For a period of time there was a quite unique order inhabitating the Lemurian Abbey, as envisioned by Heather Blakey, creator of the Soul Food Cafe. These were the early days of blogging, long before Facebook and other Social Networking Sites began to dominate the landscape. Barbara Banta was a founding member of this order. She has maintained a cell at the Abbey.
I’d expected to find perhaps only the foundation or an outline of a building, but to my amazement I saw a huge gray stone monastery reaching into the heavens and spreading out in all directions.
Heather greeted me in a flowing blue gown and made me welcome despite the fact that I was dressed in forest green sweats, trailed by a black and white cat and carrying a large bird cage. I nervously explained that Oreo had practically insisted on accompanying me, since he felt a vital part of my writing after our trip down the manhole and, I babbled on that, I had to bring Tookey since it was impossible to find anyone who could feed a neurotic, menopausal Amazon anything other than an extremely long stalk of celery. Heather has evidently had strange encounters with nervous novices before because she never lost her elegant composure, although I did notice she insisted on walking on the side opposite Tookey’s cage after the bird reached out and tried to grab her sleeve.
My first impression of the place is that it’s so complex and maze-like I’ll never be able to find my way back to my room if I leave it. Well, this is from someone who gets lost in a revolving door. It’s also one reason I’m already glad I brought Oreo. Once I feed him, he’ll remember where he belongs and lead me back if I get confused.
My room truly is a cell, very small, and minimally furnished. The length of the bed is the length of the room. An old fashioned pitcher and wash basin just fit the table that holds them. I have a writing desk and straight back chair and, high up in one rough stone wall, a small window lets in the light.
I wanted to ask Heather about the strange rumors I’d heard about lemurs and an alchemist’s tower. I wondered how many others had come and who and where they were, but she didn’t linger, just told me to have a good night and that we’d talk more tomorrow.
She turned as she was about to leave and asked, “You did bring the supplies you need for your projects, didn’t you?”
I held up my journal and pen and pointed to the canvas tote bag I’d placed on the bed. “I have some things in there for my altered book, but I’ve never made one before and I don’t know if I’ve brought the right stuff.”
“You’ll soon find in the Abbey that you have everything you need. Sweet dreams, ” she added.
When she was gone, I put my tote full of art supplies on the chair and laid my journal and pens on the desk. I had arrived at Lemurian Abbey in broad daylight and been shown to my cell. In the few minutes Heather and I had been speaking the day seemed to have ended. Light from a sickle moon was pouring milky white beams through my window and I was longing for sleep. Was I suffering from jet-lag? Was I on NJ time or Australian Time. I was so tired I couldn’t even recall if it was winter or summer.
I noticed a metal hook protruding from the corner of the wall near my writing desk and hung up Tookey’s cage. She was fast asleep. Turning down the blankets, I snuggled into bed with Oreo curled at my side. Tomorrow I would begin. “I have everything I need,” I murmured over and over until I fell into a contented sleep.
Order of Soul Food