And So We Begin Again…

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March 17th

Light at the end of winter’s dreary tunnel and a special anniversary.

Fifteen years ago, Glory Days joined our family.

Each year, the echo of bagpipes sparks her survivor’s soul.

The things is…most people see a plain, old boat. Fiberglass, chrome, an inanimate machine. But I always heard a voice–even if she only whispered at first.

Before the whirlwind of summer begins, I like to reflect on our shared memories,

New York Harbor in August 2001–spectacular and scary.

Dodging the Staten Island Ferry, logs in the East River. Navigating Hell Gate, and a Point Judith storm that sent waves crashing over the bow.Late that next night, floating under the Verrazano Bridge watching a lightning storm, unaware the skyline behind us would change forever in less than a month.

Glory Days has proudly flown the stars and stripes for memorials, holidays, and fireworks in the years since. She’s been the centerpiece for extravagant parties and a fortress for retreat when the world is too much. Whether she towers like Queen Mary at the end of the dock or slips in and out of the marina like a stealth fighter, she’s home and peace.

Wind, raging surf, flood and fire were the tests during Hurricane Sandy. When dawn’s light raced across the ruined beach, the Lady was alive in the debris. Against all the odds, she held on.

The timid whisper has become a voice that rings like royal crystal. A driving melody from the past, pushing us full blast into the future.

Be not discouraged, as many will fail to believe,

Forever follow a spirit that sings,

Viciously cherish each beating heart,

Revel in your timeless soul,

                                                  Glory

Bienvenue

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All my families love Christmas.

As a little girl from New York, I remember a tree so tall it rivaled the Manhattan skyscrapers. My mother decorated every inch of our little apartment and the aroma of her cooking wafted through the windows and lured crowds from blocks away.

Of course, coven life was different but Christmas was remarkably the same. Peace, love and hospitality that bridged species and set ancient vendettas to rest for one sparkling night.

Duke Banitierres’ mission for the season was to surround himself with as much family as possible, and mend the broken pieces of their unconventional souls in the warmth of his home.

 The first weeks of December were filled with shopping in New Orleans but holiday central was at the plantation, sixty miles up the Mississippi River. Every room had its own tree, trimmed in a unique theme. For a week of nights we exchanged gifts, in the grand parlor, swamped in the glorious mess of wrapping paper, ribbons and bows.

On Christmas Eve, all roads led to Normandie Hall. One candle in the window, turned into a candle in every window.

Family and friends from around the globe, some who never attended a party or ceremony all year, always found their way through the arches of the white mansion. String quartets, brass bands and piano artisans took turns serenading a celebration that didn’t end until the sun came up.

Now, our Highland Christmas is traditional and austere. Bonfires and bagpipes on the lonely moor, a simple tree with white lights and a twinkling star; the beacon that has welcomed generations home for centuries.

Joyeux Noel

Flowers of the Forest

The only musical instrument ever outlawed as a weapon of war.

Tomorrow morning the skirl of bagpipes will bounce through the canyons of Manhattan. Here in the States, pipes herald parades, weddings and funerals but they still send me back to our Highland castle ruin. In those complex days of heartbreak and renaissance, my greatest savior was the evening ritual.

Alone on a desolate moor, dressed in full clan regalia, the soloist played from his heart, driven by the sheer power of the harmony and his love of the ancient earth. All civilization paused, spellbound and silent in reverence. Legend told of brave pipers that inspired soldiers to battle and instilled dread of certain death in their enemies.

I feel for a foreigner’s terror. The pipes stir my soul to the core-pulling me home to our roots in the blood forest, our grandest battle plans and decisive victories.

Two tenor drones and one base, tuned an octave apart. Follow their call-your reward will be the dawn of spring in all her ancient glory.

 

 

 

Flowers of the Forest

The only musical instrument ever outlawed as a weapon of war.

This April evening sent the skirl of bagpipes bouncing through the canyons of Manhattan. Here in the States, pipes are played for parades, weddings and funerals but for me, the prelude of the drone sends me back to our Highland castle ruin. In those complex days of heartbreak and renaissance, my greatest savior was the evening ritual of the pipes.

Alone on a desolate moor, dressed in full clan regalia, the soloist plays from his heart, driven by the sheer power of the harmony and his love of the ancient earth. All civilization pauses, spellbound and silent in reverence. Legend tells of brave pipers that inspired soldiers to battle and instilled dread of certain death in their enemies.

I feel for a foreigner’s terror–the pipes stir my soul to the core–pulling me back to the days of the blood forest, our biggest gambles and greatest accomplishments.

My family home, my roots, our healing sanctuary.