8. Storm Clouds

Suddenly there’s a chill in the air, the wind picks up, papers and pedestals start falling over. The Artists scurry to gather their supplies, but I am getting the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, I know what is coming. She is coming after me again and this time I am worried about my companions. How can I explain this? This dragon is following me, I can’t seem to escape her, she finds me every evening.

I pick up my satchel and get Oberon. I take up the crystal disk, I look into it, it shows me there is a safe haven close by, my panic is lessened.  I guess the obsidian wand is also affecting me by absorbing the negative energies of the nervous women.  I am calm, and say, “Ladies, come quickly, there’s a farmhouse close by with a barn we can take shelter in, it looks warm and we are welcome there.”  I get funny looks, but they follow.

In the distance, the thunder rolls and lightning begins to be seen.  A large dragon approaches she needs to see me and has a message only for me.

Photo: Englewood, Colorado, Photography by Candace Stauber

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7. The Gift

Having fed the body, my soul was now experiencing and thrill it hadn’t it a long time. The brushes and paints were an old friend. My hands felt clumsy, however, my strokes uneven, but the colors were bright, cheerful and my mood brightened with each stroke. Oberon finally decided to settle in for a nap in the afternoon sun, and give us some peace and quiet and I got carried away with the paints, the colors and texture of the canvas made my thoughts run wild. I forgot about what insecurities I thought I had, about how good or bad I thought I was at this “art” thing, I just did. It was like my hands were being guided and I let them go. Each stroke took me deeper into a meditative state, each stroke became easier, bolder and my confidence rose.  My mentor, the artist who gave me the paints, encouraged me further, “Here, take this book. Your creativity needs other outlets as well.  You have passion within that needs to be released, you have hidden too long.”  She handed me a small notebook, only about four inches wide and five inches long. It was a green leather bound book, with a Celtic cross on the cover. The swirls of the Celtic pattern spoke to my soul and there were blank pages inside, begging to be written upon. “I want you to begin to journal your thoughts and dreams, I want your thoughts to become reality.”

My satchel was becoming full of interesting artifacts, how did they all fit together? Perhaps now that I can journal I can piece the puzzle together.

6. Company

A wand? I finally get it away from Oberon-with a little persuasion ( I trade a rock for it) and take the wand to the stream to rinse off the mud. About 15 inches long, black like obsidian, fortunately, Oberon’s teeth didn’t do any damage to it and I caught it before he could start chewing on it. But it’s almost like it really is made of obsidian, and I know that obsidian’s magical properties absorb negative energies.  I really need that in my life. This is indeed a fortuitous find. Maybe that little dog will come in handy after all, as well as keep me company.

Suddenly I hear some noise from the area of the tree I was resting in, I look over my shoulder and there are some women, petting Oberon and loving up on him. “Oh look what a cutie. I wonder who he belongs to, he’d make a good subject.”, says one woman.  I pipe up and say, smiling  “Only if you can keep him still long enough and out of the mud.” surprising the women.

These women, setting up their art pedestals and art supplies were just having a good time in the shade of the large tree, discussing the colors of the leaves and the beautiful stream nearby. One woman was setting up some lunch for the group and invite me to join them. “Come, sit with us, your dog is adorable”, as I grabbed Oberon, and tried to contain him with a makeshift leash to keep him out of their supplies.  He was having so much fun stealing the paint out of the boxes.  That’s all I needed was to make a few unfriendlies here in the middle of no-where.  But fortunately for me, they took it all in stride, shooing him away, and cuddling the little monster when he got close enough for hugs.

“Do you paint?”, asks one of the artists.  “Actually, I do”, I said, “but it’s been a long time since I’ve had a chance, I’ve been on a long journey and really haven’t taken the time and I’m not that good, not like you from what I see.”  “Then it’s time for you to join us, here is some food for your body and are some brushes and paints for your soul.”, the artist in the green cap says.

It looks like positive energies are already flowing my way.

Photo: Lair of the Bear Park, Gunnison, Colorado. Photography by Candace Stauber, 2015

5. Respite

It’s so difficult this journey, it’s so lonely too. Oberon is there, I wish he could talk, he just bounces around and follows me, bringing me sticks to throw that he finds along the path, he even finds rocks and he loves rocks.  He’s like a little boy when it comes to collecting rocks. He seems to find the strangest things on this path. But I am getting so tired. I need to rest.

It’s midday, the sun is high in the sky and too hot to continue. I find a large tree. It’s interesting, it’s gnarled limbs climbing high to the sky, but low enough I can rest on one like a hammock so I don’t have to lie on the ground. Oberon explores the area around the tree and the stream.  The stream gurgles softly, the birds chirp overhead, and I smell the faint perfume of wildflowers. For a short while I can actually do some meditation and forget the struggles of yesterday, the dragon chasing me, the anxieties that plague my thoughts.  My eyes get heavy as I relax and let my thoughts calm.   This spot is heavenly and quiet. It’s so beautiful here. I wish I didn’t have to move on.

Suddenly Oberon, with his muddy little paws comes bounding up to me and jumps on my stomach. “Oh no, don’t do this me, look at me, all this mud on my clothes!”  Just when I thought everything was going smoothly that little dog has to get me all dirty. Now,what did he dig up? What does he have in his mouth this time! I don’t want him eating anything dangerous.  Let me look. “Come on, give it to me”.  Another stick, no, not a stick, something much more. It looks like a —wand?

Photo: Lair of the Bear Park, Gunnison, Colorado. Photography by Candace Stauber, 2015

4. The Path Before Us

The path before me is uncertain and treacherous. I’m full of a combination of excitement, fear and anxiety. I’ve placed my fate in the hands of the Universe and lately my life has taken a different direction than I ever expected.  I reach into my satchel and feel the crystal that shows me different surroundings behind me when I look, I feel the magic book with the beautiful dragon embossed on the cover with all the spells written within. Do I dare even try to begin to learn these spells?  I’m an ordinary woman, I’m not special, I’m not magical. But it is intriguing nonetheless.

20160808_193628Suddenly across my path a dog confronts me, he has one blue eye and one brown eye. He grins at me with a silly grin, his tongue hanging out to one side.  He looks like a clown.  He runs up to me and greets me by jumping up and placing his front paws on my legs and barking loudly.  I laugh, he’s a funny dog. I wonder where he comes from. There’s no one else around and no villages or towns close by, we are alone. Alone here in the forest, just him and me. The shade of the trees is welcome on this path, it is turning out to be a hot, summer morning and it’s going to be a long journey.   I look down this path and see that it seems there is no end.  I begin and this silly dog follows, I name him Oberon. With him at my side, I am not so alone.

 

 

3. Discovery

The morning comes none too soon, the cave floor is hard and damp. My body and head ached from lack of sleep.  Even though I had tried to rest, the threat of the return of the dragon had occupied my mind all night long.  As the dawn slowly lit up the interior of my temporary haven, I notice the drawings on the cave wall, it looks like a map.  I can see the cave where I am now and the familiar shape of the river and the waterfall.  I also notice there are 5 stars drawn on the cave wall map and one located right where I am, the cave.  What did this mean?  The light from the morning was getting stronger and now I can clearly see.  I look around, there is nothing else drawn on the wall of the cave, I look on the ground and suddenly spy something.  There at the back of the cave covered in dust is a book!  Picking up the old leather bound book and wiping off the dust, I see that the cover is embossed with a picture of a flying dragon and the title reads: “Magickal Spells and Transformations”.

I pick up the book and study the cover, the dragon is beautiful and even though I had been chased last night by a dragon, the one on the cover of this book is amazing and entrancing. This dragon had been lovingly carved into the leather, each detail was evident, every scale visible, the long curving tail wrapped around the title and its strong wings were widespread.  It is a magnificent creature to behold.  I carefully open the ancient book.  Each page is handwritten with beautiful drawings of plants and animals.  The author of this magic book was very talented. Pressed between some of the pages, I find leaves and flowers of some of the plants mentioned in the book.  In the margins are notes that the author had evidently written to themselves to remember certain things or things not to do during the incantations.  As I scan through the book, I noticed that there are stars drawn on certain pages in the same handwriting as on the cave wall.  On the very last page of the book, I find the now familiar map.

2. The Chase

Looking over my shoulder as I run, I see a glimpse of the yellow eyes, the flash of a sharp fang, and feel the heat of the dragon’s breath getting closer and closer. “What did I do? Why is she chasing me?” I run faster and faster, finally, I find a narrow opening in the rocks and dart between them to find myself safely hidden in a small cave. My heart beats so hard; I know the dragon can hear me, but no, the large female dragon doesn’t realize that her prey has once more eluded her and passes the cave searching for the intruder into her domain. I sigh, my knees are weak with fear, my body trembles, I can barely stand as I slowly slide down the cool wall of the cave and down to the musty cave floor. I close my eyes; I wonder how long I should remain hidden. Should I wait only a little while longer? I listen closely and hears rustling in the forest.  Maybe it would be wiser to just stay put and wait until morning.  In the light of day, I can better see where dangers lie, figure out where I am and maybe, just maybe discover what made the dragon so angry.

In the air a crimson dragon circles above searching, her strong wings carry her on the currents. It’s a moonless night, the air is crisp and clear. Where did that woman go? The forest was too dense and the night was too dark.

Political Commentary, Short Stories, & Poetry