With just one kitten still needing a home, Mama and Katt have become very close. I hardly ever see one without the other. Yet, as I look up from my work, I see Mama, alone, heading purposefully down the path around the pond. She stops at the edge of the woods and looks back toward the cabin. Even from this distance I seem to feel her eyes lock with mine. Curiously I get up to follow her, Mutt and Katt right behind me.
Mama waits until we are near, then turns and enters the woods. This is no meandering jaunt for her as she leads me purposefully down one path and another, never hesitating, until we are at the barrier that protects the ancient circles. Unerringly, Mama follows the twisting route through the barrier bushes and trees until we emerge in the clearing in the center.
The trees and grass are the new green of spring growth, tiny white flowers just starting to bloom throughout the grass. Mama pauses for a moment, then starts toward one of the guardian stones that appears slightly askew. As we get closer, I see it only looks that way because of a small disturbance in the dirt near its base where some small animal has been digging.
Mama daintily picks at something; and I see a flash of light. Curiously, I get down beside her. She's found what looks like a heavy necklace. Thinking it had broken and been lost here years ago; I start to lift it free of the dirt. It seems to be intact but caught under an edge of the guardian; and carefully I brush the loose dirt away until I see it disappears into a pocket in the side of the stone just below ground level. If whatever critter it was hadn't started digging right at this spot, the chain and whatever it's attached to might have remained hidden forever.
Mama picks carefully at the dirt with her claw; and I look around for something to help her dig with. Finally I snap a twig in half, leaving two sort of sharp ends. The dirt is dry inside the pocket; and it flakes away easily with the stick. Mama watches with interest as I work; but Mutt and Katt only display a sleepy interest. Finally I remove enough of the dirt to reveal a pendant attached to the chain. Working more carefully now, I alternatively wiggle the pendant in its hiding place and continue digging at the dirt with the stick. Finally the pendant comes free of its hiding place. It is easily four inches in diameter and so dirt encrusted that I can't even guess what it might have once looked like. I wonder how it came to be where Mama found it. It hardly seems possible that it accidentally got wedged into that pocket in the stone. More likely it was put there for safekeeping and forgotten I think, one more mysterious thing about this grove. That and why Mama had such an interest in it that she brought me here to unearth it.
Mama begins covering the hole again; and I help her until no trace of the excavation or the pocket remains except a small patch of raw earth that the grass will soon cover. Satisfied, Mama goes to lie beside Katt, leaving me to examine our find alone. I try to brush the dirt away with my fingers to no avail. In fact, that act seems to cause some sort of heat buildup in the pendant; and I stop, now very anxious to take it home and clean it up. However, the warmth of the sun and the scent of new green grass and flowers combine to make me very drowsy. I lean back against the sun warmed guardian stone and stare drowsily at my companions.
I seem to see their true natures for the first time. Mutt, the large black he wolf with the laughing eyes. Katt, the lithe, tawny she cougar with eyes that seem to see into your soul. Mama, the green eyed, imperious snow leopard, wild and defiant. I know their secret names; and they know mine. They share their earth magic and earth wisdom with me while I share my lifespan with them.
One companion is a precious gift, bestowed on very few; and I have been gifted with three, the ancient number of power. Could it be, I wonder, that we have strayed so far from Her ways that so few of the blood remain to bond with the companions? Why was Her Eye laying dirt encrusted and hidden? Why was it not passed from its wearer to her successor? How long had it lain hidden? What was I to do now? Even the sacred grove feels empty, deserted, as if no one had worshipped here for ages. The companions look so strange in their guise of pets to this female whose eyes I share. "Oh Mother! What has come to pass?" I cry aloud. Then darkness descends again.
Shaking off my drowsiness, I stand up and start back toward the cabin to wash our find. I can't wait to see what it looks like. I am more curious than ever now about the people who obviously used to use this place for some sort of rituals.
Apr-10-2002 Repeated soaking and brushing with a soft toothbrush has started to reveal the details of the pendant. It is exquisitely carved, a circle of vines and flowers set here and there with some sort of symbols. The circle surrounds, perhaps protecting, a large stone. The carving is so realistic that the leaves and flowers seem almost alive. Even the links of the massive chain are carved. Set in the center of this carving is a large smooth stone. It is neither exactly round nor oval, yet it is a pefectly regular shape I don't have a name for. I still can't see the color of the stone; but it doesn't have the hard feel of a gemstone. There is a feeling of warmth to it too that is unusual.
Filling the basin with fresh water, I rub gently at the dirt on the stone with my finger, trying to get a glimpse of the color. I feel a slight jolt like static electricity. Startled, I let the pendant slip into the water. As the water closes around it again, I feel a sense of relief from the pendant much like the relief I feel as I slip into a hot bath after a hard day of work. Shaking my head at such fanciful thoughts, I dry my hands and go outside to finish checking and cleaning the pond for the summer.
Apr-13-2002 Several days of soaking and brushing and all the age encrusted dirt has finally been washed away. The heavy silver of the chain and pendant gleams in the light. The stone is a translucent white. I have never seen anything like it. At times while I was cleaning it, I thought I saw faint swirls in it, like whisps of smoke from a dying fire. At others I thought I saw an spark of light. Like a fine diamond, the back of the stone is exposed. I haven't felt any more shocks; but sometimes the stone has felt warmer than the air to the touch. I lay it on a towel to dry overnight, spreading the chain into a circle. I am awed again at the exquisite detail of the carving on the chain and the pendant. The flowers and vines are so realistic they seem almost alive, as if at any moment I would be able to smell their sweet fragrance or the pungent odor of the crushed leaves. I cannot identify either the flowers or the vine; and I shake my head at thinking I could smell either one when I have no idea what they even are.
Shaking my head is something I have been doing quite a bit since Mama led me to the pendant. How she came to know it was there baffles me; and why she even paid enough attention to it to lead me to it is even more curious. At least it is clean now, I think as I prepare for bed. Maybe I can quit thinking about it so much now I hope. Turning out the lights, I slip into bed and into a deep and dreamless sleep.
May-5-2002 Giving in to the compulsion that's thankfully been growing weaker as the full moon wanes, I slip the chain over my head and let the pendant hang down to settle between my breasts. Momentarily, I feel it's weight; but as I begin to feel the warmth radiating from it I cease to notice that. Suddenly the room looses focus slightly; and, frightened, I grab the pendant to jerk it off but cannot. Instead I cradle it in my hands, looking deep within the stone. The swirling mists part; and behind them I see a face that looks like mine but is not me staring back at me. I can feel her attempting to tell me something; but though I see her lips move I hear and understand nothing.
A vixen stands beside her, looking intently at me also; and I realize that the fox is talking to the woman. "She does not hear you. The years are too far between us."
The other looks down at the vixen, then back at me in surprise as I answer the vixen, "But I hear you. Who... What are you?"
"I am Red," and she gives me a name I cannot wrap my tongue around "companion. You are she who is known as The Dreamer."
"I have been called that, yes," I confirm.
I realize that Mutt, Katt, and Mama are pressed closely against me, supporting me, sharing their warmth with me as I shiver with a cold that comes from deep within. I see the other's mouth move again; and then the mists close in around them once more.
Dropping the pendant from icy hands, I stagger to the bed and pull all the covers over me, unable to stop shivering. Mutt lays his head on the covers; and Katt and Mama jump up to lay against my back. I can feel their concern and almost an undercurrent of communication between them. Wearily I close my eyes, more weary than I have ever been in my life. Finally I begin to warm and sleep claims me.
May-15-2002 Restlessly I prowl around the cabin. Something is bothering me; and I just don't know what it is. It's almost like when a story is about to come together, yet not quite. Mutt is oblivious to my pacing; but Mama is crouched on the hearth watching me with slitted eyes. Her ears are back and her tail is twitching. Katt too is restless, unable to settle down. Their behavior just reinforces my restlessness. I go into the kitchen to fix some hot chocolate and toast, hoping that if I eat a little and drink the warm chocolate it will relax me.
May-19-2002 I push back from the computer and stretch, easing cramped muscles. Several days of searching the internet have failed to turn up any information about the pendant or any primitive people who might have created it or even called this land home. Frustrated, I think again that I should tell someone about my find; but as soon as that thought forms it is pushed aside by the certainty that these things are not for outsiders. That this is a gift, a mystery for me alone to discover the meaning of. However, after several evenings of increasing restlessness, right now all I want is rest. Perhaps if I take a walk I will find a clue, some reason for my restlessness. I've been thinking about this pendant way too much. Maybe I need to get away from it for a while; and a walk always relaxes me.
I love this place dearly. Maybe even more than the old place. It is so wild and primative when I get away from the cabin or the swimming hole, as if nothing ever had or would ever change. So full of natural beauty and wildlife. I am always discovering something new, learning the ways of the wildlife who are less afraid of man here than anywhere else I've seen. Deep inside I believe that somehow this land and the grove it protects must be preserved for the future. I am more than willing to accept this guardianship, perhaps because of having already lost one beloved home to urban development.
"But not this one," I vow aloud. "This land will remain as it has been from the dawn of time."
I am surprised at the vehemence in my voice; but I put it down to getting upset all over again by thinking about the shopping mall that now borders my first little cabin. It seems so stupid to me that so many people were put out of their homes for another strip mall that is having the same problems turning a profit as other nearby malls. The noise and the lights while they were building the mall drove the wildlife away; and made working impossible for me. Sometimes even sleep eluded me because of the comotion during the day. I had no choice but to move; and the price I was offered by the speculator made it possible for me to buy this place. But I have no idea why I was offered such a price. The old place is still undeveloped, looking like nobody has been there since I left it for the last time. There was another question without an answer. Why did anyone want to buy the old place and then just let it sit?
These thoughts start me wondering again, as I did the day I received the title, how such a large tract of land could still have its mineral rights intact. I start ticking off the possible reasons in my mind. It's situated on the bluffs above the confluence of two rivers, so there is no reason for a road to cross it, no destination that couldn't be reached more easily by taking a route around the place. It's too rocky for farming and too hilly for grazing on any commercial scale, so no reason for farmers to want it. Only someone seeking solitude would have any interest in it. But why wasn't it parceled out to several people like me? Why did the former owner insist in his will that it be sold as one parcel? You'd think some company would have bought the mining rights; but none did. Questions on top of questions; and none with any answers.
My hand touches the pendant that I continue to wear although I'm not sure why through the material of my blouse. I feel its now familiar weight and warmth, wanting to forget all the questions that only beget more questions. It is almost as if something was protecting this place. But what? And why? And why the strange dreams I've had off and on ever since I moved here? I shake my head at the latest dream a few nights ago of talking to a fox through the pendant. One does not carry on a conversation with animals. I might talk to them a lot; but they sure don't answer me.
Startled, I look behind me to see who came in without hollering first; but there is no one there. Geez. Now I'm hearing things too I think.
"No you're not."
The voice is almost familiar; but not quite. It is playful and full of mischief; and again I turn around to look. But I still can't see anybody.
I can almost feel the laughter at the way I'm looking around for the source of this voice, when I realise I'm hearing it in my mind, not with my ears. This is just great I think. Maybe I can write a story about this. But even as that thought forms I am overcome with a great reluctance. Before I can add hearing voices to my list of questions too, the phone rings.....
Jun-21-2002 It seems like hours that I have been pacing the cabin, refusing to acknowldege the voice whispering in the back of my mind. Finally I gave up and sank down in my favorite chair. I am not crazy, so what am I afraid of I wondered. And suddenly I realised that I was afraid. People just don't talk to animals and have them talk back. It just doesn't happen.
"Yes it does. Your kind have just forgotten." the voice said sadly. "Once this was not so; and those chosen by Her to have a companion were honored by the people they were chosen to protect."
Stung by the sadness in the vixen's voice, I asked "What happened? How long ago was this?"
"It was long and long ago when the world was young; and the people still knew Her. Now only a few remain; and you are the only one we have been able to contact for a long time. The others have walled us into a tiny part of themselves and refuse to hear even me."
"So I'm the crazy one?" I asked.
"Do you really think so?" the vixens voice asked in reply.
"No. Not deep down inside of me." I admited, finally openly acknowledging that I was carrying on a conversation with something in my mind. "Whatever is going on here, it is strange; but not crazy." But even as I was talking I started wondering again.
Vaguely I heard her sad voice "You're shutting me out again......". But I couldn't make myself open up again. I realised that my eyes were closed; and I opened them to see Katt and Mama staring at me with slitted eyes, almost as if they were willing me to some action. I could almost hear their voices in my mind; and that was more than I could take. Even Mutt seemed to be adding his will to theirs. Dreams were one thing; but these were not dreams. Not daydreams, not dreams, not even nightmares.
Suddenly the barriers went down between the four of us. I had never known such joy and sharing. I saw the world through their eyes; and knew they were seeing it through mine.....
Jun-23-2002 I laughed and I cried for joy. Within my mind I felt their joy burst over me, equal to mine, overwhelming in it's triple intensity. It was such a sweet chaos as I looked at myself through 3 differant pairs of eyes and saw each of them through differant eyes. I got down on the floor to touch each of them in turn, knowing for the first time the subtle nuances of scent that marks each individual from another. I saw with shocking clarity how alone I had been within the prison of my mind, unable to reach out to them. I felt how frustrating it had been for them to know that I could but would not talk to them. I couldn't stop laughing and shouting; and their voices joined mine until anybody passing by would have winced at the din.
We gave each other the greatest gift we had to give, our true names, for I now knew that I had a name unique in all the world. I understood that it was mine alone to guard and cherish, to protect from those who would do me harm, and to share with those with whom I shared the ultimate trust and love. That it was a source of personal power, although I had no idea what kind of power.
I cried at the thought of all the animal friends that I had had over the years that I might have shared this with until they reassured me that not all animals had this ability either. That they too were chosen. Chosen to be my companions. Mine alone. That Mama had despaired of ever finding me. I felt her remembered aching need and despair; and wanted to hold her close and soothe those feelings away until I realised that we were closer now than any physical closeness could ever be. And yet there was still the need for physical contact.
They drew protectively close to me as my mind was suddenly overwhelmed by all the new knowledge and sensations, unable to process any more. I felt myself getting cold again; and with my last conscious thought willed my hand and arm to reach for the throw on the chair. I pulled it awkwardly over me; and knew no more............
Jun-30-2002 I have no idea how long I slept, or if I even slept. I have few conscious memories of my own of the last few days. Through bits and pieces of their memories I know Mutt, Katt, and Mama stayed protectively at my side, trying to hold me back from whatever brink I teetered on while my mind learned to accept their presence and accommodate the massive sensory overloads that came with seeing and hearing everything through four pairs of eyes and ears. I know they kept watch while I struggled to separate them from each other and from me until for a brief moment my mind was my own again.
In that moment of coherence, their presence in my mind was more like a group of people in a room with me rather than myself split into four parts that I couldn't reconcile. I could feel Mutt, Katt, and Mama individually pressed against me, keeping me warm. I was able to open my eyes and look around. The room looked fragmented, like I was seeing it through a kaleidoscope; and I quickly shut them again.
"This isn't working." I said to them. "I can't do this. I'm seeing four of everything."
Before I was plunged into the darkness again I could feel them struggling with the multiple presences too; and I knew they needed me to help them through this as much as I needed them. They were perhaps better able to handle what was happening. Their minds were more adapted to accept things as they were without trying to understand it; but this was straining them to the limits too, opening their minds to the ability to think beyond the moment.
Eventually we did learn to separate our own consciousness from the others, to be more selective in whose perceptions we received and acted on. Our links to each other remained constant; but we were no longer broadcasting and receiving everything we thought, felt, and perceived through our senses to and from the other three of us. And then I awoke for good; and everything was as it should be. From Mama came a strong sense of satisfaction as she methodically groomed herself. Katt was curious as always, seeing in every shadow something new to be investigated, some new game to play. Mutt was hungry. Again. His muscles were cramped from lying beside me for so long; and he needed to get up and move. I wanted a bath, and a drink. We were suddenly able to function in our normal ways again, yet the links remained open, comfortable, comforting, and exciting. I waited for the sudden overload to come again; but it didn't. It didn't! We were simply and completely four separate parts of one whole.
I wanted to jump up and shout; but all I managed was a weak "yes!" and to unsteadily get to my feet and weakly make my way into the kitchen to set out fresh water and food for all of us.
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