11. Compulsion

Having gathered my senses from such a profound dream, I gather my belongings, my rucksack, and Oberon. Deep within my bones I knew I had to continue my journey, I had a destiny awaiting me. I “needed” to be somewhere soon.

My companions, the Artists, were still caring for their convalescing sister. She still needed to keep quiet for awhile. But the village was close by, the farmers were nearby and they could find assistance among those in town.

As for me, I said my farewells, opened the barn door to a new morning. Storms in the distance worried me, but my trepidation had eased because of Teddy’s message the night before. I felt a strength within I didn’t know I had.  Obie and I set off on yet another path, this time there were no trees or forests to protect us from the Dragon’s sight.  The morning was cool, you could tell rain was in the air, you could smell the sweet scent of ozone.

MonarchButterfly-ButterflyPavillion2015-10-02Butterflies were fluttering everywhere, they seemed to follow us as we traveled. Every fork in the road, I knew instinctively which path to take, every obstacle in the road, we avoided or overcame.  I was being led by some invisible force to a destination, I was compelled to follow and I had no fear. Every path, every fork I took, the butterflies followed. Knowing butterflies symbolize renewal, I felt renewed this morning, I actually felt at peace and happy for the first time in a very long time. The road began to even out, from a rocky road to gravel and then to a well worn smooth road.

In the distance, I saw my objective, large and looming, I hesitated. It drew me closer.This is so beyond my wildest dreams, this is magnificent. What possibly awaits me there? Why does it pull me so?

 

Feature Photo: Morning Clouds in Englewood, Colorado, Photography by Candace Stauber
Story Photo: Monarch Butterfly, Butterfly Pavilion, Louisville, Colorado. Photography by Candace Stauber

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10. Visitor in the Night

As the women settle in for the evening, Oberon and I find a spot in the corner and make ourselves comfortable for the night. I’m exhausted and so is he, he falls asleep quickly.  I stay awake and ponder the day’s events.  There is a little light in the barn, save for the rising moon, beginning to show through the barn windows.  The Artists begin to softly snore, I smile as I begin to doze.

I begin dreaming. I’m running again, fast and furious, the dragon in relentless even in my dreams.  I scream, “Please someone help me”.  Suddenly someone reaches for my hand in the darkness and immediately I’m calm. “I’m here, I’ve always been here watching you. You’re safe, you know what to do, you always have.”  I look at who is holding my hand.  In shock, I see that it’s an old love, Teddy.  “What are you doing here, I have missed you so much, why did you leave me?  Why did you die!?  You see, my friend, my lover, my first real love, Teddy had died 20 years earlier.  I had missed him so much, he offered protection in my life when I was vulnerable to evil when I was weak from abuse.  He embraces me with his strong arms, they fill me with a feeling of security and warmth to my soul, he says, “You have grown strong since I left, you needed to be on your own path to do this, I was there and supported you, but you needed to do this by yourself.  I will always be here.  I will give you a reminder of me when you wake, you will find a bell. $_1When it rings, you will know everything is alright, exactly how it should be.  But right now you need to go back, It’s not your time.  Remember, I’m here, watching and waiting for you.”   “No”, I cry, tears in my eyes and he slowly fades away as he repeats, ” No, it’s not your time, I’m waiting”. I wake. Wishing the dream lasted longer,  I am still feeling the warmth of his hug, how strong it was and how reassuring it was to be back in his arms.

It is dawn. Oberon comes to my side wearing a small bell on his collar and licks my tears away.

Author’s Note: About my Featured Image, I visited Melrose Abbey in Scotland having just spent a week driving all over the Scotland and the UK.  I took 300 photos a day with my Rebel DSLR.  I took some great pictures.  The picture before this photo did not have the mist on it and the photo afterward did not have the mist on it.  I discovered the mist on the image when I got back and enlarged the image on my computer.  I keep my lens clean. The photo is not photoshopped or enhanced in any way. Is it a remnant of the past? A spirit of a monk or nun? Who knows?

 

Feature Photo: Melrose Abbey, Scotland.  Photography by Candace Stauber

9. Safe Haven

Frantically, we run, we are close, we are nearing the farm house, it’s within view, hole and suddenly the Artists spot the monster above.  It hasn’t spotted us yet.  It’s only looking for one, not a group, I’m safe for now. The Artists, however, aren’t so sure, they panic, and run faster to the barn, one trips, spills her paints, she cries, “Help me, I hurt my leg, I can’t get up.”  I run to her, Oberon, circles nervously, the panic of the women is upsetting to him, he senses the emotions running wild. He barks loudly. “Quiet, please, please, Obie!”

We finally make it into the barn, just as the rain begins.  Easing the hurt woman onto a pile of hay,  she moans.  I examine what she’s done to herself.  In her hurry to run, she’s tripped in a hole and it only looks like a bad sprain.  But it’s swelling fast and she cannot put her weight on it.

Fortunately there’s a water pump in the barn, I try it to get some cloths wet. The spring water is icy cold, that should help with the swelling.  The other women search through their belongings to find rags that don’t have paint on them, to contribute to the care of their companion.  I look in the “Magical Book of Transformation” to see if there is anything else we can do.  I’m learning a lot, learning to research, learning I may not know about illnesses or sprained ankles, but this book has some helpful advice. I know now, that with practice and research, almost anything can be conquered and overcome, if you know where to go for answers.

We apply the icy rags to her ankle and apply compression with the larger clothes.  She needs to rest, and fortunately it has become evening. We are in for the night.  And once more I have avoided that dragon. The women however begin to discuss this event, “What was that? Are you aware that when it approaches that you change? You seem to vibrate.  You seem to radiate an aura around you?”

Photo: Barn Before the Flight, Louisville, Colorado. Photography by Candace Stauber,2015

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

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

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