Prelude XI

(My previous ten 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 with individual episodes over to the right in the ‘Topics’ section, under ‘Prelude’)

-oOo-

A sense of expectation, an awareness of the unknown, ran down my spine like ice-water.

The air around me had an electrical charge to it, as though a thunderstorm had recently blown through but no rain had fallen. I breathed it in, feeling the energy fill me and focus in my hands until I was about ready to burst at the seams with it.

Along with the energy came a sound, the rhythmic soughing of stones being rolled by ocean waves … which took me to my destination, or at least the first stepping off point for my adventure.

A pebbly beach sloped lazily down to the water’s edge and behind me towered the high bluff that I was on top of for last weeks ‘froggy’ adventure. It was a beautiful sunny day, the kind of day where you could smell the sunshine radiating off the rocks and sand and sea.

The sun slowly set behind the bluff as the Dark Woman, (whose name I now knew, but won’t repeat. The Naming of certain Names is not for these stories) came up behind me and put her arms around my waist. She was taller than me, which for a lass as tall as I, was an unfamiliar, yet comforting sensation. She smelled of sunshine too.

I breathed into her and she held me close. The electric energy in my hands eased and slipped beneath my conscious attention. We stood together in companionable silence and watched the day pass to dusk until the evening sky filled with twinkling stars that danced all around us.

My body began to split in two, as though one aspect of me had been superimposed on the other, and then slowly, and painlessly, (phew) one of the aspects took a step to one side and turned around.

The horizon, betwixt water and sky, began to glow as the full moon rose in the eastern sky and laid down a silvery path so bright it was hard to look at.

The Dark Woman’s energy surrounded me like a cloak and I stepped off the edge of the sand where it met the water and on to the silvery path. But only one of the two images of me stepped forward, the other remained behind. I no longer needed it, or the duality it represented, a duality that had been coursing through me since I began my Journeying adventures.

Was it really going to be this easy? After all the struggles I’d gone through, and a not insignificant number of self-flagellating doubts? Was this all it would take?

Yes.

I left the aspect of my Self that was my university studies, and all that that implied, behind. (I’ve never once regretted the choice I made. Some things are just … right)

I walked further along the silvery Moon Path, and as its immaculately clear light shone all around me, through me, I felt the other image, abandoned on the shore, dissolve into nothingness.

I remained in this state of grace … until I came to the end of the Path and drifted off, over the edge, into the clear light.

I admit it, I wallowed. It felt so exquisite to just be in that place, in that energy.

Slowly, as though my mind was unable to process the thought any quicker, I realised that the light was the energy of my heart … as others see it, as others feel it. Not as I do, filtered through my own pain and insecurities and other stuff, but as they see and feel it.

Great rears rolled down my cheeks. The light completely overwhelmed me.

“This is what they see? This is what my love feels like?”

Not obsessive, not needy, but free, buoyant, alive, magnificently beautiful.  “This what it is to be loved by me?”

“Yes,” the Dark Woman whispered in my ear.

The bright lightness slowly darkened and became the night sky again, pitch black, pinpricked with stars. The moon had long ago set behind the land and I was surrounded, held, by the darkness …

Until …

… an enormous leaf-bladed spear sped through the air and passed through my body between my heart and solar plexus, and thunked into the hard ground behind me!

“Well,” I said as I checked for punctures in both my physical and spirit bodies. “This is new.”

As neither seemed to be damaged I did a sweep of my surroundings, because, of course, I was now somewhere else. My hands reclaimed my attention as they buzzed with electrical energy that seemed stronger more dense, than before.

Suddenly iron-hard bands of energy whipped around me and bound me in place. The Dark Woman stood in front of me, two, two-and-a-half meters tall, or taller, and looking remarkably solid, disconcertingly so. She held the spear above her shoulder, poised to throw it into me.

“Before I came to these Spirit Realms,” she said, “I lived and died in this physical body.”

I had, somehow, ended up in her Spirit Realm.

… A momentary digression …

Remember that bag of marbles I mentioned way back in the beginning of these adventures? Well, each and every one of us has our very own bag of marbles. (the first one who drops a losing your marbles joke gets to sing the Hogwarts school song, out loud, in front of the whole room) Which is why no two Shamans, or anyone walking a Spiritual Path, ever experience the ‘otherworlds’ the same way. We can go visiting someone else’s ‘bag of marbles’, but it’s tricky and you need to know how to get back to your own or you could get marooned out there.

… digression ends …

I shrugged off the iron bands and breathed my Self into this Realm so I would understand the ‘rules’ and avail myself of the wonders herein, unscathed. (well, with as few scathes as was womanly possible. I swear, I never sought out trouble, but it always had a way of finding me)

The browns and reds and muted greens of the Dark Woman’s homeland surrounded us as, after making sure I knew what and where I was, she lowered the spear. For which I was truly grateful. I really didn’t want to find out what it felt like to be skewered when we were both in the same Realm.

… another same-sized digression …

Why might she have skewered me? From her perspective I was an unknown danger. At that point in my adventures just about everything I encountered, every Realm I entered, was for the very first time. Although she and I were fast coming to a great many understandings of and about each other, there was still much about my abilities she (as did I, to be honest) had little understanding of. As I was the Guardian of my Realm, so she was the Guardian of hers, and if I’d run amok (or even walked slowly) she was prepared to do whatever was necessary to protect it.

… digression ends …

The Dark Woman sat down and began to create a sand painting. I sat across from her, entranced. When she finished she drew a circle around the entire design then divided it into two halves.

“I thought so,” she said. “This is you and I. Two halves of the same circle.”

I stared at the design inside the circle. It showed quite clearly that we shared the same incarnate line. (spiritually at least, if not physically)

We’d just entered a whole ‘nuther world of weird.

It appeared the Dark Woman agreed with my analysis. “Because of this,” she said, and swept her hand across the sand painting. It slowly blew apart, its message delivered. “I can manifest in your Realm without effort, and you, in mine.”

We sat in silence, contemplating the possibilities. I smiled as strains of orchestral music floated across the landscape.

“You know this piece?”  she asked. When I nodded, she continued, “As do I, now. Tchaikovsky.”

“Yes.” I smiled again. “His 1st piano concerto.” I raised my arms and ‘conducted’ (more like Bugs Bunny, unfortunately, than Marin Alsop) an unseen orchestra. The music swirled around us like a living thing. Perhaps it was.

(Another snippet of Widder info – Classical music has always been my first love, closely followed by Rock-n-Roll. Interesting bedfellows, no?)

As my hands moved in what could laughingly be called elegant parabolas, flashes of electric energy spiked from my fingertips and twitched around my hands like barbed wire.

The electricity lanced from hand to hand in ever increasing arcs. I tried shaking my hands as I would to release a static charge, but the energy just kept on expanding, growing stronger.

The Dark Woman suddenly stood up and hoisted me into her arms. She took off like a bat outta hell toward some destination I couldn’t see.

“What, are, you, doing?” I huffed as her giant bounding steps grew longer and higher with each leap.

She shook her head, conserving her energy for our headlong gallop, while I forced my hands together, interlocking my fingers. It helped, but I knew it was a stop-gap measure. I trusted that the Dark Woman knew what she was doing.

A sonic boom shattered the landscape. I tumbled out of her arms and landed on all fours in a different reality.

The earth underneath my fingers felt primitive, raw, unformed. Without thought I pushed the energy in my hands down into the land and felt it kickstart a chain-reaction in the very core of the world. It began to turn on its axis. Chemicals churned in its molten core, nucleonic reactions sparked basic elemental structures, the building blocks of life.

To say I was stunned would be an understatement. I leaned further down until my forehead touched the nascent land. It glowed with vitality, whereas I was …

“Get up,” the Dark Woman said. “You look silly with your bum stuck up in the air like that.”

I craned my neck and looked at her from under my arm. “I can’t. I’m … erm, stuck.”

I couldn’t lift my hands from the earth. The energy transfer was still going on. She placed her hands on my shoulders and together we raised two columns of energy that looked like upside down waterfalls. They pushed against my hands until I was standing upright again. 

The Dark Woman laughed with glee and wrapped me in a hug, lifting me off the ground so that our eyes were level. “That was fun!”

Not really my idea of fun, but I could see her point.

She put me down and placed her hand over my heart, right where that spear went through, funnily enough.

-oOo-

Tchaikovsky’s 1st Piano Concerto: This performance by the electrifying Khatia Buniatshvili

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Wimpy Sunshine, and 165 Days To Go

There are patches of blue showing through the eternal overcastness of the sky but I’m not yet prepared to acknowledge that Spring is here. She’s done this to us before.

At least it’s not raining … all the little Widder-seedlings are just a’soakin’ up those rays…

“Here comes the sun, do-do, do, do, do.” “What? Where?” “Over there!” “No it’s this way!” “Up there! In the sky!”

“Here comes the sun, do-do, do, do, do.”
“What? Where?”
“Over there!”
“No it’s this way!”
“Up there! In the sky!”

-oOo-

In one hundred and sixty five days from today, (18th April) I’ll be 60 years old.

Which isn’t as startling a concept as I thought it’d be … although I have been pondering the concept of late, especially as I moaned and groaned through the aftershocks of a migraine at 3 O-Clock this morning, hence this post.

60 was an age that seemed impossible to achieve when I was twenty … far too scary when I was thirty … a deadline with a death-knell attached to it when I was forty … ‘meh’ when I was fifty … and just another birth day when I turned fifty-nine.

I’m still not ‘rich and famous’, as I swore I’d be when I was in my mid-twenties, although there still 165 days to go, so you never know.

My body’s certainly not in the state it was when I was in my mid-thirties. I only needed one pair of glasses then.

And I’m not planning on doing anything ‘special’, because as far as I’m concerned it really is just the next year after 59.

I wonder if we put so much significance on these ‘decade’ birth days because there’s no other ways to celebrate the major adult milestones in our lives that are also celebrated among our larger community, apart from, ‘old enough to get a drivers license’. Things like births, weddings, funerals, exist within a family and/or extended family community, but nothing on a larger scale. (except if it’s a ‘royal’ birth/wedding/funeral – ‘royal’ being anywhere from her Majesty, Liz the Tooth, on down – but that has more to do with encultured tribalism, which is another topic entirely)

So, the sun shone (off and on) for most of the afternoon, I did a little philosophical waxing on turning 60 this year, and now, as the evening draws in, and the temperature plummets (because no cloud cover – I guess there’s just no pleasing some people) it’s time to turn my attention to the next episode of ‘Prelude …

Prelude X

(My previous nine 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’)

-oOo-

I was feeling persnickety. Not at anything or anyone in particular … just … just … off.

Like if you got stung by a mozzie (mosquito) and scratched it because it itched, then you scratched it because it hurt, then you scratched it some more because you were angry that it still itched and hurt, and then it started to bleed and you had to put a band-aid (bandage) on it, which was ridiculous because it was just a mosquito bite! … and then you’re too out-of-sorts to be able to laugh at the whole thing.

Yeah, just like that.

Not the best frame of mind to go a’roving across the firmament.

One of the things I always do at the beginning of a Journey is to create a Sacred Circle by calling in the Four Directions, the Four Elements, the Four Guardians, to anchor the Circle in the physical Realm so I can find my way back to my body.

The Elements and Directions provide a clear location. (bearing in mind I lived on the east coast of Australia at this time) I’d start in the East, from whence the sun rose, signifying the start of a new day, a new Journey. Geographically speaking, to the east of where I lived was Water, the Pacific Ocean.

Being in the southern hemisphere the sun traversed the sky via a northerly arc, and it certainly got a lot hotter the further north you went, so, next was Fire in the North. To the west was a whole lotta dirt, an entire continent of it, so Earth was in the West, and finally (and not only because they were the only ones left) in the South was Air.

(Today, I live on the west coast of British Columbia in Canada, so East is Earth, South is Fire, Water is West, and Air is North – the Calling of the Elements/Directions/Guardians differs from Tradition to Tradition, but the gist of it is the same, to create a sacred space, separate from the ordinary, where magical mystical things can happen)

The Guardians embody the energies of each Direction/Element and manifest in each Journey as they will. Animals, colours, symbols, spirit archetypes, etc.

-oOo-

Given my state of persnicketyness, I wasn’t overly surprised when my Guardians turned out to be dragons.

From the East, a sister to the Loch Ness ‘monster’ rose out of the ocean. Form the North, a fire-breathing Pernese dragon came gliding in for a perfect landing. Out of the red earth of the West, one of the Ancients, a brachiosaur, rumbled across the mountains. The air to the South was filled with the rustling of tiny Antarctic Ice-Dragons wings.

The dragons danced the Circle into being and firmly anchored it in the places between the Worlds. One minute swaying together, graceful and majestic, the next, gamboling like clumsy kittens at their first encounter with sunshine, 

I have to admit, I smiled, and found myself walking along a rustic track in a land of emerald green. On one side, lowing cattle stood knee-deep in lush fields of pasture, on the other, the grass abruptly gave way to the knife-like edge of a cliff-top.

The track meandered through the fields for a while then swung back toward the cliff until I could see the tide surging over the broken rocks far, far below. The tumbling breeze that gusted across the pasture smelled of sweet cut grass and the tang of sea air.

I enjoyed the walk until I caught sight of a shadowy presence ahead, walking in the same direction. The Dark Woman.

I’d only ever been aware of her as an outline, a nebulous female shape, or simply sensed her presence.

I truly don’t know what happened, but my perskicketys returned and I stopped dead in my tracks. “I’m not going any further,” I shouted, “Until I know exactly what you look like!”

She stopped walking too, slowly turned around and very deliberately walked back to me.

Time passed.

It seemed like a very long time.

I held my breath.

“Hah!” she said and turned away. I breathed again. “How can you expect to see what I look like when you can’t even see what you look like.” She waved her hand as though casually backhanding a fly. “You could be a frog for all you know.”

My stomach contracted painfully and I abruptly sat on my haunches in the grass, my skin a moist greenish-brown. Before I could take in what had happened, I was myself again.

My skin still felt damp, but thankfully, it was just a soft drizzle that had moved in from across the fields.

My perskicketys turned stubborn. “I don’t care what you do to me, I’m not moving, I’ll make sure we both stay here, I can do that you know, until I see what you look like.”

The Dark Woman turned back to me, growing darker with each step until she was shrouded in pure midnight. “Or,” she said thoughtfully, as though the idea had just occurred to her. “I could be the frog.”

And she became one. Right there in the middle of the track.

The drizzle turned to rain.

“Or,” she croaked, “I might even be a magpie.”

She flew across to the other side of the track and perched on top of a weathered old stump. She cocked her head to one side and clacked her beak at me as the rain became a drenching downpour. It dripped off the end of my nose and her beak. The wind gusted and blew her off her perch. She flopped over and was her Dark Woman self again.

“It won’t work,” I said. I’d been tested by a much harsher taskmistress than her. “We’re staying here, until I see you.”

She gave me an eye-roll worthy of Bea Arthur, (why, yes, I was a Golden Girls fan, now that you mention it) and raised her arms. I was in for it now, but she just lowered them and the cabin we’d built together last week came into being around us.

“Oh,” I said.

She threw a towel at me and turned to stoke the fire, moving aside the two fire-cats who’d taken up residence on the warm bricks, one black and one white.

By the time the fire was snapping and crackling in the hearth, I was dry and wondered what sort of trouble my persnickertys had got me into.

She stood with her back to the fire, in silhouette again. “I know what’s bothering you.”

I took a step forward. I didn’t want to, or maybe I did. The Pandora’s box of her words repelled me as much as they seduced me. I didn’t want to hear what she had to say, and yet, maybe I did.

“If you want answers, you’ll have to create the light to see me by.”

I focused on my hands and a soft white light flowed between them.

I saw her face, the line of her jaw, the shape of her mouth, the curve of her nose, colour of her eyes, angle of eyebrow, depth of forehead. I’d never seen her before but I recognised her.

Suddenly I felt sad, and I didn’t know why.

She made to reach for my hands but pulled back immediately. I think she knew I needed that small distance between us.

“Why do you think we’ve become so familiar with each other so quickly?”

It was a rhetorical question so I didn’t respond. I had wondered though, what it was about her, of all the beings I’d encountered, that kept pulling at my consciousness.

“By now you’ve realised these Realms of Awareness have always been here, have always surrounded you.” She paused, and this time I wanted to reach out to her.

“You’ve been on your own since you were 14, and long before that there was no-one you could trust. And now, here we are.” She glanced around our little room. It was a look that encompassed all my adventures so far, and the far greater expanse of knowledge and experience to come. “You’ve found the kind of connection you craved all your life … and you’ve asked yourself where was it all when you needed it in the past.”

Yeah, I’d wondered that too. But really, my past was just that, past. Immovable and immutable. I was happy to leave it there.

“You will continue to confront all the things of your past that would stop you from reaching far beyond anything you’ve already experienced in these Realms.”

Well, so much for that.

“My earlier question wasn’t rhetorical.” She smiled and I swear the entire universe got a little bit brighter. “I’ll be with you, from now on.”

In my exquisitely dysfunctional family, I had always felt alone. It was safer. Nothing could touch the deep still core of me that way. I couldn’t be hurt by anyone. Not really, not deep down where I truly lived, and from that still deep place my childhood imagination soared. My treehouse became a spaceship, or a submarine, or a hot-air balloon swaying in the wind far above the concerns of a childhood stalked by adult terrors.

Maybe the Dark Woman had always been there. Maybe that’s why I’d actually survived my childhood, my adolescence , getting caught in a bushfire, the motorbike accident, moving to the city, getting a political, (and academic) education, falling in and out of love, body-surfing, having a confrontation with a giant cat-Goddess, learning how to fly …

-oOo-

When putting this post together I decided to do a bit of ‘magpie’ research and discovered that Aussie magpies are a separate species from the Eurasian/North American ones.

Not surprising really. It probably has ninja skills and is able to poison you at five hundred paces. I love the fact that I grew up in a country where almost every animal of fur, feather, scales, and skin, could kill the unwary in all manner of unpleasant and painful ways. (I wonder what that says about me? … hmm … best not to know) As far as I can remember I only ever got stung by a bee and a spider. Dodged a bullet there.

The Dark (Magpie) Woman

The Dark (Magpie) Woman

Signs of … not Winter?

In spite of the horrendously pathetic showing Spring has managed so far, some brave souls have made their presence known.

Did you know that veggies like celery, some lettuces, etc, can be grown, or re-grown, from their end-y bits? I left a bit more of the stem/stalk on these green onions than I usually do then stuck ‘em in a little bowl with a bit of water and left them to it.

“Is this what humans mean by reincarnation?” “Can you see anything?”

“Is this what humans mean by reincarnation?”
“Can you see anything?”

 

Once their green bits reached about 8 cm I re-potted them in a custom designed seedling tray (milk container cut in half) and left them to it. They were semi-protected by the patio roof. I figured they’d do OK on their own out there.

“It’s freeeezing out here!” “What did we do to deserve this?”

“It’s freeeezing out here!”
“What did we do to deserve this?”

 

(I know, I know … more conversations. I’m on a roll … at least they’re not inanimate objects this time)

Just as an experiment I stuck a celery end-y bit straight into the pallet garden with the hardcore parsley and strawbs. It took about two weeks but there she was …

“I’m gonna work out every day and grow big and strong like Hardcore Parsley!”

“I’m gonna work out every day and grow big and strong like Hardcore Parsley!”

And remember that poor little frozen branch all encased in ice, from the Great Ice Storm of 2017? Look at her now!

“Wheeeeee!!! I’m flying, I’m ... EMEGHERD! Is that blue sky up there? ... It is!!!! ... Look everyone, Spring really is heeeerrrrre!!!”

“Wheeeeee!!! I’m flying, I’m … EMEGHERD! Is that blue sky up there? … It is!!!! … Look everyone, Spring really is heeeerrrrre!!!”

(she’s an excitable little bud)

Which meant that the beans had to pop up for a look.

“Who’s making all that noise out there? ... Mabel! Come’n ave a look at this! Sunlight!” “Oh please, Dolly, you’re hallucinati ... Oh my!”

“Who’s making all that noise out there? … Mabel! Come’n ave a look at this! Sunlight!”
“Oh please, Dolly, you’re hallucinati … Oh my!”

 

A sentiment echoed by the Three Pretty Maids all in a row …

“We are the very model of a modern garden planter bed” “No, not Gilbert and Sullivan! Anything but Gilbert and Sullivan.” “Oh, PishPosh, Dolly Bean. You’re just jealous. We’ve got a round bed and you’re stuck in a boring old milk carton.”

“We are the very model of a modern garden planter bed”
“No, not Gilbert and Sullivan! Anything but Gilbert and Sullivan.”
“Oh, PishPosh, Dolly Bean. You’re just jealous. We’ve got a round bed and you’re stuck in a boring old milk carton.”

Yes indeed, the sun had finally put in an appearance that augured well for the season.

Alas, it was not to last.

“I am gone TO the West, and brought great tidings. I am the Sun and Juliet is the ...” “Outta my way! I am come FROM the West. Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage. Blow! You cataracts and hurricanes, sprout ‘til you have drenched our teeples ...”

“I am gone TO the West, and brought great tidings. I am the Sun and Juliet is the …”
“Outta my way! I am come FROM the West. Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks! Rage. Blow! You cataracts and hurricanes, sprout ‘til you have drenched our teeples …”

 

Surely it wasn’t going to be that bad.

George and Gracie Mallard, our seasonal duck visitors, seemed to think this was a bumper puddle-waddling occasion. (George and Gracie have visited every spring since we’ve been here. I don’t know if it’s the same pair every year, but it’s only ever two of them)

“I think there’s a nice puddle over there, dear.” “Hee, hee, hee. Race you!”

“I think there’s a nice puddle over there, dear.”
“Hee, hee, hee. Race you!”

 

Mind you, when the rain came down so hard even my little cell-phone camera caught the drops as they fell, George and Gracie took flight for parts unknown.

“25 seconds. That’s all it took for the road to become a river. 25 seconds.” “Yes dear, time to go now.”

“25 seconds. That’s all it took for the road to become a river. 25 seconds.”
“Yes dear, time to go now.”

-oOo-

P.S. Those big black clouds, (which incidentally produced an impressive amount of hail as well as truck-loads of rain) were quoting King Lear, by Mrs Shakespeare’s lad, Bill.

P.P.S. And, of course, the immortal Gilbert and Sullivan as performed by the Three Little Maids. (a bit of illicium, and two bulbs, we can’t remember the names of)

Conversation with my Sewing Machine

Mrs Widds is a frequent visitor to our local town’s many thrift stores. One day she returned with a fluffy bath towel. Up until that moment I’d never understood why extra large towels were called ‘sheets’. This one could’ve served as a coverlet for an entire raft of king-sized beds with room for a day-bed or two.

Unable to wield it as designed, Mrs Widds continued using her usual towels, with the proviso that one day we might find a use for our monster towel.

And so, it languished, unloved and unappreciated, in the linen cupboard for several months, until a curious thing happened. One by one our hand towels began to disappear, until we were down to one. Which, as you can imagine, was not a satisfactory state of affairs at all.

Unwilling to spend money on thrift-store replacements, (which were more expensive than the full sized towel counterparts – why is it that the less there is of a thing, the more one has to pay for it?) Mrs Widds, in her inimitable problem-solving style suggested we attack the monster towel and reduce it to four un-monster-sized towels.

As we’re both of the ‘re-purpose, reuse, recycle’ persuasion, this was the perfect solution.

Out came the scissors and ‘voila’ four (generously sized) hand-towels … that needed hemming … with a sewing machine … which was … somewhere.

“Oh, sewing machine? Where are you?”

“Mumgph-urgllbuyf.”

Ok, It’s been a while since I last used my sewing machine, long before we built our shed last year, and we’ve rearranged all the storage spaces in our little cottage at least twice since then.

There’s an assortment of beds it could be under, and shelving units it could be in, at least two closets, a sideboard, and the coat nook near the front door … at least I’m sure it isn’t outside in either of the sheds … ** dashes outside to check sheds** … nope, not in the sheds.

“Ah, well, yes. I thought you might be hiding behind Myrtle (the Moose) and the Love Bug”

“Ah, well, yes. I thought you might be hiding behind Myrtle (the Moose) and the Love Bug”

“MUGMHPHMH!”

(translation - “Get me OUT of here!”)

(translation – “Get me OUT of here!”)

“What are you doing in there, with the paper shredder?”

“… …”

“Hmm. Well. What can one say? That’s paper shredders for you.”

-oOo-

…some time later …

“Avengers … I mean, Materials, Assemble!”

“Very funny. I suppose you still remember where everything goes?”

“Very funny. I suppose you still remember where everything goes?”

I half expected the towel to buy into the conversation, with pointed comments about the scissors, but no. Just between you and I, it probably decided to keep a low profile. The sewing machine was on a roll.

It ‘tutted’ in the background as I tried to remember how to thread the needle with the handy-dandy- built-in needle threader, (which worked like a treat once I remembered how it worked) and ‘yea’ed’ or ‘nay’ed’ as I made my way through the 50 different stitch options that its merry little computer innards could produce on command. (there’s more computing power in this machine than the entire Apollo Space Program

“Bugger! I can’t remember how to dial up this stitch I want to use. Maybe if I just …”

“Try using the manual.”

“What?”

“Try the manual.”

“It’s way over the other side of the room with all the other manuals. What if I …”

“The manual!”

“But …”

“Manual!”

“The Law of Diminishing Returns doesn’t really count in this instance, you know.”

“I AM THE LAW!”

“Oh, very droll. Judge Dredd reference. Touché.”

“Hee, hee.”

“No matter where I start it’s going to be the very last one, isn’t it?”

“No matter where I start it’s going to be the very last one, isn’t it?”

-oOo-

“Why does one, very annoying, sewing machine need five feet?

"I know, I know, ‘The Manual.’"

“I know, I know, ‘The Manual.’”

Usually I’m good with manuals, but I think this was a matter of dignity. I’d been using sewing machines since I was about 11 starting with an old Singer treadle machine. The fundamentals were the same, but as with all things technological, the ‘new-and-improved’ brigade tweaked and twaddled everything until common sense went out the window.

“Stop justifying and get on with it!”

“Oh look, it shows what type of foot I need and how to do the stitch.”

“Oh look, it shows what type of foot I need and how to do the stitch.”

-oOo-

Merrily we sew along, sew along, sew along. Merrily we sew along … hmm, the bobbin’s getting low. We’re not going to run out of cotton are we?”

“No.”

“You sure?”

“SHUT UP!”

“Told you.” “But it was a close call.” “Srlsy?”

“Told you.”
“But it was a close call.”
“Srlsy?”

-oOo-

Finally! All four hand towels neatly hemmed and folded, ready for action.

“We worked so well together.” “You’re delusional and I need a holiday. Put me back in my cupboard.”

“We worked so well together.”
“You’re delusional and I need a holiday. Put me back in my cupboard.”

 

-oOo-

The finished product, ready for action! “And I couldn’t’ve done it without my Friendly Neighbourhood Sewing Machine.” “Just shoot me!”

The finished product, ready for action!
“And I couldn’t’ve done it without my Friendly Neighbourhood Sewing Machine.”
“Just shoot me!”

Prelude IX

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**

-oOo-

(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’)

-oOo-

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.

-oOo-

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.

The Jester Trees

I went for a walk the other day to clear my head from the dross left inside it by all the writerly stuff I’ve been doing lately. Not complaining, mind you, but I think I’ve written more this year than I did for the whole of 2017.

As I ambled along the road I spied another consequence of our destructive December ice storm, this time a formerly stately five meter high hedge had paid the price.

These venerable trees now looked as though they had thrown their dignity into the ethers and taken on new identities as jester hats.

No more conformity for us!

No more conformity for us!

An uncanny resemblance …