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Location: DownByTheRiver, Central Iowa, United States

Husband of the world's most wonderful wife, father of the world's four most brilliant children, grandfather to the world's eight most beautiful granddaughters and two handsomest grandsons

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Gateway

The RRR knows of a doorway to another world. Like most such it is only open occasionally, but it is there. I found it quite by accident. I went for a walk in the woods on a hot Sunday afternoon. I walked past the old cemetery, through a long abandoned farm and down a lane across a field. The lane extended into the woods ahead that arched over the roadway as though it were a gateway to an estate. As I pushed through the shrubs and trees I realized that I was on an abandoned railroad right of way. The odd arching of the trees overhead made it seem that I was passing through gate after gate.

As I approached the area where there had once been a bridge across a small stream, things seemed to go fuzzy and out of focus. I had to step over a fallen log, under yet another archway. I became dizzy. I had a feeling of being drawn in... pulled as though sinking into something. I stumbled away in terror and somehow made it down the side of the old roadway to a small clearing in the tall corn by the stream. It was deadly still. Time seemed frozen in the oppressive heat. I collapsed onto the earth and lay there. I heard huge, leathery wings beating over me. I looked up and there was nothing there, yet I heard the wings flapping. I looked down and around and saw no living creature. It was as though I was suspended in time. Then a wind howled around me shaking the tops of the corn plants and whipping them about.

I looked at the nearby trees and not a leaf stirred. The corn waved and it's leaves rustled and hissed against each other all around me. From perhaps twenty feet away came the unmistakable sound of a large object being pulled from mud with a loud sucking noise. The corn's movement slowed to normal waving. The leaves on the trees by the creek began to move gently. I looked at the ground and saw a lady bug climbing a leaf, ants making their busy trails. I still lay there panting, my heart pounding, but beating slower. Like any good Boy Scout, I emptied my pockets onto my handkerchief and took inventory of my survival tools. By the time I had counted and arranged them, the panic was gone. I climbed to my feet and went quietly home another way.

A wise man would have simply stayed away from the spot. But my ego kicked in. I determined there was some reasonable explanation, that my feelings were all superstition. So a month later I went back. This time I marched determinedly straight to the fallen log and stood there proudly, and telling myself I had overcome all foolishness, pounded my walking stick down in determination and leaned upon it. It slowly, surely, sank into the ground, two inches, four, six, eight. I pulled it up with a loud sucking sound from road bed that should not have been mud and walked away the direction I had come.

On occasion, the gateway calls to me. The last time was when Oldest Daughter visited. We walked to within 100 yards of the first archway and turned back. Someday I may answer the call again


Blogger visithra said...

Merry Christmas ;)

12:55 AM  

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