Today, as the sun begins setting, I walk to where she is drying herbs. Without looking, she leaves her task, and walks down a tiny path, barely visible beneath ivy, vine, and ferns.
“Come,” she says.
So I follow. We walk a ways and come upon a small, deep stream. A small dug-out canoe is waiting by the bank, as she shakes the rope loose and curls it in the bow. She steps in, and then waits for me. As I settle onto the mid-bench, she looks at me, and I know to paddle, without her speaking.
The scenery on either side is just glorious and green and alive. There is nothing unnatural caught anywhere in this Web of Beauty: no Coors, no Trojans, no Starbucks. Nothing interferes with the Song or the Light of this place. Awesome.
Soon, I can see the stream widening out, so that it has become maybe twenty yards across, and remains so deep that it looks like obsidian in the shadows. And the shadows are growing longer now, thrown by trees beginning to dwell more in the edge of the water than the edge of the land. As I re-focus to what I am seeing, I realize this ‘feels’ like bayou country, like deep Louisiana (USA) country. And I start looking for the predatory ‘logs’ that hide shape-shifting alligators.
I continue to paddle, quietly, and easily, because of the strong current, in the direction Mahng is facing. It is becoming dark quickly, and I know the sun has set. I begin worrying more about the alligators, and snags, and such like in the river.
Then Mahng says, “Look.”
I raise my eyes up from the surface of the water into the night. Still several yards ahead of us, on the right, I see twinkling lights – like stars captured and set out by a child along the river bank. In truth, as we near, they appear more like the tiny white Christmas lights I have known. Then I realize they are silhouetting a pier, porch, and homestead cabin of some sort.
I do not need Mahng to say anything as I paddle to the pier, wrap the rope around a cypress knee, and help Mahng out. Once on the pier, I can see better the light inside the home, and smell some very delicious food cooking… as if we were expected.
A woman steps through the door, and her energy, her presence, is like the night come alive. I have no definite sense, no physical cognitive sense, of her – just that knowing. She calls me.
“Come, come. She goed out wit friends. You come in.”
And I see Mahng wander off around the far side of the porch.
As I return attention to this strange woman, she says, “Bredha. You call me. Ting you dis all is real?”
She is speaking rapidly, faster than I am processing, and I just kind of stare at her. At her home. At this place. And not just stare, either. Sense. Feel. Experience. Because this is Energy like Mahng’s, but not. This is an ancient Magic with a different flavor and texture. And so, I feel it is safest just to listen, although I do answer her question.
“Yes, and no.”
She smiles – and it is like a sliver of moon in a midnight sky. “She say you smart. Say what you mean, Chile.”
“Yes, this is real, but not solid physical real. It – everything – shifts like the wind, with thought, with sentience, ever changing and adapting to the energy evolving here.”
“Whew! Chile. Sumthin dat is. You words. Is real. Is enough. To ting is to be in past. No ting now. Be.”
And I quiet myself as Mahng has taught me, and let my thoughts pass like clouds in the sky, like Monk has taught me. And I just be. I sit upon the planked floor against a wall, and open to experiencing what I can.
I am surprised (and let that go) to feel the current of energy and magic so strongly. It moves and breathes through me. In places, it is denser and so my eyes ‘see’ the pier, the home, Bredha. But it constantly flows –everything does – and changes, interacts, and weaves, like a matrix of Life… and more… because I can sense more, if I can only keep my mind from interfering.
And slowly, I feel myself melding, melting, into this gloriously alive and effervescent energy, full of the sparklies of magic.
“Chile. Tea. Dringit.”
And I feel a cup held to my lips, and liquid trickling into my mouth. As soon as it touches my tongue, I drop back into the more ‘solid’ presence of this place, and Bredha, kneeling in front of me with tea.
“You good. Yes. Ting you maybe not come back. Friend here to see you.” And she nods to the opening in the wall that is her window. On the ledge is what seems to be a faery, like a sylph, like Tinkerbell. And as Bredha gives me a hand up from sitting, I am transformed into that corresponding tiny size, and set next to the sylph. Whoa!
“Hello, Lighthawk,” she says.
“Hi,” I tentatively reply, as I am trying to process at least somewhat.
“We are in the Music, now. We are in the Song. This is what Faery used to be.”
As I listen, or rather as I let go and experience, I feel an even purer Tone than the Beauty and Harmony I already associate with the Faery World of my Journeys. Even purer. Achingly pure. Bringing tears to my eyes. And I cannot stop weeping, and lose myself within the moment.
“Lighthawk.” A tap on my shoulder.
I focus back to her. And see her tears also.
“We need to bring this back,” she says.
“No. I need to learn alchemy, so to help shift into this Place, this Tone. And then teach it, perhaps, to those who wish it… until all who choose, can experience what we have. Then it will come back.”
“Then, I wish you good fortune and smiles on your Quest – for it is mine also. We shall meet again.”
As she flies away, I feel myself lifted, and shifted, back to a low stool in the kitchen… next to Bredha… back to my original size.
“Ting you to do dat, yes?”
“May be enough. Canna say. To sleep, tonight, yes, I ting you go down river. To tree. Call is for you.”
“Go where? It’s too dark to see anything.”
“What wrong wit head? Ting too much. Know too little.”
“So, I take the boat, head downriver, and listen – follow the Call?”
“And hope I find this tree, or whatever calls me, before the gators find me?”
“Yes. I ting you make good gumbo for gators.”
And then she laughs, and her laughter breaks around me like tinkling glass – as if the energy, this whole world, is made of glass… and it dissolves into the darkness of the night.
I climb into the boat. That is all that is left. I can see no house, no lights… and then, no pier.
I feel the current tug the boat, and I let it run, holding the paddle like a weapon to fend off snags, or gators, or other encumbrances of the river.
As I flow through the night, I try to let go – again – to the energy of this Place – listening, experiencing, being. I may as well; it is too dark to see.
Like the current of the river, I feel the draw of a Call. Suddenly, I realize I have swept beyond it, to where the water spreads out and merges with some larger bay or gulf. And I am battered by glaring lights, screeching cacophony, and toxic smells. Quickly, I turn the boat around and paddle desperately upstream to where the focus of the Call is strongest, and that unnatural – Human-tainted – chaos has disappeared completely. Back into the Music. Back into the Magic. Back into the Beauty of this ancient place.
I pull up to a huge Cypress tree. It looks to be hundreds of years old, several yards around, and too tall to measure. Around it, there appears to be a reddish-brown aura of energy, luminescent in the night air. Because of the glimmering, I can see a place to draw the boat close, within the knees and roots of the tree.
There is an indentation in the trunk, and as I climb into it, I realize that somehow – in its growing – several flat pieces of tree line the inside of it next to the water’s edge… as if it has a lateral extension, grown out from the original tree trunk.
I crawl onto one of the levels, which is large enough for me to sleep in. I rest, sitting, with my back against the inner tree, and try to process all that has happened so far.
“It is as it is, you know.”
And I know the Cypress is speaking to me.
“You look for ancient answers to current problems.”
“I look for ancient answers to my own questions. In this way, I believe I can help others in my time and place adapt and survive to the Change that comes.”
“True. If you sleep here, then, I will share what I know.”
“I am honored, Grandmother Cypress.”
“I am on beyond Grandmother, Little one, but thank you.”
And so it is that I spend the night (and perhaps much more in the non-linear sense of this place and time). Grandmother Cypress fills my dreams with Knowings that have no way to be expressed in my here-and-now vocabulary and frame of reference. And I know they are more than dreams, and I can only say to you to go find Her and experience for yourself. You will never be the same.
Bredha and the Star-born