My Journey Through Time Part Two
used the few words I had. Hopefully I have a few more now.
Sometime later that winter Fay and I were play sword
fighting with little wooden sticks. It was cold so we were playing near our old
pot belly stove keeping warm and aggravating Mama. She told us to stop
fighting, that we would, of course, put an eye out. We did neither. She grew
angry, snatched our sticks away, broke them into, flung open the stove door and
threw them in. I thought, “My sword,” as I looked in to see it burn. At first,
I saw my splintered little sword catch fire. Suddenly, everything shifted. I
was now a grown man, standing atop a high mountain looking out over a barren
landscape. Yellow sun -bleached bedrock stretched out to the horizon. Rifle
shots rang out, at least that’s what I took the loud popping sounds I heard in
the distance for. I slowly realized the horizon was moving, drawing closer. It
was then I saw the people, a great sea of people running from the sky. But the
sky, was not the sky. It was an infinite wall of white fire chasing them across
the barren landscape. Some would stumble, some were just too far behind. The
white fire would catch them, touch them and they would explode. Their bursting
bodies were the rifle shots, the horrible pops. It was then I knew why I had
such disdain for the Earth’s puny little A -bombs. This infinite wall of white
fire was consuming the universe. The ultimate weapon of mass destruction.
Disgusted and terrified for them I looked down and around,
spotted an opening just behind me near the top of the mountain. Then I saw a
few people scrambling up the craggy mountain side. I begged them to hurry,
somehow knowing that opening was a place of perfect escape and safety. I looked
back up. The fire wall was much closer. I searched for some way around or over
it, but it had no end, no edges. Then, somehow, I sensed, more than saw,
through it. I wished I had not. Yet, I’m glad I did. A devastating void lay
beyond it. Emptiness so vast and deep I knew it would not tolerate the tiniest
bit of matter. But I also felt a profound sense of refreshment; that this was
supposed to happen and that it was good.
Then everything shifted back. I was staring into the stove
again. The silly yellow flames seem to dance harmless and cool. They were not,
but compared to the white wall well…
Winter passed, spring warmed the fields and turned them
green. So that’s where we were, my sister and me. We were too young to work,
five years old by then. But back in the late fifties, the end of the rows was
the babysitter. They could see us, that’s all that counted. So basically, we
were alone on the dirt path that separated the field from the woods.
A splintered pine stump was near the edge of the woods. I
noticed how it pointed toward the sky, bristling with stringy wooden needles.
For some reason, it bothered me. I wasn’t sure why. Then the wind picked up.
The sudden breeze made the splinter needles vibrate. They were stiff, too stiff
to shiver like that. Odd.
I felt something change overhead. I sensed a presence in the
sky. I looked up and saw an oval opening high above. Blue in blue, like an open
cameo window in a blue wall revealing another blue room, another sky!
Confused I looked away. Then I felt the presence again,
looked back up and saw a somewhat cartoonish looking, robed man- thing wearing
an elaborate multi -colored headdress and robe. The headdress made me think of
horns. But it was not horned. I think the visions’ cartoon quality was simply
my fearful childish mind trying to filter the image. It was so potent and pure.
It stood hip deep inside the portal, looking out over the
world. Its eyes were human and narrow with intent. Not sure about their color,
but they were human, man’s eyes. That’s what made them so frightening.
It had a ‘Chinese Dragon’ head with a long snout like mouth
filled with big teeth which was half closed in something that might have been a
smile or a grimace. Its skin was scaly but flesh colored. There was something
overwhelmingly regal yet deeply evil about it. Its essence was pure, ancient,
and so deadly. It was like I was looking at death and the first evil, the evil
from which all other, lesser evil, sprang.
Colored stones covered its heavy white robe. Which struck me
as religious, but in the worst possible way. And its eyes. They were not
looking at me, thank God. But they still held me there, frozen, terrified. I
knew if they should look down at me, glance my way. I would surely die.
I could feel my soul shrinking away from my body, like a
balloon slowly deflating inside a bottle. I was already dying. I don’t know
how, but somehow, I managed to break my stare, turn and run. My sister was with
me. I don’t know what or if she saw anything. I’ve never asked. I do know we
ran as fast as we could across the field back to Mama and Daddy. I was
screaming, “killer alligator,” All the way back. I did not know the word for
dragon. I do now.
I don’t remember any more about that event, which is fine
with me. I already remember more than I care to dwell on.
Sometime later our parents left us at our great aunt and
uncle’s house while they went shopping. When they returned, Daddy brought me a
little toy ray gun, just a piece of flint with a metal striker trigger, housed
in a flimsy ‘futuristic’ gun shaped shell. Silly and harmless. I took it from
him, looked away as I felt a sneer slide across my face. I thought, “this is no
ray gun, its’ just a toy,” at that moment blueprints for something like a beam
weapon flashed across my mind. Again, I had to act like a little kid even when
I felt like a tired old man. Why I can remember this and write about it so
calmly is just another mystery.
Not long after that I was playing by our back-porch steps. A
small pile of kindling lay near the steps, and by it a hatchet.
Back then everyone we knew heated their homes with wood or
coal and everyone had chickens. They eat everything. Sometimes they eat
pesticides and herbicides. Most everyone farmed too. So, such chemicals were
always nearby. Anyway, one of the dumb birds filled its belly with some farm
poison and dropped dead in the back yard. I happened to see it, then I noticed
the hatchet laying at my feet. I
picked it up. It was light as a feather. Glee flooded my
heart. Freedom and power rushed in with something else, dark and awful.
I ran over to the dead chicken swung the hatchet, which was
like paper in my hands, sliced through its skin and bone all the way to the
ground. Its feet flew away from its body.
Thank God I came
back, drained and happily empty of whatever it was that took me over. The heavy
hatchet dropped from my weak little hands. My super strength was gone, good
That event still haunts me. For years I hoped that it was
just a dream, or an event misremembered. Decades later I asked my mother, in a
very off handed way, about the time I cut off the chicken legs. She said ‘oh
yeah’ I remember that. It didn’t seem to bother her. But it still bothers me.
Weeks later, a dark curtain dropped over my mind, whatever
my mind is; a place, a portal, tormentor, toy, teacher, telescope,
kaleidoscope, periscope, still working on that one. Whatever it is, it went
dark for a few delightful moments and took me to another world.
I could not see the world. But I could sure feel it. And it
felt good. It felt right, real. A place of pure love; infinite perfect
connections that linked everyone together while perfectly preserving their
identity and individuality. I felt myself standing there touching, knowing,
everyone everywhere, embracing and being embraced, delightfully adrift on an
undulating sea of global empathy. In this flawless place it is impossible to
hurt another person, because it would be the same as hurting one’s self. Surely
this is one of the finest qualities of Heaven. It was real, for a moment. I was
there, for a moment. Then it faded and back I came to this world of secrets and
I’m glad I couldn’t see it. For a long time, simply
remembering it made this world feel like a charnel house. Now I remember,
remembering it, if that makes any sense.
Years later, I was
about nine years old, I lay on our kitchen floor rolling a little plastic truck
across its ugly linoleum surface. It was some weird mish mash of multi -colored
semi circles and straight lines. Whether or not that had something to do with
what happened next, I do not know.
One minute I was
pushing my toy over this ugly bizarre design, the next I was laying across the
sky looking down at sleek silver spaceships pointing toward the sky, toward me.
Grim faced people were loading the ships, hauling boxes and other objects on
forklift type vehicles. They were wearing drab coveralls, not alien looking at
all. The only grays were their clothes and mood. They were clearly sad and
determined, determined to leave the world. Somehow, I knew them, and that they
had no choice. As I shifted my point of view and looked closer my inner voice
started yelling, ‘don’t leave me’. They were my people and they were leaving me
behind. I didn’t know why. I simply knew I wanted to go with them.
But that didn’t matter. They left. I stayed. I jerked away,
came back to the kitchen and tried not to dwell on it. It hurt too much. Still
does. Delusional? But one must be where one is.
It wasn’t long after that I was in our backyard. The sun
hung low in the sky. Its soft golden glow reminded me of another light, a sweet
light. A lost identity and sense of belonging became a longing. The ancient
light began to fill my mind. It made the suns’ light feel foreign, alien, but