The Roman Farmhouse : LUSENET : The Garden : One Thread

In 1980 I was living with Mandy in a small white board-and-batten saltbox style house in Bozeman. I was in school and she was working as a waitress in Rose's Cantina. It was a two bedroom. I'd fitted out the smaller bedroom as a study room and gotten it just right: my favorite light-blue walls, white ceiling, bookselves, and a nice, servicable, well-lighted desk. I had much studying to do. Much organizational work that really didn't require the kind of concentration hard academic work does, so I'd installed a radio in the room. It was one of those short late fall Montana evenings that darken so quickly. The light had gone to steel blue-grey outside and was filtering though the long paned window and the visqueen plastic insulation we'd put up. There was classical music on the radio. A German. Maybe Mahler. Now my thoughts were just mundane and dum-dee-dum. Non-visual. Wasn't picturing anything really. But suddenly, and with a preternatural clarity, an image flashed before my Mind's Eye and remained long enough to startle me. It was distinct, clear, connected, integrated, and seemed to mean something to me: a vignette. I saw a hillside sloping away from me into a shallow glen. The hills on the other side were striped with long low grape arbors: rolling hills faded into the distance. In the forground was a humble abode: a simple stucco and tile rectangle: white or buff-colored stucco, earthy red tiles. I could see no windows or signs of adornment. I rude two-track led in a crescent to the dwelling. Abandoned carelessly in the track was a tumbrill of ancient design, the kind used for haying (or graping?) with high angled poles lashed together for sides and wheels hewn from solid blocks of wood. At one corner of the house was a healthy, thick-trunked fig tree. Extending from one side was a rustic grape arbor laden with vines. Uphill from the dwelling (which was partially concealed by the swell of the hill) was a drywall stone wall of stones and boulders of many sizes. There, by the wall, stood three tight and stately Italian Cypresses, one, two, three in steps from largest to smallest. It was morning: the far hills nd the glen wre filled with mist and everthing was purple. The sun rose quickly and suddenly over the far hills, with a brief halo of rays. All was golden and purple. In that instant a beautiful rusty colored rooster with a rich green tail fluttered and leapt on the apex of the tile roof and crowed in the dawn.

And the image was gone. All this had transpired in less than a second. "Wow". I spoke outload. To myself. "Oh, I get it. THAT's why roosters are on weathervanes. They used to jump up there. Oh I get it. THAT's why roosters are on the roof on weathervanes: for good luck. Because they used to jump up there to crow in the dawn and they scared off the evil spirits. Huh. That was weird. MANDY! I just saw a Roman farmhouse."


"I just saw a Roman farmhouse. This IMAGE. I just had this really STRONG IMAGE of a Roman farmhouse pass before my eyes."

"Are you STONED?"


"You're SUPPOSED to be studying, Dan."

"I'm NOT stoned. It just HAPPENED."

"You're weird."

Some time passed and I pretty much forgot about the incident. But I remembered it occassionaly and revelled in the clear image, and the apparent significance (but of what I knew not).

The following spring my friend Steve Brown was visiting: up from New Mexico and on his way to Browing on the Blackfeet reservation. It may have been spring but it was winter: deadly frigid cold with eight inches snow and below zero nighttime temperatures. Mandy had sense enough to get out: she was on vacation in sunnier climes. In her absence and with her permission wewere using the house as a sort of staging base. Mandy wouldn't have been able to handle Steve and me together for very long: she was glad to be where she was and we were glad to be free of her house rules. Mandy didn't even want to KNOW about our nefarious activities. Suffice it to say Steve and I were both exceptionally altered, and up at 2:30 AM speaking of cabbages and kings and such things. Really running a gauntlet of reminiscences, thoughts, and ideas. Everything was laced with profound significance: we were laughing and finishing one another's sentences while the room unravelled in rainbow kaleidescopic arrays. I had a thought. "Yo, Steve."


"You wanna here something weird?"


"It happened right in that room there. I wasstudying in there one night. I wasn't even STONED. I saw a Roman Farmhouse."

"WAIT! Let me descride it to YOU!"

"NO! WAIT! Draw it. I'll get paper!"

I got paper and we drew. When finished the houses were rectangular, small, and had three distict Italian Cypresses stepped from one corner. The tumbrill was in Steve's drawing but not in mine: I forgotten to draw it. Steve missed the grape arbor and the fig.

We looked at the pictures and collapsed in spontaneous choruses of "whoah! Whoah! WHOAH!!"

"WHAT is going ON here!" We both exclaimed. We spent the next hour trying to make rational sense of it. Of course, our first thoughts rushed to "past life memories". But I wanted to entertain other possibilities. We considered the possibility of telephay: that somehow the image in MY mind was so strong that (especially under the influence) I had"projected" the image into HIS mind in the instant I began to tell him about it. We considered the possibility that the image was a powerful universal archtype imbedded in thecollective unconscious or racial memory that we both hadacess too, and that perhaps we were actually physically related and not experiencing past life memories. There were other possibilitieswe entertained too, as we deliberately deconstructed the experience: aremarkable feat considering our state of mind and that during all this Steve had seen me transform into a Roman Senator with a country home and I had seen him transform first into an aged Native American Medicine Man and then an eagle. But Steve DOES have somewhat aquiline features.

Another for the anomaly files.

But the image has remained dear to me. I still have the original drawings filed away someplace, and I tried to re-create the feeling of the original vision in a mixed-media pastel and watercolor piece. Didn't do too bad a job, either.

-- Anonymous, July 07, 2002


This is great. I think considering the different possibilities for why or how this can happen is very interesting. Even if he picked the image up out of your head (this was an old one for you. was it an old one for him, too?), THAT in itself is profound.

I can't wait to see what you and I come up with.

Someday we should go to Italy. One of the things I said I wanted to do was go sing jazz in Europe, and that I plan on being in Venice in 2003, singing. I said that even if I end up in my little black dress, in the Fall, just singing for my supper in the middle of some bridge, that THAT would be enoug

-- Anonymous, July 08, 2002

On approximately 7/8/02 7:53 PM, you probably wrote:


>> Someday we should go to Italy.

> Yeah, like a second honeymoon in Tuscany.

> The first will be at Burning Man, obviously.

> ;)

Dan, is that governor still on the Ice Cream Van?

Not that I need it to be, mind you, but we do seem to be creeping up on the speed limit. (Well, we seem to have passed it quite some time back, but I'm trying to very politely ignore the scenery whizzing past, hoping that we don't have a blow-out - your hands seem to be at 10 and 2 o'clock, so I'm still ok with everything.)

Not that the speed limit has ANY relevance when two people find each other after 2700 years (or even have enough anomalous parts to surround themselves with the fantasy of that, for a few weeks, or perhaps forever...)

Nor does a governor inhibit the process of going slowly enough to help discern the 2700 year old thread from the one two generations back, shouting out to you in some bar late one night in a moment of Instant Recognition, where you met and then married the fellow you'd created a hell of a bunch of karma with 90 years before, in reaction to some complex world-numbing soul-tearing political scenario like WWII BECAUSE things were so muddy and chaotic that you'd not been able to FIND the 2700 year old connection.

I have a list growing in my mind of things you've said to me that I thought no one would ever know or say. One of them is on the level of an Etruscan Hole. It happened almost immediately after we connected. It seems small outside the context of my own mind, and my own words to myself about what it means, but it's huge in my mind, and heavy. I'm not ready to share it. I'll tell you someday.

I stumbled over yours accidentally. You reacted openly and then THAT was on the table, so we've had to deal with it. Kind of like you and Steve and the Farmhouse. It's now in the Anomaly Files, and won't go away.

>> I said that even if I end up in my little black dress,

>> in the Fall, just singing for my supper in the middle of some bridge,

>> that THAT would be enough >

> You'd get pinched a lot.

Chased. But I'd be chaste. Can you live with a chased woman?

> I wouldn't know anything about 2003 (for me) though.

> I have a career to get off the ground.

I know.

My musical "goal" is a strange attractor that may or may not happen, and may or may not happen THEN.

I have visions of supporting you in your career effort. I don't know how, exactly. Maybe it's as this supreme distraction/stimulation that helps you focus (as you grit your teeth in determination, turn away from my coy attentions, and do the manly thing of lifting the weight of the next thesis draft, or the next deadline, or whatever and SUCCEED, and then come play with me in your relief spots...) and get you through the process.

I don't know how the future's going to play out, but I could see cooking for you now and then.

I remember when I first met Douglas, and we were high on the synergistic possibilities (Me moreso than he). I just KNEW (and still believe) that we'd been given an opportunity to change our life circumstances with one another.

He was/is a licensed General Contractor, and I pointed out that (since he wasn't working much at the time) if he donated his time to US and fixed up the Barn, and tricked things out, I could sell it and we'd make a nice chunk of money and could then take that and do the next thing.

He had too much ego to do that. He wouldn't help hardly at all. Turns out he had a big hangup about mixing his energy with anyone else's. I, OTOH, gave him a bedroom in my house (when he moved in), access to tools, a huge amount of encouragement when he told me he had a dream to someday make a violin, and today he's working on his 13th violin. (I am a really good partner)

I feel like I did my part. [Ah - never noticed the connection between "part" and "partner" before.]

We both - he, included - think he missed that boat completely. He certainly DID impact the hole I'm in with the store. If he'd helped back when Spirit aligned us, I would be out and well off. That was a conscious choice he made to forego our alliance. It was actually THAT moment that really doomed our relationship - I was just too thick-headed to see it, and kept thinking he would change.

I do think we came together in order to accomplish something. I believe that we had arranged for this test of our mutual mettle here, and that we knew that we'd definitely learn SOMETHING together. I think Douglas still needs to hit that place that you hit back when you decided to go to Texas.

I think he could have hit it with me - he could have said that I and OURS were worth him buckling down and getting a grip on his self-medicated/self-absorbed life - and I think I would have eased him through some of it. I know the price for him was high, for I can be a dragon-land, but love in dragon-land is better than isolation in a waste-land. There's more magic, and more wormholes to extricate oneself or transform can appear when you're fed and led by love.

Even now, when he has re-connected and felt remorse, and apologized, and had that look in his eyes that waits for me to say "yes, let's again...", it is THAT place that I go to in my heart that knows I don't have my PARTNER there, the one that will help me in those few moments when I really need it, in a way that will make OUR lives better.

I know that I would have been transformed if I'd had the experience of someone who would have been willing - just Willing - to be with me and do it together, whatever the hell IT was. Because of being a survivor, I have deep trust issues. They aren't reached easily. It will take a long, mature, deep and highly exploratory relationship to uncover them. Douglas and I couldn't get there without him dealing with his, as well.

I don't know what's in store for you and I. But I do know that, if I'm free to do so, and if we're in love enough, and if you can handle someone like me who can't be pinned down and may fly in and out of the nest for awhile til all the sticks get in the right place, I may have some service to offer you, helping you get through the next couple of years of indenturement without feeling cut off from love or sustenance.

I could very much see being with you, in some fashion, to some degree, in some mutually pleasing manner that helps you finish YOUR work, and facilitates the furtherance of mine (whatever that turns out to be - I'm throwing it into the Kali Maw).

> > My Uncle and Aunt own a small Villa on Catania,

> an island in the Aeolian chain off Sicily.

I started learning Italian after I went to Cremona - maybe I'll continue with that.

To think that you and I might walk the land in Italy again - oh, wow, I just wrote "again"; hmmm; that just came out - is very exciting. Perhaps we'll take some sabbatical time, when you're done with your two-year Texas service, and do things like that.

I'd love to look at the architecture and take notes and look deeply at lots of things around there. There's a great jazz festival in Perugia. The Principality of Pontecorvo (one of them - I've STILL not got that history straight, and need to) is near there. I've had ex-patriate leanings and for awhile was VERY SERIOUSLY considering a move to Italy in a few years.

One of my plans was to go spend some time in a monastery in Isernia, studying chant for a few months. I have contacts there, and could live very cheaply. My other stop was a few months in Varanassi, studying Vedic chant. Again, lots of good contacts - the sort that would lead to an amazing musical evolution.

I had a friend who knows Italy and France very well listen to a fantasy I had for a small business, and he told me I should go to Pordenone. He says it's a little-known (to Americans) Carmel-like city on the coast just north of Venice. Very wealthy. Very beautiful. Very high.

In Italy/Europe it's common to have your living space and your shop space integrated. I'd had a vision of having a small CD store (people LOVE American music over there and it's VERY hard to get) that would sell jazz, blues, and old-tyme. I had a vision of having a small scene that would actually be a music studio in the music store, with a small stage in the back, and a few tables, and do small concerts.

Ah, well...enough of such things for now. (Do you HAVE to build your little house in America?)

But the Italian thread is VERY interesting.

> I can have the keys any time I want.

> I've been wanted to go over there for a case of Nocello.

I'd go there for a case of you.

: : : : : :

-- Anonymous, July 09, 2002

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