“I love to walk in Benimussa with Baloney. We take our time, smelling the earth and the trees and when it’s hot, we can smell gas burning in the sun. In Elkins Park, we always had a dog. I grew up with Ginger Peachy and Georgie Girl and they were lovable, but they were family dogs. Baloney has only Izzy and me. She’s great company. She stays with me and runs away and comes back. She always comes back. Baloney’s famous in Benimussa. She can visit someone in the valley on a rainy day with a note tied on her collar in a plastic bag and come back with a message.”
That’s a gigantic bone Noire is chomping on.
I get a whole bag of bones from the village butcher.
But Noire was my friend
before I ever gave her a bone.
One day, Noire the valley shepherd dog jumped up to greet me on the Camino
as if she’d always known me.
As if she was my dog,
from way back when.
I had a dog like Noire once.
And here she is
come back to walk with me
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, bones to bones.
Noire, the valley shepherd dog,
my new friend
my old dog
come back home.
This is what happens when you spend the day with Marie.
She makes things come alive.
And then she takes you for a drive.
Rain, snow, hail around us.
Marie turns on the radio.
Debussy sounds like Erik Satie.
We talk of love.
“Love and Peace,” she says.
We arrive at our destination.
La vieille jument is waiting for us.
The old brown mare.
We have brought her favorites, carrots, and a bag of dry bread.
Marie stands under an umbrella, I have worn my hat.
She wants to take my picture, feeding the old brown mare.
When all the bread is gone
and the mountain hail is strong
we climb back in the car.
Marie rolls down the window and pulls up to speak to the horse.
Hail stones fly into the car, everything is wet.
We’re not cold, we’re happy, but when I mention it,
what does Marie have to say?
“No problem! It will dry!”
El Camino de Santiago
It’s a long story about a horse. His name was Quel Ami, What a Friend! I called him Mr. Ed. He didn’t talk, not like humans do, but he spoke to me and I spoke to him. I’m not a usual animal-bonder, I have my preferred pets, my only ones, the ones I love forever. I didn’t know Mr. Ed would become one too. I was on the way down the Camino to see him like I did every day, only this time I had an apple in my pocket and that’s when I met Marie. I was headed to the spot where I took his picture only the day before, and I’m lucky to have it, because Marie told me, “Quel Ami est mort!” It’s a long story about a horse, but in the end, Marie and I have bonded, thanks to Mr. Ed. She loved him too! We miss him, el caballo solitario del camino, the Camino where magical moments happen, El Camino de Santiago.
Fascinating, intriguing, I’m hooked from the start.
She’s not a Dervish
She could whirl around the world.
That’s the energy
Valentina the Brave
She’s one of a kind.
“Wherever whirling is, there is also a quiet centre. Without that peace, emptiness, that zero point – the whole movement would not be possible… Spinning is the archetype of the movement, of dance itself. ..one travels towards the primordial sound of creation. Sema, among other meanings, is the act of listening. It inspired me to listen to the music with my whole body, skin, breath and movement.”
“…real artists are usually discreet, absorbed in their art somewhere far from media over exposure. One of these artists is dancer and performer Valentina Lacmanović, who for years has balanced on the border of her artistic and geographic existence.”
KONTURA ART MAGAZIN number 121 (Croatia), August 2013,
Whirling as an instrument of communication
Photography : Ludvine Allegue © 2016 Allegue / Lacmanovic
Merci beaucoup a Rocio, grandmother, Nais, daughter and Kiliana granddaughter
It isn’t every day that people take me into their home, but when they take me into their hearts, that’s feeling at home.
Feeling wanted, feeling loved, feeling like I belong.
I’ve been a foreigner half my life, I’ve learned to live outside the klan, to find my own tribe’s drum.
But what—here I am!
Here I go?
Couldn’t deny the opportunity to live in a new country.
People are people all over the world.
It’s the heart that counts.
Like Keb Mo says,
“It’s becoming clear I can feel it down in my soul.
I know that I am you and you are me.”
I like this way to live.
It’s a good way to be.
I’ve heard you can tell everything about a person by the face. I never really considered this before now. I might go one step further and say, by the eyes. Do you have a calling? Some of us have careers. I think a calling can become a career but I’m not sure if all careers are callings? In Katja’s case, whether you look at her face or her eyes, it’s clear. She has been called upon to follow the path she loves. “Live the Loving,” was her message to me. Well, one of her messages. We flew through Time and Space in Barcelona, on a sofa, side by side, on a hot day in Las Corts. We could have been in Pennsylvania, in Timbuctoo, or in Tibet. I came to have my karma cleansed, or better, “realigned.” Spiritual realignment, yes, why not? I’ve been to a chiropractor to realign my bones. But what about the part of me that I can’t see? I know it’s there, that heart-part, that spirit, that soul, why does it feel so out of tune? Out of shape? Out of place? I thought Katja might help shed a little light on this karma of mine. She has no idea what she did. She pulled a name out of my heart. The name of a friend I wanted to make peace with. I wrote to this friend in my notebook: “What’s the problem?” I asked. “Live in the loving,” I told her. “Forgive me, I forgive you, let’s be friends again.” I had no idea she was dying. She died the next day.
We’re happy today! Victory! Emmanuel Macron! A new president, not a Trump! This is for real, happening in front of our eyes. Hope! For Europe and everywhere. Getting back on track. Let’s celebrate while we can. Light abounds! Carpe diem! A new beginning!
Give it a chance!
It’s Easter time again. Sure comes around fast, doesn’t it? Where were you last time this year? I wasn’t here in Saint-Alban. I never would have imagined last year I would be where I am now. It never entered my head. How would I know I would be in these farmlands with pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago? Pay attention I tell myself now. Pay attention to your life as it is. The secrets are there in the obvious. Who knows where you will be in one year? Surrounded by love hopefully!