Sometimes, roads take you to magical places Part 1

July 16, 2012

This last week end’s trip was such a deep intense experience that I need to make a few posts to cover it.  This one is about the facts of the week end, the show, etc.    It truly felt like we spent days there.  So here we go with the first one.


We left after an espresso and some food as we knew there wasn’t going to be anymore espresso once we passed the perimeter road around Winnipeg.  I am traveling with Davidian Chorley, flautist, horn player and all around true musician.  We are in a car, yep, a car, gotta carry sound equipment, guitar, horns, gear, and all sorts of things that don’t fit on a bike.

all windows down, on the road, here we go

We drove 3 hours North West of Winnipeg.  The land got wider and wider and the roads narrower as we coursed between canola, alfalfa and wheat fields.

the ubiquitous trains


We finally arrived in Laurier Manitoba in the middle of the day.  As the car stops, the wind noise ends and it’s now the crickets who fill the air with their racket.   Emma Street.  We’re here but it’s not like on Google maps, the house should have been on the left according to Google but it’s not.  108… where is 108…   we had found 110 and decided to go knock and ask where Lucien and the famous house was.

it’s all happening here

“Oh he’s across there, just passed the woodworking shed, the three storey house.  We didn’t see it as it was shielded by trees.  We thanked the lady and went across the street.

we arrive

We meet Lucien.  He’s busy doing things around the house, he welcomes us warmly, he has an easy going way, an easy smile, eyes that seem to dream and create all at once.  First he shows us the outdoor shower…


Lucien and Davidian

The sun’s pounding rays and the sight of this shower, standing out near a field, in the hot summer air after 3 hours of driving almost make me drool…


We then go inside the house and I am instantly “hugged”.  The vibrations, the soul of this building… It felt like I could let go of all and any burden, physical or mental…  it’s hard to describe.  The hug is the best I can do.

the shower


There are things, photos, knick-knacks all around.  All have history and Lucien is more than willing to tell the stories.  We go on a tour, Johnny the Cowboy’s room,  the Nun’s room, the French Lady’s room… all have a narrative created by Lucien and his writer friend.  Complete fabrications but I expect that they will become legend and the many questions will be risen as to their real origin and no one will be able to pinpoint exactly when Johnny or the nun actually arrived here but nonetheless they will be real.

coming in


ready already


the house, constant project, constant evolution, steady soul

After that, shower time.

I grab a white as snow, thick towel, soap and I walk out barefoot to the shower.  I undress, shielded from peering eyes but in the sun.  I start the water.   There are 3 jets.  One above, one on each side.  I start the water.

I laugh, irrepressively.  It feels so good, the water is pure earth water, not some processed, piped, delivered good.  Just water, pure water.  The sun is like a caress on the body, a melody came into my mind and I start humming it.  It’s pure joy and I don’t want it to end.  What a gift.  It was worth driving all this way just for that.  The feeling of freedom is so strong, who would think that the act of taking a shower under the sun could feel so good, so freeing, so wholesome.  A resurrection of sorts.

Gradually we’re getting ready for showtime, Davidian brought in all the gear from the car and when I walk in the living room almost everything is set up.  I plug in, it sounds good.


In the mean time Lucien who besides being a designer-builder is also a chef is cooking dinner for 6, some friends are coming over for dinner before the show.   He’s busying himself in the open kitchen there.  After warming up for a while I decided to go outside, bring the camera to see what I could capture.
It is so beautiful.  Peaceful.  The crickets, grass hoppers and all manners of summer insects fill the air along with the birds with their summer songs.
I come back inside, dinner is ready.  We are treated to shrimp with Pernod, apricots, fresh asparagus, garlic pasta, french bread, there is too much food for me here but I have to taste it as I have not been treated to such gastronomy in a long time.  Food as art as opposed to food as fuel.
Showtime is at 8:30, people start to trickle in.  There is Grand Mere, who is 91 arriving, with a walker but with an invincible spirit.  They come in, get seated and we started to play.

the stage from the kitchen

I’ll be honest, I didn’t think my performance on the first few songs was my best.  Since last year with my thyroid issues, my failing eyes and all sorts of other reasons, I feel overwhelmed at times with performing.  As if all these small factors combined can chip enough at my confidence to sometimes make me into a crumbling building.  Davidian is doing a great job and I am immensely grateful for is supportive presence.  No one will ever be as hard on myself as I would be, I just want to give these good souls something to enjoy, I don’t want to let anyone down.

moments before starting

At the break we chat with people and I get to meet Mama D.  I fell in love.  Mama D is 87 years old.  She first told me that she used to play the guitar but her fingers don’t cooperate anymore.  But she still plays the organ at church and she says how she reads music but following her ear is so much better.  I can’t agree more.   Then she tells me she likes the music and that she likes my tattoo.

I look at her face, her eyes.  Her beingness just radiates.

Time to go back to play.

The second set is much better.  Fingers cooperate, mind loosens, I can perform better.

At the end of the show Mama D comes back.  I ask her if it would be OK to take a picture with her.  She agrees readily.  Davidian helps us.  We had to move around to find better light and we finally have a shot.  She says to me :

“You have to come visit me when you come back around here.”

“I want to!” I said and I have not the faintest idea as to when that could take place as I have not the faintest idea of what my life will be after July 27.

Mama D and me


We are holding on to each other’s hands, I say to her that this is this instant affinity.  You know when you meet someone and you “know” them.  She agrees wholeheartedly.  Most everyone else has left the venue at this point.  We walk towards the door, hug again and she leaves.

After that I got cake Lucien had offered at break time, a delicious affair with fresh berries, cream and a “glacage” made of white chocolate, butter and vanilla that was impossibly good and impossibly rich.

We chatted, Davidian, Lucien and myself until the wee hours.  At one point Lucien said he was done for the night.  Shower time I thought…  Under the stars.

I got ready and headed out, undressed, started the water and as I looked up, the sky was filling up with strange light…  Aurora Borealis, things cannot be more magical.  I wonder once more what luck could possibly have me be in such a place and experience such things.

I stayed out for a while watching the sky shimmer and dance in a blueish-green dress.



The next morning, after meditation we were treated to the most luscious omelet ever created.  Lucien knows how to extract the essence of every ingredient and blend them into eternal partnerships.

We head out around 2 PM.  It feels like we’ve been here for 3,4 days.  Time warp.  Reality shift.  I”m thankful for those, I almost was able to forget my aching heart and just shine and absorb the goodness of this place.


7 Responses to “Sometimes, roads take you to magical places Part 1”

  1. circleblue Says:

    It is marvelous when time dilates. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Judith Maguet Says:

    You are a marvelous writer!! Such insight. Lucien is one of my most favourite peope and I was sorry to have missed your concert. Hopefully you will consider coming again!!! I positively love the wild flower pictures……..such beauty captured by your artist’s eye. Reading this bloq there is worry and pain shared and am sending you my best wishes that all will be well. Judith

  3. Daniel C. Says:

    amazing story, thank you for sharing it, that’s my hometown, mama d is my aunt through my grandmother

  4. Marie Says:

    Ah!!!!!!!! so you have discovered my wonderful friend/brother!

    It’s good to see that someone has discovered our ‘Hometown Jewel’ AND appreciates him as much as we do.
    You don’t have to go far to meet wonderful people you only have to search and you shall find! They are hidden throughout our province, in small villages, on family farms, people who make a difference in our lives by rekindling the prairie spirit by giving of themselves and their talents.
    Lucien has always given of himself that is why and what makes ‘La Grange’ special!

    Marie T.

    • Hi Marie, so great that you wrote! Yes Lucien is full of magic and wonder. It was a moment, a place and a soul I will never forget!

      Manitoba is full of those free spirits, maybe it’s because there is less government and more space but yes they are the dreamers and the “imaginers” and they shine so bright!

      I hope to come back sooner than later.

      all the best!

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