Monday, September 13, 2010

The Day Everything Changed

When I was around 11, I lived for a brief time in a very small farming community in eastern Washington. Our nearest neighbors were an elderly couple who lived about a half-mile away. At the time, my brother and sister were both under the age of three, so we didn’t have a lot of interaction at that point.

It was a landscape of wheat fields and abandoned barns. Deserted farmhouses offered the potential for exploration, but the price of admission was spooky ambiance and a consistent fear of falling into a hidden abandoned well.

And then there was the darkness.

When we moved there, I was not afraid of the dark. Or rather, I wasn’t afraid of what I thought was the dark. But, as it turns out, I really hadn’t experienced dark until that year. Not true dark. The kind of dark you get from being 50 miles away from the nearest city of any size. The kind of dark you get when you can see a band of the milky way crossing the sky.

And it was that year that I saw him.

I had always thought perhaps he was there. There was always this feeling that something could hear my thoughts. Something knew. But then one night, it all became crystal clear. I remember my mom asked me to take out the trash. On the way back from this most mundane of errands, I looked up and saw him. To borrow a phrase, he was simply hovering there, in much the way that a brick wouldn’t. I saw his pointed snout and his beady eyes and I knew immediately.

He was watching me. He had singled me out. In an instant he communicated to me across time and space all that I needed to know. For you see, he has always been with us.

I began to research, and eventually stumbled across a few historical documents demonstrating his presence. For example, historians have long wondered about references in the written record to a mysterious presence at the battle of Agincourt in 1415. But take a look at the painting of this event, and I think you’ll agree that the truth is inescapable. He is there.

Even today, he makes appearances from time to time in the most unusual of places.

From that day forward, he has been with me at all times. Not always visible. In fact, he is only rarely visible to me now and again. But he is here.

And, thanks to Amy in Iowa, I can now carry a representation of him around with me at all times. I must say, he is a bit too lifelike as he seems to have too great a thirst for single-malt scotch.

But it isn’t all bad, for he’s helping me finish the Jeanie.

As for the giveaway, I’ve only received a handful of entries to date – none of which have correctly identified all three falsehoods. There are about two and a half weeks remaining to the deadline for entries. Plenty of time to consult The Echidna.


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