Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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We walked slowly and quietly around the long corridors of the old cloister. The long deserted places of worship and daily devotion were kept in order by the town council. Tourists and visitors climbed the winding drive from the village to see the remains of the famous monastery. Religious ceremonies had gone underground in the last decade of the cultural revival. New discoveries by researchers indicate that the last group of secret priests had gathered in this place to say the last rites for their church. It was said they had burned all the literature in a great bonfire to keep it out of the hands of the invaders. They held a great ceremonial funeral march under a full moon, then disbanded for their own safety. Scattering to the four winds, the former religious leaders infiltrated society and took on new occupations in new parts of the region.
They took with them only personal amulets which they kept on their bodies, hidden from public view. Any evidence that they had been part of any religion might have placed them in great danger, so they were cautious. They never spoke to anyone about the past or their former associates. They slowly drifted apart and forgot the importance of the rituals they had performed in the past. They found new interests and new ways of seeing the universe. They started to feel connected to new families and communities, forgetting the ideas they had held closely in the past.
As politics thaw and people once again look to find hope and unity, some say that visiting these old places of worship can bring peace and enlightenment. We feel cool and calm as we drift down the hall, imagining what this must have been like when it was full of monks. There is something about the light that feels serene. The arches that open to the orchard frame trees in blossom, surrounded by wildflowers carpeting the ground. Enchanted beings are said to have taken over the spot after the invaders withdrew. Some say you will observe trolls and wizards if you linger on the grounds after dark. We are enchanted enough for one day, and take our questions with us back down the hill. We wonder what religion really was, and how it has changed history.
This short story is inspired by this week’s photo prompt on Sue Vincent’s Echo. Each week she publishes a new photo on Thursday. Join the group to read, comment, or contribute your own poem, story, or essay. The variety to be found in the responses is amazing.
What does the word masquerade mean to you? Do you have a secret identity known only to yourself? How would you dress if you had no formal dress code to satisfy? Do you think you would make any changes to your present wardrobe? When I was a child my mother kept a very big cardboard moving container in the basement full of her old dressy clothing. This box was provided for dress up when I had friends over to play. We used it extensively. I have some fuzzy memories of my friends in hats, gloves, and formal dresses. None of my other friends had one of these, but it was not until later that I knew it had been a great idea.
I had my first job in my life as a costumer and a singer in an outdoor drama. This show, Unto These Hills, was produced in a large amphitheater, so costumes were very important part of telling the story. One of my jobs was to assist in the quick changes of costumes. I helped an eagle dancer turn into Andrew Jackson, replete with long cape, in about 2 minutes. There were a couple of other quick changes, but that was the one that required the biggest transformation. I was never on stage in Cherokee, but in the choir behind a curtain when we sang. I was the youngest (17) and the lowest paid member of the staff. I think I made about $35 a week after they paid for my room and board out of my check. I don’t think about it very often, but last week I saw a bluegrass band from North Carolina and the memories came into my mind like a flood. I am craving hush puppies and thinking about some of our crew that have already left this world. I am remembering laughing so hard I thought I might die right there in the Great Smokey Mountains.
I had careers in both spa fitness and travel, which required me to switch costumes, sometimes quick change. I wore bathing suits a lot of the time for teaching, and often went to the travel agency at night to print tickets and work on my clients’ trips. They were two distinct work environments, so mixing them was a bad idea. I had one briefcase for each job, and had to make sure I kept them separate. This became more defined when I started to work in Mexico at Rancho la Puerta. I was asked to do something to perk up the bingo game because guests were complaining about it. Without consciously bringing it to mind, I reinvented my cardboard dress up box from the basement of my childhood home. We collected ridiculous Vana White style evening wear and used it for bingo. This bingo persona got out of control. Regularly guests would as me if I was there for the week just as bingo queen. Either they missed my classes, or did not know I was the same person who had taught them. This game went on for years, until the guests themselves wanted to dress up and wear wigs. Eventually I distributed all the contents of the bingo costume box and started again. I wore a sheet toga and flowers in my hair for bingo and said I was Spring, the season.
I recently did a big purge of my closet in order to feel focused and clear. This has been a wonderful change, leaving me space and a better curated wardrobe than I had. I no longer need to dress for a job, or to impress anyone. I dress for comfort and also like to express my personal style. My secret identity is ace detective. I am curious to a fault, and enjoy nothing more than stealth. I am not particularly fond of being recognized because I love to slip around in a crowd to eavesdrop. If I could use a cloak for invisibility I certainly would. My signature look, in my own estimation, should be one that shape shifts. I need to maintain a level of mystery. What do you want from your costuming, gentle reader?
I have done a lot of joking on the subject of influence measurement, Klout in particular. I used to have a lot of fun over at Klout, but never took it seriously. Now I do wonder about one thing. How does Klout know that Chris Brogan belongs at the top of my influencers list? This happens to be true, but there are no FB connections, no tweets between us. He contacts me, as does the fabulous S. Anthony Innarino, by e-mail each Sunday.
S. Anthony’s Influencers list shows Brother Brogan at the top, which does make sense, but how do they know about me? My Klout influencers list has had Chris at the top forever, but also lists one person I don’t even know. They have no record of the books or e mails, and they do not seem to be accurate, let alone psychic. It reminds me of a joke my father used to tell about a thermos bottle given to a hillbilly. The fellow wondered how the thermos knew weather to keep the contents hot or keep them cold. The punch line of the joke was “How do it know?” I add this to the list of questions I ask about the meaning and accuracy of influence on Klout.
I have joked lately about the topics being yanked and the humor involved in the influence categories. I don’t pay much attention to it any more since all my fun food topics were tossed by the influence bosses. Apparently one can grow influence in strawberry guava one week, and have all your important and valuable influence wiped out whimsically the next. Some seeds fall on fallow ground. I feel that I have been, and many still are unduly influenced by influence fascists.