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Embodied Rituals for Skin + Soul

Filtering by Tag: History

The Times They Are A-Changin'

Katie Gordon

Yes, I know it's been a long time since we've met here.  There's a lot that's been going on, lots of changes, all good! First of all, Cam and I drove from Boston to California, taking with us all of our stuff (well, as much as would fit in the back of his truck).  Along the way we stopped in Ohio, camping right on Lake Erie, setting up our tent, and cooking beans and hot dogs in our cast iron skillet.  We were pretty proud of ourselves.

Then we drove to Chicago, stopping to see some of his family, passed through Nebraska and had our first experience at Cracker Barrel, and then spent two days in Boulder hiking and seeing my good friend Jenna :)

Boulder was definitely the highlight and I'm even looking at grad schools out there...although I'm not sure I can handle any more snowy winters.

We finally made it back to Santa Rosa in time for a friend's wedding, then spend the fourth of July in Tahoe relaxing with family.  Eventually, we drove back to So Cal just in time to go on my family vacation (all 13 of us) to Europe for two weeks.

After flying into Amsterdam on a Thursday morning, we found the cafe with the best coffee EVER.  It could have been that I was so tired and hungry after flying all day and all night that anything would have tasted so good, but I doubt it.  The Knight family has never been known for it's relaxing vacations, so right after breakfast we hit the Van Gogh Museum, which was incredible, and then went in search of some good pubs and coffee shops, because what's a trip to Amsterdam without a trip or two or three to a coffee shop?

We left Amsterdam, made a pit stop in Tournai, Belgium to see some family friends who converted a really old barn into a house with an incredible garden and an impressive collection of weapons from the Belgian Congo.  Then we headed to a house we rented for a week in Normandy, where we thought we'd finally chill out, play some ping pong, badminton, swim, and bbq.  And ironically, with all the great chefs we have in the family, the best meals we had consisted mainly of french bread, cheese, and wine.

We took day trips to Rouen (where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake), Honfleur, Omaha Beach, Dieppe, and Monet's house and gardens in Giverny, which was probably my favorite, although I still haven't been able to decide.

After a week there, we all parted ways and my mom, brother, grandma, Cam, and I headed first to Mont-Saint-Michel, an abbey built on a tidal island on the coast of Normandy  and which dates back to the 8th century.  This was also where we made friends with Dominic and Caroline from Switzerland.

Next, we headed to Chartres, a town southwest of Paris that is home to Chartres Cathedral, which houses one of the world's largest collections of stained glass, mostly from the 13th century.

The inside is even more breath-taking than the outside.  The stained glass fills the cathedral with a soft light and it feels like you've walked into another world, one of silence, prayer, and peace.  It truly feels like a sanctuary from the outside world.  It's in the middle of renovations, as most cathedrals are, and you could see clearly where the walls had been cleaned and how it might have looked when it was built.

From there we stopped in Bruges on our way to Amsterdam.  It was pouring rain so we didn't do much sight-seeing, but we did get a belgian waffle.

So now I'm back home, recovering from jetlag, finally unpacking, sorting through books, magazines, and clothes and trying to find places for it all.  Inspired by the impressionists, I'll be starting an art class next week, and I've just planted my herb garden.

So, sorry for the long delay in posts, but as you can see, I've had my hands pretty full.  I will be posting some recipes soon, along with updates on how the herbs are faring.

Mercury is in retrograde, tonight's a full moon, a time when deeper emotion and wisdom emerges, a time to reflect, listen to your heart, and take your time.  It would seem the times really are changing.

Time to catch up

Katie Gordon

Welcome back!  It's been a while since I've posted here...a month and a day to be exact...but it's been pretty busy around here so there's lots to catch up on.  Most of you know Cam and I were in the UK with his parents for a friend's wedding and to visit some of his family over there.


We were gone for a total of 10 days and I still can't believe how much we were able to fit into that time.  The first few days were full of wedding preparation, meeting family and friends, and getting to know the town where Cam's friend Karl lives called Royston, which is not too far outside of London.  I visited my first real English pub, met some of the locals, and Karl tried teaching me how to play pool, or Snooker, to be more specific.

We also saw the most amazing rainbow ever...

The wedding itself was in a tiny, centuries-old church on top of a hill, and the reception was at the bride's family's house, which is actually an old farm house with horses and a BEAUTIFUL garden out back.  They had the nicest port-a-potties I had ever seen, complete with candles, cloth towels, and even artwork.

Good food, good dancing, and my hair even stayed relatively under control through the rain and humidity.  I'd say it was a successful evening.


The next day we went to Cambridge and went punting on the Cam (River).  Our punting guide was pretty good, although when I asked which specific college Isaac Newton was in, he mistakenly told us Newton completed most of his studies at Oxford.  (For those of you interested, Newton was in Trinity College, Cambridge.)


The next day we took a train to Manchester to visit some of Cam's cousins, Danny and Audrey.  They live outside of Liverpool, so we got to go into town, do some shopping, and see The Cavern, where Brian Epstein first discovered the Beatles.


We spent the next few days up in Scotland.  The drive from Liverpool took about 3 hours, but was the most beautiful countryside I have ever seen.  Everything was so green and all the tulips were just beginning to bloom.  There are stone walls dividing the land that have been standing for hundreds of years with no cement holding them together.  As time goes by and the rocks wear down, they sort of fuse together until they're one.


On the way up to Edinburgh, Danny, who grew up on a farm, explained to us the importance of being in rhythm with nature and knowing the land, how the seasons, weather, and time of day all have real-life consequences for those who are living off their own land.  Land that has been in their family for generations.  Maybe I'm just sentimentalizing, but I find fascinating the idea of knowledge being transmitted through experience, from parent to child.  It's not something those people read about or look up on Google.  It's something they connect with on an intuitive and experiential level.  To be in tune with the earth in that way is something so many of us are lacking, it seems to me.  I wish there was more of a movement to bring some of that knowledge back, to connect with our natural world on a deeper level than most of us know how to do.

Anyway, I got off on a tangent...In Edinburgh, we saw the was okay, although most of it has been destroyed and rebuilt so many times that it wasn't as old as I had hoped (I'm kind of a history nerd for those of you who don't know).  Plus there were only certain areas that you could walk around, and it was pretty crowded.


They're setting up now for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo that happens in August, which is a celebration where performances of dancers, pipers, bands, drummers, singers, and gymnasts from militaries around the world take place annually.  Maybe some day we'll make it back for that :)


Or maybe just for the whisky...

Stirling Castle definitely made up for what Edinburgh Castle lacked in "really old stuff."  Although it had been rebuilt since Robert the Bruce burned it down after the Scots were defeated by the Brits, the historians working at the castle had made an effort to preserve it as it had looked when Mary queen of Scots had lived there in the 16th century.  We got to walk all around the outside wall, peaking over, imagining what the soldiers on duty might have seen as thousands of British soldiers marched toward them over the hills.  I probably wouldn't be a very good lookout...

After leaving Scotland, we drove down to the Lake District in England where many people have weekend or summer homes.  It was gorgeous!  It's also where Beatrix Potter know...the lady who wrote about Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny?  I had to restrain myself from buying a Peter Rabbit tea well as sampling all 36 flavors of ice cream they had in Bowness.

We stayed around the lakes for a few days with Audrey and Danny, wandering around the quaint villages and drinking as much English tea as we could.  We managed to escape the ash cloud and get back to Boston safely with our bags stuffed full of shortbread, biscuits, and Cadbury.


It's taken me until now to finally settle back into my routine here, but now that summer's almost here, there's so much happening in the next few months.  We're busy getting ready for our roadtrip back to California (YAYYYYY!), looking at potential grad programs, teaching my last class in East Boston this Tuesday, and getting our summer plans in order, which will hopefully include lots of yoga, gigs, cooking, reading, chilling, beaching, BBQ-ing, and gardening.  Lots to look forward to.  I'm especially excited for the amazing produce I'll be getting once we're back home!...not to brag or anything.  PLUS I have newly engaged friends (congrats you guys!) and I've already volunteered myself to help with wedding planning...hopefully they won't mind :)

That ought to bring you up to speed.  I'll be back in the next few days with some new recipes, stories, and perhaps a new book for your reading list...