Monthly Archives: June 2011

Allie’s Last Post

This is an image of Bab Boujiloud, the blue gate and main entrance to the Medina in Fez (if I spell it the English way I don’t have to go searching for the grave accent). It is imposssible for me to describe the last ten days in any way meaningful to another- words don’t stretch that far. Mo met me at the train station and the minute I set eyes on him I knew I was home.

He is renovating an old palace in the Medina. When I entered through the ancient cedarwood door tucked up a dark alley, my body was shocked by the size and splendour of the place. Who would have thought that such glory lies so close to the everyday bustle of the Medina’s ragged streets? There is a dome high over the central courtyard garden, galleries running round on two levels and lots of nooks and crannies to be made into rooms for family and friends. Mo is using local artisans to restore the palace and he is taking his time. Beautiful as the grand central courtyard is, it is going to be a job to heat in winter. So the smaller salons will then come into their own. The garden has palms and citrus trees and the fountain is already working.

Restoration is of course unfinished. Piles of chipped tiles wait to be lifted and painstakingly transformed into intricate zellij. Much is already done and is exquisite. By Christmas it will be finished and we will be married in the courtyard under the dome.

I’ve always been a risk taker; feet on the ground and head in the stars, that’s Allie. This is how I grow. I will make Fez my home. The Medina has already embraced me with an open heart. The vegetables alone make my soul sing. The journey if we are blessed -Inshalla- is long and the roads unmarked. The past gives clues to  the future. Reading my past convinces me that I entered this dense earthly existence to learn to love and be loved. This is what takes courage. Sometimes in the noise and bustle it is hard to remember the deep meaning contained in the words:-

I am in all,

all is in me,

there is no other.

In the meantime, as Rumi may or may not have said, I will rest my head on the pillow of my beloved’s breast. I have made my decision and so, my friends, it is time to say goodbye. I am not returning to England or cyberspace.  The infinite amounts of information that I am subjected to daily does my spirit no good at all. I go where community and love call. I will grow herbs in large tomato tins and watch them thrive on my terrace high above the Medina. If you are in Fez look up and catch a glimpse of the saffron yellow umbrellas in my garden of delight. I wish you all goodbye and hope that you, like me, will find the courage to love.


Three Breaths from Peace

‘Remember, you are never more than three breaths away from peace, Allie.” This is my friend Margery giving me some support as the time for departure draws near. I find the thought strangely comforting. It doesn’t weigh down my suitcase either, which is a good thing as Ryanair is so mean with its baggage allowance. All my life I’ve been struggling with the material world. Now that age is making me more of a Sufi-fit, it is becoming increasingly easy to travel light. Thank goodness for Mo and his apothecary shop. What more does a Virgoan hypochondriac need than a sympathetic male with large jars stuffed with marigold petals and the like?

My little case is already packed with silken tunics, trousers and floating bits. If only the body still floated beneath the silk! I’ve chosen my books carefully. Just two:- The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles and the Poetry of Rumi translated by Coleman Barks. I have a neat notebook with a customised cover of Moroccan doorways. I am going in search of still undiscovered parts of myself. I like to think there are doorways onto new vistas out there waiting for me to push on them. What better place than Fes to find them. Fes is after all not a place you can rush and it is known to be a vortex into another world. A place to build castles in the air. A place in which to nurture the dreams that will see me out. In two weeks I will either be back with a bulging notebook and all sorts of diversions filling my head or I wont. I hate to finish on someone else’s line but it could be a case of ‘Now you see me, now you -‘