Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sophie's Journal Part 3

I did not go upstairs in my dream, so I cannot give an account of the second floor. Animal sounds beckoned me outside. I walked towards the barn and adjoining paddock. Inside the paddock, five goats watched me with their vertical pupils and whitened goatees. Chickens scurried around the yard pecking at invisible insects. I walked through the front door of the barn and was surprised by the implements. These were not the machinery of the twenty-first century. The plow was a simple implement that would have been pulled by a horse. Alongside a rake-like instrument stood with like a giant hair comb with a bridle waiting for an animal to power. The air was heavy with the scent of hay and animal. A low moan from the rear of the barn revealed a large draft horse in a stall. I walked through the back door of the barn to find a coop surrounded by a cube of fencing where the chickens would spend their nights in safety. Another small building lay beyond the coop. The smell from inside and the hooks hanging from the rafters helped me to decide this building was used for smoking meats. To the right of the smokehouse a stone building straddled the small creek that ran from the pond out front, but it was the building on the left that drew me further. It was another house.

This house was smaller that than the great house, but still boasted two stories and a nice porch which wrapped around the outside. It was painted a muted red and scrolled gingerbread hung from the roofline and the windows. A lone rocking chair sat next to the door which I found unlocked, so I entered. The front room was a small sitting room with a couch, a few chairs, tables and a writing desk in the corner. The furniture had been placed in alignment with the fireplace as though to gather an advantage to the heat emitted by future fires. The next room was a kitchen, but without modern accoutrements. A fireplace, an iron stove and a sink with a hand pump were all the appliances afforded in this space. The rest of the slate floor was occupied by various cabinets, tables, chairs and counters. For a kitchen, the space was large and the many windows provided ample light, but there was no electricity as evidenced by kerosene lamps hanging from the rafters waiting for a lit match when dusk approached. I walked to the back door of the kitchen and found a primitive room with bare wood walls and various herbs and flower hung to dry. A washstand, wash tub and water pump stood by so I named this room the washhouse. A door led to the back porch and I was surprised to see an old butter churn standing next to a cane chair. Beyond the porch a well-tended kitchen garden delighted my nose with the smell of basil and rosemary. Corn stalks supported the pole beans and squash ringed each grouping. I had heard of this type of planting - utilized by Native Americans and taught to the colonial people centuries before. The corn stalks support the beans without staking and the squash vines cover the surrounding ground for weed reduction and water retention. Realizing that I was dreaming, I wondered whether I had moved from the present – the house with the solar panels, modern kitchen and computer – to the past. It was not so.

My last dream of this place convinced me that both houses – the new and old – occupied the same space of time, and I feared that space of time was the future. In my last dream, I moved from the red house and its kitchen garden up the hill. I could see that an orchard had been planted there. Apples and peaches hung heavy from some of the trees while other trees appeared to have nuts peeking from under their leaves. I walked to the crest of the hill and reached to pick a fully ripened apple from a tree when I heard a loud noise behind me. Frightened by the sound, I jumped and dropped my apple. It was curious, but I did not turn towards the sound, but stooped to pick up my apple from the ground. I rose and looked at the apple with sadness as though something precious was about to end. I knew if I looked behind me, there was no turning back. Whatever was behind me was no friend; no ease. So, I continued to study the rosy skin of the apple dappled with tiny yellow spots. I brought the apple to my nose to savor the pungent fragrance and to feel its warm surface against my lips. I wanted to bite into the apple and savor the juice running down my hand. But I didn’t. I knew the sight behind me would only cause me to regurgitate whatever was in my stomach, so I let the apple fall, and I turned around towards the south. I sighed and tears came to my eyes. It had begun for I saw the gray cloud rising and even at this distance; I could feel its hot wind on my face.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sophie's Journal Part 2

So it was more than a year ago that the dreams started. The beginning was pastoral– even pleasant. Each time I dreamed more was revealed. The dream always began with a gated lane. The packed sand and gravel of the lane were rutted with tire marks. Trees and undergrowth implied that the lane had been carved through the woods rather than carefully landscaped. The gate was set back from the road and might have been missed if you did not know where it stood. There were no markings, no mailbox to indicate the narrow driveway. In my dream, I walked up to the gate and found it locked. Intrigued by what lay beyond the gate and disappointed that I may not gain access to the sandy lane, I flung my arms to my sides. It was this action that revealed a bulk in the side pocket of my coveralls. I put my hand into my pocket and retrieved a large skeleton key - the kind used decades before my time. The key must have been composed of copper or brass for verdigris covered the ornate carvings. I tried the key in the lock of the gate. It was a perfect fit, and the gate opened easily. This ended my first night of dreaming.

Subsequent nights revealed more of the dream, but not to bore you with timelines, dear Reader, I will just continue with my description of the dream without interruption, but know that this dream was sewn over many months like a patchwork quilt during its construction.

After opening the gate, I walked through the vegetation on the sandy lane. I noticed flowers, wild onions, skunk cabbage, jewel weed and other native plants growing beneath the canopy of trees and bushes. It must have been late spring for the mountain laurel was blooming and its smell was sweet. I continued to walk forward as I could see a bright light towards the end of the lane. Anxious to see what lay beyond I hurried my steps, and was rewarded. The lane opened up to vast meadow. A small group of sheep were grazing on the grass before me. To my left I saw a sizable pond with sunshine glistening on its rippling surface. The farther side of the pond banked up to a rolling hill. At the top of the hill I saw a roof along with the partial second floor of a white house. Curious, I continued to walk the lane towards the house. More of the house was revealed as I walked closer.
The portion of the house facing the pond appeared to be a porch or sunroom as long windows dominated the entire expanse. The lane wound around the rising hill and I could see the side of the house had many windows on the first floor and a sleeping porch – a porch with no stairs – on the second floor. I could see that the sandy lane continued around to the far side and what I assumed was the front door, for no door had yet revealed itself. To my right I noticed barns and other outbuildings further a field that had not been visible due to the rise of the hill. The smell of hay and manure wafted, but I continued my path to the front of the house.

The door was set back on an open porch that wrapped around the far side of the house. Painted sage green, the door carried a brass knocker engraved with the words Rosemary Hill. I knocked. There was no answer. I tried the doorknob, but it was locked. I was dismayed. Then that I remembered the gate key still in my hand. Of course this key was too big for the door lock. A quick check of my other pockets revealed a smaller key in the breast pocket of my coveralls. This key fit and the door swung open.

The foyer was long, extending towards the back of the house beyond my sight. It was wide, light and airy due to the large windows over the front door. The ceiling of the foyer extended from the first floor to the second floor. A door to my left was closed and a stairway led upstairs to a balcony. To my right I could see into a formal living room tastefully appointed. Further into the foyer was a sofa table against the wall with a vase of pretty field flowers. As I walked on the slate floor to the sofa table, I noticed a door under the staircase to my left. Always curious, I tried the knob and the door swung open. A peak revealed stairs leading down to darkness. I assumed this must be the cellar. I closed the door and continued further into the foyer. I had been right, there was a sunroom. The foyer lead to the most beautiful sunroom full of potted plants. The sound of trickling water made me turn around. A small indoor fountain surrounded by more plantings trickled soothingly and the outside pond, sheep and woodland provided a beautiful view from the sunroom windows. The middle of the room was occupied by a large white table surrounded by so many chairs; I did not stop to count them. The only solid wall in the room centered a beautiful fireplace and hearth with sentinel bookcases at each side.

I moved to the next room; the kitchen. It was cook’s dream with double ovens, a brick bread oven, center island stove and a large side by side refrigerator. From the kitchen, I could see a smaller enclosed porch that must have served as a small greenhouse. Herbs grew on shelves hung between the window frames and the inside wall was covered with shelves supporting bottles of dried herbs. Hyssop, rosemary, lavender and sweet cicely had been dried and labeled in tightly sealed blue jars.
I wound my way back to the kitchen and came upon another room.

I realized this must be the room that opened to that door on the left as I came in the front door. It was a library, or perhaps a study. There were floor to ceiling books on most of the walls. A large desk was positioned between the front corner of the room allowing whoever sat there easy viewing of the sandy lane and the barnyard. A laptop was opened on the desk. Another long desk cornered the opposite wall with a CB or a ham radio on its top. A microphone stood there as well.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sopie's Journal - Part 1

My name is Sophie and I am writing this record of the past year’s events to bring you, Reader, up to date on what has transpired before our collapse. I beg forgiveness that the first part of this journal will be written in past tense and with knowledge of the outcome. I berate myself for not recording the past year as it happened, but hindsight always produces wisdom.

More than a year ago, I lived in a small city in Connecticut with my son. My life was ordinary. My daughter lived close by with her husband and my two grandchildren – my delight. I had a mother and father who lived less than an hour away and the families of my brothers and sisters scattered around the state. It was a close family; made closer now, but I digress.

I should first record that I am a Christian. Yes Reader, I realize that label has inspired fear and anger even before the collapse and that admitting my affiliation now is even more fearsome. Still, I cannot deny my thirty three year relationship with God for I know him to be real. He met me on my terms in the beginning. After experiencing one failed relationship after another and I needed a perfect love – a love not matter what – He showed up. He was like the wind. I could not see him, but I could see everything He did in my life. I would ask and He gave it. There were times I felt like a spoiled child, and still He gave. As my trust in Him grew, I did less praying and more talking. I talked to Him all the time as though He were my best friend. He was and still is my best friend.

Do you know His favorite color? No? I do because I asked him. I was driving down the highway on a beautiful September day. The trees had turned from the springtime chartreuse to the late season forest green. The sky was cloudless and a deep marine blue – not the sky blue of summer. I marveled at the two colors together – the tree tops seeming to scrape at the blue sky, and remarked aloud “Who would think to match those two colors together?” God did. It came to mind that I did not know his favorite color, so I asked Him. In my mind I saw a vision of leaving the ground moving higher and higher. As I left the ground, I could see the highway and then the city. Still I rose and from that vantage point, I could see the coastline, then our continent. Pulling further, I could see the whole earth. It was a large blue ball. Then I knew His favorite color is blue.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Who Do You Think You Are?

Each morning I enjoy the comic strip, Mallard Fillmore by Bruce Tinsley.

The past few days, Mr. Tinsley’s writing has addressed the 2010 census. I too was offended by the racial profiling on the 2010 census forms. I wondered why our government needs to know my color and race while admonishing us all that we must judge people – not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Let me state that I do agree with Dr. King’s statement, but this led to a dilemma.

Frankly, I was not sure which box to check. My skin is neither black nor white. I was not sure about familial Hispanic origins. I also had doubts about every other race listed on the census form. It was a quandary. As a fan of the NBC show – Who Do You Think You Are? – I wondered how to answer truthfully.

Desperate, I sought help from a very learned man, Noah Webster. Based on his assessment, I checked the ‘Other’ box and wrote in Native American.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

National Day of Prayer

Spring heralds a rebirth. We see this rebirth in the flora and fauna, the trajectory of the sun and the activity of man. The spirit of man is also reborn and some choose to commemorate this rebirth with a National Day of Prayer. On May 6Th religious leaders will stand beside secular leaders with one spirit to pray for our country.

I agree that our country needs these prayers - perhaps more now than at any other time in our history. I see no reason why religious leaders and secular leaders cannot pray publicly together whenever or wherever they choose. It is our right to pray publicy as afforded by God and our Consitution. However, I disagree with any government that makes attendance at these prayer vigils mandatory. I may point out to detractors of the National Day of Prayer that our government does not make prayer mandatory.

Still, many take issue with the prayer venue. Fine! Then let our secular leaders leave their government-sponsored offices and pray on the steps of a local church.

Social Justice

Th Bible States:

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. " Genesis 1:27

The Declaration of Independence states:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

We were already created equal - so why do we need the creation of Social Justice through this 'Hope and Change" guy?

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Like The Wind

Some say that the miracles of the Bible do not exist in today's world. The miracles performed by the early church followers provided revelation of your existence to the masses. Today those miracles are no longer needed because we have your word. I know better.

The people of the the first century were living in the enemy's territory - same as we are today. Satan tempted Jesus in the desert with power of all the world's governments. Satan would not have used that temptation unless he was the ruler of this world. We bring your power and miracles into this world by asking.

When someone asks me for 'proof of God', I can truthfully answer that I have seen you. You are like the wind. I cannot see the wind, but I can feel the wind. I can see how the wind affects all that it touches. The wind can caress a small crocus petal making it dance playfully in the garden. The wind can blow dry leaves from one yard to another and down the street clearing a path. The wind can down a tree or devastate a community.

Your movements are like the wind. Your gentle touch to a mourning soul or the clearing of old ways to make way for new. Your movements inspire compassion for communities that have long been neglected in their poverty. Your movements remind a people caught up in day to day living that they need you.

Lord, you are like the wind - for now - and I know that one day all will finally see the face of the wind.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Cracked Pot

Dear Father -

Let me be a fool for you without appearing to be a fool.

I pray that your light will shine brightly through the cracks in this pot.

Friday, January 01, 2010

God's Promises

Dear Father -

I noticed a couple of weeks ago that my neighbor's house was dark at night. Although still early in the evening, no light streamed from the kitchen window, no back lit shadows came from the kid's bedrooms. The bikes were still stored neatly under the back deck, the rack with firewood was still secured against the side fence and and the pool pump still stood sentry next to the covered pool awaiting another summer of fun. Although I took note of the darkness, I reasoned they were out Christmas shopping or attending a pageant at their children's school. Alas, subsequent nights of darkness dispelled my reasoning, and yesterday I drove past the front of the house and noticed a 'For Sale' sign.

I did not know these neighbors well, Father, but you did, and I wondered why this house, their hope and promise, had been abandoned, and I wondered what occurrence caused them to give up their dream.

Just like Abraham and Sarah, you made a promise to me many years ago. A promise and a hope for my future. Decades have passed since I first heard your promise and there have been many times I was ready to give up because my hope had died while the years pressed against my patience. Yet, you continue to remind of your promise in little ways when I feel my belief waning. I want you to know - I am still waiting. I will not despair, but I will surrender to Your Promise.