I took this photograph in March 2005, showing the landscape around Taliesin. There was a work-related reason for it: I was photographing the area to see how it matched up with Taliesin in 1911. That’s because the Wisconsin Historical Society had just won the bid for “The Album” of Taliesin photos from 1911-1912 (here’s my post on The Album).
I think if I were standing at that spot today, it would be a little duller and
[as I look out the windows to confirm]
it would be cloudy. And there would be more blobs of snow. Of course, there has been (and continues to be) lots of snow on the East Coast, so I imagine that others are getting tired of the winter, too.
But what I am writing about today is not winter. I want to write about March Madness.
those in the United States know. That is, rooting for men’s and women’s college basketball teams during the NCAA championship tournaments.
I know that’s a surprise to my readers.1
But at least it helps explain the photo of Taliesin that’s at the top of this page.
You see, for decades following 1994 (when I started working at Taliesin), I came to expect tour dreams in the late winter/early spring.
I would have dreams in the spring about giving tours at Taliesin.
Now, I know that for many other adults, they have dreams in which they find themself back in high school, with a bunch of stressful things happening.
My stress dreams involved, ostensibly, leading tours and things all going wrong.
Although, just to get this out there: I never had a dream where I was giving a tour naked.
I had TWO FLAVORS of tour-stress dreams each spring:
Most often, I would dream that I was leading a tour and was outrageously late.
Like, I would be one and a half-hours into leading a two-hour tour and I wasn’t near the front door. Yet–despite that fact that my dreamself knew this–I could never get the group closer to the inside of the building.
Although, we did have this one guide IRL. I’ll call him Tom. He would be so late on his tours that the bus drivers regularly left him and his group on the Taliesin Estate.
Let me tell you: all the shuttle bus drivers were really patient with guides. So, you know that someone has to be really chronometrically-challenged for bus drivers to regularly leave them.
In fact, one time Tom was left at Hillside on the south end of the Taliesin estate. When he walked out of Hillside and his shuttle bus driver wasn’t there, he just WALKED with his group to Taliesin (which is about half a mile away).2
Most of the time, these dreams were just where visitors did things they should not do on tours.
Like, people sitting in chairs they shouldn’t sit in.3 That is: people on my tours plopping down on the original, delicate, Frank Lloyd Wright-designed “barrel” chairs (like the chairs in the foreground of the photo below) –
At least one of my dreams included someone leaning back on one of Wright’s barrel chairs, and they almost tipped backwards. Oh, in this case, into the Chinese painting you see in Taliesin’s Guest Bedroom, below:
one time I had a dream where a student at the School of Architecture4 took over the Guest Bedroom (the room in the photo). When I walked into the room with my group, the room looked like any college dorm room. There were empty food plates on the floor and posters on the walls.
There was one dream where someone on the tour was eating Doritos.
I was escorting my tour group onto the shuttle bus to take us all to the Taliesin estate. But the line wouldn’t stop: people just kept walking past me toward the shuttle. I went to the ticket seller to ask and she replied,
“Oh! Well 45 Japanese tourists came in, so I just put them on your tour.“
I think–hope–that in all these dream-tours I tried to keep the peace.
Instead of, you know, using foul language, a.k.a., four-letter-words.
Like this guy.
I don’t have these dreams anymore. I dreamed almost nightly about Taliesin and giving tours in 2020, the year of Covid. So I assumed I would just keep having tour dreams.
Well, one of my last tour dreams took place in that year (2020). I wrote about this dream on a social media site:
I had a dream last night that I was taking people on a tour of Taliesin, but when I got out of the bus and started walking with these people, I could never find it. We walked through all of these marble rooms and just kept going on, thinking it was through the next door.
I can’t explain it. Hopefully I’ll dream of it again. Preferably happy dreams. And when spring finally comes to Wisconsin.
Posted originally on March 16, 2023.
I took the photograph at the top of this post in March, 2005.
1. that was a joke.
2. To those who are reading this who I used to work with: “Tom” was there in the 1990s, so most of you never met him.
3. We had a few places where people could sit at Taliesin. Mostly in Wright’s Living Room. But, while members of the Taliesin Fellowship could sit in the chairs, we couldn’t let those on tours do so. In part because we had thousands of people coming through every tour season.
4. Formerly the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. They used to live on the Taliesin Estate in the summer.
Whenever I have a question regarding anything Taliesin-related Keiran Murphy is the first person I turn to."
Never in my life have I been given a more sensitive and comprehending tour of anything, anywhere. Listening to her talk about Wright and looking at everything she pointed out, I felt as if my eyes had opened to twice their normal size."
… her knowledge of Frank Lloyd Wright is close to astonishing. Over many years she has simply absorbed him—and his beloved Taliesin—into her bones.” “I am in awe at her willingness—her delight—in sharing what she knows with others."