Saturday, June 15, 2019

FATHER'S DAY







Six years after my father died, he reappeared and invited me on a mystical journey.

He did so in a dream, as vivid and real as any REM-induced vision can be.

This happened in the rustic town of McCall, Idaho, to which I had taken my family for an autumn getaway in November 2014.


On our second night at Shore Lodge, on Lake Payette, we ventured out through a sub-zero chill for dinner at Steamers, a nondescript hole-in-the-wall that serves, without fanfare, the finest river trout and trimmings I’ve ever eaten.  (My dad loved restaurants like this; Coco Lezzone in Florence comes to mind.) 






Afterwards, back at the lodge, I warmed myself with a sweetly aromatic hot-buttered rum.

Just before dawn is when my father came to me in a dream.  He was dressed in black short-sleeve shirt and black slacks—his regular attire of choice—and, uncharacteristically, a golden belt. 

He wanted to convey a message of some kind to me; an advisory or warning is how he couched his directive. He said he wanted me to go to a specific place.

The following summer, after rediscovering this message in a journal, I tapped those words—Haze and Maine—into Google.

Nothing.

So maybe it was Hays and Main?

I entered the new spellings.

Atop a page of hits this site stood out: 

Welcome to Downtown Hays, Kansas.  I clicked into it.  You’ll find it all in the Chestnut Street District… including Main Street.  Hays—in Ellis County. 

This disconcerted me somewhat—in a good way—because, well, Ellis was my dad’s first name—rather, a name he gave himself, early in life to replace the birth name given him.

Back then, before the journey commenced, I was naïve about dreams, about the way in which messages from the universe work. The journey, and its lessons of the last four years, have taught me otherwise.

It began with an Internet site that explained what I had experienced.

Deceased loved ones can and do visit us in our dreams.  It is easier for them to communicate with us when we’re sleeping, that in-between place between our Earthly reality and the other side of the veil.

It went into enough detail to launch me, a few months later, to Kansas.


Ironically, the route to Hays, Kansas by road from Denver, to which I’d flown, is called The Golden Belt.

On Main Street in Hays, this message awaited: 

A mural of a giant sunflower with the inscription For Henry (my middle name, after my father’s father).

(I did not know, at this stage of my journey, that a sunflower is the emblem of spiritualism.)

Now, a psychiatrist would call my interpretation of this message an “idea of reference,” meaning that I was personalizing stimuli around me, a belief that mental health professionals find troublesome.

But Carl Jung, the highly esteemed founder of analytical psychology, in a departure from conventional psychiatry, would have called this a message from the universe—or, using a term Jung coined himself, synchronicity.



Suddenly, driving onward to Kansas City, I became attuned to things as I never had before—a kind of heightened alert, appreciating the magnificence of the natural world around me, highlighted (literally) by a spectacular sunset while driving through Flint Hills.

Flashback: Just before departing for Kansas, my father had come to me in a dream and whimsically teased me to another place; a geographical location much farther away.

That message was based on a pearl of wisdom he’d once said to me long ago (or so I believed in my dream):  Take the London tube to a station you’ve never been, any station at random, in a borough of London you’ve never been before, get off, resurface and walk around.

A third dream got more specific:

I answer a phone call from a man asking to speak with my father. I tell the man my father passed away and the man accepts this news passively and talks to me instead.  At the end of our conversation, he asks if I ever get to London because that’s where he lives, and I say I do, and he invites me to visit him where he resides on “Disney Street."

Upon awakening and recalling this dream, I realize the caller was a dear friend of my father who perished in a 1979 plane crash.

I Google Disney Street and discover that such a street (actually, a half-street) does indeed exist, hidden away near a tube station called Borough—to which I had never been or heard of till now. 


Fast-forward a few months later: 

I am standing on Disney Street, to which I’d traveled by tube-train through a station called Borough. 

A ceramics shop displays three skulls—the message?  

Skulls symbolize mortality and remind us to appreciate each day we are alive. 



The road leads to Cross Bones Graveyard, where medieval prostitutes were laid to rest, and which, today, is an extraordinary celebration of their lives. Its gates are festooned with ribbons, rendering this place colorful and festive, to honor the women so poorly treated during their lifetimes. 



Next, Southwark Cathedral, where an amplified voice fills the oldest gothic church in London with a message: 

“Find a piece of art or music that encourages you to move along in life.”  

I’d already found a piece of music—from Hildegard von Bingen—that was not only moving my life along but also (I believed) keeping my younger daughter safe from young-adult misadventures.

Later, over martinis in the hotel bar, I press Curt, a good friend who had accompanied me to Kansas, and now London, for his take on our tube trek.

“We were surrounded by death,” he says.

First:  The skulls near Disney Street.  

Second:  Crossbones Graveyard. 

“And third,” Curt continues, “the Cathedral, standing on stone slabs over dead people or walking by decorative tombs.  It was all about dead people.  The meaning for me is that I have to make the most of whatever time I have left.”

I venture an observation of my own: 

If so much can be learned by visiting an unknown neighborhood and walking around—Borough Market, Cross Bones, Southwark Cathedral—why not put such a concept to practice at least once a month, maybe once a week, anywhere and everywhere one happens to be?

Later, I impulsively instruct a cabbie to Motcombs brasserie, the venue of my father’s last supper, and my first visit since his passing. 

A female barmaid with a snotty attitude provokes me to turn my heel and hit the road.

As if my Dad was saying… You don’t need to be here, move forward.


Tuesday, June 11, 2019

CH-CH-CHANGES



St. Marks-in-the-Valley
Los Olivos
January 2018


A big welcome when we arrived, and the welcoming never ended.

I'm pretty sure I died in the mudslide and went to heaven.





Life can be unpredictable



Now it's time to move onward and upward.  

Specifically, up to the Pacific Northwest.






(The journey continues...)




FINAL WINE VALLEY SUNRISE






Monday, June 10, 2019

REILLY, READY TO ROLL





WEEKEND VALLEY BLOW-OUT



 \

Pony Espresso, Old Town SY




Old Santa Ynez Day


Real cow-boys

A new hat?

Epiphany: Bubble Shack


"The Communications Center"
Going out as we came in (if wiser and happier).


Fig Flight


A long finish at the perfect place


Sunday, June 9, 2019

SOUNDS OF THE WINE VALLEY



Falling asleep to owls hooting


Awakening in the early hours to the yip-yip-kayaing of coyotes


Longhorn steers



Being here for seventeen months has been an amazing and unforgettable experience.



Saturday, June 1, 2019

BILDERBERG SUBMERGED



Verdict magazine, October 1976



As waves of nationalism wash over the Western Alliance, particularly in Europe with Britain’s Brexit  and new election twists in Austria and Italy, the Bilderberg Group has become waterlogged.

Understand: There is no assembly on this earth more responsible for the formulation of a united Europe—albeit from behind the scenes—than this formidable body of movers and shakers, captains and kings.

Indeed, if there is any single grouping of people that epitomizes the views, goals and reach of globalists, it is Bilderberg.

The Bilderberg Group is meeting this weekend for its annual pow-wow, in Montreux, Switzerland on the shore of Lake Lemann. As is customary, Bilderberg will book out a whole luxury hotel and closet itself from media reportage to engage in three days of lofty discussion on the most important issues facing the world.

They have much to groan about as they tackle their most pressing issue: nationalistic fervor and the potential disintegration of its proudest achievement, European Union.

As the late George McGhee, former U.S ambassador to Germany once said, “The Treaty of Rome, which brought the Common Market into being, was nurtured at Bilderberg meetings.”

McGhee would know. He attended a Bilderberg meeting—Garmisch, Germany, September 1955—when, according to the confidential record of that meeting, “It was generally recognized that it is our common responsibility to arrive in the shortest possible time at the highest degree of integration, beginning with a common European market.”

What, you may ask, is Bilderberg?

I asked this very question around Washington D.C. in 1975 when I was a university student.

Nobody knew.

When I wrote foreign embassies to inquire about a group their own political leaders and captains of finance and industry had attended, they wrote back with dumbfounded notes of puzzlement.

People thought I was nuts.

Yet Bilderberg had been meeting secretly since the mid-1950s with the specific objective of strongly influencing the foreign policies and economic platforms of Western European countries and the United States.

After months walking a labyrinth, I tracked down a charity in New York City called American Friends of Bilderberg.  I visited the low-profile if elegantly-appointed office of Murden & Company (the cover) and received a cordial reception. This was where Bilderberg’s Steering Committee, in coordination with a European Steering Committee, based in The Hague, would decide agendas and participant invitation lists for Bilderberg meetings.

I got an A on the term paper I wrote for my International Politics course at American University. More important than a good grade, the thrill of the search incentivized me to pursue a career in journalism.

An obscure British magazine reshaped my term paper into a lengthy feature story.

But even those who read it questioned whether the existence of such a group was for real or fantasy.

Until April 1977.

That is when the Bilderberg Group next met, in Torquay, on the Devonshire coast in southern England.

I had forecast this event in my magazine piece, identifying the luxury Imperial Hotel as its venue.

This marked the end of Bilderberg’s anonymity.

Because, sitting in the Imperial’s lobby, a smattering of Fleet Street reporters, all in possession of my story, were taking bets amongst themselves on whether or not the so-called Bilderbergers would actually manifest themselves.

And suddenly, like gnomes, there they were, as the lobby began filling with the likes of Henry Kissinger, NATO Secretary-General Joseph Luns, Fiat’s Giovanni Agnelli—and German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt—leaving seasoned reporters with mouths agape.

I was there myself watching as a white Range Rover deposited a rumpled David Rockefeller.

Mr. Rockefeller was shocked to see reporters and photographers milling around. And they were just as shocked to see him.

Bilderberg was for real. And secret no longer.

I, a rookie of 22, was the only reporter among several newspaper luminaries who knew anything about the secretive group. I got wined, dined, grilled—and for the first time in its 22-year history, Bilderberg got reported by the mainstream media.

This is what I was able to tell them:

Bilderberg was rooted in a 1946 address by Joseph Retinger (a political philosopher and Polish patriot) to the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London. His topic: the threat posed to Europe by the Soviet Union. This speech spawned the idea of a European Movement.

Utilizing his high-level contacts as an eminence gris, Mr. Retinger harnessed Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands to figurehead his project. Realizing the need for American support, they together recruited super-banker David Rockefeller and CIA Director Walter Bedell Smith— and the CIA secretly channeled more than $3 million to Mr. Retinger for moving his movement forward.

In May 1954, at Hotel de Bilderberg (from which the group took its name), 80 of the most influential men from Western Europe and the United States spent three days bonding.

They arrived at this conclusion, stated in the confidential minutes of that event: 

“When the time is ripe, our present concepts of world affairs should be extended to the whole world.”

Their main concept: a unified Europe.

And they succeeded.

The European Movement turned into the Common Market; the EEC turned into European Union; and, simultaneously, an Atlantic Alliance flourished.

Until the advent of Donald Trump and Brexit.

And now, as a result, Bilderberg is in disarray.

It is interesting for me to note, after 44 years’ observing Bilderberg evolve, that President Trump’s senior adviser (and son-in-law) Jared Kushner was invited by Bilderberg to attend their 2018 meeting in Turin, Italy and again this year—a summons probably instigated by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who has never missed a meeting and is planning, at the ripened age of 96, to attend this weekend’s conference.

What it says to me is that the globalists are striving to groom Mr. Kushner as their key lobbyist inside the White House.


And thus, the intrigue continues.