The Clearing

The lock had been busted off the backdoor. That’s how they got in. My uncle had informed us of that the day we gathered at his house to receive the torch of honor he (in lieu of his wife, my Aunt Jo Avis) passed down to us. Our family home is kept in a trust. And now it is my generations turn to uphold the honor and do the work.

I’d forgotten about the lock. It took me a second to adjust, then I walked in.

I wasn’t expecting my reaction. When I had heard of the vandalism I was upset… I was pissed. When I saw it first-hand… I was wrecked. The sense of violation, the senseless act of destruction, leveled me to the floor.

The back porch, where the vandals entered the home, steps up into the kitchen. There was a smashed coffee carafe on the floor and knives scattered about on the countertop. “My granny’s kitchen”…that’s all I could think as I began my tour of the damage.

Then to the dining room. Disaster. Mirrors smashed, my great aunt’s knick-knacks that she hand painted, smashed. Shards of glass were everywhere. The living room was worse. The marauders had taken a large heavy glass bowl and attempted to smash in the TV screens. They failed, but the glass bowl left amber tears of glass scattered over a large swath of the floor. One of the table lamps, a very large ceramic lamp, had been used to smash the window over the sofa. The table where we keep the guest book was wrecked. Pictures, knick-knacks…they were very thorough. Next to that table is the door that leads to the middle bedroom. It had some minor damage; a broken lamp and a couple of ceramic figurines…and as I began my clean-up…a different scene began to emerge. They never touched the other bedrooms.

Due to a miscommunication, I had ended up at the farm alone. The original plan was for the whole family to converge and clean up the remains. I missed out on the conversation of it being rescheduled and didn’t find out until I was half-way up there. I decided to go it alone. Once there, I knew why.

I’ve always had this sixth sense. For as long as I can remember, I have seen spirits. They communicate with me. This extra sensitivity always gave me a strange, quirky personality, and at times this ability has been down-right unnerving. Lucky for me, when I was in my 20’s, I found a place that not only didn’t judge me for this unusual gift, it allowed me to research it, to understand it, and to develop it. I owe this refined version of myself to Peace of Mind Books in Tulsa, OK.

Every person who has been up to our family farm has felt its presence. It is unbelievably peaceful and serene; a haven for us to escape the modern world. Some, like me, have felt another presence…a very old, protective influence. I had never felt it as strong as I did that Saturday when I arrived alone.

The house was eerily quiet as I set about the clean-up. Every other time, when I’m up there, it is with my large and boisterous family. I chalked the mood up to that and started in. But I could feel it. It was a male presence and it was literally hovering over me. I wasn’t scared. Like I said, I have been training and fine tuning my skills and besides…whoever this was…was family.

There is this place…we all do it…where we suspend consciousness. It’s the soft-gaze you see on those statues of Buddha and Krishna. We do it when we are on automatic pilot, when we are just going through the motions and not focusing our intent on what we are doing. While sweeping, I’d lapse into that place. And that’s when I’d hear him. “You got this, kid.” It wasn’t my own voice in my head. But I did know whose it was. It was my Granny’s brother, Uncle Ernie. When Grandpa Gallop died in the 50’s, he moved in with her and lived there until he died in the early 70’s My memories of him are very blurry. I was just a baby, but I do have hazy impressions of going to town with him, my two older sisters, and our cousin, Melissa. When I realized he was there with me, I cried. It was his sadness I was feeling…and his helplessness. He was Granny’s protector and felt guilty that he had failed. So we both had ourselves a moment, then got back to work.

I had bought a large bundle of white sage when I left work Friday. I knew the place would need to be smudged after the debris was cleared, and that’s just what I did. I walked the property to get a sense of whether they had violated any other buildings, walked down to the pond and meditated on the east bank that looks west back towards the house. It was perfection. Once I had made my preparations, I went back to do the real cleaning.

I lit my bundle and started at the front gate. I walked counter-clockwise around the property then came to the house. I entered the same way they had…through the back and drove all the energy forward and out the opened windows and doors. I concentrated more on the areas of specific damage…the smoke was thick and heavy. Once finished, I grabbed my keys and went to town. I would let the smoke settle while I was gone.

An hour later, I entered again. The smell of sage was strong, but the energy did indeed feel lighter. I sat down in the velvet armchair that faces the console TV to relax and just tune in to the energy. I began to pray, asking my ancestors’ blessing. And that’s when I saw him.

I was again in that suspended place as I was praying…my eyes slightly closed, gaze cast down. The console TV that serves as a table for the TV that actually works, directly in front of me and in its reflection, I saw something… make that someone… behind me. As soon as I focused my gaze on it, it swished away…back to the middle bedroom. But it was a person…his head and shoulder.

I’ll have to say, I was a little unsettled. I had never actually seen spirits up home before, although I have always felt their presence. I decided to go back outside and drag limbs up for my fire that I would light later when it got dark. Suddenly, I got the urge to bring the old rocking chair that sits on the back porch outside with me. It’s literally the most comfortable chair in that whole house, and it belonged to Uncle Ernie. I broke limbs, made piles of kindling, smaller logs, and then went down to the barn to grab a few logs of cured firewood. As I came back up to the house, and saw the chair, I knew why I had brought it out. He was there…hanging outside with me in his rocking chair.

I grabbed my box of wine, my cup and began preparations. As I sat down, I noticed this large, straight branch in my pile. This would make a great poker for my fire. As I studied it, I saw that it had a large knot at the top where it had originally attached to the tree that it was ripped from during the winter. “That would be a nice carving” Huh? I’ve never carved anything in my life, but felt compelled to go into the house and get the Swiss army knife from the toolbox. I spent the next few hours tuning in to this energy and carved away on this branch from my pile.

As it began getting dark, the sounds of this vast expanse of wilderness began; turkeys, coyotes, hoot owls. There are two large yard lights on poles; one in the front, one in the back where I was. But I wanted only the light of the fire so I got up and turned off the yard lights, grabbed a few items I needed from the house, then went back outside. I sat back down and immediately noticed that the back light was back on! At first I thought I’d messed up and turned the switch wrong, so I went back in and turned it off again. Then as the sounds of large critters began to surge closer, I realized it had been turned back on for a reason. There are animals out there who are not afraid of humans…and they were pretty damned close. Needless to say, I turned it back on and chuckled to myself.

He is still here… protecting us as always.

I believe those kids who broke into our family home were scared off. For some reason, they stopped when they entered the middle bedroom. If they were bent on destruction, as they seemed to be, there were plenty of mirrors and pictures left untouched in that room and the other bedrooms as well. But that was where they stopped. None of the other bedrooms were touched.

That middle bedroom was my Granny’s. It was where she slept. It was where she gave birth to her children. It is the womb, the well, and the source from which we all spring. And it is protected.

Thanks Uncle Ernie.

We got this.


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