Janet Planet’s discussion of sun gazing – a good web site to check into that is http://www.sungazing.com/ - and then for my second speech, which concerned some outer aspects of 2012. Again the broadcasting aspects of the event went smoothly, although we had to fiddle extensively with the telephone to get a good connection.
Just as I was finished with my talk, William Henry, the other speaker for the gathering, arrived. He offered a most fascinating talk on love, faith, unity and sun power which blended with my speeches as though we had planned the flow beforehand, which we had not.
With William had come two more attendees, Chad and Lisa, our youngest members. Where I was in my sixties and all but Gary were in middle age, they, like Gary, were 30-ish, Gary being younger by three years and they being a couple of years older than 30. They were interested in organic farming. So we sat down to dinner with ten at table, a really nice group, and did full justice to the groaning board.
It was hard to tear myself away from the conversation on the porch after dinner, as we sat with our wine and enjoyed the evening and each other, but at last I could tell it was time to lay my body down. I felt reluctant for the day to end, as it was perfectly beautiful in every way.
J.P. led a sun-gazing expedition early the next morning, which I did not wish to join, as I am allergic to the sun and have been known to break out in hives if I look at it directly. However I am convinced that there is a good deal to the practice. Janet herself is certainly a good witness to its benefits, which include brilliantly good health and weight loss for those with a few extra pounds.
After a communal, massive breakfast we assembled for Henry’s second talk, in which he played with ideas for creating a metaphysics based on the sun. His presentations are enhanced with Power Point presentations in which he has collected images from mythical, philosophical and religious systems throughout the world to underscore his message. Again, I cannot recommend his work highly enough. His web site is http://www.williamhenry.net/.
After a short break, during which I was able to tune, we created the circle of seeking once again and had the channeling session which ended the workshop. It was a powerful circle indeed! I was buzzing for quite some time after the end of the channeling, buoyed by the energy of the circle. We were not able to broadcast the channeling because the time slot was already booked. However Gary captured it on tape and it will show up soon on our web site. Gary has since sent out all the tapes of speeches and channeling to our volunteer transcribers, so the wait will not be long.
Anna especially wished to have a closing ceremony out amongst the beautiful flowers in front of the hotel, and so while waiting for the check-out process to be completed I wrote one, creating it along the lines of the one Ra gave us for walking the circle in the Law of One sessions.
We formed our circle in the midst of the hotel’s Triangle Garden, where the hotel had left a notch of lawn amidst the thousands of flowers so that gardeners could weed and replant, walking the circle as we spoke the words together. After the formal ritual, we all stretched our hands to the sky in joy, praise and thanksgiving and then offered our prayers around the circle, holding hands.
Bob had handsomely invited Gary and me to join him, Anna and the two Janets for a ride back to the Pellston area, where we were due to check into a motel and then fly home early the next morning. Anna bought us all lunch at a little seafood place at the shore, and then we wandered down to the beach, where Gary waded in Lake Huron while the rest of us sat on benches and soaked up the sun. We had enjoyed wine with lunch, and continued to become merry throughout the afternoon, only very reluctantly parting when it was time for Gary node I to check in to our motel for a scant night’s sleep before coming home.
Gary and I never did eat supper! We were saturated with the glut of food we had ingested during the weekend. Instead we two, who seldom hang out for a whole evening with no work in front of us, sipped on the remainder of the bottle of wine which the crew had given us as they dropped us off at the motel and talked deeply about many things. It was the perfect end to the weekend, as we gazed at the lovely skies deepening to dusk, twilight and then the night with its starry skies. I had my body pillow with me, and placed it under me on one of the motel’s chaise lounges and was very comfortable.
I slept like a log, needless to say, when we did hit the hay, but not for long! Our plane left at 6 AM! We rose at 4, were on the shuttle to the airport at 4:30, I with my Morning Offering done, and happily, we took off on time. On the way home we stopped in Detroit and then Chicago, and Gary did yeoman’s service pushing me for what seemed to be miles of corridors. We did enjoy the psychedelic corridor in Detroit, with its waves of hot pink from the ceiling rolling over the shimmering blue-green expanse of the walls.
Gary had said that if we could collect all our bags when we landed in Louisville, it would be a perfect trip. I think he was psychic! The airline lost one of my bags and we had to delay our ride home so that we could report it. The missing bag showed up about three hours later, and was taxied out to us by the airport staff.
Gary crashed immediately into bed upon returning to Camelot, where he reported he would explore the inside of his eyelids for some time to come. Mick and I lingered for hours before we went to bed, enjoying each other. Mick had called each night for our evening prayers, but we had been apart for five days – a most unusually long time of separation for us. We had a bath together and then a date before coming down to supper, the Gaia Meditation and a last snuggle with the kitties before saying good night at 11 PM.