The Eye Opens: Keeping a Promise to a Dragon and a Stone Part 3

When we arrived at the pyramidal stone that had caught my eye during my first visit, I found myself worrying a bit about encountering other hikers. The stone is not far from the intersection of three trails, making it likely we would not be alone. Yet I need not have worried. All beings we met seemed to be messengers even when they were not aware that they were.

This image is from my trip in July. Can you see the face near the apex?

I pointed the stone out to Sophia and Deb, who could not deny the significance of its shape. It also seemed to mark the entrance to an area that pulled us into a desire to explore, and so after paying our regards with the knowing we would return, we ventured off the beaten path.

I immediately had the sensation of entering into what felt like the body of the dragon. Dimension began to slip away, and the mind softened as the inner sight opened. I knew my companions were feeling the opening too, but I would not know until we rejoined how similar our experiences were.

As I walked, past dreams and visions started to knit together, as worlds folded into each other. As strange it all seemed, it also made sense. At least to the degree I was meant to understand that day. I soon discovered the land here holds its secrets tightly guarded and a trust must be earned to enter into their mysteries.

An other-worldly presence was undeniably evident, it turns out, to all of us. The face in the pyramid stone that had appeared during my trip in July, along with the large stone head at the beginning of our walk that day, could no longer be claimed as mere coincidences. I am a skeptic by nature, but I could not deny what I was seeing once Deb and Sophia revealed that they, in fact, had seen the same.

Yet it wouldn’t be until later, after I had some time to digest the experience, that I would begin to connect the dots and wonder how lives past and present were weaving together for a purpose just beginning to be defined. “Ammon Ra!” I was nowhere near Egypt, but the pyramids were everywhere, dimensions had collapsed the stars into Earth, and one tiny messenger was about to lead us to a mysterious eye.

I believe it was Deb who first spotted the tiny brown bird flirting among the shadows of the trees. It flew just beyond our reach, and difficult to detect. Were it not for its voice, we may have lost it. Yet despite its illusive nature, the bird seemed to beckon us to follow, and so we did. It was, in my mind, without a doubt, another messenger. Perhaps our most important one.

“I think we need to go there. In fact I know we need to go there,” I announced as I pulled my companions into the undergrowth of a path that wasn’t marked by human footsteps. The energy of the beacon had an undeniable force, yet there was a point when I knew we must stop.

Surrounding us were guardians staring out from the trunks of trees, peering through the visages of moss covered stones, and leering up at us through darkened holes. I was beginning to feel rather like I was in some Tolkien novel and the words, “Thou shalt not pass,” echoed through my mind.

We gathered between the grumpiest “troll” and the wooden head of a dragon guardian, forming a makeshift triangle on the uneven earth after we placed offerings of herbs and corn near the watchful eyes.

This wooden dragon brought back memories of a recent dream

On one side of us was the alpine forest, on the other, an immense white stone. If I had any doubts it housed the treasure being guarded, they soon disappeared.

Soon after our eyes closed in meditation, the serpent appeared. Its body emerged from the white boulder just over the head of Sophia and quickly wrapped the crown of our trinity. There it held us until we were finished.

“She’s standing in wait,” I whispered, eyes still closed and fixed upon the pillar of white energy waiting by the pyramid stone. Who she was, I still cannot say for sure, but she knew we were coming, and I was pretty certain I had seen her before. I recalled the “white goddess” who appeared in England at the foot of my bed years before, pulling the bedclothes back, urging me to surrender to the fey queen’s bidding. I thought also of Sophia, who had pulled the card for Isis before we had left. Was this her serpent energy that wrapped us tight?

It was after we rose from our mediation that I really looked at the white rock we stood beneath. “It’s the eye,” I don’t know how I knew it, but I was certain of my words.

A rock not meant to be climbed

Sophia, drawn to the curious markings that crisscrossed its surface, tried to get closer. The soft earth of the lid pulled her back and she lost her footing. “I don’t think we’re meant to go any nearer,” Deb and I both declared.

It was difficult to over-look the markings…

After a taking a few photographs, it was clear the “eye” had given has all of its gifts for the day. It was time to complete the mission of our journey and return to the pyramid stone and offer up the white pillar from Mystery Hill.

To Be Continued…

Thoughts of Fathers and Daughters with the Loss of Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Photo Credit: Pixabay

I don’t watch the news much these days so I am often late finding out about world events. This morning, I learned of the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsberg on Facebook. In a world that seems to be spiraling into an ever-darker abyss, this is one more crushing blow to all that is good. But, this will not be a post filled with all the good that RBG brought to the world. I have no doubt these are being spread far and wide at the moment, as they should be. Instead, this is a post about fathers and daughters.

At this time, I cannot help but think about fathers and their daughters, and here is an example why. Where I live in rural NH, there is a house that is positioned near the entrance to our small town. It is on the corner of three bisecting roads and just off a main highway that connects the state to its neighbors. Inside the house lives father who is in the military, his wife, and their two daughters. Their vast yard is punctuated across its perimeter with more signs for the POTUS than I care to count. Including one so large it could easily fill the side of a school bus.

They are a white family, privileged by the world’s standards, raising two strong girls, from what I hear. I don’t know them personally. But each time I pass the house, I am reminded of all the privileged white men with daughters in the world who are asserting their support of another privileged white man, who happens to also be deeply misogynistic, a likely rapist multiple times over, and an individual who is doing his best to strip away women’s rights. Including their daughters’.

Each time I pass this house, I think about all the progress women like RBG, and many others of both sexes, who have worked tirelessly to ensure that all lives matter equally. I keep thinking about what a father is telling to his daughters when he stakes his over-large sign on their yard to assert that, in essence, their lives don’t really matter. And, I am deeply, deeply, troubled by the notion that there are so many who are pushing their daughters into the shadows to assert their power as privileged white men.

Keeping a Promise to a Dragon and a Stone: Part 1

We left at 9:30am. Three women, piling into my little blue car to fulfill a promise I had made with a dragon. And a stone. We had everything we needed, or so I hoped. To be honest, I wasn’t wholly sure what we needed, or what at all to expect. All I knew was where I needed to go and what I needed to leave behind.

My offering was wrapped in gold satin at the bottom of my backpack. A gift unearthed six years before at in a place where it shouldn’t be by my daughter. I couldn’t deny I would miss it, just as I had the Raven’s Crystal but this too was not mine to keep.

Inside the pack, with the pillar of selenite, were my snacks and water, some tissues, bandaids, my wallet, windbreaker, and three bundles of sage and lavender from my garden. There had been no more dreams or visions, aside from the returning memory of a journey with my two companions to the Mystery Hill where my daughter had found the offering years before. They, in turn had brought their own offerings, which later we would realize were perfect. Being led, like me, with few clues but with a willingness to discover whatever awaited.

Photo taken by Deb. We saw hearts everywhere throughout the day.

The signs began to become obvious when we pulled the car into the base of the mountain. Although its electric charge was now at zero, the gas meter read 333 miles remaining in the tank. When I glanced at the sequence of 3s, then shared the number with my companions, it became obvious why we had formed a trinity for this journey. There had been a moment of guilt days before, followed by an extension of the invitation to others to join, but in the end we were left with the three I had envisioned. And, somehow we had settled, without knowing it, to embark on the day of a new moon, because it was simply the only day that worked.

Deb and I jumped out of the car to pay the park fee, get maps and make an inquiry.

“Can you tell us how to get to the Serpent Ridge trail,” Deb asked a dumbfounded attendant. I had an impulse to nudge her when I saw the look on the attendant’s face.

“There’s no trail by that name.”

“Yes there is,” Deb insisted, “readying her phone to pull up the evidence.

“Never mind,” I interjected.

I’m okay with not being considered “normal,” and perhaps a tad bit “crazy” by some people’s standards, but I saw no point in further alarming the poor woman behind the glass who seemed pretty close to making use of her own phone. To call the authorities.

“We saw it online,” I said. “It was probably just named that by some hiker, never mind.”

The car chugged up 2/3 of the mountain with some effort while Deb and I shared our experience at the gate with Sophia. Marking the beginning of a steady stream of jokes and much laughter that would carry us through to end of our day.

My faithful companions with just a hint of mischief in their visages.

The air was colder than I had anticipated, and the sky threatened a rain that never released from the clouds when we disembarked from the overheated car. Resting nicely in a near-empty lot, we left the vehicle behind to eat lunch.

“What time is it,” Sophia inquired.

“11:44”

The next time I would look at the clock on my phone it would be 12:44.

“Should we take the slut trail or the slab,” Sophia wondered as she studied the map.

“Slut?!”

“Slot, Alethea, Slot!” That was it, we were doomed. I could have blamed the wind for the tears, but it was pretty obvious that the three of us had reverted back to childhood. Laughter would turn out to be the balm we needed as we descended into the darkened forest.

Our first guide was a familiar one. “I was wondering if you’d be here,” I greeted the chipmunk as it scurried from stone to stone beside us.

“Do you remember the chipmunk at America’s Stonehenge,” I asked my companions. They recalled its uncanny hoping to the stones where our eyes needed to linger. This one, though, stayed with us for just a short time. There was another guide yet to make its appearance. A guide that would make me think of Sue.

I took it as a good omen we were in the right place, but I think the old man who passed by moments later thought I was as looney as the gatekeeper did Deb. More laughter, of course, ensued.

The next being we encountered stopped us in our tracks. Nestled into the roots of two birches aside the path, it was impossible to miss.

“It looks like…”

“Yep.”

“I had the same thought.”

All three of us, apparently, saw the same image encased in stone. And what we saw foreshadowed what was yet to come.

To Be Continued…

The Wild Soul Yearning to be Free

She stood wrapped inside the wild wind and her wild thoughts. No, they were not her thoughts, but she felt them as if they were. So wild there was no language for them, only feeling. So wild they lifted her soul out of her body, which she dragged behind her in her wild search for meaning.

I woke this morning from a dream that seemed to be telling me my story but also everyone’s. Inside the walls of an ever-expansive house, I searched the crowded rooms, looking for an exit. Pulled at layered clothing too old to be anywhere close to new. I felt worn and tired, too weary to feel beloved until a ravishing touch awakened my pulse.

Before the dream was over, I listed what defined me. “Oh yeah, I whispered as an afterthought, I am also a writer.”

The list made me feel tired even though my body slumbered. It dulled me inside the confinement of the rooms I could not escape from. Endless chambers filled with the collection of things made to define lives hopelessly searching for the return to the wild soul.

As I put meaning to the dreamscape, I realized that perhaps this simple longing to return to the essence of the free soul is what is plaguing humanity right now. Radical factions breaking off from the “norm,” decrying conspiracy and even hatred in the search to be free. Masks defiantly not worn in the name of freedom…

My thoughts wandered to Nelson Mandela’s life. Twenty-seven years spent imprisoned in body, but not soul. I can’t profess to understand how he endured those long years while keeping that light strong inside, but I do know the wild longing for freedom when there are no bars holding the physical body in restraints.

The mind is a master of erecting barriers that cannot be seen.

I thought of that day when I followed the wild thoughts that were not mine to a hill in England and looked with wild eyes that were not just my own through a history I felt acutely in my dancing cells. I had, it seemed, come to bear witness to the past stretched long into the present. To know through the depths beyond reason our collective history. As I wandered the ruins of a land that was once enchanted by the magic of the free soul, I felt the long moment of entrapment. The wings that would fly, clipped. Grounded into a darkness not my own, yet very much mine.

We are swirling, once again, into the darkness of the shadowlands. We blame the outside, crying out in the name of injustice and freedoms lost, inciting division and even anger and hatred as we rage against our would-be constraints. And in the process, we entrap ourselves and each other, further and further into the abyss that diminishes the light of the soul that knows that it, in truth, can never be confined.

Yet who can blame us? We are birthed to know confinement. The soul that knows only light, suddenly constrained by a dense body inside a dark, ever-confining womb, waits to be birthed into form. A form that it exists within, for a limited time, not just to understand life, but also death. The soul inside the body learns easily what it feels like to be restricted, easily forgetting what it feels like to be boundless.

I am reminded of the suffocation of my dream. The feeling of rooms without exits, but also self-imposed labels that felt heavy and limiting. The voice that felt lost inside itself. I am reminded of the inner child who always searches for the chance to dance back into the light, naked and free. Not caring who is watching…Singing with abandon.

I am reminded of how much I have allowed myself to forget that she exists without bounds. That she need not be constrained without my will. I am reminded about how much I default, as I watch those around me doing the same, to the outside instead of the inside. Forgetting, in the processes that we are never not free. That the wild light is alive inside and is always best nurtured with love.

Serenity in Turbulent Times #serenity #writephoto #suevincent

Photo Credit: Sue Vincent

These days serenity is borrowed. To avoid the turbulent waters that try to divide the heart’s landscape of love, I find myself seeking the pause. Stillness, where thoughts cannot ripple the surface. I walk into the rain to find beauty in the gray mist. The tucked heads of flowers pigmented like the sun. Their beauty muted because the eyes can stand only so much glory.

With my belly on the mossy lawn I watch hills of ants and find a sophistication of silent cooperation that is foreign to my language. For a moment, I’d like to be an ant crawling into dug caverns, deeper and deeper into the body of Earth until what remains on the surface disappears from the mind.

The cat studies with me. Delighted. Her purr barely perceptible, she is stingy with her love, but her curled lips betray her. She believes me to be a cohort in mischief and I think perhaps I am. Inside the house dust settles into corners and dishes wait in the sink, but I am stealing more time to listen to bird song and soft sigh of grass yielding to my body.

Here, level with the eyes of the cat, I search the understory of life and find pipes made of fungi pushing through last year’s leaves and I know the fey cannot be far away.

For Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt #serenity. Click here to participate in the challenge.

The Friend That Brings Us Back To Earth #friendship

We are lucky if we have one, and I do. That friend that gently grasps the etheric cord of the umbilicus and brings us back to Earth. In these days of uncertainty and heightened paranoia, peppered with more than a fair share of outlandish conspiracies, one can easily feel lost, trapped, or simply over-whelmed. The tribe of belonging can feel tenuous at best as we look around and search for meaning and understanding and find so many who have fallen off the deep-end of fear, anger, and blame.

Thank goodness for these friends who bring us back to Earth. I am thinking of one in particular, and she’ll know who she is so there is no need to put a name on the page. I have known her since our daughters were best friends in preschool, and even though distance has long since separated us, our bond of friendship has not been severed.

She was the first person I had ever met with whom I could really talk. You know, about those things that other people might think you were crazy if you uttered? And, she never thought I was odd. Together we explored our experiences beyond the everyday sense and shared books and ideas. And, each time I felt I might spiral into some sort of otherworldly chaos, I knew she would be the constant to pull me back down to Earth.

It is not easy to find a balance when one chooses to be a “walker between worlds,” yet long ago this was the norm of existence. In this era of “New Age” spirituality now enmeshed in conspiracy, I have seen so many people I know tipping into the realm of paranoia and even vitriol. Many self-proclaimed “Lightworks” are making it a daily practice to spread anger and accusations (as opposed to “light” and “love”) all over their social media pages without a thought to their impacts on themselves and others, making them no different than the enemy they have claimed as their own.

Some of these people were my friends, and perhaps they still are, but I am finding it more and more difficult to feel as though they are still of a tribe I want to belong to. The other day, my friend and I were having a conversation about this, and the only conclusion we could draw from this need to conspire and point the finger of accusation and anger instead of love, in every possible direction, was the need to “feel special.” The need to somehow be privy to information that others are in the “darkness” about. This, in essence, is how conspiracies spread.

I think we must ask ourselves, and I think this friend would agree, the why before the sending out. Why do we feel the need to spread fear if we cannot 100% know it is the Truth? Just because someone you trust told you there are microchips in vaccines, or that Covid-19 is really a virus manufactured by man to kill innocent people, should you be propagating this self-proclaimed evidence without hard, concrete data? We live in a world where anything and everything can be said and spread globally with the click of a button in less time than it takes to form a rational thought inside of the mind. Sadly, most people I know who glom onto the outlandish have not immersed themselves in the science they choose to discredit and thus have no basis for their claims, but simply trust the words of the dissenters.

We cannot know everything, and these days humility and wonder seem to be a precious commodity that is rapidly being lost to arrogance and anger. It is difficult not to feel lonely in this strange, turbulent sea that is humanity right now, which is why I am ever-grateful for these friends who are constants, grounded in Earth, but open to wonder that always spirals back to the source that is love. We cannot love when we are filled with hate and blame. Division is a force that opposes unity. If we cannot understand or truly know the how or the why, should we be fixated on spreading what we cannot know to be true? What means does that serve, but more division?

Even though the hand is not there in physical form for me to grasp, I know it is always extended by this friend of mine. And in this ever-spiraling chaos, I am so grateful to have it to grasp in friendship and the knowing that in her the rational mind is still grounded in love. That when she answers the phone I can find home in the senseless and the knowing that maybe, just maybe, we will all find our way back to unity and the knowing that we all, in essence, are one.

When Fear Trumps Logic

It’s no denying we are living in strange and turbulent times, but alas this is nothing new. We are creatures with a history of chaos and violence that extends through the long lines of recorded history. Then there is that history which was never recorded and extinguished…

But I am thinking of present times and how much the world seems to be tipping on the brink of a major collapse. I am thinking about fear, in particular, and how it has seized the hold of logic and reason, trapping the heart-mind in a suffocating vice.

So many people I admire and respect have seemingly gone down a rabbit hole, blindly following the trail of fear in an attempt to defy anything that comes form the place of logic. The enemy, illusive but ever-pursing them further and further into this pit of chaos.

Rarely a day goes by when I don’t receive a video or read a posting that cries out in the language of conspiracy. “Who started this?” I sometimes ask, “And who is this person on the screen?” Rarely do I get a logical answer, as mostly it is unknown, yet freely the noise of conspiracy is passed and as it passes into each field of vision, its message of chaos and confusion grows.

I get it. We are all searching for answer in these uncertain times. We are all searching for a reason for the madness, but does further madness lead to peace and resolution? Logic states that it does not.

We seem to have forgotten one simple fact: Love Begets Love. Fear Begets Fear. At this point, I no longer care why and how these things happen that spark conspiracy, I care that we are spiraling into their abyss. I care that we have fallen into separation and polarity rather than grabbing ahold of that which binds us together.

We are demonizing the other as though the other is not us. It is this that I find the most disturbing. The few that are truly working to pump fear into our veins are seemingly winning. They have taken ahold of our lifeblood and replaced love, empathy, and unity with anything that feeds our separation. This is unsettling.

When I look arounds and see the individual, I see someone searching for unity. I see a person that is not unlike me, searching for meaning and purpose. I see that which binds us. We share the same air, we share the same basic needs for survival. We are share a yearning for love and understanding.

Perhaps the need to go to battle with the perceived “other” is so deeply encoded into our cellular memory, passed on from generation upon generation through our DNA, that we simply cannot find a way to decode it. Anyone who has tried to break a habit knows how difficult it can be. Imagine the multiplying of its force over millenium inside billions of bodies passing the habit on…

It’s mind-boggling and over-whelming. The force it requires to break it apart seemingly impossible. Yet it is also incredibly easy. It’s incredibly simple. We simply need to look at each other and see ourselves reflected back at us. We simply need to turn toward what we share: the need for air, food, water, shelter, and most of all love and empathy. We need to understand to be understood, but we also need to see beyond the trappings of fear and the dark abyss that it is.

We need to climb out of it holding hands.

Ghost Stories

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My daughter at the helm learning to drive with her dad in the background

We sat in plastic chairs huddled around the flames my daughter had brought to life and talked about ghosts.

“What’s the scariest thing that has ever happened to you?”

I had four teenagers spellbound. Aware with each word I chose I could either feed their fear or help abate it. And what of my own?

Should I really tell them about ghosts? 

The thought came and went. And came and went some more as I began the story about the woman in the two-hundred year-old dress seated at the piano with her daughter playing the keys of a past she could not let go of. But that was cheating, in a way. I had not seen her, only heard about her. So I told them how, before I knew better, I had evoked the spirit of another lost soul who wandered the hallways of my haunted school. Learning, in the process that he was a specter not to be feared, but to be pitied.

In turn they told me about their friends playing around with online videos to conjure spirits and enter into past lives.

“Didn’t you have an Ouija board,” my daughter asked as the mom inside of me came out to lecture about using care and caution, and how some things are better left alone and that’s why there are professionals…before I was cut off again.

But what’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened to you?

I wasn’t willing to go as far as the demons I had battled while my body slept…so I told them about the hair puller yanking me awake in the middle of the night.

“Oh my god, I would have lost it!”

I watched my daughter’s best friend nervously scroll the phone in her hand.

Had I said too much?

I knew she was afraid. And, she knew she could tell me to stop talking, or walk away. Beside her bed back home I could see the half-empty bottle of “Ghost Be Gone” spray I had filled several times for her. You need to learn how to do this yourself…I had told her more than once, but she had wanted just the crutch of the spray.

Without fear can we learn empowerment?

While I told some of my ghost stories, I thought about my four-year-old son calling me awake in the voice of terror, shaking me from sleep in the middle of the night. My husband, telling me to let him learn courage as I held his trembling body in my arms. I thought about my son, a little older saying, “I see strange colors in my room at night,” when I was just learning how to process the truth of his words.

Now fifteen, he sat beside me, slightly removed from my daughter’s friends, but not unwelcome tucked into the shadows of our circle. “Can you feel them?” he asked before he told us the story of being alone in the house with the dog barking at nothing. The cat staring at the unseen. His body knowing what his eyes no longer see.

How could I not seize each moment with care, handling it as best I knew how to, knowing that I was once that child in the dark?

My daughter’s best friend dropped her phone on her lap. “My grandma is always with me, but I don’t like it.”

I weighed each word on my scale of truth, aware that my scale of truth was not the same as others. I was raised on the belief that there was no soul beyond the body, but I knew enough from her stories and her mother’s, that she was not.

What would you have wanted to know? The inner voice kept urging guidance. So I told her about the grandmother who sent me the scent of roses to remind me of the love she struggled to show me when I could see her with my eyes.

“Have you seen The Conjuring?” she asked me, tipping the scales back towards fear.

I wasn’t even sure I knew what the movie was about, but I could guess from the title, as I told her I avoided all movies and books that sensationally evoked the darkest side of humanity. I see no point to them, although I’m sure others will vehemently argue their value. I’ve never seen much value in glorifying violence and we all know the adage, “What we feed grows.” I made a vow to myself long ago to grow empowerment over fear in each child, teen, or adult who came to me for guidance.

“How many dead people have you talked to?” another friend asked.

I don’t keep track of numbers like this, and after I reminded them that I wasn’t a medium by profession, I decided to tell them about the visit from the desperate mother. She had been dead only a week or so, but she was already worried about the adult daughters she had left behind. Her human brain, I would later learn, had long lost the ability to coherently remind them of her love, so she had chose to visit me, a somewhat forgotten friend from her daughter’s childhood, before I feel into sleep, to relay what she hadn’t been able to say before she had passed. The story also had an element of mystery. A ring lost to her years of hoarding, stuffed away in a buried box, she needed them to find. Which they did.

“Wow! Really?”

While the teenagers wrapped themselves in the intrigue of the story’s mystery, I hoped the were also thinking about how ghosts need not be feared like the ones in their movies.

“I couldn’t live in a house that someone had died in,” someone eventually shared.

So I told them about the man who had died in my children’s first home, before me moved in. Perhaps they were expecting to hear a tale of fright, but instead they heard another tale of love.

“You have complete power over what you let in,” I told them as I started to come to the thesis of my narratives.

They didn’t believe me. At first. But I persisted, even though I could tell I was starting to lose their attention. They were here for ghost stories, after all, and my nudging daughter knew I had an abundance of them.

Instead, we talked about shields of energy and intention, followed by more examples than they cared to hear of how empowered they each were before we finally crawled into our respective beds well past midnight.

I had a feeling they’d sleep well, even though we had spent the night sharing ghost stories.

It was 10am before I heard the first stirrings of movement from the bedrooms downstairs. The cinnamon rolls on the stove had already cooled to room temperature. I lit the flame under the frying pan and began to crack eggs into a bowl to whip them into a scramble.

“Oh that smells good.”

“I’m so hungry.”

“I slept awesome!”

“Me too! Even though I dreamed about ghosts.”

“Yeah so did I! I can’t believe how well I slept.”

Inside I sighed relief. I knew the outcome could have been different, but I was also careful with the scale I had been balancing with each word I let forth from my mouth. There could have been angry texts from parents of scared kids, and any number of unhappy outcomes, but instead I had around me five hungry teenagers eager to go about their day empowered from their night of ghosts.

I had taken a risk when I chose to face fear instead of shoving it back into the darkness.  Usually I play the quiet role of the host-mom, choosing to stay in the background, careful not to hover or impose. That night, though, I had been invited to enter the circle around the campfire to play the role of storyteller and I chose to take it. There’s something about campfires. Being out in the night air where the darkness is cut by the flame in the center evokes the desire to tell stories. But not just ordinary stories. The embers stir that which is hidden, calling it to come out and be seen. Heard.

As those five teenagers faced their ghostly fears of the ephemeral world that no longer scared me, my own fears had played through me. My children are at the age of transitioning away from the protection of the hearth fire and the maternal chords are frequently tugged inside of me. Earlier that day, before we gathered around the fire, I had watched from the shore as my daughter and my son struggled to start our boat. Part of me was hoping they wouldn’t be successful, but persistence on their part paid off as they slowly pulled away with friends on board to tube and ski for their first time without an adult on board.

“Stop taking pictures and help me in!” My brave, determined 16-yr-old daughter, who had learned to drive the boat this summer, six months after she got her license to drive a car, was showing me her anxiety about safely docking to unload. And she was showing me she still needed me, albeit with the  irritation of a teenager, and so I put the camera down and caught the rope to pull her in.

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Our Quiet Anniversary Began at a Gorge

Before our long day of hiking, Dave and I drove up to Quechee, VT.  We stayed at an old farmhouse with a long history. Built in 1793, The Quechee Inn at Marshfield was once the home of Vermont’s first lieutenant governor, Colonel Joseph Marsh. It’s now a lovely inn filled with rooms that hold the charm of its history. I almost wish we had seen a ghost…

After an early three-course dinner complete with wine, we headed out for a walk. Although I was hoping to discover the location of a nearby site purportedly containing ancient stone chambers aligned with the solstices and referred to as “Calendar II” on cryptic websites, it was apparently not meant to be. I am now quite certain it must be on private land, but if anyone reading this knows, I’d love to learn more…

Instead of searching for the illusive stone chambers, Dave and I headed out in search of  Quechee Gorge. There is a trail on the road across from the inn that extends 1.4 miles from a pond to the famous gorge.

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Dewey’s Mill Pond is just across the road from the inn

Mindful of the goose droppings littered throughout the parking lot, we admired Dewey’s Mill Pond quilted with water lilies.

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The Ottauquechee River feeds into Dewey’s pond

A small trail through tall rushes winds through the waterways of Dewey’s Mill Pond and Ottauquechee River. While we walked, goldfinch flitted across our path and tree spirits quietly watched our passing.

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It was an unexpected delight to find our path leading to the magnificent Ottauquechee Dam and Waterfalls.

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The hydroelectric dam is quite beautiful.

As you can see from the photo, the water level was not high enough to cause an impressive waterfall from the dam, but the impressive size of the rock face is evident.

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Another view of the waterfall from the dam through trees lining the path lends the illusion of a more robust stream.

Each step of the path from the pond to the foot of the gorge is lined with beauty. Soon after the falls, the trail leads into a forest that only partially hides a sharp descent into the gorge.

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It’s hard to capture the sheer drop-off lining the forest path.

At its highest point, the drop from Quechee Gorge is 165 ft. The couple of times I have been here in the past, the gorge and its surrounding areas were filled with tourists. It was a bit surreal and eerie to be alone for most of our walk.

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Built in 1911, The Quechee Gorge Bridge is Vermont’s oldest steel arch bridge. 

One gets the most impressive feel of the height of the gorge from Quechee Gorge Bridge, which is lined with an arched railing and is posted with suicide prevention hotlines. From the pathway beside it, though, you can get a look at its underside.

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Had it been springtime, or had we been in the middle of a very wet summer, the gorge would have looked much different than it did. Although signs warn of sudden rises in water from the release of the dam, we saw only a calm stream in the middle of its rocky bed.

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The bed of the gorge.

Beyond the rocky bed, the water collects into a pond. Here we saw our first glimpse of visitors since we left the dam. A few teens were out for an evening swim. We left them alone and began our way back to the inn.

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Dewey’s Mill Pond upon our return.

It was a lovely way to spend our evening. When it got dark enough, we tried to see the comet, but to no avail.

The call of a dragon and the pyramid stone(s)

She stands alone in the vast echoing darkness, as she does each day. Her hair ripples a night without stars from her crown to her waist. “Ammon Ra!” She calls through the portal. “Ammon Ra!” She raises her scepter to the apex, heralding the opening. “Ammon Ra!” Darkness slips away to the effortless lift. Stones becoming an illusion to weight. Her body, the channel for the sun, her voice, the gateway.  “Ammon Ra!” Dimension collapses into waves of light, filling the great pyramid it searches for the veins. “Ammon Ra!” The scepter meets the floor and gold spills into the ground in a vast web without endings. Below the feet of the priestess, Earth pulses with energy. Tomorrow she will return. And the day after that…

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It’s a hot morning in mid-July and I am climbing a mountain that has called to me through the channel opened to the higher self. I am not thinking of Egypt or a long ago time that has rippled back to this one. Instead, I am trying not to think, allowing myself to surrender to whatever will be. It is hot. Airless. Just as it was a year before when I climbed another mountain with my husband on our anniversary because it called me from a place beyond logic.

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Bring the crystal you were given at America’s Stonehenge

Instead I have brought a packet of tobacco leaves, as I did when I climbed to see Chocorua. It is not yet time to bring the crystal, now I know why my daughter dug the wand of selenite out of a sandlot six years before I would find myself inside a vision of  life that is woven into this one.

It’s no big deal. There are others who call in the opening, collapsing dimension in the path to the stars.

Admittedly, despite the attempts to expect nothing, I am looking for signs along the path. At Chocorua I had several: the ghostly figures of Native Americans watching us walk beside the sacred stream, the white feather fallen upon the path, two snakes, the crow greeting our arrival and the pileated woodpecker, my “feathered seer” calling through the silence. And, finally, the face of the chief in the clouds just before we turned for our descent, not having quite reached the peak of our destination.

Today there are no ravens promising magic, only a woman and her dog who quickly disappear ahead of us and out of sight. I have a feeling it will be a quiet walk and I will be watched more than I will see. This is often how it happens, I am learning. A trust needs to be earned, and I am heedful of my steps and mindful of noticing where I feel the nudge to drop a few leaves of tobacco for the spirits of the mountain.

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But the energy is there. I can see the serpents in the stones we pass by and I can feel the lines of water, even though it is nearly dried up.

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We find the spring empty of people and I am grateful for the chance to linger beside the stones (who watch us closely) and cool my skin in the cold, clear liquid.

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It is a place I’d like to linger longer. Light dances with water here, creating alchemy with color on the stones. The veins feel alive with the pulse of the dragon and the stones eroded in a way that does not feel accidental.

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But we have a long way yet to go, and I am determined to reach the peak, unlike last year. I don’t know what to expect, but I am expecting something. Our walk, though, is quiet and intense in its ascent. The path we have chosen gives us few breaks from the vertical climb and the heat is strong today.

 

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Before we leave the waterfall, I notice the metal on the rock. The chiseled words feel, well, perfect.

IMG_1730I take a final look that the stones and the light’s dance on the water. Grateful that it will be there on our return.

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Ahead of us is more heat and the rigors of our climb. But we will not rest in one spot for too long. The stones watch us while we walk, and I leave my trail of tobacco leaves hoping it is enough.

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I still don’t feel home here the way I do in England, walking the newer lands of America, but I am learning to trust that the pulse that feels like magic beats here just as strongly. Even if it’s not quite as close to the surface. I have noticed during my walks through the mountains and forest paths of New England, that the land here is cautious of my footsteps, as it should be. Our ancestors here have left a troubled path, and my veins do not course with native blood. I am often acutely aware that I am an intruder who needs to earn trust.

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Yet, the stones show me their faces and forms when I look close enough, and sometimes a bit of unexpected magic is revealed.

Like the cube of quartz we find as though it has been tossed to be seen, just inches from our feet in the bed of dried leaves. It feels like a gift to be left, but noticed. Not photographed. A reminder of what I will bring with me next time.

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Instead I photograph the tiny orange mushrooms that look like a trail of the fey, and we continue our climb to the strange little hut that I cannot imagine falling asleep inside.

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“You’d need to bring a pad with your sleeping bag,” I tell my husband as I press my fingers into the unforgiving metal mesh. I’d rather not think of what else might venture inside the opening in the darkness of night.

Did I mention my bladder has felt the need for release before we began our decent? A minor inconvenience that my mind returns to each time I take a drink to quench my thirst. For some reason I can’t bring myself to relieve myself behind a stone. There’s no one around.

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Just the stones of a former habitation as we get closer to the top.

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And lots of large, curious looking boulders that call for a better look upon our descent. But we are nearly there, the signs promise us our feet will soon reach the peak.

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I am expecting, even though I have tried not to expect, a vast rocky face with clear vistas, but instead we need to climb once more. This time it is stairs up to a guarded platform. Here, finally, we meet more visitors and it feels crowded on top of this large mountain.

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But I am not wholly disappointed. Up here I can see the peaks beyond and take in the contours of the land from a point not seen from the ground. And, I can see the ripples on the back of the dragon.

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But we are hiking in the midst of a pandemic, and others are waiting for the view, so we don’t stay too long atop the constructed tower. Besides, I still have to pee, it’s lunchtime, and the stones below are calling.

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Although there is a great deal of the mountain remaining for me to discover at perhaps another time, this place beckons to me. And soon I have an idea why.

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It’s not just the stones piled into caves that will have to wait for my eyes to peer inside, it’s the stone in the middle, curiously shaped like a pyramid. In the distance, far beyond sight, a bird calls through the forest. It is a pileated woodpecker. My “feathered seer.”

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To be continued, someday…

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