Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dreaming Of Ancient Stones . . .

Someone was asking recently how do I find some of the places I've found over the years, where abandoned cars lie rotting in the woods, where falling down houses await a patient and loving observer. One secret is that I have a terrible penchant for going up dirt tracks that lead into the woods or into mysterious looking glens and glades and copses and forests. Like Robert Frost, give me a road less travelled, and there's a good chance I'll take it, just to see where it goes . . .
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So on a trip into the Dordogne region of France, when I spotted a tiny little side road, I slammed on the brakes, backed up, and pulled in, driving a ways, then getting out and walking . . . for it is when walking in strange places that magic lightning bolts strike. This tiny stone chapel, probably about 600 to 700 years old, was one such lightning bolt. Found totally by chance the first time there, I went back a couple of years later to visit again, going back up the totally obscure back road to get there, taking my guitar the second time. In fact, the acoustic qualities inside this dirt-floored chapel were just out of this world. Sort of like singing in the shower, but far better. The acoustic guitar took on tonal qualities I'd never heard in it before. Magic was in the air. . .
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Funny, this image is immediately adjacent on a strip of negatives from 1995 to the image of the two Peugeot 204s (see post just a couple down the page here) that were hiding in the woods just a short distance by foot from this chapel. And god only knows what called me to go further up the dirt road in the woods there from the chapel to the place where those Jabberwocky cars were lurking. . . something about a dirt road I can't resist . . .
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This stone structure was also in that same neck of the woods, and can most certainly join the ranks of what I've referred to in quite a few earlier posts as my Dream Houses. Imagine the potential this beauty has . . . just needs a little glass in the windows and perhaps a few other sacrifices to creature comforts inside, shovel out the goat droppings and so forth. . .
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What charms me also about this Dream House is how the non-symetric shape mimics quite closely one of the first Dream Houses I posted back last October 14th, a wood shack in the Maine woods. (Which post you could find if so inclined by going down sidebar to the index, and clicking on the Dream House label, and then going down to the second to the last post on the second page. . . a post that did not receive a single comment, which is not surprising, as for the first few months of this blogging journey, none of the posts received any comments. Is that par for the course in your experience also ?) In any case, if you need a place to sleep tonight, I'll light the candles, turn back the sheets, and fill the big clawfoot tub with steaming water from the cast iron kettle over the fire for you . . . here in this rustic property . . .
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27 comments:

English Rider said...

These thick, hand-shaped slates or schist stone tiles on the roof are called Lozes, from Lozere and Dordogne regions. I have heard them called Dragon Scales which gives your rustic structure a mythological past. What thinks you? It is not hard to imagine a nest of Dragon's eggs laid in this rocky landscape. Watch out what you might meet one day on your travels!

Steve said...

All roads might not lead to Rome anymore but they certainly lead to interesting places...!

Loulou said...

Feel dreamy when looking at such magic, quietn, lonely place
Take care
Loulou

*SparkleMirror* Kiln-Fired Art Studio said...

Good Morning Owen!
I think we are a lot alike... Those unbeaten paths speak to me as well... I have the insatiable desire to head off on that mysterious path. I feel it sending chills up and down my spine and pounding my heart a bit heavier.
But I rarely run across the finds you do... This stone chapel is a real gem! And the fact that it's 6 or 7 hundred years old is damn impressive (2-3 times longer than our establishment of society here in its entirety!) Playing your acoustic guitar there as well (I have a classical with nylon strings that reverberates to the heart) must have been a wonderful experience, adding so much depth to your find.
I love these stone structures that must take a decade to complete.
David

desi said...

This last house is so beautiful! I wouldn't mind having it as my home! Only thing i'll change is building in bigger windows!

Lovely pics Owen!

:D esi

Janie said...

I like following old dirt roads, too. You never know what you'll find, but the road has to be there for some reason.
The chapel is beautiful. Just amazing. The old stone house is wonderful, too. It's fun to dream...

the watercats said...

Ahhh... Unfortunately, I've exhausted all local supplies of lonely, overgrown laneways,and exciting buildings, either that or they've been bought up in the heady days of the Celtic Tiger and turned into elite holiday accomodation.
There is nothing like the feeling of discovery when you find a magical place... What a find the chapel was!! I would have been tempted to just move straight in and claim squatters rights down the line :-)

CrazyCris said...

I'm in love with old stone buildings! They have a certain charm and weight about them... but among the changes I'd also go for some larger windows to let in the light! ;o)

beautiful shots!

Quiche said...

Magical places, great photos! I love the details that were put into the arrangement of stones, the semi-circular stones above the one window in the house and the stones around the window next to it! In spite of the simplicity, whoever built these structures put quite a lot of detail and care into them. I wonder how old they are, who lived there, who attended the church, and what their lives were like on a daily basis.

jeff said...

Salut cher Owen ! tu vois, je te l'ai déjà dit !... tu ne marches pas assez ! ! ! Conclusion, tu en es réduit aux pannes en tout genre pour devoir marcher et découvrir les beautés de notre beau pays ! Tu peux dire merci à tes freins ou bien est-ce, va savoir, une force magique, qui t'a poussé vers ce lieu étrange et magnifique ?!? Mystères, mystères !...
Tes photos B/W sont pas mal surtout celle du bas ! Je vais me remettre au N/B ( en français on l'écrit comme ça ! )... Celà permet de mettre l'accent sur l'essentiel !
J'aimerais bien t'entendre jouer de la guitare ...! moi aux percus, afro-morroco-jamaïcaines ! ! !
Bon, mais je m'éloigne du sujet !
Tu as quoi comme voiture maintenant ? Je sais ! J'ai compris ! Je ne te titillerais pas sur ce sujet des voitures !
AAllez Owen, my pote ! A bientôt !
Il est bizarre cet univers Blogger tout de même !...<8:)

Not Waving but Drowning said...

Fab photos...love the black and white, it adds to the mystique

GG

Margaret Pangert said...

I've never seen such masonry except in Scottish castles--narrow little windows for protection and certainly not for light and air!
tu as trouve le tombeau de Mary Magdalene dans l'eglise? on dit que c'etait dans le Dordogne qu'elle a fini ces jours...

Roxana said...

dream houses indeed... i once won a prize in french composition with this topic: my dream house :-) imagine what i could have done if i had your photos to inspire me :-)
lovely!

babbler said...

This home looks rather empty, although I would imagine there are probably large families of slugs that surround the structure, perhaps they go inside once in a great while to hold meetings and have a spot of tea......This is a perfectly wonderful house! This looks like it may have had a portion of it added on there at the side. I like the arches above a couple of the windows, made from the thinner rocks. Can you imagine how much time it took to build this structure?! I can picture someone on the roof with a pulley, lifting the rocks one by one up the side of the house. Thanks for the photos, the discovery - this is magical! Mrs. Slug loves good real estate!

robert said...

Good morning Owen,how are you doing?
Eventhough it's hard to take a photography of dreams, you probably came close with these stones, as I saw one of them dreaming about a garden, nevertheless being happy where it is for now, providing such a beautiful scenery.

louciao said...

I love the stone work, and the tiny openings to peer from and how the whole structure emerges organically from the rocky terrain. The b&w does a great job of emphasizing the details, textures, and overall mood of the place. Excellent find. I'm packing my bags now!

The Sagittarian said...

Fantastic, and even better being black and white (which is actually my preferred mode if I had to make a decision on it). It must have taken simply hours to get all those stones in the right place and so on. Beautiful!
Now get yourself a wine...

Marguerite said...

Such an interesting post, Owen! One never knows what they might find on one of your adventures. Love the pics, too!

Friko said...

I too followed the road less travelled; it had to be that because if others had travelled it too there would have been a housing estate at the end of it by now.
Not always did I come upon such finds as these, there were dead ends too, and irate farmers barring the way.

Carry on straying off the beaten path, the unknown is so much more enticing than the roads whose destination we already know.

As for blogging traffic: I've been at it for 6 months now and although traffic is building up I still hope to find many more interesting and exciting bloggers along the way.

Loulou said...

Please come and visit Indiaphragme, the shot of today is a surprise!
Take care
Loulou

SP said...

What a lovely philosophy to have... Your photos are proof that you are following a righteous path. If only I had a car and the run of the French countryside!

Flowergirl said...

I wish I could go and explore the same way and I always have wanted to, - maybe if I had born somewhere where culture rules in the society doesn't restrict girls from traveling and exploring the mysteries of nature and hidden treasures, I would be writing a similar post as yours

Nice photographs... and nice details accompanying it.

Cheers!

Alberto Oliver said...

" . .I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. . ."

Im pretty sure it would be. . .

Lydia said...

You find very special places because you are very special. I'm loving the mental image of you with your guitar inside this astonishing building.

Josephine Tale Peddler said...

Lovely post. Thank you for visiting me, Owen. It's very good to meet you. You have a fab Blog here! I hope your lovely daughter is happy as she travels around Australia. Hopefully you will all be able to make it over as a family! xx

Owen said...

I got so bogged down at work last week that I didn't get back here until now... let me thank one and all for your radiant, luminous, beautiful comments here... gggrrrr, I feel so guilty when I don't get back and answer individually, because I totally appreciate your time coming here...

Going up barely visible side roads and finding ancient stone buildings is one of the biggest reasons I love living and travelling in France. It just doesn't get old... umm... for me that is... the stones are getting older daily, and sometimes important to find and photograph before they fall down.

@Mrs Slug... I'm sure there are PLENTY of slugs in there !

swan said...

I imagine myself living in a house similar to this... I'd like to see inside... Makes me wish for a bed, white sheets, candles, a soft blanket and shelves covered in books, books which are old friends and books waiting to be read. I think if I lived in a house like this I'd make a pie every week and have wild roses or jasmine growing up the sides.