My Valley of Spirits

Personal Alternatives

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Sometimes our lives open paths and perceptions totally unexpected. In an earlier post I outlined by experience with what we concluded was a ghost in our first home in Maryland. The theme deepened.

Now I’m going to have to admit more about who I am because it relates to what I am writing in this blog and in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy. My external persona suggests calm, quiet introversion and probably mostly a fairly focused reality. Such a persona exists, but there is another one.

Quiet Beauty

We lived in the first house in Maryland only a year and early on searched for a home to buy. Since my wife wanted a horse, it had to be in the country. It wasn’t long before we found what we were looking for. It was in a small valley far out in the country. Since we didn’t have an appointment we couldn’t see the house but drove around and looked at its setting. I was instantly engaged and said, “The house is going to have to be terrible for me not to want it.”

It turned out to be a darling two hundred year old stone house set against a hill and looking out to a small river or “creek” as it was called. It needed work, but that just meant we could make it our own. Inside the house I sensed nothing except a calm atmosphere both welcoming and uncomplicated. Outside proved to be another matter entirely.

The Mystery of Evening

Since we were in a valley, the sun set behind the hills and we descended slowly into the fading light of evening. Many evenings I was drawn to stand on the upstairs porch and enjoy the peace.

Once upon a time the house had been on the road from Baltimore to York, Pennsylvania. On the far hill there was a road hidden by trees leading to the ruined foundations of a covered bridge. The impression of the road could still be perceived in the lawn and then ran up the hill on the other side. At dusk, many evenings, as the mist rose from the river, I had a hazy perception of the occasional traveler in a buggy.

One Saturday morning I rose and looked out to the river and had a perception of a union soldier on guard by the bridge. This would have been one of the routes to Gettysburg during the Civil War. I saw him one other time. Again, not clear, but a strong impression.
An Opening to the Depth of Life

What I came to feel was a depth of continuing life from the past leading into the future. The impressions in this landscape were various, unfocused but led me to an inescapable experience making me feel we only perceive a narrow slice of the life and types of life by which we are surrounded.

After all, our senses on a day to day basis serve us in specific ways and tell us little about what might surround us. I gained a new and deep perception on the property. It offered a richness of experience I found enchanting.

Then Came That Evening

As I said, the house itself was quiet, cozy and, I might even say, loving. But one evening I felt called outside again. Behind the house was a small hill. Rocky on the side toward the house, but even and inviting on top.

There was one place near the top that I had no reason to visit but it always held my attention. I felt something there. And then one evening I was drawn and climbed up the hill and sat down. I could feel a presence. No words were spoken. Gradually I had memories of when I was a child and my fear of darkness. While those fears declined as an adult, they remained with me. That night they vanished—forever.

The Lesson

My time in that valley was a rich experience. I came away with a greater depth of perception of the life of earth itself, of the fury there can be as in the day when a hurricane led to a rampage by the river. But above all it made me open my perceptions and the understanding that we are far from alone and may yet experience the diversity and depth of the life which surely surrounds us. These perceptions fed the story which evolved into the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy.

What life forms have you experienced?

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon Page

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