Have you ever wanted to create a destination with-in a destination? Places that both spark and sate curiosity? Museums and gardens that restore and motivate the human spirit?
In the midst of Marekkesh, Morocco, Yves Saint-Laurent, helped create an artistic oasis that now offers visitors a wonderful Museum of Berber culture, the restored gardens of Majorelle, and a restful café . In the 1920s and 30s, Jacques Majorelle a French artist, landscaped the gardens as canvases.
He also used blues and yellows and oranges in buildings for contrast, and the vivid cobalt like blue is named after him– Majorelle bleu. In the 1980s, fashion designer Saint-Laurent and his partner Pierre Berge restored the place and now visitors can walk peaceful paths between cacti, palms, coconut trees, bamboo and fountains as well as immerse in authentic Berber artifacts in the museum. There’s even a YSL gallery that includes the “love” cards he made each year for friends as holiday greetings.
This eclectic destination within the great destination of Marrakesh was one of many memorable places we visited as part of my recent, wonder– filled Access Trips culinary journey of Morocco, and it prompted many musings while I meant to be writing about the delightful riads of the royal kingdom of Morocco. Good travels tend to stir dreams, memories, and ideas for new mixes.
I grew up exploring the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino, California just a few miles from the Pasadena Rose parade route. Thanks to Henry E. Huntington, and the transformation of his former home, the Gutenberg Bible, Gainsborough’s Blue Boy painting, the Shakespeare Gardens, an imaginative range of growing fauna, and the big bell in the Japanese gardens were a part of my childhood and are available to the many thousands who visit the peaceful grounds and rich repositories of knowledge and beauty.
The Getty Museum, thanks J.P Getty, is another visual feast inside and out in Southern California. Perched on a mountain top over freeways and high-rises with far reaching views outside and extensive art inside, it’s one of my favorite spots to meet friends and family for a meal, shared walks in the gardens and some satiating gawking in galleries.
Thanks also to Solomon R. Guggenheim whose eponymous spiraled museum in New York is a lovely respite from the intensities of New York city streets. The Guggenheims also sponsored public museums in Venice, Berlin, and Bilbao, Spain.
The Bilbao, designed by Frank Gehry, inspired the transformation of a whole region of the Basque Country for locals and tourism. Who knows how many visitors the artful destination has sparked?
Many travelers I know, have places in their homes that are aesthetic sanctuaries with goodies culled from the globe, integrated domestic shrines to the wonders of the world. But those places are only available to friends.
What cultural public oasis would you love to leave that others could enjoy?
If I were to write a mega best seller or win some stupendous lottery so I had a surplus of funds, I would love to create “Possibilitator Park” with a library full of eclectic inspiring works from around the world and different times , and gardens full of places to sit and think or stroll and muse. Trees that are symbolic and literal parts of stories would be spaciously placed so people could picnic or nap or sketch the lyrical branches. It worked for Buddha and Newton… There would also be conserved wilderness with running water, and open spaces for cloud watching, and, and.. well I have more than a few ideas gathered over the year while thinking about such a place.
Right now I imagine this sanctuary and stimulus on some mountain top acreage in the Santa Monica Mountains with a view of the Pacific Ocean, but places along the Hudson River in New York also come to mind—some gorgeous natural setting not far from an urban center, accessible to locals and travelers. The library would make available (via latest technology) all kinds of exemplary stories, quotes, art, social history, and research about creation and invention and “dreams turned deeds”—tales of true “Possibilitators” both the famous and the unsung.
On our first date, hours into our conversational meandering, I told this attractive, intelligent man named Victor that I wanted to resurrect a word I had found in the OED(Oxford English Dictionary)– the verb “possibilitate” meaning “to render possible.” “How could the American language have lost the active use of a verb conveying such a great concept?” I asked him.
He leaned over the wooden table at the Miracle Grill in New York and said, “Why don’t you and I be Possibilitators?” He made it a noun, and a loving challenge. I had written in a journal weeks earlier “I want to meet a man who is a victor not a victim.” Now I had met him. We were married five months later– the first marriage for both of us. We will enjoy our 15th wedding anniversary this Friday, 12/21/12 on the Solstice. And I smile deeply thinking how fortunate I am to be in love with the person I am married to, a man who inspires musings and is amusing.