Few people from La Mancha visit the valley and almost none have ventured deeply into it. People come to La Mancha to study with the Wizard, get married, or drink whiskey at the Fang & Feather. They aren’t prepared for a safari.
The famous Bells of La Mancha are embedded in the wall that separates the villages of La Mancha and Engelbrecht. An inscription in the wall offers a glimpse into its history. At some unspecified time in the past, a woman named Michelle gifted the wall to La Mancha. “These are the bells that helped her” is all the inscription says.
People tear up and down the Camino Dulcinea, lost in the business and busyness of weddings. They go up the hill fussing with the bride’s hair and down the hill talking to caterers on the phone. That is all most people know of the ancient Camino.
Meadow Lane, running east and west, curves gently around the base of First Mountain, which dominates the landscape of La Mancha. The lane is well named, for it was nothing more than a sparse and rugged meadow when the Wizard came to this land roughly twenty years ago.
I entered the Wizard’s tower on a Sunday afternoon and ascended to the roof where I found this Phasmatodea Icarus, frozen in death.
I saw a full moon through the darkly purple boughs and heavy greens of an oak deep in the Valley of Dulcinea.
While many thousands have been wed beneath Her watchful presence, few ever truly see Dulcinea.
Beyond Engelbrecht Inn & Tavern and the Lost Boys is a crude trail leading westward toward the Gully of the Wild Things. There are some painted rocks along the trail. If you come across a collection of animal bones on a crude shelf wedged in the branches of a tree you are getting close.
Consider the fate of this Puellae Chorum I found blooming in the center of the crushed rock construction road that runs behind the the Lost Boys cabins.
Our blessed Lady Dulcinea granted me this beatific vision and assured me that others may see something similar. I hope you also receive this vision, pilgrim, for the Land of La Mancha came alive and opened herself to me as if I had walked through a portal into another world.