... not what Tori Amos had in mind but nonetheless her phrase came to my mind.
Yesterday, a clear-skied intense blue sunshine day - unexpected and a particular delight at this time of year! I was taking a party of landscape & archeology students around several eighteenth-century parks and it was the perfect day to be out in Arcadia. We went in search of Lancelot's lost lake ... a little journey of discovery for all of us. Donning our Holmesian mode of enquiry, with a little Howard Carter, and a smattering of Horace Walpole, we braved the overgrown mass of saplings. Lo, the dam wall still stands proud! but alas the sluice has washed away. We trace the outline of what was the bank while discussing what a hidden Elysium this must have been back then. A hidden pool, set in a glade ... imaginings of sporting Nymphs and Dryads. We find some ancient and immense stumps of the designed planting, now gone except for these mossy memories. I say written on the land, a book to be read. Remains of a building platform ... a folly perhaps on this small mound by the lake? The group conjectures assignations and sweet trysts in this giardino segretto in an imagined scented bower. The group is playing, learning, imagining, analysing ... having fun in the sun.
The sun is beginning to set. We are on a seventeenth-century terrace with a simple pavilion to either end. The obligatory 'class of '08' field trip photographs have been taken. The light is low and orange-red. A special thing happens then ... the course tutor proceeds to the vote of thanks to the guest tutor and guide for the day, me. She says that thank you is not enough for the experience we have all shared. More syllables are required and a new word ... she makes a long ullulation, as example ... and then, the whole group joins in ...
I stand there, smiling shyly, touched deeply. Another memory for the treasure chest.