Dream circa 2008: I was preparing for my death. I was on my way to an appointed place ‘under’ an official building where I worked. It was dark and the floor was damp earth; the ceiling was close so I had to crawl. I knew I was meeting others there; I recognized no one in particular but somehow I knew them. We had agreed to participate in a mass suicide. The manner of that mass suicide was horrid to me but I had agreed to it. As I watched others begin their process of self-destruction, I had a change of heart. In the next instant I found myself entering a doorway that led from beneath this building up the stairs into its main floors. I knew I had to get to the roof. On the first floor, I met a woman dressed in an official uniform; she was apparently a policewoman or security guard. As I progressed toward the stairwell, the female guard blocked my path and said “you are not allowed up there”. I replied “you can’t stop me, I am going past you” and I ran passed her to the next floor. She may have attempted to block my way but I felt no struggle; it was as if my decision to move past her made her disappear. On the next floor, I met a man in a similar uniform; he was holding a tool – it looked like a hammer. He also blocked my path to the final stairwell leading to the roof and said “you’re not allowed up there”. I replied “you can’t stop me” and I ran passed him to the top of the stairs through a door that led onto the roof. The male guard ran after me. I knew he was pursuing me so I waited for him as he opened the door to enter onto the roof. At the moment he came through the door, he held his hammer up as if to strike me. I simply raised my left hand and ‘willed’ the tool away from his grasp. It flew down the stairs. The loss of his hammer (and possibly too the way it happened) knocked him off balance and in the blink of an eye I saw his body tumble down the stairs. Surprised at how I’d disarmed him, I turned to continue my escape only to find myself face to face with my chiropractor who had recently passed away unexpectedly. She had in her hand a crystal; it glimmered blue and red. She too seemed to glow. She extended her hand to me and as I accepted the crystal, she shape-shifted into a wolf. As a wolf she stood on her hind legs; her eyes met mine. She wrapped her front legs around my torso as in a hug. I raised my left hand holding the crystal over my head and in the next moment we flew straight up into the heavens. In an instant we were in deep space at which point the she-wolf released me. I floated for some time in a sea of darkness where I could almost touch the stars until I heard a voice say “you really don’t even need a tool to fly wherever you wish to go!”
November 2016: I had decided to ride out Election Day at the Queen Wilhelmina State Park in western Arkansas. It seemed like the right thing to do since the turmoil leading up to November 8th was palpable everywhere. I had voted absentee when I was in Kentucky with a ballot mailed to me from Maine.
The previous 9 days in the state of Arkansas were nothing less than enchanting. I must confess that somewhere along the line I had formed an opinion about the state and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was wrong – at least in terms of what I saw in the places I traveled. I learned that Arkansas is best known as the Quartz Crystal Capital of the World. Its state tree happens to be the pine, though surely not Maine’s white pine. The pine’s cone symbolizes Human Enlightenment, the third eye and the pineal gland. It is one of the most ancient plants on the planet. Further, Arkansas’ state motto is “Regnat Populus” or The People Rule; quite the affirmation of democracy! Finally, it is known as the natural state – which explains much of why I felt so comfortable during my time there.
My first leg out of Kentucky’s Land Between the Lakes included a drive through Northwest Tennessee, Southeast Missouri and Northeast Arkansas and I crossed the mighty Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers. I knew I was in the south because I followed cotton fields nearly all the way to the Crowley Ridge State Park where I stayed the first night. The next day was November 1. It was there I met a magical young couple who gave me hope for the future. John and Lindsey were talking together near their tent when during our morning walk, Nuttah unabashedly approached them for some lovin’. We chatted for less than a quarter hour but in that time, they showed me their hearts; we knew we’d spent lifetimes together.
On the road again soon after this timeless and magickal meeting, I followed the GPS for an hour or more to a one-lane dirt path that led to another highway I was to take to get to the Army Corps campground I’d selected near a place called Heber Springs. Rather than risk what I might encounter if I took that path, I opted to backtrack another hour and then head to the campground on a more reliably looking state route that led to the same place. That experience taught me to more carefully review the settings on the GPS as well as the actual route chosen before setting out.
What had been predicted to be a 3 to 4 hour drive, end up being a 5.5 hour trek. I arrived late afternoon and registered for two nights at the John F. Kennedy Campground on the Little Red River, a fly fisherman’s paradise. It included some lovely trails and while I heard many birds, the only ones I saw were my travel companions, the turkey buzzards. While in Heber Springs, I attempted to visit a pair of elephants from Maine who were now residing at an elephant sanctuary nearby but the facility was closed to visitors until the following Saturday. I called and left a message asking if there was a way I could make arrangements to visit the sanctuary explaining I was from Maine and in the area only for a few days; sadly, my call was never returned. I’m not really sure why and I’m disappointed, but I had not made prior arrangements so I take responsibility. Besides, their facility is not about accommodating people but caring for the animals. So be it!
After two days in Heber Springs, I traveled to Toad Suck Park just west of the City of Conway. The name turned me off at first but I figured there must be a story; there was but it didn’t make much sense to me so I did not retain it. (There is a link if you google.) This was another Army Corps campground and I arrived on closing day so only stayed one night. Like the JFK Park, this campground was the site of a dam facility over the Arkansas River where barges used the waterway’s lock system to travel up and down the river all day long. Since the inception of this trip, I had not yet witnessed this transportation method that preceded our highway network. The barges formed veritable river-trains as their horns blared alerting the lock stewards of their approach.
From there I traveled to Lake Ouachita State Park in the Ouachita National Forest which is a 1.8 million acre reserve. By comparison, the recently created Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine is 87,563 acres. This ride from Toad Suck Park was only about 3 hours; it would have been shorter but I opted to stay off the interstate and use a National Forest Road that edged the wild lands. This Road was narrow but the grades were very manageable. I went through a small town named Crow before arriving at the State Park; so small, I almost missed it! This state park is located not far from the famous Hot Springs Arkansas. I registered for 3 nights.
On my first full day, I traveled about 30 minutes to Ron Coleman’s Mines. My friends in Kentucky had suggested this place knowing that I enjoyed crystals and rock hounding. The owners regularly stockpile tailings from the mine and for a fee, allow individuals to dig for crystals. I went in, paid a $15 fee for the day (a $5 discount from the usual price because I qualified for AARP), grabbed my tools and bucket and walked with Nuttah up to the haphazardly placed earthen berms. I tethered Nuttah to a long lead and laid out a small matt I’d brought for him, along with a bowl of water. After getting him settled, I set my other belongings down. I tuned in to the piles of dirt around me and allowed my intuition to select one into which I would begin digging. Within minutes, I harvested a few small quartz crystals; I felt rich! Then, as I carefully moved dirt aside to hopefully expose more finds, I saw what looked like a shard of glass. I was surprised by this but decided to continue gently moving dirt to further expose it. I often picked up trash on my travels; I knew I could simply add this shard to my bag removing it from a place where hands could be significantly injured. But after more earth moving, I momentarily stood back in amazement. What I saw was much larger than I had first thought and it was not glass at all. It was a fist sized clear quartz crystal. My adrenaline was pumping as I realized what a lucky find this was. How could I have chosen this spot to begin digging? Its surfaces were so clear and smooth that no dirt would adhere to them. This was special! As I admired the beauty of this piece, the memory of my pepere flashed through my mind. My maternal grandfather was a very important part of my early years. Some of my most cherished memories of him were of times he took my siblings and I to quarries and mines in Maine where we hunted for special rocks. He passed away very suddenly….I never got to say goodbye. I so felt his presence at that moment that my eyes welled with love for him.
I found many more quartz crystals that day; I’d made a good investment of time, energy and resources! Back at my campsite in the state park, I spent time with this crystal and one smaller smoky quartz that I had been given while in Kentucky. I noticed that these two crystals seemed to fit together. Not that they were originally one but that somehow they were related. I still have not figured this out but the more I sat with them, the clear quart crystal began to remind me of the bizarre dream I retold at the beginning of this story.
This was what I call a “big dream” – full of messages for me. I’ve processed this dream many times over the years, learning more about myself each time. Themes that stand out include work that was killing my spirit, breaking rules and confronting authority to gain freedom, finding my power through at first relying on healers and later knowing that my personal power (self healer) has always been within me. Surely there is more I have yet to see!
It was not long after this dream that, I opted to end my 26 year career. Since then, I’ve been in the process of taking back my personal power, challenging the rules and roles that society imparted. I’m on a spiritual path that is based on following messages in my dreams – living from my heart and spirit as best I can!
Not long after leaving my job, I rewrote my resume. Some years before, I had begun to include my vision and mission in the heading of my resume before reciting the many roles and responsibilities I’d had and the skills and knowledge I’d amassed. I can barely remember what the previous one was but it had something to do with creating ‘excellence in service’. As I re-crafted my new reason for being I found myself writing “To do my part to heal the earth”. That was a big shift! Little did I know where it would lead.
While the crystal I found in Arkansas did not glow red and blue, it surely reflected light of all colors. Its shape and size were nearly identical to the one I remembered in my dream. When I found it, it was as if it had been placed there for me to find. These synchronicities gave me the clear sense that my dreams were materializing; that I was beginning to live a life on the edge of wildness – a non-ordinary reality that all humans once knew instinctively. From here on anything could happen – if I believed it strongly enough.
As if my evolving wildness was a jolt to my psyche to stay grounded, I resumed my adventure in Arkansas with a three night stay in Murfreesboro with a less than successful time searching for a gem at the diamond mine. After a long hard day sifting sand sized pebbles entombed in silt, I went back to the campground to freshen up and do a load of laundry. Daylight was waning and I was nothing less than exhausted; I was frustrated with how much work it had taken to find nothing of value and really should have taken that as a cue to just pour a glass of wine and settle in for the evening! But instead, I proceeded to the wash room; “I’ll get the laundry going and then shower”, I thought. I had stuffed everything I needed in the back seat of the car. I opened the back door with my right hand and before its high tension hinge was securely opened, I grabbed the laundry bag with my left hand. As the bag came out, so did the opened box of quartz points I had discovered at Ron Coleman’s mine. In an attempt to catch the box before it upended to the ground, I dropped the laundry bag and reached back in just as the car door swung back and closed firmly on my index finger. By then the crystals were all over the ground, along with my dirty clothes. I screeched in agony but no one heard. Everyone must have been out mining for diamonds because my painful howl attracted no attention. After what seemed to be a few interminable seconds I opened the car door with my right hand. Luckily it had not locked itself as sometimes happens. Freeing my finger helped me drop my terror at the possibility of being stuck but simultaneously unleashed a searing pain that soon changed to an intense throbbing. Instinctively panting as I had learned in Lamaze classes 36 years ago, I steadily regained my composure. Moments later I was on all fours retrieving the crystals among the dirty clothes that had been the cause of my mishap. Tears running down my cheeks, I put the crystals back in the car then dropped the laundry at the wash room. I next went to the office to retrieve a cup of ice in which to immerse my finger hoping for some kind of relief. As skillfully as I could with my uninjured hand, I loaded the washers. Before hurrying to the shower as I had planned, I sat out on the deck outside the wash room and just tried to breathe as I held my finger in the cup of ice. Soon I saw a beautiful bright green cicada. It was so large that when I first spotted it, I thought it was a hummingbird! It first flew onto the wall nearby, as I admired it, it sprung off and flew directly at me.
So odd that it would appear just then, I wondered what its message might be. After a bit of research and contemplation, I learned that the sound cicadas make are to attract mates; and once they have mated, they burrow underground for cycles ranging from 1 to 17 years with 7 years being commonly attributed to them (7 Year Cicada). It was then I realized that the day was significant. It was the eve of the 7th anniversary of my divorce and while my mind had awoken in the belief that this was a day like any other day, my heart was not finished grieving; my body needed an outlet for unreleased pain. I had been married nearly 30 years when I made the decision to end it; I guess it’s understandable that it might take more than 7 years to heal from the loss of what I had longed for in that partnership. We’d grown apart instead of together during those years and the chasm between us could no longer be bridged. It took this injury, together with the toppled crystals and the unfound diamond, to remind me to let myself grieve. So I gave myself another day to just sit and be with my feelings.
On the 6th of November I set out for Queen Wilhelmina State Park just outside Mena Arkansas about 4 hours away through beautiful countryside. That first night provided a gorgeous sunset. The 7th was dreary and rainy. A cloud descended on the mountain top that made it impossible for me to go anywhere; visibility was absolutely nil. The 8th, election day, was windy and cold. I made a fire and conducted a short ceremony in honor of the election – my intention was for its outcome to be in the highest and best good of our country. I was not prepared for the actual result….but I’m learning to see the good that followed my initial disappointment. On November 9th, I set out for Texas where my plan was join my friends west of Dallas on the 10th.