Widder Island newsflash: EMEGHERD!!! The sun is shining … **rushes around like a blue-arsed fly to get the washing hung on the clothesline**
Update: The sun is no longer shining … **rushes around like a blue-arsed fly to get the washing off the clothesline before it starts raining again**
(My previous eight adventures into other Realms of Awareness can be read in sequence on their own page, ‘Prelude’ just up there on the header, or you can catch up on individual episodes over to the right in the ‘Topics’ section, under ‘Prelude’)
A endless expanse of lakes shimmered under a soft autumn sun as far as my eyes could see. At the edge of the horizon an ancient meandering river fed this great plain of lakes, fed it with the lifeblood of the Mother, Earth. Trees that had stood since the time of the dinosaurs, along with their myriad relatives and descendants, clothed all the land between the lakes. Creatures, both of this world and otherworldly, dwelt here in harmony. The air around me was soft and cool with a bite to it that promised winter would soon be here to cloak all and sundry in a coverlet of white.
It was a glorious day in the neighbourhood.
I stood on a pebbly beach on the shore of one of the lakes, waiting for my guide, and skipping stones across the still water, something I hadn’t done for a long time. I hadn’t lost my touch.
I felt quite light of heart and spirit. I’d cleared mountains of dross away last week, and was mostly back on track both here and in my personal life. Not that I wasn’t grieving, angry, and feeling like I was living on the outside of my skin, but the brutal rawness had eased.
The shimmering energy rose up from the lake and coalesced into a canoe, built for two. Boots clattered along the shore and my guide, the Dark Woman, came into view. I thought about making a smart remark about canoes and paddles, but she smiled and a paddle appeared in my hands. I restrained any further outbursts, I was clearly outclassed, and inserted myself into the canoe. She got in behind me with far more grace that I ever exhibited, even on my most elegant days, and off we paddled.
I tried to turn around to talk to her, but with a subtle thrust of her chin she indicated, ‘eyes forward and keep paddling’. I obeyed, glad in a way because my on-going struggle to turn around in my Journey world, which consisted of mostly failing at it, distracted me far more often that I was happy with.
The surface of the lake was as smooth as glass, a silvery green, with blue and grey highlights. The only movement that marred the surface was the lazy ‘V’ of our wake rolling across the water.
I was so busy enjoying myself that I didn’t notice the approaching shore until we were almost upon it. We beached the canoe and tied it off to a nearby tree then faced a clearing with fallen logs scattered hither, thither, and yon.
I was right about the weather changing. A great snowstorm, the first of the season, was about to hit these lakes and we needed shelter, quickly. Unfortunately there were no shelter-building tools or materials to be had.
I started to flex my will to manifest an assortment of saws and chisels, etc, and duct tape, (always manifest duct tape whenever you can) when the Dark Woman walked over to one end of a log and steered me to the other.
We focused the energy of the Earth through our hands and the log slowly rose into the air, then with deliberate gestures we sawed the log into long planks. Then another, and another.
We ran our hands along some of the planks and smoothed them into floorboards, others we cut and notched so they fitted together to form a snug little cabin. We pulled stones from the waters edge and fashioned them into a wide-hearthed fireplace.
It took us most of the day, but as dusk fell we attached the solid door and stood back to admire our handiwork.
The Dark Woman pulled me into a quick hug and I could tell she was as chuffed with what we’d achieved as I was.
A gust of wind ruffled the surface of the lake then rushed toward the jumble of left-over wood shavings and whipped them into the air. The stars shining in the fading indigo sky were snuffed out as a battalion of tumbling clouds thundered in from the west.
The storm broke above the placid lake and raised meter-high, foam-capped waves in an instant.
In the interests of efficiency and insulation the cabin was half-buried in the ground. I ducked under the lintel and stepped down into the main room.
For all its fury, the storm made little impact inside the cabin as the Dark Woman and I sat cross-legged in the center of the room facing each other and began … wait a minute, I was sitting cross-legged! How was that even possible?
Up until that moment I’d always experienced my Journeying Self as having one knee that bent the way it was supposed to and one that didn’t. This was the first time I’d naturally, and without even thinking about it, bent my knee as it ought to be bent. More chuffed-ness ensued, until the Dark Woman pointedly cleared her throat.
I refocused my attention on her, but the oval shape of her face was an endless star-filled expanse.
Countless stars, strings of them, galaxies, universes, everywhere across my vision. Between each one lines of energy crackled and flitted, linking them all into a single entity.
Enchanted, I leaned in closer until our faces touched. The stars swept around me and pulled me in.
I was still in our cabin, but oh, how it had changed. It was bigger, much bigger, and the walls were now circular. Gigantic stone hearths stood opposite each other. In the center a massive wooden post supported smoke blackened beams that radiated out to the walls, which, in turn supported a conical shaped roof high above. Tendrils of smoke wafted up from the fires and slowly oozed out through the thatching.
The wooden floorboards were now flagstones and the walls themselves were made of rough-dressed stone, with cunningly designed niches that held all manner of esoteric and mundane household items.
This place felt ancient, felt like home. The bones of my ancestors were buried here. (which made sense as my mother was half Irish, and I stood in a Celtic roundhouse)
A stone ledge of a rich golden colour ran around the whole circumference of the room, (apart from gaps for the fireplaces and doorways to other rooms) and carved into it were rows and rows of glyphs. Some I recognised, runic alphabets, astrological and mathematical symbols, and still others whose meanings were hidden from my sight.
I understood that this room was an annex of the great Hall, (that I first visited in Prelude VII – where I learned to fly) and had manifested at the Dark Woman’s request.
Sunk into the ledge were padded bays with scatterings of colourful squishy cushions. I sat down and made my self comfortable.
A line of women walked through one of the doorways. They were similarly garbed but with subtle differences so that each one was somehow surrounded by the cloth of her heritage. They slowly circled the room and walked out. They passed by me without acknowledging my presence. I felt as though I were witnessing a parade of corporeal ghosts.
The Dark Woman sat next to me. Close enough that our shoulders and legs touched, but not in an uncomfortable way.
I nodded toward the women. “Who are they?” I whispered. Anything louder seemed inappropriate and disrespectful.
“These are the shades of all the women who have died seeking knowledge.”
She didn’t need to tell me how, or when and where they’d died. I felt it in my heart as each woman passed my by.
“What are they doing here?” I asked when I found my voice again.
“There are so few who come here who can see them,” she answered. “So, when anyone does, they enter, seeking a Witness.”
The Dark Woman took my hand and we sat in silence, and Witnessed their passing, honouring their lives, and deaths.
It took minutes, days, perhaps forever, but when the last woman had returned from whence she came, the Dark Woman stood up and stretched.
I appreciated the view for a moment, then rose to join her as she walked to a circular stack of shelves now occupying the center of the room. In the shelves were rows and rows of dust-covered books. Massive tomes, with hand-tooled leather covers, bound by straps, and clasped with brass buckles so old they’d turned green. She pulled one out, blew some of the dust off the top, and set it down on a pedestal.
The book fell open to a blank page and as I watched, writing and drawings appeared. I recognised my handwriting, my artwork. These were the assignments, structural drawings, and renderings I’d created for my university architecture courses.
After turning a few more pages the Dark Woman closed the book, re-buckled the strap and put it back on the shelf.
“All these books,” she said gesturing to the shelves. “Belong to a part of your Self, just as that line of women, your ancestors, those of your bloodline and those of your Spirit, are equally a part of your Self.”
I nodded and we sat down in front of one of the fireplaces that glowed with the warmth of a welcoming fire. I knew what was coming. I’d known it from the first moment of my very first Journey.
My university studies were all consuming. I’d received ‘above average’ marks for my assignments. I was good at it, but I had almost nothing left over for the rest of my life.
My Journeying provided a counterbalance that, although exhilarating, also left no quality energy, or time, for anything else.
In all honesty I was glad my relationship ended when it did or I would’ve been reduced to a complete gibbering wreck instead of half a one.
I entered a period of calm in the center of a storm of life-altering chaos. It wouldn’t matter in which direction I moved, chaos would ensue.
Nevertheless, that moment of stillness the Dark Woman and I shared was a gift and I let it surround me for as long as the moment lasted.